Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Dollar Builds on Recent Gains

The dollar remains resilient; optimism towards a Phase One deal continues to support risk appetite. There was also optimism from Fed Chairman Powell yesterday; the US economy is not out of the woods yet. Turkish President Erdogan started deploying Russia’s S-400 missile system, raising the specter of sanctions. Hong Kong reported weak October trade data; Philippine central bank Governor Diokno said a December cut was possible.

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Darn, This Is Inconvenient: Apple Is Destroying the Planet to Maximize Profits

Stripmining the planet to maximize profits isn't progressive or renewable--it's just exploitive and destructive. How do we describe the finding that the planet's most widely-owned super-corporation is destroying the planet to maximize its smartphone sales and profits? Shall we start with "inconvenient?" Yes, we're talking about Apple, famous for coercing customers to upgrade their Apple phones and other gadgets if not annually then every couple...

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Drivers for the Week Ahead

The dollar was surprisingly resilient last week; we look for further dollar gains ahead. It is a holiday shortened week in the US, but there are still some major data releases. There is a fair amount of eurozone data this week; UK Prime Minister Johnson unveiled his Tory manifesto. Hong Kong held local elections this weekend; tensions between Japan and Korea appear to have eased, but questions remain.

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Seriously, Good Luck Dethroning the (euro)Dollar

Scarcely a week will go by without some grand prediction of the dollar being dethroned. Set aside how if anything is to be deposed it would have to be the eurodollar, these stories typically follow the same formulaic approach: Country X is moving away from dollar reserves, “diversifying” its holdings because of the geopolitics of Y.

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What’s Been Normalized? Nothing Good or Positive

What's been normalized are policies and cultural norms that seek to enrich and protect the few at the expense of the many. When the initially extraordinary fades into the unremarkable background of everyday life, we say it's been normalized. Put another way, we quickly habituate to new conditions, and rationalize our ready acceptance of what was previously unacceptable.

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Dollar and Equities Sink as Trade Pessimism Rises

Pessimism regarding a Phase One trade deal has intensified; further muddying the waters are recent US Congressional actions. FOMC minutes contained no surprises; regional Fed manufacturing surveys for November continue. South Africa is expected to cut rates by 25 bp to 6.25%. Korea reported trade data for the first twenty days of November; Indonesia kept rates steady at 5.0%, as expected.

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EM Sovereign Rating Model For Q4 2019

We have produced the following Emerging Markets (EM) ratings model to assess relative sovereign risk. An EM country’s score directly reflects its creditworthiness and underlying ability to service its external debt obligations. Each score is determined by a weighted compilation of fifteen economic and political indicators, which include external debt/GDP, short-term debt/reserves, import cover, current account/GDP, GDP growth, and budget balance.

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DM Equity Allocation Model For Q4 2019

Global equity markets continue to power higher US-China trade tensions have eased. MSCI World made a new all-time high today near 2290 and is up 23% YTD. Our 1-rated grouping (outperformers) for Q4 2019 consists of Ireland, Sweden, Israel, Denmark, and Australia. Our 5-rated grouping (underperformers) for Q4 2019 consists of the UK, Hong Kong, Greece, Germany, and Portugal.

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Political and Social Conflict Is Accelerating: Here’s Why

All the status quo "fixes" only hasten the collapse of the status quo. That economic, social and political conflict is accelerating is self-evident. What's open to debate are the core drivers of conflict / disorder /unraveling. Here's the core self-reinforcing dynamic in my view: 1. The status quo elites can no longer mask soaring costs of essentials nor soaring wealth / income inequality between the top .01% (Oligarchs), the top 9.99% who enrich...

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EM FX Model for Q4 2019

EM FX has rallied sharply in recent weeks, helped by growing optimism that we’ve seen the worst of the US-China trade war. Given our more constructive outlook on EM, we believe MSCI EM FX should eventually test the 1657.50 high from July. We see continued divergences within the asset class. Our 1-rated (strongest fundamentals) grouping for Q4 2019 consists of TWD, THB, PHP, CNY, and KRW.

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Dollar Stabilizes as Markets Await Fresh Drivers

Press reports suggest that the mood in Beijing is pessimistic after President Trump pushed back against tariff rollbacks. Fed Chair Powell met with President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin yesterday. Hungary is expected to keep rates steady; the deadline to form a government in Israel is fast approaching. RBA released dovish minutes from its November policy meeting.

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If Not-QE Is QE, then is Not-a-Blowoff-Top a Blowoff Top?

Can $300 billion, or $600 billion, or even $1 trillion continue to prop up an increasingly risk-riddled, fragile $330 trillion global bubble in overvalued assets? When is "Not-QE" QE? When Federal Reserve Chairperson Jerome Powell declares QE is not QE. We can constructively recall the story that Abraham Lincoln famously recounted in 1862: 'If I should call a sheep's tail a leg, how many legs would it have?'

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EM Preview for the Week Ahead

EM FX was mostly weaker last week due to doubts about a Phase One trade deal between the US and China. Those talks continue this week and while we expect a deal to be struck, there is likely to be a lot of last minute posturing that will likely keep markets volatile over the short-run. In the meantime, investors need to beware of idiosyncratic country risk within EM.

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QE’s and Rate Cuts: Two Very Different Sets of Sentiment Drawn From Them

The stock market’s dichotomy grows ever wider. On the one side, record high prices which are being set by the expectations of a trade deal plus renewed worldwide “stimulus.” Sure, officials everywhere were late to see the downturn coming, but they’ve since woken up and went to work.

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Emerging Market Risk Map

With year-end upon us, we review some of the key risks to EM assets and how we think they progress from here. In short, the two most significant downside risks would be a decisive improvement in Elizabeth Warren’s polling figures and an upset in the US-China trade negotiations.

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Stock Market Cheerleading: Why Do We Celebrate the Super-Rich Getting Richer?

It's not too difficult to predict a political rebellion against the machinery of soaring wealth and income inequality. The one constant across the media-political spectrum is an unblinking focus on the stock market as a barometer of the national economy: every major media outlet from the New York Times to Fox News prominently displays stock market action, and TV news anchors' expressions reflect the media's emotional promotion of the market as the...

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Now That We’ve Incentivized Sociopaths–Guess What Happens Next

As long as central banks create and distribute trillions in conscience-free credit to conscience-free financiers and corporations, the incentives for sociopathy only increase. "Sociopath" is a word we now encounter regularly in the mainstream media, but what does it mean? Here is a list of 16 traits, many of which are visible in lionized corporate and political leaders and entrepreneurs.

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For Labor And Recession, The Bad One

There’s a couple of different ways that Unit Labor Costs can rise. Or even surge. The first is the good way, the one we all want to see because it is consistent with the idea of an economy that is actually booming. If workers have become truly scarce as macro forces sustain actual growth such that all labor market slack is absorbed, then businesses have to compete for them bidding up the price of marginal labor.

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The Real Boom Potential

For the last five years Larry Summers has called it secular stagnation. It’s the right general idea as far as the result, if totally wrong as to its cause. Alvin Hansen, who first coined the term and thought up the thesis in the thirties, was thoroughly disproved by the fifties. Some, perhaps many Economists today believe it was WWII which actually did the disproving.

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EM Preview for the Week Ahead

EM was mostly lower last week, as doubts crept in about the recent trade optimism. Some events also served as reminders of idiosyncratic EM risk that can’t be overlooked, such as downgrade risks (South Africa), failed oil auctions (Brazil), and violent protests (CLP). EM may remain on its back foot until we get further clarity on the US-China talks, but we remain confident in our call that a deal will be struck soon that lower existing tariffs. 

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