Thursday, August 11, 2011

UK Now Safer Haven than Germany

Over at the “evidence based” LeftFootFoward blog they have an opinion piece claiming “Osborne’s ‘safe haven’ view is delusional”. Let’s examine the evidence, starting with Sovereign Credit Default Swap rates:

Exhibit A

CDS rates reflect the cost of insuring against the risk of default. UK gilts have got their edge back, German government bunds are now seen by international markets as a higher risk than British gilts. So Osborne is right to claim that Britain is seen as a safe haven, with the resultant benefit of lower cost long term borrowing. Guido’s second piece of evidence is the disparity between German and UK government borrowing rates:

Exhibit B

German 5-year borrowing rate: 1.41%

UK 5-year borrowing rate: 1.29%

UK rates are lower, though not as low as that other traditional European safe haven, Switzerland, where interest rates have turned negative. This means that effectively you have to pay the bank to deposit Swiss francs. Below are last night’s closing money market rates for Swiss LIBOR futures, usually quoted as 100 minus the rate, they are now confusingly trading above 100 meaning that money market rates are now negative. Not something Guido has ever seen before…


Elsewhere in Europe the banking system teeters on the edge of disaster. Anecdotally there are tales of Italians driving their Alfa Romeos across the border to convert their paper euros into hard currency in Switzerland. To paraphrase Sarah Palin: How is that monetary unity thing working out for europhiles?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nouriel Roubini tells the FT…

“Until last year policymakers could always produce a new rabbit from their hat to trigger asset reflation and economic recovery. Zero policy rates, QE1, QE2, credit easing, fiscal stimulus, ring-fencing, liquidity provision to the tune of trillions of dollars and bailing out banks and financial institutions – all have been tried. But now we have run out of rabbits to reveal.”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Only Believe in Gold

The inevitable is now in process, policy makers are not going to be able to avert inflation and economic retrenchment, markets are starting to recognise reality. The credit of the United States has been downgraded, the euro is in a death spiral, nations teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. Power and wealth are shifting eastwards on a tectonic scale. Ever since the 2008 credit crisis and the doomed attempt by central bankers to solve the underlying debt crisis with more debt and inflation. All predictable, in the case of the euro almost every eurosceptic from John Redwood to Nigel Farage predicted it down to even the exact catalyst – Greece – a decade ago.

Step forward Andrew, Lilico formerly at Policy Exchange, who is equally as pessimistic as Guido, as long ago as 2009 he predicted a double dip with“double digit inflation and probably a recession in 2013 – stagflation.”

At the same time Guido argued that

Mervyn King even talks about the threat from deflation – Guido sees that merely as an excuse to justify printing even more money via quantitative easing (QE). QE means inflation is inevitable. 

Get your wheelbarrows out, stock up on gold and baked beans. If you can, buy a productive asset, like farm land – it is an inflation hedge and you won’t go hungry. 

Here comes inflation – as it always does when governments turn on the printing presses…

Guido wrote in 2008

“holding gold will be insurance as much as an investment. If you have apocalyptic fears, holding physical gold coins is reassuring.

In 2009 Guido marked the

“symbolic of the end of the twentieth century Anglo-American dominance of the world” with “the purchase by the Indian Central Bank of  200 tonnes of gold from the IMF.  The Indian Central Bank paid an average of $1040 per ounce.”

Mr & Mrs David & Maureen Somers must be doing pretty well now.

Told you so…

See also : The Bank of England’s Great Inflation SwindleComing Soon : Double Digit InflationDouble Digit Inflation is a Black SwanBank of England Pension Fund Surges Betting on InflationYo Dude, Where’s the Deflation?UK Dec CPI Posts Largest Jump On Record to 2.9%Growing Unease About Old Lady’s SecrecySomething Odd in the Banking Bill

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Fall

As speculation matures into full-blown witness statements and accusations, Trinity Mirror have called in the law firm Herbert Smith and launched an investigation into phone-hacking across its titles. Until now there have been only present tense denials of such actions.

One shareholder told the FT they expected “nothing less” than an investigation, but it hasn’t come in time to stop the company’s share price going into free fall, with a 9.8% plummet on Monday since Guido, swiftly followed by the BBC, and grudgingly some other papers, began lifting the lid. He’s not sure a mere review is going to do much to reassure investors…

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

+++ Labour Votes No To £9.5 Billion to IMF Bailout Fund +++

A few moments ago in Committee Room 14 at the usually staid Statutory Instruments Committee, Labour members voted in the national interest.  Government whips got it through 10/6. Something very rare happened in what is usually the dullest of committees. A dozen or so Tory non-members of the committee came and spoke against affirming the instrument. Government whips cajoled the pliant Tory and LibDem members of the committee to vote to affirm the instrument while Tory MPs spoke from the floor against it. Promising new boy Steve Baker and backbench eurosceptic Douglas Carswell were among those who spoke against affirming the instrument. If Guido’s grasp of arcane parliamentary procedure is correct this will now have to go to a silent vote of the whole house without a debate.

Cross-Party Rejection of IMF Increase

As Guido mentioned yesterday, the Statutory Instruments Committee meets today to debate the £9.5 billion the government proposes to export to the IMF en route to Greece and probably the ECB. He hears it is a lively debate and that Labour are set possibly to vote against or abstain from supporting the transfer, potentially forcing a full Commons vote tomorrow…

The day Christine Legarde moves in to the IMF.

Monday, July 4, 2011

IMF Bailout Billions to be Debated

Tomorrow morning the Statutory Instruments Committee in Committee Room 14 of the Commons will consider for 90 minutes the extra £9.5 billion the government proposes to export to the IMF en route to Greece and probably the ECB. That is some £105 million per minute of debate. £9.5 billion is a lot of care for the aged.

Hat-tip: John Redwood

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Inflation Outlook: Lindsay Lohan on Monetary Policy


Monetary policy arguments can sometimes seem other-worldly, the modern equivalent of the medieval intellectual battle over how many angels can dance on the head of a pinhead? Guido (neo-Hayekian) has been rowing with Will Straw (neo-Keynesian) for years – our latest skirmish is here. It is a difficult subject to popularise in an accessible way. Straw often cites David Blanchflower, formerly of the MPC and a favourite of Gordon Brown, to back his case. Blanchflower it was who predicted a year ago that if Chancellor Osborne didn’t undertake a £90 billion stimulus package, unemployment would hit 4 million. Osborne ignored him and unemployment is down as we undergo an expansionary fiscal contraction.

In turn Guido cites the noted American actress and legendary redhead bad-girl Lindsay Lohan. She has a manifestly clearer grasp of the inflationary dangers of quantitative easing than David Blanchflower:

Lohan’s analysis is right…

Hat-tip: Fraser Nelson

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ed Balls Take Note, Obama’s Keynesian Stimulus Has Failed

It seems a long time ago that Will Straw, the former Treasury spin doctor under Gordon Brown now turned blogger and think-tanker, was arguing about the need for the Balls/Brown tax, borrow and spend stimulus plan. The voters and the 2010 general election put paid to that and George Osborne has resisted the calls of Balls (and Will) for more government borrowing to spend on boosting short-term growth. Will Straw argued, citing research by a “progressive” American economist, that spending increases were the most efficient form of deficit spending. The theory can now be tested against the outcome.

Obama did implement a massive $787 billion stimulus programme financed by more borrowing of the kind that Will Straw and Ed Balls still advocate. The chart above shows the results versus the predictions. Unemployment is far higher than the supporters of the “porkulus” projected, higher even than they projected it would be without wasting three-quarters of a trillion dollars. Not since the 1930s has US unemployment been so high for so long. Told you so.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

+ + + Northern Rock is on the Block + + +


Seen Elsewhere

Shapps Defends Bashir Defection | Seb Payne
Tory Leadership Contenders Jostle Over Europe | Alex Wickham
Cutting Taxes is Good For You | Art Laffer
Suspects Will Now Have to Prove Innocence | Laura Perrins
Labour Cllr: Cops Shouldn’t Stop Petrol Thieves | HandF Forum
Creeping Cultural Acceptance of Anti-Semitism | Eric Pickles
Time For Greece to Leave Eurozone | Allister Heath
Boris: Jihadis are W*nkers | Sun
Ed Miliband: International Sex Symbol | Telegraph
Javid: Let Tories Campaign For Out Vote | House
Ministry of Justice Loses Death Inquiry Data “In the Post” | TechnoGuido


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Boris on British Jihadis. Apparently based on MI5 intel:

“If you look at all the psychological profiling about bombers, they typically will look at porn. They are literally w***ers. Severe onanists. They are tortured. They will be very badly adjusted in their relations with women, and that is a symptom of their feeling of being failures and that the world is against them. They are not making it with girls, and so they turn to other forms of spiritual comfort — which of course is no comfort.”


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