‘The price of all assets will go down’

‘Deleveraging’ is an ugly word, and it has ugly implications. Bill Gross of Pimco, who manages the world’s largest bond fund, has done us all a favour by trying to explain its impact, and why it is likely to continue for some time to come. He notes that all financial institutions are now reducing the […]

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Statistics, statistics

The blog has worried in the past about the way that official statistics seem to be increasingly manipulated to provide a rosy view of the economy. Barrons, the leading US investment magazine, provides another example this week, in connection with the report that US GDP grew at 3.3% in Q2. Barrons notes that this is […]

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$514bn and counting

There seems no end to the losses being revealed by the world’s major banks. The total has now reached $514bn. 110 banks and investment firms have now posted writedowns. CitiGroup, the largest US bank, tops the list with $55.1bn of losses, closely followed by Merrill Lynch with $51.8bn. Then comes UBS of Switzerland with $44.2bn. […]

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‘A very, very serious global economic slowdown’

A trend seems to be developing amongst the world’s policy makers. Last month saw China and the UK’s finance ministries warning of bad times to come. Yesterday, France’s finance minister joined the chorus, saying that she had ‘underestimated the spillover from the US financial and housing market turmoil’. Even more significantly, her boss, French prime […]

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August highlights

Many readers have been out of the office during August on a well-deserved break. I am therefore highlighting below the main postings over the past month, in the hope this will help them to catch up quickly on key developments – please click on the highlighted title if you want to read the original posting: […]

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‘Global economy at 60-year low’ – UK Finance Minister

Another policy maker has decided realism is the best policy when talking about the current credit crunch. China’s Liu He started the trend earlier this month, by talking about the need for ‘economic restructuring’. Now the UK’s Finance Minister, Alistair Darling, has become the first western official to abandon reassurance and instead to focus on […]

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A sombre outlook

Housing is a vital market for chemical companies. It boomed in the US and other Western countries as credit standards were relaxed between 2003-7. Now it is at the centre of the credit crunch. Martin Feldstein, Harvard economics professor, and the man who chairs the Board that determines the duration of US recessions, is clearly […]

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US house prices keep on falling

US house prices, according to today’s S&P/Case-Shiller Index, are still falling quite sharply. As shown in the chart, they are now down 17% versus last year. The key influence, according to S&P, is that ‘the markets that were the high-flyers during the recent real estate boom continue to be the ones that are leading the […]

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China’s growth slows

China’s growth rate is slowing quite sharply. Exports to the US grew just 9% in H1, half the 2007 rate. In addition, ICIS news has reported that China’s important textile industry has seen a 25% decline in orders, whilst US polyethylene exports to China are also slowing. And the above chart showing China’s latest Purchasing […]

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The nudist beach on Wall Street

When you’re the richest man in the world, you can generally say what you think. Thus Warren Buffett reflected reality back in March, when he commented that ‘by any commonsense definition, the US is in recession’. Yesterday, he probably ruffled a few more feathers when he told CNBC that he thought the US economy was […]

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