Several weeks ago, I promised to provide occasional updates about my family’s house-hunting efforts. After nine years living abroad, we’re returning to the U.S. – northern New Jersey, to be exact – in June. As motivated buyers, I figure we’re a rarity in a truly dismal property environment. I’ve just read a column by the WSJ’s Brett Arends detailing the continuing decline in American house prices. In my mypoic view, the most intriguing phenemonenon continues to be the relatively robustness of the New York metropolitan area.
Archive for March 31st, 2009
India PM Manmohan Singh’s comments to the FT – in defense of a chaotically democratic India versus a disciplined but un-free China, are worth a look. Sure, his remarks are profoundly political - coming just days before G20 and weeks before national elections. But they’re also thoughtful, frank and largely true – in effect, helping to prove his point about the long-term merit of doing business with a relatively transparent India compared with a deliberately murky Beijing. Not that it’s an either/or situation in many instances. The FT piece is here: (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d6298d84-1e04-11de-830b-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1
The great analytical minds at RBC Capital Markets know just what to do when they have nothing intelligent to say about the markets they’re paid to cover: Rattle on about the culpability of the news media. I refer to a widely disseminated piece of doggerel from RBC entitled “Asia Focus: Equities tumble, FX safe havens rumble.”
Clearly floundering around to explain why global markets have turned down in recent days, the RBC analysts wonder, “Who jinxed the March rally?” Setting aside the silly “jinx” trope, it’s a solid, if obvious, question. Surely, the RBC sages have the intellectual wherewithal to explain the March market’s dynamics.
Eureka! The royal Canadian bank analysts indeed have the answer: “Journalists were counting their chickens well before they hatched, calling the March equity rally the strongest monthly rally since 1991.”
And who were these egg-counting journos whose allegedly irrational exuberance somehow contributed to the reversal of a broad market upturn?
Err, RBC’s not naming names, citing “last week’s headlines” and a vaguely identified “they” who “clearly did not anticipate a follow-through from Friday’s sell-off.”
Is it at all possible that the happy-days-are-here-again sentiments actually surfaced from the ranks of bank analysts, whereas most journalists (those of my acquaintance, at least) soberly portrayed the market rally as a temporary reprieve amid what can only be a protracted economic downturn?
New to blogging, I can already tell readers will prove to be the most astute editors.
A former colleague is disappointed by my “Brown-Eyed Blame” blog (posted March 30.) In his view, ”complex problems of development and governance are radically oversimplified” as I attempt to refute Lula’s proposition “by substituting a superficially similar” one. (He also detects the “vile” stench of imperialism. Ouch!)
That Lula uttered (yet more) knee-jerk populist pablum is no excuse for any lack of rigor on my part. That said, one would like the world’s leaders to bring a bit more intellectual curiosity and reflection to the table at a time of true crisis.
Economy, Investing, Media, Treasury, Washington / Comments Off
U.S. Treasury secretaries have often made trouble for themselves when they talked about the dollar. The latest example came last week when in the words of the lead paragraph in the relevant Wall Street Journal article “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner briefly unsettled currency markets when he appeared willing to entertain a Chinese proposal that an international currency supplant the U.S. dollar as the premier global resource currency.”