Putin’s gold level: $1300/oz

Not much market reaction yet to reports of an “anti-terrorist operation” in Ukraine apart from gold, which had broken through a key resistance level before Russia said that its neighbour is close to civil warRead more

The Closer


- Short video of Piketty explaining “Capital”. Diane Coyle and Noah Smith on the book. Read more

The Closer


- Krugman goes long-form on Piketty. Read more

What’s the Chinese for Streisand effect?

From the PBoC (dodgy translation courtesy of Google):

April 10, the British Financial Times (Chinese network) published “The central bank and the CBRC differences threaten market confidence” and “regulatory agencies friction hinder China’s financial reform,” two articles, article seriously inconsistent with the facts and distorted the facts, the people the reputation of the bank and the CBRC adverse effects.

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Taking the red pill, Greece edition

Here’s where another €2bn or so of freshly-issued Greek bonds would go. Chart via Citi:

And that’s after the largest sovereign debt restructuring in history. Bracing isn’t it?

And yet maybe Greece is better off paying up to issue a bond to private bondholders on Thursday. In the long run, it could well beat taking ‘free’ money from the Troika.
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“7. Friday 28 March… f) Whether a false or disorderly market was present during this period”

Do click for other Terms of Reference of the FCA independent directors’ inquiry into the FCA’s role in the implosion of life-insurance shares last month…

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The Closer


- Eight (no, nine!) problems with Big DataRead more

March payrolls: +192k, jobless rate 6.7%

If nothing else, the report was a little more confirmation that the slowdown earlier this year was temporary pause rather than a reversal of the modest acceleration from the second half of 2013.

A few main points: Read more

Euro the one that they want, Central Bank reserve edition

Why is the euro so strong?

There are plenty of reasons, but one additional factor has been confirmed by the latest data on global foreign exchange reserves: central bank buying.

The euro’s share of global reserves, which dropped sharply when the single currency’s future was in doubt, has now been recovering for three consecutive quarters, according to quarterly figures published by the International Monetary Fund.

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Mobile money and the UK aid conundrum

Putting a financial value on aid is tricky. Case in point, Monday’s FT editorial on the UK’s overseas development budget:

The expansion in the budget of the Department for International Development has not been without its critics. Some have questioned what intrinsic merit there is in spending 0.7 per cent of Britain’s output on overseas aid. The target is one that the development lobby has long been attached to… At the same time, there have been worries that Dfid’s £12bn budget is not spent effectively. Read more

Bank flowchart + geopolitics = acid trip

At least Nomura acknowledge the absurdity… anyway, all Ukrainian roads lead to political uncertainty.

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The (early) Lunch Wrap

Optimism over the US economy, the prospect of further easing by the European Central Bank and waning market tensions regarding the Crimea crisis are helping push European stocks to two-week highs following a sturdy Asian session. The positive mood sees most industrial commodities gain ground and reduced demand for supposed havens such as Treasuries. Gold, which dropped to a one-month low on Tuesday, is up $3 to $1,313 an ounce even as the dollar index rises 0.1 per cent to 80.04. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 is up 0.6 per cent after its Asia-Pacific peer rallied 1 per cent and as US index futures show the S&P 500 adding 4 points to 1,870. That would leave the New York benchmark just 8 points below its record high. Read more

This is Nathan Barley. When’s the crash?

It’s an online urban culture dispatch from HSBC:

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Cri-me-a-River – Gunvor edition

Presented without comment.

Gunvor $500m note, due May 2018. Read more

The (early) Lunch Wrap

The prospect of US borrowing costs rising sooner than expected is rattling global stock, bond and currency markets. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 is down 0.4 per cent, tracking a poor Asian performance, as the dollar and short-term Treasury yields hold the previous session’s strong gains. Read more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Asia Pacific stocks followed Wall Street’s lead, placing geopolitical concerns regarding Crimea on the back burner and staging a rally. Meanwhile, the onshore renminbi exchange rate fell another 0.2 per cent to 6.1877 per US dollar, a fresh 11-month low. On Monday, the Chinese currency dropped 0.5 per cent, one of its biggest daily declines since China reformed its currency regime in 2005, after the People’s Bank of China doubled the currency’s trading band to 2 per cent over the weekend. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

The (early) Lunch Wrap

Worries over China’s economy, alongside fears of an escalating Ukraine crisis, are draining risk appetite, hitting stocks and underpinning demand for “haven” bonds and currencies. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 equity index is down 0.6 per cent, tracking a 1.7 per cent slide by its Asia-Pacific peer. US index futures suggest the S&P 500 will add 2 points to 1,848.5 after the Wall Street benchmark’s 1.2 per cent slump on Thursday triggered the latest global sell-off. Read more

The Closer


- Robin Harding, Ryan Avent, Evan Soltas, Max Ehrenfreund, Mike Konczal, and Matt Boesler on quits and other issues surrounding the US labour market slack debate. Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Tuesday,

- The rational Candy Crush IPO.

- Is UCC Article 9 the Achilles Heel of Bitcoin?

- A world awash with debt.

- Shockingly, investing in http://ponzicoin.co/ wasn’t such a good idea. Read more

Your lunchtime Morgan Kelly, predictably cheery stuff

37 minutes of Ireland’s Doctor DoomRead more

The Closer


- Planet Money podcast on the invention of “the economy”Read more

The Euribor effect

So, what do Euribor and Barbra Streisand have in common? Bar declining popularity that is?

You’ll notice the date…

From the good folks at Euribor-EBFRead more

The Closer


- Why recovering assets from deposed kleptocratic politicians isn’t easy. Read more

The (early) Lunch Wrap

US and Russia to hold talks as markets rally || Russia spends $11bn supporting rouble || Beijing signals growth concerns || Mark Carney signals start of reviews on bank bonuses || Standard Chartered suffers first profits fall in a decade || Solar cell maker heads for first corporate bond default in China || Japan looks to Bitcoin tax || Spanish yield at 8-year low || Markets Read more

Dead catski bounce?

Micex edition:

Depends on how confident you are that the market and economists can predict Putin’s next move, we suppose. Read more

Yuan do we go from here?

Nine days in and it’s still falling

Some analysts had thought Beijing was ready to let the renminbi stabilise, but a sharp sell-off on Friday – at one point it declined 0.9 per cent, its biggest daily fall since the new currency system was introduced in 2005 – showed that the central bank was still determined to push it further.

“We’re still seeing PBoC intervention”, said a trader with a bank in Beijing. “This is beyond our expectations.”


Argue about more sweeping policy changes as you will (the bet is still basically on a PBoC attempt to deter speculative inflows) but maybe keep an eye on the 6.20 level as you do. Read more

Caption competition! A new direction

After six years in the red (the latest an £8.2bn loss for 2013) the only way is up and this bank is on it:

Today RBS is announcing a new plan with the ambition of building a bank that earns its customers’ trust by serving them better than any other bank.

And here is Ross McEwan rallying clearly delighted staff with that message.

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How exactly do you sell a fridge retailer at ~100 times EBITDA? Click below to find out.

Changes to search engines’ algorithms or terms of services could cause the Group’s websites to be excluded from or ranked lower in natural search results. If the Group is unable to recognise and adapt quickly to such changes, the Group could suffer a significant decrease in traffic to its websites and, in turn, conversion rates and revenue. Read more

The Closer


- IIF report on Ukraine.  Read more

The 2008 FOMC transcripts

Finally. FINALLY. They’re here, and we’ll be back later with excerpts and analysis.