Economic Analysis

Those Clever Chinese

Thoughts from the Frontline

July 22, 2005

Last week I said that for this week's letter we would look at the US trade deficit and China, and in particular the possible revaluation of the currency and its effect upon the trade deficit. China obliged by revaluing the yuan (Renminbi). This is both more, and less, than it seems. There is a lot to cover, so let's jump right in.

Let's first look at what China did. They allowed the yuan to rise by 2%, with a daily 0.3% trading band based on the price of the previous day. While in...

Quarterly Review and Outlook 2005

Outside the Box

July 18, 2005

This week's letter is once again from two of my favorite economists, Van Hoisington and Dr. Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management Company in Austin, Texas. They specialize in management of fixed income portfolios for large institutional clients by setting long-term investment strategies based on economic analysis. They have been one of the most successful of bond managers in the country. (I have no affiliation with them.) I eagerly read all of their writing and analysis, and...

Mid-Year Forecast - More See-Saw Fed

Thoughts from the Frontline

July 15, 2005

Where will Treasury rates go? What about inflation/deflation? The dollar? The stock markets? Gold? We cover all this and more in this week's letter.

I normally do an annual forecast at the beginning of each year. In conversations with a number of clients and readers, I've come to realize it might be helpful to do a midyear forecast as well.

In January, I suggested that 2005 would be the year of the See-Saw Economy. So far, with one major exception, my forecast is in the middle of the...

The New Carry Trade

Outside the Box

July 11, 2005

This week we will turn once again to a group headquartered in Hong Kong with offices in Stockholm and New York called GaveKal Research Limited. We pull together three one page commentaries from last week that focused on the carry trade.

They make the point is that over the last ten years the carry trade has moved from the Yen to the US Dollar and is now moving to the Euro. This is a short concise piece that gets right to the point and brings a lot of ideas. Most economists are...

Are There Too Many Hedge Funds?

Thoughts from the Frontline

July 8, 2005

At precisely what point can we say that there are too many hedge funds? Are too many funds the reason hedge fund returns were down in 2004? What does the answer say about the potential for future returns? And how large might the industry grow in the next ten years? We deal with this and more in this week's E-Letter.

This letter was originally sent to those who have subscribed to my free Accredited Investor Letter a few months ago. The Financial Times recently ran an edited version as...

Pictures of a mania? - US Housing

Outside the Box

July 4, 2005

Once again we look at one of my favorite analysts and behavioral finance thinker, James Montier of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in London. James wrote a fascinating book several years ago called "Behavioural Finance: A User's Guide" and puts out ongoing research like the one we will enjoy today. Long time readers will recognize the name because I have discussed many of his ideas in my weekly letter "Thoughts From the Frontline," my book "Bull's Eye Investing" and in "Outside the...

Thoughts on the Housing Bubble

Thoughts from the Frontline

July 1, 2005

Looking at a recent magazine covers one is left with the impression that the whole world is concerned about US real estate prices. This is borne out by the fact that if you go to Google and type in sex you get 78,000,000 hits. If you type in real estate you get 110,000,000 hits, which makes housing about 40% more interesting than sex. Is there a greater sign of a bubble? But if you type in housing bubble you get "only" 1,120,000, so there is not much worrying going on. While the above...

Outlook for Rates and the Curve

Outside the Box

June 27, 2005

This week's commentary comes from Douglas Greenig of RBS Greenwich Capital in Greenwich, CT. I have been reading his material over the years and always find it solid and thought-provoking.

In this piece, we get one more look at Greenspan's "Conundrum." Douglas looks at some of Greenspan's arguments for the strange behavior of the bond market. He then offers up his own theory of why long rates have stayed low and why they are likely to remain there. Many market watchers, like Bill...

The Idea of Europe

Thoughts from the Frontline

June 24, 2005

This week we return to Europe, as what is happening there is one of the most important questions of the day. It is every bit as critical to our long-term world economic future as the valuation of the Chinese currency or US trade deficits or Fed policy.

Let me set the stage with this note. I am not happy about and take no pleasure in what is happening in Europe. For a variety of reasons, I view it with some concern. A united Europe is simply better for the world at large, even...

What’s Worrying The Chairman?

Outside the Box

June 20, 2005

This week's letter is by Richard Duncan who is based in Hong Kong and is one of the brightest financial analysts I know. Richard is the author of one of my favorite books called The Dollar Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Cures. A new paperback edition that is revised and updated is now available at Amazon for under $14.

Richard said this piece is really an updated version of one of the new chapters in The Dollar Crisis. It looks at the federal deficit, the dollar, Greenspan and offers another...