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Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May delivers her keynote address on the second day of the Conservative party annual conference in Manchester, northern England September 30, 2013.  REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN  - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY) - RTR3FFSM

Theresa May: Britain will definitely leave the EU

British Prime Minister Theresa May set out details for her vision regarding the UK’s relationship with the EU In a speech today that will please those that campaigned to leave the EU. The Prime Minster, as expected, made clear that this will be a ‘hard Brexit’ because there will be not attempt by government to maintain Britain’s access to Europe’s single market. The biggest piece of new news in her speech was her acquiescence to a vote by Parliament on an EU deal, something that pre-empts a decision by the high court on the government’s ability to use Royal prerogative to bargain on the Queen’s behalf

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Hammond’s ‘whatever it takes’ strategy for a hard Brexit

On Friday, I wrote why, unlike Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, I believe the economic threat of Brexit to the British economy is now higher. The gist of my remarks was that an actual trigger of Article 50 under hard Brexit circumstances is when we should expect any economic impact from diminished consumption and investment. Some brief comments below

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Why the Brexit risk is now higher, not lower

When the Brexit vote first happened, I indicated that I didn’t see the huge risk to the UK that others did. In fact, I thought the initial tail risks were elsewhere, like the Italian banking system. The economic risks for the UK were always overstated because of monetary, fiscal and currency offsets. But now that a hard Brexit comes closer, the risks have increased, not decreased, as Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor contends. Some thoughts below

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The potential for military confrontation due to Trump’s foreign policy

A few weeks ago I was writing about a likely pivot away from China toward Russia in the Trump administration. And my conclusion was that a violent pivot created a lot of unknown unknowns – to use a Rumsfeld phrase. It is the uncertainty and unpredictability that is the biggest problem in my view. I was mostly talking about trade and the economy though. But given China’s latest statements about potential military confrontation, I wanted to follow up with some brief thoughts on the geopolitical side of things.

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The country to watch in 2017 is Turkey

The country to watch in 2017 is Turkey

If I could name three countries that will be particularly difficult for the US to deal with geopolitically, I would pick Russia, China and Turkey. The first two are obvious choices but the third is going to be equally tricky because of the increasingly heavy-handed way Turkish President Erdogan is cracking down on alleged Gulenists in the aftermath of last summer’s attempted Coup d’etat. It is Turkey’s unique relationship to the West via NATO and the increasingly authoritarian rule which will make the relationship tricky in 2017.

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Monetary offset, the strong dollar and China’s currency manipulation

Monetary offset, the strong dollar and China’s currency manipulation

With the Fed talking up the likelihood of three rate hikes in 2017 while other central banks are still in easing mode, the potential for a US dollar rout and a concomitant closing of the US trade deficit is pretty low. Therefore, given Donald Trump’s hawkish rhetoric on China, the potential that the US government labels China a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994 is high.

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No one talks about Eurobonds anymore. Here’s why

Eurobonds are one way of tying the fortunes of eurozone countries together by eliminating – or at least greatly reducing – default risk. The thinking is that if you have a common currency and free labour movement and you still don’t have economic convergence you need to go further in uniting Europe politically and economically. No one is talking about eurobonds though. That’s because they won’t happen.

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Donald Trump the risk taker, trade war edition

Donald Trump the risk taker, trade war edition

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Donald Trump and confirmation bias. But it’s going to be a different beast altogether because here’s where I am going to lay out my thinking about Trump and trade. Let me cut to the chase. I think there is a high likelihood that Trump starts a trade war with China. I’ve written about this before – twice! But now I want to outline some possible economic and geo-strategic outcomes based on this. Some of these outcomes are pretty good. But some are catastrophically bad.

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Donald Trump the risk taker, confirmation bias edition

My narrative is going to be that Trump is a risk taker. And the conclusion I have drawn is that this risk taking will lead to big surprises — some of them negative, but some positive. Afterwards, rather than give you a bunch of confirming information though — I’m going to tell you about my search for non-confirmatory data, because that’s how my process works.

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More on the coming trade war with China

More on the coming trade war with China

On Monday, I wrote a piece outlining how the US has pivoted away from China toward Russia. And the conclusion I drew from the circumstances was that this pivot will create a lot of geopolitical and economic uncertainty depending both on the importance of the actors on the world stage and the violence of the pivot. As US President Obama is constantly at pains to stress, Russia is not a major player economically. So the pivot toward Russia is one of geo-strategic importance. But the pivot away from China has economic implications. And China-hater Peter Navarro as Trump’s new trade czar is telling us the pivot will be violent.

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Black Swan Investing and the breakup of Europe

This isn’t going to be a thematic post on how to profit from Europe’s breakup, despite the sinister title. Instead, it’s a potpourri post – a mashup of different ideas I have right now and want to run by you to organize my thinking about them. I used to do this a lot more in the past – and I found it useful; I hope you did too. So for lack of a coherent theme, I chose the title above. Here goes.

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Policy divergence, the strong dollar and trade war with China

Policy divergence, the strong dollar and trade war with China

I have heard some commentators say that the concern over a strong dollar is overblown. I don’t think it is. In the context of heightened tensions with China, the strength of the US dollar will be a key issue affecting Asia in particular. I want to flesh out a few thoughts here, especially regarding the pivot by the US toward Russia and away from China.

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