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Financial markets feel impact of the Great Unwinding

Its not been a great start to the year for those who have trusted in conventional wisdom: Western stock markets have been reeling, with the US S&P 500 Index down sharply since Monday It has been the worst opening for world stock markets since 2008 – not a good year for investors China’s currency has […]

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Great Unwinding sees oil fall 65%; US$ rise 22%; US 10-year rates rise 25%

The Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus was the major issue in financial markets in 2015.  And it is set to have even greater impact in 2016 once Phase 3 begins.  The chart above highlights the astonishing changes that have taken place since the Unwinding began in mid-August 2014; Phase 1 has so far seen Brent […]

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Brazil – still ‘The country of tomorrow?’

I am just back from Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I was giving a keynote presentation alongside Brazil’s Finance Minister and other senior figures at the 20th Annual Meeting of the Brazilian chemical industry association, ABIQUIM. As we all know, Brazil is facing difficult times.  I lost count of the number of times the word “crisis” […]

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Xi in Paris: all part of China’s New Normal

President Xi’s presence at the Climate Change conference highlights the far-reaching changes set out in China’s new 5 Year Plan, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog How times change. President Xi Jinping has just become the first Chinese president to attend a climate change conference. His presence in Paris […]

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ECB President has New York temper tantrum as Board blocks major new stimulus

“There is no doubt that if we had to intensify the use of our instruments to ensure we achieve our price stability mandate, then we would.”  (Mario Draghi, New York, Friday) Pity poor Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB).  He is used to the adulation of markets – and adores his nickname […]

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Schengen Dec15a

EU warns euro may disappear as political, economic risks rise

The excellent new Spielberg movie, Bridge of Spies, vividly captures the building of the Berlin Wall in 1952.  It also reminds us of the excitement when the Wall fell, and European borders reopened after 47 years. Now, Europe’s borders are closing again, pressured by vast Syrian refugee movements and terrorist massacres. France, Germany, Austria and Sweden have […]

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Index Dec15

Great Unwinding creates Great Divergence in financial markets

Most traders prefer to be with the crowd – then, at least, they can’t be personally blamed if things go wrong.  Instead, they can claim that “nobody could have seen the change coming”.  So as we approach year-end, many traders are becoming very nervous as the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus means that markets start […]

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Budgeting for the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus

There have been 35 “flash crashes” in US oil markets so far this year, when prices swung up or down by 200 basis points (2%) – before reversing the move by > 0.75%.  That’s 35 occasions when the markets were out of control.   It is tempting to blame this on misfiring algorithms at the […]

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Oil price rally disappears along with hopes of more stimulus

Many people in financial markets were hoping a new QE4 stimulus programme would be announced at the recent IMF meeting in Peru.  Unsurprisingly, markets rallied in anticipation: Brent oil was at $44/bbl on 24 August, and rallied to $56/bbl within a week The US S&P 500 Index rallied from 1823 to 1979 over the same period […]

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Deflation returns to the major economies as stimulus fails, again

Next week, I will publish my annual Budget Outlook, covering the 2016-2018 period.    The aim, as always, is to challenge conventional wisdom when this seems to be heading in the wrong direction: The 2007 Outlook ‘Budgeting for a Downturn‘, and 2008′s ‘Budgeting for Survival’ meant I was one of the few to forecast the 2008 Crisis 2009′s ‘Budgeting […]

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