Regulation


25
Mar 14

A Tale of two Balls: UK vs PIMCO

Lessons from WWII as Russia conquers Crimea

Who is more influential? In the left corner sits Ed Balls, potential Chancellor of the UK if the Labour Party makes it into power in the 2015 election. On the right, his brother Andrew Balls, Deputy Chief Investment Officer at PIMCO, which controls $2 trillion worth of bonds.

Even assuming Ed B. makes it into power, his brother wins hands down. The UK government spends around £720 billion a year and most of it is already earmarked. Chancellors – pace all the kerfuffle around budget announcements – can only affect policy at the margin. Andrew B., on the other hand, is head of European bond markets with the capacity to strike fear in the hearts of Italian treasury ministers, among others.

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29
Aug 13

The CEO’s case for rocketing equity markets

Middle East and Korean peace in the offing

A year after writing about the unsustainability of the French economy, I found myself this August once again amidst the glory-on-earth that is inland Provence. The economy is in worse shape, even more of the profit-making elite have left the country and President Francois Hollande is beyond a blancmange.

Demand for places in the South Kensington Lycée is such that a new one is being built near Wembley football stadium. London’s gain is France’s loss.


25
Apr 13

Lands of Opportunity: China & the City

Osborne the hero

Readers suggested that the last column’s negativity deserved a positive riposte. Herewith 6 reasons to be cheerful.

China’s Chance China looks set to grow at between 7% to 8% annually, a drop from decades of higher growth stretching into double digits. As the Financial Times pointed out in an editorial a couple of weeks ago (and subsequently ignored in all its doom-laden articles that day), when the world’s second largest economy is projected to grow 7.5% a year this still implies an enormous addition of both capacity and demand.


25
Mar 13

The London property collapse

Inflation’s soaring path and generational pain

Rather like Macbeth, me-thought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!”. Having not murdered anyone, I analysed the lack of sleep and found 6 issues keeping me awake: the collapse of the London property market, soaring interest rates, accelerating global inflation, pensioner pain, the agony of the younger generation and the Middle East bloodshed.

1. Imminent Collapse of the London property market
Over the last years an unanswerable question has been what Black Swan event would lead to a fall in central London prices. We all scrabbled away for an answer in our innermost recesses, came up with zilch and the market kept on rising.