Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. While I do make mistakes, I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct (old habits die hard!) Also, don't ask me why I called it "Volewica". It's too late, now.

BTW, clicking on most charts will produce the original-sized, i.e., bigger version.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Drowning not splashing

A somewhat polemical piece (and why not?) on dark pools (should be banned absolutely in my opinion, but then I've seen financial folly again and again in my long career in the markets) and on the absurd remuneration CEOs get, by Michael West of Melbourne's Age newspaper.  I agree with him on both counts.

Illustration: Michael Mucci.
Picture by Michael Mucci

Monday, November 12, 2012

The rise and rise of China

Some interesting factoids here.

China now world's second largest economy at official exchange rates, though it's been second largest for a while now at PPPs.  At PPPs, my estimate is that it is now about 3/4 of the size of the US economy (US roughly 22% of the world economy, China +-15%)   'Course, it has far more ppl.  Per capita, it's still some way behind.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

This is the consequence of ill-advised austerity

Trenchant cuts to government spending and large rises in taxes don't balance the budget, because they cause the economy to go into recession or to deepen the existing recession.

The Greek unemployment rate is now at a new record high of 25.4%.  A year ago it was bad enough: 18.4%.  But it has risen an incredible 7% points in one year, and this isn't the first year of the recession.  It's the fifth.  And its prospects of repaying its debts are no better than they were at the beginning of this whole sorry fandangle.

This is higher than the unemployment rate reached during the Great Depression in the US.  And it is still rising!   Holy ninniebarn!

What a shameful spectacle of gross incompetence by those in charge; incompetence made worse by the fact that not only has it not achieved its target, but it has inflicted scars on Greece which will last a generation.  Pointlessly.

Meanwhile, the same tired old remedy is being proposed to solve the budgetary difficulties of all the other deficit countries (Spain, Italy, the UK, Australia....), and of course we face a "fiscal cliff" in the US where the rabid right cling desperately to their failed nostrums.  Like medieval blood-letting: if the treatment doesn't work you just repeat it until the patient dies.

(You might also want to read Lessons from History)