Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I am coming home

I go away for a few days and what did I miss?

  • The Fed cuts rates to almost zero.
  • The manager of a hedge fund admits to running a $50 billion pyramid scheme
  • UK unemployment increases by 137,000
  • OPEC agrees a massive cut in crude production.

    Perhaps it is time that I come home.

    1. Yes, sort it out, Alice.

    2. Either come back and sort it out or go an live on an island for the next few years, I suppose.

    3. Doubtless she already lives on an island.

    4. Whilst we are talking amongst ourselves(it's like being back at school with the teacher out of the room!)did anyone notice that Madoff's (and his family)"own"money (£113m)is safely tucked up in London in a firm bearing his name but only gives a return after costs of about 3.5%.
      The lesson here is surely that the numties with the millions should check where their advisor's money is first.

    5. Hmmm... didn't know that you had run away. We missed you, and your very insightful blogs. Please come back... I'll marry you!

    6. I was starting to get worried! The disappointment to click on your bookmark and see the same old post...


    7. Just when I was starting to feel better.

      Drat !

    8. Where IS home, Alice ?

    9. Welcome back, Alice... yes, it's been an interesting few days.

      With respect to the Fed, the most interesting spin-off is that Bernanke stated, according to Reuters, that "interest rates can not be nominally zero" (or something very close to that) adding that 'providing liquidity' 'still works'. This, to me, seems significant - since the SLS scheme in the UK already provides as much liquidity as the market wants... so, either we're in a worse position, or Bernanke's only remaining tool has little or no ammunition... whatever he says.

      The Madoff affair is utterly hilarious... it makes a mockery of the Sec - and, more importantly, underlines the importance of an urgent and thorough review of the entire shadow banking industry. It isn't just rich investors who've been burned... RBS, for example, a bank you and I now own (through no choice of our ours) admitted yesterday that it lost £400m... So, in this respect, Madoff made off not only with the fortunes of inept investors, but has stolen from every person who has paid or will pay tax in Britain.

      Unemployment rose, sure - just you wait until January - LOL! It is also worth remembering that there are a considerable number of people who do not fit within the statistics for traditional employment... I strongly suspect that many of them are effectively unemployed at the moment, too.

      That massive cut in Crude was unexpected... it makes Brown's 'huge victory' of securing an increase of 200,000bpd at the peek of prices seem comically irrelevant. It is amazing to me that a ~6% drop in supply has not been met with rising prices... These OPEC countries have already had to cope with a ~70% cut in the gross price - and now are cutting production, too. It is difficult to imagine that this will not have knock-on implications in the Near East.

      We're on the countdown to Christmas - the streets are empty; the shops filed only by shop assistants and tumbleweeds roll down the pavements. I went out to the cinema yesterday evening - two films only; a scant spattering of seats filled. The restaurants doing quiet trade - and closed (along with the city pubs) at 11pm.

      I'm getting the impression that we're being given our last Christmas before the really serious news is announced... in the UK, US and throughout Europe... there's been an economic War - and we've all lost.

    10. Correction: ...cannot nominally be below zero...

    11. Madoff's Niece (his Compliance Officer!) recently married a Senior SEC official who had led the team auditing Madoff!

      Stranger than Dickens