Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Global Warming

I'm sure most of you have heard of global warming, but I propose a new type of warming. This warming takes place in the the ring of currency intervention that has caught fire around the globe. Whether countries are seeking to promote strength or weakness in their local currencies, the ring is heating up. Brazil, Swiss, Japan, and Poland have now all intervened in some way over the last 90 days.

My two questions are who is next and what are the implications as more and currencies go this route. My guess is that all this intervention will not lead to the stability in which officials are hoping...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Where are we?

A book that I recently re-read (The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History by David Hackett Fischer). Fischer goes through history to determine commonalities in all price movements. Whether you know it or not, your everyday life is dominated by prices: the price of gas, food, soda, milk, public transport, and stocks.

Yesterday the US Census published its 2010 report. The report showcased something very clear: real wages (those adjusted for inflation) have contracted for 11 years at a total of 7% (SEE BELOW). Oddly enough, a marker of all price revolutions has included negative real wage growth. In addition, food and fuel has led the upward price movement. There are many other indications that confirm where we are in price stages. We have many of the markers of a stage 3 or 4: population growth in the developing world, money supply expansion, class inequality, real wage deflation, and the recognition phase that the price move is secular. At the same time we have some odd differences: social unrest in many parts of the world which would suggest a crisis phase and very low interest rates reminiscent of equilibrium times.

Over time price waves have changed in complexity due to technology and other factors, but its seems like one thing is clear, we are in fact in the midst of a price revolution. Daily news flow may suggest otherwise, but that is just noise. Focus on the bigger picture.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Volatility Selling

The Swiss national Bank (SNB) recently announced it will seek defend the 1.20 level in the EURCHF to stem the strength of its currency by buying unlimited quantities. Upon further information, it seems has though they are selling options volatility as a means to defend that significant level. A central bank engaging in option vol selling sounds like a disaster to me. The question I have is what will happen when the plan backfires or they run out of bullets? Seems like to me that a BRIC country running surpluses and room for reserve growth will come to the rescue. The price; high. I bet it will be in the form of the SNB's 1,041 tons of gold as the continued wealth transfer to the eastern economies from the western accelerates.