Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Emerging Markets: What has Changed

Press reports suggest that China’s central bank has ordered banks to limit new loans in Q1. Fitch revised the outlook on Nigeria’s B+ rating from stable to negative. Russia announced details of the FX purchase plan. Brazil’s central bank confirmed it will simplify the reserve requirement system for banks. S&P cut the outlook on Chile’s AA- rating from stable to negative.

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Ein Macher im Weißen Haus

Donald Trump sagt den alten Eliten den Kampf an. Europas Bürokraten müssen sich warm anziehen. Kürzlich stellte der Hedgefonds-Mogul Ray Dalio eine Analyse des Führungsteams von Donald Trump ins Netz („Reflections on the Trump Presidency, One Month after the Election“).

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China Says It Is Ready To Assume “World Leadership”, Slams Western Democracy As “Flawed”

Over the weekend China used the Trump inauguration to warn about the perils of democracy, touting the relative stability of the Communist system as President Xi Jinping heads toward a twice-a-decade reshuffle of senior leadership posts.

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The Collapse of the Left

The Left is not just in disarray--it is in complete collapse because the working class has awakened to the Left's betrayal and abandonment of the working class in favor of building personal wealth and power. The source of the angry angst rippling through the Democratic Party's progressive camp is not President Trump--it's the complete collapse of the Left globally. To understand this collapse, we turn (once again) to Marx's profound understanding...

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Emerging Markets: Preview for the Week Ahead

EM FX ended last week on a firm not, led by a huge MXN rally on Inauguration Day. We believe that the peso rally was largely driven by positioning and technicals, and so we view Friday’s gains as a correction since the fundamental outlook remains unchanged. Indeed, we think the broader EM rally will be short-lived too, as US interest rates remain elevated. The 10-year yield flirted with the 2.5% level, and we believe it will eventually head even...

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25 Years of Neocon-Neoliberalism: Great for the Top 5 percent, A Disaster for Everyone Else

It cannot be merely coincidental that the incomes and wealth of the top 5% have pulled away from the stagnating 95% in the 25 years dominated by neocon-neoliberalism. One unexamined narrative I keep hearing is: "OK, so neocon-neoliberalism was less than ideal, but Trump could be much worse." Let's start by asking: would Syrian civilians agree with this assessment?

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

Prime Minister Phuc said Vietnam will ease the limits on foreign ownership of banks this year. Russia’s government is working on measures to limit ruble volatility, including possible FX purchases. Turkey’s central bank start auctioning FX swaps to help support the lira. Brazil’s central bank resumed rolling over FX swaps. Brazilian Supreme Court Judge Zavascki was tragically killed in a plane accident. Chile’s central bank started the easing...

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Draghi Lets Steam out of Euro

US reported stronger than expected series of data, including a large drop in weekly jobless claims for the week of the next NFP survey. Draghi remained dovish, with key phrases retained. Euro needs to break $1.0575 now to confirm a top is in place. Markets still uncertain ahead of the start of the new Administration.

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Will Our Grandchildren Wonder Why We Didn’t Build a Renewable Power Grid When It Was Still Affordable?

Anyone seeking clarity on the energy picture a decade or two out is to be forgiven for finding a thoroughly confusing divide. On the one hand, we have reassuring projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that assume current production of fossil fuels will remain steady for decades to come.

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Emerging Markets: Week Ahead Preview

EM FX ended the week mixed. Markets continue to grapple with the outlook for the so-called Trump Trade, which we believe is intact. MXN and TRY recovered from the relentless selling of recent days, but both remain vulnerable. Indeed, if the jump in US yields on Friday continues this week, most of EM should remain under pressure.

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Dear Self-Proclaimed “Progressives”: as Apologists for the Neocon-Neoliberal Empire, You Are as Evil as the Empire You’ve Enabled

Dear Self-Proclaimed "Progressive": I love you, man, but it has become necessary to intervene in your self-destruction. Your ideological blinders and apologies for the Establishment's Neocon-Neoliberal Empire are not just destroying your credibility, they're destroying the nation and everywhere the Empire intervenes.

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

China’s government has asked banks to balance their yuan inflows and outflows. Indonesia partially lifted a ban on exports of nickel ore and bauxite. Czech President Zeman picked two new central bankers as the end of the koruna cap looms. Turkish central bank is taking limited measures to support the lira. Turkey’s parliament voted 338-134 to discuss proposed constitutional changes that would increase the power of the presidency.

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What’s Truly Progressive?

What's progressive? Pushing power, agency, skills, capital and solutions down to the individual, household, community, enterprise, town and city levels and focusing on doing more with much less.

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The Eight Forces That Are Pressuring Profits

If there is any economic assumption that goes unquestioned, it's the notion that profits will remain robust for the foreseeable future. This assumption ignores the tidal forces that are now flowing against profits. Any discussion of corporate profits must start by noting the astonishing rise in U.S. corporate profits since the heyday of the late 1990s dot-com boom. From $800 billion to $2.4 trillion in a few years is not just extraordinary--it's...

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Why Don’t the U.S. Dollar and Bitcoin Drop to Their Tangible Value, i.e. Zero?

I have covered the many reasons why the U.S. dollar (USD) has strengthened in dozens of posts over the past 5 years, (Could the U.S. Dollar Rise 50%?, January 12, 2011), and I described the positive dynamics of bitcoin last summer in An Everyman's Guide to Understanding Cryptocurrencies (June 13, 2016), back when bitcoin was under $600.

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Why Profits Are Faltering

Profits are faltering for structural reasons that are not easily resolved. The bedrock assumption of the Bull market is that corporate profits will keep rising indefinitely. Hiccups are allowed, but current stock market valuations are implicitly based on profits expanding.

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We Can Only Afford One, So Choose Wisely: Social Security/Medicare, Cartel Cronyism or Inflation (a.k.a. Central Banking)

Here's the problem with central banks seeking higher inflation: costs go up but wages don't. It's easy to quantify the annual cost of Social Security/Medicare, and not so easy to calculate the cost of Cartel Cronyism and Central Bank-created inflation.Cartel cronyism is a hidden tax on the entire economy, as is Central Bank-created inflation.

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Prosperity = Abundant Work + Low Cost of Living

If we seek a coherent context for the new year, we would do well to start with the foundations of widespread prosperity. While the economy is a vast, complex machine, the sources of widespread prosperity are not that complicated: abundant work and a low cost of living.

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Fragmentation and the De-Optimization of Centralization

Many observers decry the loss of national coherence and purpose, and the increasing fragmentation of the populace into "tribes" with their own loyalties, value systems and priorities. These observers look back on the national unity of World War II as the ideal social standard: everyone pitching in, with shared purpose and sacrifice. (Never mind the war killed tens of millions of people, including over 400,000 Americans.)

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Emerging Market: Week Ahead Preview

EM FX was a mixed bag over the past week. Dollar softness vs. the majors allowed some in EM to gain traction, with ZAR and PEN the biggest gainers since Christmas. On the other hand, ARS TRY, and INR were the biggest losers. With markets coming back to life, we expect EM to remain broadly under pressure as the same major investment themes remain in place.

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