geopolitics

BASF’s second profit warning highlights scale of the downturn now underway

The chemical industry is easily the best leading indicator for the global economy.  And thanks to Kevin Swift and his team at the American Chemistry Council, we already have data showing developments up to October, as the chart shows. It confirms that consensus hopes for a “synchronised global recovery” at the beginning of the year

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Airbus warns of “dawning reality” there may be no Brexit deal

Suddenly, businesses across Europe are waking up to the realisation that the UK is currently on course to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March next year, without a deal on trade and customs.  As Katherine Bennett, the UK boss of aerospace giant, Airbus, warned on Friday: “This is not project fear, this is […]

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Oil market supply/demand finally begins to matter again as commodity funds withdraw

Its been a long time since oil market supply/demand was based on physical barrels rather than financial flows:   First there was the subprime period, when the Fed artificially boosted demand and caused Brent to hit $147/bbl   Then there was QE, where central banks gave free cash to commodity hedge funds and led Brent to hit […]

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Investors ponder further shocks after North Korea jolt

Interviewed for this Reuters article, I suggest today’s low levels of market volatility could be “the calm before the storm”  Saikat Chatterjee and Vikram Subhedar, AUGUST 11, 2017 / 5:06 PM LONDON (Reuters) – After this week’s war of words between the United States and North Korea triggered the biggest fall in global stocks since the U.S. presidential […]

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Greece introduces capital controls; IMF says it needs to default

This morning, Greece introduced capital controls.  People can only withdraw €60/day ($65) from their bank accounts.  The government has also called a referendum on Sunday, after Eurozone talks on a new bailout package collapsed. The key issue is that Greece will never be able to repay its debts.  These are currently estimated at €322bn ($365bn) […]

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UK’s May election will create major political and economic uncertainty

Nobody can guess the outcome of the UK’s general election on 7 May.  This is astonishing, as it is only 4 months away. Currently, it seems most unlikely that either of the main parties, Conservative or Labour, will be able to form a government on their own.  Indeed, 7 different outcomes have been identified as possible by the […]

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Euro elections likely to see strong vote for anti-EU parties

Its now nearly 2 years since the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) said he “was ready to do whatever it takes” to save the euro, and brought down interest rates in the weakest PIIGS economies (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain).  As the chart shows, this statement had a remarkable effect in financial markets: Interest rates today […]

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Crimea referendum highlights growing geo-political risks

Markets have been remarkably calm ahead of Crimea’s planned Sunday referendum to leave Ukraine and join Russia.  Yet as Associated Press has reported: “The Group of 7 world leaders say they won’t recognize results of a referendum for the Crimea region to split from Ukraine and join Russia.  A statement from the seven nations released from […]

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