Thoughts From the Frontline, Sovereign Debt

3 posts tagged with “Sovereign Debt”.

The Beginning of the Endgame

July 14, 2012

"Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!"

– Sherlock Holmes

About this time two years ago I began to seriously work with Jonathan Tepper on our book Endgame: The End of the Debt Supercycle and How It Changed Everything. It came out the following March. I remember vividly that in November of that year, as crisis after crisis hit Europe, and the first of about 20 summit meetings which were supposed to solve the crisis was convened, that Jonathan and I worried that the book would not be out in time to actually catch the Endgame before it happened (at least in Europe).

Ah, such naiveté from your humble analysts. While we predicted (in general) pretty much everything that has happened so far, from Greece to Spain to Italy, the problems with "austerity" in times of crisis, the even larger eventual problems of postponing the day of reckoning, etc., we now must stand back and shake our heads in awe and wonder at the ability of European leaders to kick the can down the road. Given the serious nature of the problems, it is amazing (to us at least) that they have been able to keep the wheels from coming off. In the face of the powerful centrifugal forces that should have torn Europe apart, we must pause and give serious thought to why they have not done so already.

(In the book, we also discussed at length the problems in Japan and the US and looked at several other problematical countries, but we were not worried that those events would preempt our publishing deadline. Those problems are still in our future, but coming at us ever faster as times gallops on.)

For the last year I have been writing that it is not clear that Europe (with the probable exception of Greece) will in fact break up. The forces that would see a strong fiscal union are quite powerful. In today's letter, I will try to bring you up to date on some insights I have had in the 18 months since we did the final book edits.


The Future of Public Debt

February 11, 2011

This week I find myself in Bangkok, and I must admit to enjoying the experience a great deal, so much so that I am going to preview a portion of my coming book, Endgame, so that I can go back out and play tourist. Next week I get back to my more or less regular schedule, but I think you will enjoy this first portion of chapter six, where we look at an important paper from the Bank of International Settlements on “The Future of Public Debt.” It is not a pretty one. We are watching one of the last great bubbles begin to deflate – the bubble of government and government debt – all over the developed world. This is a serious weight that will be a drag on our growth, and it is interesting to contemplate as I sit in Bangkok, a city that is vibrant and teeming with opportunity.

Endgame will be in the bookstores in a few weeks, but let me once again ask you to not pre-order the book from Amazon or online. Pre-order books do not get into the book sales numbers (long story and more information than you want to know). I encourage you to pre-order from your local book store if you have one. Let me note that in the portion below, the pronoun we is used a lot. It is not the royal we – I do have a co-author, Jonathan Tepper, and this book has very much been a collaboration. More on some Thai thoughts at the end, but let’s jump into today’s Thoughts from the Frontline.


Thinking the Unthinkable

January 15, 2011

Last week, in the first part of my annual forecast, I suggested that 2011 would be better than Muddle Through, with GDP growth in the US north of 2.5%. World GDP growth should be even better. This week we look at what I see as the real downside risks to that prediction. Oddly enough, the risks are not in the US but on the other side of both our oceans, in Europe and China. Plus, we will visit a few other items, assuming we have space (Bernanke’s recent speech just screams for some comments).

Two housekeeping items. First, I will once again be hosting, along with my partners Altegris Investments, our 8th annual Strategic Investment Conference, in La Jolla April 28-30. Save the date. Each year the conference gets better. We have as strong a lineup of speakers as any conference in the country. I will announce when we will take reservations. It always sells out, so I suggest you do not procrastinate.

Secondly, between finishing my book and the holidays, I have been rather quiet the past few months in regards to my Conversations with John Mauldin, but that is getting ready to change. Over the next few weeks I will be doing conversations with David Rosenberg, Lacy Hunt (his quarterly will be next week’s Outside the Box), George Friedman of Stratfor, and John Burns and Rick Sharga to get the latest on the housing markets; and I am lining up some more very interesting Conversations, so that subscribers will get more than their money’s worth. Now, let’s jump into the letter.