Singapore Property II…Unintended Policy Distortions

My previous post argued that the Singapore property market is not in a price bubble. This is because the shape and longevity of the price move itself (it doesn’t look like an accelerating exponential speculative market), as well as the demographic in Singapore. However, while ruling out a price bubble, one cannot argue against cyclic […]

Singapore Property I…A Portfolio Perspective

The Singapore Government announced its SEVENTH round of taxes and regulations in three years, designed to stop the upward accretion of property prices in the City State. The government believes that a property bubble has formed that needs to be deflated. Are they correct and what can be done? First, I think the price bubble […]

Japanese Carry Addicts Enter the Curry Trade

With the Japanese Yen having fallen over 10% in quick time, where is the money going? Japanese investors have enormous appetite for carry (that is, investing in currencies with high short term interest rates). Its no surprise then, that the Indian Rupee is being solidly bought in offshore markets. The ‘Curry Trade’ offers a 6% […]

Jes Returns to his Roots: Private Partnerships on the Rise as ‘Financial Supermarkets’ Slide

18 months ago, Mr Jes Staley was being groomed to be Jamie Dimon’s successor at JPMorgan. Three months’ ago, Mr Staley somehow fell by the wayside as other, younger suitors gained favour as Dimon’s successor. This is not unusual in the power politics of large banking organisations and Mr Staley’s departure from JPMorgan, announced this […]

Fiscal Cliff or Stairway to Heaven?

Why would 50% of US Republican voters favor a tax rate hike now to pay for Obama’s spending? The answer is that they are going to have to pay for it at sometime in the future, so now is as good a time as any. This logic is not only simple and compelling, it also […]

Quality: The New Battleground in Asset Management. Can Alternatives Go Mainstream?

“The reason we hire big managers is because, if something goes wrong, they will fix it internally. Its too hard for our Investment Committee to fire a manager, so we rely on our managers to respond themselves” – CRA’s pension plan sponsor, 1993. This comment still resonates with me nearly 20 years after the conversation. […]

Bozo the Clown Advises on Greek Bond Buy-Back Tender

“Greece fails in attempt to buy-back their bonds” will be the headline in a few weeks following the poorly conceived tender off that will be presented to bondholders. How so? Many moons ago I enthusiastically agreed with the proposal to reduce Greek debt through outright purchases of bonds on the secondary market. I had expected […]

Urban Hip Supplants the Agrarian Revolution in China

Revolution is a central thesis of Marxist-Leninist economic theory. The argument is the following: Capitalists exploit the Proletariat by paying just enough in wages to allow the labour pool to subsist. Profits are pocketed by the Capitalists. The Proletariat doesn’t like this very much and spontaneously rise up and – bang – Revolution! The key […]

Bernanke Comes Under Pressure From a Most Unlikely Source…the IMF!

The annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank not only have a carnival atmosphere, they are carnivals! 10,000+ delegates and 5,000+ additional hangers-on converge on the hapless host city. Tents are erected to shelter cocktail parties, private jets chauffer bank CEO’s in and out of the airports while anxious relationship managers (salespeople) sweat over […]

Will Settlement Manipulation Kill the ‘Golden VIX’ Futures Market?

One of the recent success stories for new financial instruments is the CBOE’s VIX futures market. The VIX is a measure of expected S&P 500 stock index volatility – sometimes known as the ‘fear index’. Because the VIX is calculated using a complex formula and scores of Put and Call options, the VIX itself can […]