Many of us in the US are focused on our own woes. But this is a global credit crisis. In today's Outside the Box, we take a look at the currency markets, which are in an historic upheaval and also look at what is going on in Europe. I suspect that Europe is in for a period of much distress, as the world begins to deleverage That is why one government after another will back the deposits of banks within their countries, for otherwise capital will flee to countries like Ireland and Germany which ARE guaranteeing the deposits for all banks in their borders. Many European banks are leveraged 50 to 1 (not a misprint). I suspect that more government will do like Belgium and the Netherlands and inject capital directly into their local banks deemed too big to fail.
I am going to give you three brief pieces which all look at a different part of the crisis, but looking at the crisis from a more international perspective. The first is from Dennis Gartman's letter (www.thegartmanletter.com) with his views on the overnight currency markets. (Note: the yen has risen even more since he wrote!)
The second piece is a short note from my friends at GaveKal (www.gavekal.com) in which they ask can the euro survive and if so, what will it look like? Very provocative, but in line with my thoughts that the euro will one day be once again at par against the dollar.
The last piece is a column by Wolfgang Munchau writing in today's Financial Times. Munchau argues that the fact that EU member nations managed to survive their first series of bank failures does not mean it can afford to take the risk of defaulting to continued improvisation. Munchau comes out squarely in favor of a coordinated, funded rescue program. Again, thought provoking, and as I noted in this week's letter, something that the US could face within a few weeks as well.
Fascinating markets and times we live in. Let's hope for a rally tomorrow.
This week we look at another interesting essay by Donald Coxe, the Global Portfolio Strategist, BMO Financial Group. He is also the Chairman and Chief Strategist of Harris Investment Management in Chicago, and Chairman of Jones Heward Investments in Toronto. Coxe writes a monthly piece called "Basic Points" and his latest is this week's "Outside the Box."
This essay explores the current situation with currencies, gold and commodities. Plus I normally don't include investment recommendations, but felt that they deserved to be included this time. Today's letter is excerpted from the December 14, 2004: "Valley of the Dollars."
This week's letter is from Financial News Online. Located in London, they are one of the leading sources of information about Europe's investment banking, fund management and securities industries. Financial News ran a piece last week that was a series of letters over the summer between two of my all time favourite analysts, Bill Gross of Pimco and Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley.
Gross and Roach exchanged letters over the summer expressing their outlook on many current economic issues and allow us a glimpse into how they perceive the world today. One of the main concerns in their discussion was the U.S. dollar and they wonder if the "Buck is going to Duck?" I hope you enjoy their bantering as much as I did and it helps you think "Outside the Box."