Posts from Monday Aug 13 2012

The Closer


Markets lost steam today as weak Japanese export and growth data highlighted a lack of global demand. The S&P 500 closed down 0.13 per cent. Read more

More on banks and housing

Last week we wrote about how US lending standards for mortgages have continued to tighten — in severe contrast to standards for other kinds of loans.

This was reinforced by the Fed’s senior loan officer survey for July, but we didn’t take a very close look at other parts that also shed some light on what’s happening with banks and the housing market. Read more

A(nother, yes) Paul Ryan roundup

We didn’t want to overload our daily Further Further Reading list with a single topic, so call this a special edition:


Songbird in the Wharf sings its own tune

London commercial real estate has survived the crisis better than many would have predicted. Demand has been underwhelming, yet relatively weak supply growth has meant prices remained pretty stable, at least in the prime areas.

But some companies have got themselves into interesting situations even though they own some of the capital’s most sought-after assets. Read more

The bank CEO with droopy-the-dog eyes

Oh, Jamie…

Jamie, “America’s least-hated banker”, according to the New York Times back in 2010. Read more

Bundesverfassungsgericht risk strikes again

A Swiss bank asks a German professor for advice to clients on the prospects for a European bailout fund.

It must be Karlsruhe and ESM ratification! Read more

A dot comedy

Consider this fabulous failure of a stock…

 Read more

Labour productivity vs demographics

To what extent has Japan’s soft growth over the past 20 years been due to its population ageing? And to what extent unfavourable demographics can be offset by increases in labour market participation (especially by old people) and/or labour productivity gains?

Citi’s Nathan Sheets and Robert Sockin have put together a very useful comparison of (mostly supply-side) measures for the US, Japan and eurozone that examine these questions. They’ve “decomposed” real GDP-per capita down into labour productivity, employment rate, labour force participation, and the share of the working-age population. Read more

The (early) Lunch Wrap

Good morning, New York


On dough and dating

During a recession, people stay at home more rather than going out. It’s cheaper. Either that, or they are guarding the cash they stashed under the mattress.

The Economist has treated us to a couple of examples of companies that do particularly well from the two tendencies of stashing cash and staying in: money printers, and online dating agencies. Read more

Shale oil everywhere… for a while

The US is going to be free from the tyranny of imported crude oil soon, according to just about everyone. This is thanks to the wonders of shale gas extraction technologies being applied to sizeable and mostly untapped shale oil reserves. Previously marginal resources can now be economically extracted. Even the Europeans are getting excited about it. It’s a game changer.

You can probably guess what’s coming next… Read more

State-backed bond-buyers?

It’s been a while since FT Alphaville looked at ICO, or the Instituto de Crédito Oficial.

This is Spain’s state-owned lender for ‘any economic activity which, on account of its social, cultural, innovative or ecological significance, merits promotion and development.’ Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Monday,

– The Belgian central bank governor and the magic bazooka. Read more

The 6am Cut London

Japan’s Q2 GDP was much weaker than expected, at 0.3% growth compared to consensus forecasts of 2.3%. The preliminary official data showed an annualised rate of 1.4% for the quarter, which was well down on the 4.7% recorded in Q1. Exports to the EU and China slowed, and public investment in rubble-clearing and nuclear decontamination projects were not as big as expected (Financial Times). Asian stocks swung around on the news (Bloomberg).

Standard Chartered is pushing for a settlement with the New York state banking regulators over its Iranian dealings, ahead of a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. The bank will agree to comply with a request from New York’s Department of Financial Services to hire an external monitor to ensure it meets US compliance rules. Any deal would have to be first agreed by several US regulators. Sources close to StanChart said no such offer had yet been made (Financial Times). Read more

Weekend news catch-up

Weekend headlines from the FT and other UK media:*

From The FTRead more