Things are not exactly going China’s way these days. One incident after the other has led to a virtual collapse of international investments in China, but that could potentially be the more benign outcome of the ongoing Chinese debt crisis.
Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable.
Humanity is sitting on a time bomb.
Economic fundamentals are lining up for a return of QE. Yes, inflation is still on the high side but falling so rapidly that at least some central banks will be willing to take action before inflation is back to 2%.
A tricky situation is unfolding, making it rather difficult for the Federal Reserve Bank to honour earlier promises to gradually ease off in its ongoing fight against inflation.
"We forgot that war is history’s favourite driver of inflation." -Niall Ferguson
I chose the topic for this month’s Absolute Return Letter during the Christmas break.
2022 wasn’t the easiest of years to handle for investors.
Earlier this year, we added “Globalisation 2.0” to our list of megatrends – trends that are virtually set in stone and so all-encompassing that they will have a profound effect on financial markets in the years to come.
In August 1979, President Carter appointed Paul Volcker as Chaiman of the Federal Reserve.
“If the Fed loses its independence, the age of magic money could end in catastrophe”.
We have a long and proud history of investing thematically and believe you can remove a great deal of volatility in your portfolio, if you do so.
"Without Italy, there is no Europe, but outside of Europe, there is even less Italy." -Mario Draghi
Sri Lanka is in turmoil.
It took me a long, long time to write The End of Indexing.
Gold and silver is money. Everything else is credit.
Is gold the answer?
"Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man." Ronald Reagan
Here at Absolute Return Partners, our portfolio construction is driven by the six structural megatrends that we have identified.
Welcome to the new, slimmer format of the Absolute Return Letter.
This month’s Absolute Return Letter deals with a hyper-sensitive topic.
If you have read the Absolute Return Letter for years, you will be aware that the January letter always stands out from the others.
Wealth has risen excessively in recent years and, now, inflation has started to rise as well. Why those two stories are two sides of the same coin, and why much of the growth in wealth must be confiscated again is what this month’s Absolute Return Letter is about.
"Getting older is fine. There is nothing you can do to stop it so you might as well stay on the bus." John Byrne
Let me begin with a confession. Govcoin is a made-up name.
Why commodity markets have done so exceptionally well
How to structure your portfolio when interest rates are rising.
You know society is in trouble when the Prime Minister of your country stands up and says something along the lines of “of course we can afford to take on more debt – you are old-fashioned if you think otherwise”.
"This pandemic has magnified every existing inequality in our society – like systemic racism, gender inequality, and poverty." Melinda Gates
The UK-EU trade agreement entered into just before Christmas is a 1,200-page monster which contains far more cons than pros for the British economy despite Boris Johnson doing his very best to convince the British public of the opposite. In this month’s Absolute Return Letter, you can see why.
From time to time, readers of the Absolute Return Letter ask for my opinion on this or that and, every now and then, I decide to turn my response into a letter. The last few weeks have been no exception.
Zombies are firms that are neither dead or alive. They are in so much debt that virtually all their free cash is used to service their debt, and that is very damaging to GDP growth. This month, we explain why there are more and more zombies all over the world, and why they do immense damage to the global economy.
We are earlier than usual this month because of the upcoming presidential election. See why a US constitutional crisis could unfold in the days and weeks to come if Trump delivers on his earlier ‘promise’ not to accept the outcome, should he lose on the 3rd November.
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a rather unconventional economic concept – at least if you are a classically trained economist as I am. That said, over the years, I have learned that, every now and then, it pays to think out of the box, so I am willing to take a closer look.
Tina is an old friend of mine, but she is also a sad case of hubris, over-confidence and misguided pride. I first met Tina about 38 years ago but, more recently, I have been reminded of her presence every single day. Sometimes valuations get so much out of whack that I get goose bumps all over, and this is one of those situations.
As if the Coronavirus outbreak wasn’t enough of a problem for society to deal with, shortly afterwards, two American police officers ended the lives of two American civilians. Why that will affect financial markets for a long time to come you can read here.
Wounds heal but scars last. That’s an old lesson from history and will also be the case as far as COVID-19 is concerned. We already know from empirical evidence in China that consumers are in no rush to come back on the streets of the big cities, and why would it be any different elsewhere?
Why is it that a fire on the other side of the planet attracts far more attention than a new innovation about to be rolled out, and how can investors take advantage of that? This is a question more relevant than ever, given the impact of the current Covid-19 outbreak.
The economic costs associated with the coronavirus case outbreak are nothing short of staggering. Expect Q2 to collapse which is not good for equities and not good for bonds either.
Lesson #2: Reversion to the mean occurs because people persuasive enough to make something grow don’t have the kind of personalities that allow them to stop before pushing too far.
Financial hardship often drive people to adopt views that were previously unthinkable. It is a very powerful behavioural pattern and has significant implications for financial markets. In this month’s Absolute Return Letter, we take a closer look at what it really means.
Trump's decision to take out the Islamic Republic's most celebrated military leader, Qassem Soleimani, was a timely reminder that we face many problems. An armed conflict between the US and Iran is clearly one of them but far from the only one. Here is a list of the ones we worry mostly about, going into 2020.
We have reached a stage in the cycle where you need to think out of the box in order to deliver respectable returns. Investing like most of us have done in the great bull market will not deliver returns anywhere near the levels we have enjoyed over the past 35-40 years. This month’s Absolute Return Letter offers a solution.
The evidence is overwhelming that automation has positively impacted total factor productivity (TFP) for years, i.e. GDP growth continues to benefit from the digital revolution despite the fact GDP growth is rather pedestrian these years.
A classic approach to economic theory suggests low GDP growth in the years to come. Why and what to do about it is what this month’s Absolute Return Letter is about. Next month, we’ll look at the impact of advanced robotics – why a rapidly ageing workforce might not be the problem it is often portrayed as. Could robots simply replace humans in the work process?
For years, economists have disagreed whether ageing is inflationary or dis-inflationary. Ever since IMF published a controversial paper in 2015, the debate has raged, but I have finally concluded that ageing is most definitely dis-inflationary (and perhaps even outright deflationary), and here is why.
Investors are not always told the full story before they invest. In this case, we are constantly told that electric vehicles offer the way forward, but evidence is mounting that they are actually polluting more than petrol or diesel cars. The penny just needs to drop as far as our political leadership is concerned.
25% of Europeans vote for a populist now, and rising populism has a devastating impact on GDP growth, as more and more capital is misallocated which is an economic term for capital being deployed unproductively. Rising populism is obviously not the only reason why more and more capital is misallocated, but it is nevertheless an important reason.
New rules do not allow us to provide research free of charge any longer. Consequently, our business model is changing.
Apart from the 2014-15 supply shock, oil prices have proven to be extremely elastic more recently with only modest changes to either supply or demand having an outsized impact on oil prices. We look into the implications of that and find that oil prices could possibly rise a fair bit further this year even if they are already up 40% year-to-date.