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  • 2012: The Year Ahead– Can emerging markets ride out the storm?
    Emerging market equities have taken a hammering over the past 12 months, largely as a result of high inflation, high domestic interest-rates, growing uncertainty about the eurozone and, to a lesser extent, doubts over the US recovery. The iShares MSCI emerging markets index tumbled by 20.6% in the year to December 31, 2011, versus a flat performance for the S&P 500.
  • 2012: The Year Ahead- The Iran card and the future of oil
    Oil prices had a low point or two in 2011, but finished the year with a fairly decent run, ending on the $100 mark despite fears of a potentially serious recession in Europe. In the ordinary course of events you would expect fears of a slowdown in global trade to cause the price of oil to slide, but the price of oil is determined by fears of bottlenecks in supply just as much, or probably quite a bit more, than by fears of a falling off in demand.
  • 2012: The Year Ahead- The currency wars roll on
    One of the more influential books to appear late in 2011 was Jim Rickards’ Currency Wars, which likens the struggle by various nations to secure competitive advantage for themselves by weakening their currency, to the military conflicts of WW1 and WW2. According to Rickards, while we all hope there will never be a military WW3, we are already in currency WW3, or C-WW3.
  • 2011: The Year Ahead - Getting used to $100 oil (or $200 oil?)
    A resurgent oil price is likely to be one of the biggest threats to global economic recovery in 2011, especially if the price per barrel breaks back through the $147 peak seen in July 2008. Anything above the $100-barrel mark can be expected to have harmful side-effects, including squeezing industry margins across most sectors and driving up inflation, which would become especially toxic if accompanied by the inflationary effects of surging food prices.
  • 2011: The Year Ahead - Australia the fair
    Australia started 2011 with a tract of territory larger than Germany and France combined under water. Initially, before deaths started being reported in the worst flooding Australia has seen for decades, the initial concern was damage to property and infrastructure.
  • 2011: The Year Ahead - Where now for the once mighty greenback?
    The US has benefited enormously from the use of the global reserve currency as its domestic currency and from the blindness of most bond investors to the true scale of the fiscal mountain that Washington must climb, in terms of the country’s unsustainable deficits.
  • 2011: The Year Ahead - Predicting the fate of the Eurozone
    As we move into 2011 the world is rapidly polarizing into those who think that the Eurozone is going to disintegrate or fragment this year and those who believe it can muddle through, given enough good will. In the latter camp, not unexpectedly, is Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank.
  • 2011: The Year Ahead - Russia’s prospects and problems
    Despite the self inflicted public relations disaster of the second Khordokovsky trial, with its absurd guilty verdict, the Russian Federation is still rated a good bet by both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • 2011: The Year Ahead – China faces interesting times
    When commentators in developed markets talk about China facing some difficult challenges in the year ahead, they should preface their comments by admitting that they wished their economy had anything like China’s present growth prospects.
  • Review of 2010: Stimulus versus Austerity
    The theme of the World Economic Forum last January was “Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild.” Sadly few of these lofty goals have been achieved in 2010. Things got off to a poor start when Davos’s summiteers, particularly those from advanced economies, seemed incapable of agreeing on how best to reinvent and reinvigorate the global economy in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.
  • Review of 2010: Russia and commodities
    On paper at least, the Russian Federation did rather better than alright through 2010. Although, as the latest Wikileaks revelations about "Russia as a Mafia State" show, poking around down at the detailed level, rather than staying in the realm of GDP gains, can swiftly uncover some pretty disturbing practices.
  • Review of 2010: Emerging markets
    By the middle of 2010 China overtook Japan as the world’s second largest economy. At the time QFINANCE cited a January 2005 report by Robert Scott from the US Policy Institute which pointed out that even at that stage China was taking significant market share in high value add industries such as automobile component manufacture and aerospace.
  • Review of 2010: The G20 and the US recovery
    Much was expected of 2010 and in emerging markets, much was delivered. However, what became abundantly clear through 2010 was the weakness and fragility of the recovery in developed markets, where the threat of either a slide down into a double dip recession or a drift into a deflationary scenario remained as threats to varying degrees as we went through 2010.
  • Review of 2010: Making the eurozone 'crisis-proof'?
    Whereas 2008-09 was a period when the developed world leaders were scrabbling around for politically acceptable measures about mopping up the mess left behind by years of weak regulation, poor management and reckless lending by banks and financial institutions, 2010 was a year in which the consequence of years of over-leverage started to be felt on national balance sheets.
  • Review of 2010: Shaking up regulation
    In January, it seemed that few lessons had been learned from the most destructive financial crisis since the 1930s.


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