Economics

A postcard from Greece

For a small economy, Greece has kept European economists like me very busy, particularly at times of economic and political stress. Here are my key takeaways from a recent trip meeting policymakers, investors and analysts.

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Strategy

Eureka: the Archimedes principle

Is there an Archimedes principle at play in financial markets? As central banks withdraw liquidity by shrinking their asset holdings, does it inevitably imply bad news for investors? We look to theoretical, historical and contemporary clues to find out.

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Economics

Don't shock me now

I'm not sure exactly why Queen's "Don't stop me now" has been stuck in my head...something to do with football and wishing not to get knocked out maybe...we were having such a good time! Anyway, as I say in this Sky News interview on the Ian King Show, only a big shock would stop the Bank of England from hiking in August. I also discuss the merits of the new monthly GDP data.

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Economics

Will our children live longer than us?

For decades, demographers were too pessimistic on life expectancy and had to revise up their forecasts. Are they now too optimistic? Recent data suggest that UK ‘death rates’ have stopped improving. If sustained, life expectancy projections would need to be revised down. This would have profound implications for government and pension finances.

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Economics

Trump's trade tantrum: Can the US win?

Escalating trade tensions pose the biggest near-term risk to global growth. At what point should investors really worry?

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Strategy

When swimming naked becomes embarrassing

“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out” (Warren Buffett, 2001). In bull markets, market risk is often the most important driver of performance. However, we should pay attention to bottom-up investors in both equity and credit markets as they can add value in spotting turning points and identifying areas where investors may find themselves overexposed. 

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Macrobites

Monetary mayhem in the policy petri dish

The Hong Kong dollar is tied closely to the US dollar. Monetary policy made in Washington therefore applies directly in Wan Chai and Kowloon. In recent months, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has been obliged to shrink its balance sheet rapidly to maintain the fixed exchange rate. This serves as a real-life policy experiment of the effects of quantitative tightening in a financial system. So far, nothing has blown up, but Hong Kong equities have been under pressure as financial conditions have tightened.

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