Competitive devaluation?

Anybody who follows the well known finance blog Credit Writedowns will know that one of the trends coming about (according to author Ed Harrison) is that we are going to see a competitive devaluation, where USD and Euro purposely look to go lower, the other alternative is that the Chinese opt to float their currency and allow some appreciation. This is happening right now, it is no coincidence that the Yuan is going to see some rule loosening, it is that or face the alternative which is a move by USD as low as it can go to re-establish equilibrium between the surplus/deficit nations.

While competitive devaluation is not the subject, it is touched on by several different facets of the conversation, well worth viewing.

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Gold prices, very much a dollar story (for now)

While we are bullish on precious metals (in particular silver) it is important to remember that many commodities are dollar denominated assets and for that reason they will often appreciate if the dollar weakens, this happens with oil, and it is currently happening in gold (see chart below).

The recent gains in gold are at least in part due to dollar weakness, price gold in euro or loonie and it looks relatively flat for the last seven months in which historic nominal highs were tested. Low carry costs and future inflation risks are in that mix as well, however, in the respect of an inflation hedge gold is still the master metal and silver has good upside potential as well. That doesn’t mean caution can be thrown to the wind in expectation of gains, although physical demand is up a reverse in financial gold plays could happen swiftly and undo much of the current range in a …

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Inflation in 2010?

John Brynjolfsson of Armored Wolf talks to Bloomberg about his views on inflation, he was formerly a leading fund manager with PIMCO who are the largest bond fund house in the USA, his speciality was TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities – a security which provides protection against inflation), which in my book means the guy knows his inflation!

Critically he talks about the difference between Japan [and the potential Nipponisation as advanced by economists such as Paul Krugman] of the US market, then his belief in what will happen in the mid-term future regarding inflation. He is not saying ‘hyper-inflation’ such as Marc Faber continuously talks about, but his 4-6% is still significant, in particular if it hits during a contraction in which case its real effect will be greater.

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Financial Highlights / Lowlights of 2007

Last year was a market full of ‘surprises’ and here is my list:

1. Affecting my own livlihood the most was the credit crunch. It spread from the US to the Eurozone Australia and then on to Asia.

2. The sub-prime fiasco, and I don’t use the word ‘fiasco’ sparingly – on that note I would ask banks to stop inventing things like SIV’s because it was the inability to value them correctly and the subsequent failures of same which kick started the whole thing. The sub-prime mess hit everything from wall street to London, here, there, everywhere and it even raised rates for all new mortgages in Ireland because the Euribor sat at 6 year high and refuses to drop as far as the ECB had hoped with the latest cash injection, it went from almost 5% to (todays) 3 month money price of 4.64%…. are we getting value for our billions? Does it even matter any more? The fact of the matter is that the likes of Citibank should have its whole board resign and they should have …

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