Biography
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(Spending some time as FTAV’s Bombay wallah. Noticeably sweatier but not much else has changed.)

David studied economics, politics and journalism before joining the FT in 2011 as a Marjorie Deane fellow. He covered emerging markets, equities and currencies before making the jump over to FT Alphaville in May 2012.

In between his degree and masters he wandered into the real world of business where he learnt how to manipulate a spreadsheet and organise meetings where nothing gets decided.

He has spent time in France, learning French, and India, learning how to cross roads, and enjoys nothing less than writing about himself in the third person.

His hobbies include reaching things on top shelves, running long distances at slow speeds, growing beards and trying to live up to a rash claim he made as a twelve-year old that “he had read all of the books”.

If you wish to know more about David please do pick up the phone and call him for a chat in the first person. Be warned though: he tends to talk at pace and in an Irish accent.

Contact David Keohane

Coal India, winning by default

The Coalgate cancellation verdict is in.

India’s Supreme Court has decided to go ahead and annul all of the 218 coal licences handed out to businesses over the last two decades, bar a few belonging to state-backed companies.

Sucks for the private players on the receiving end (Jindal is off some 11 per cent at pixel) but apparently a win for Coal India:

It couldn’t have happened to a nicer behemoth. Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Wednesday,

- Larry Ellison bought an Hawaiian island for “the satisfaction one day of having made the place work.”

- Handwriting, it seems, is the next Turing Test.

- The rule of law is vastly underpriced by those who benefit most. Read more

The 6am London Cut

The Cut, The Survey: The 6am Cut, Lunch Wrap and Closer emails will soon be relaunched in enhanced form. We want to ensure we’re providing only the most useful data, news and views — taking this short 2 minute survey would help us do that.

Markets: Asia-Pacific equities outside of China were subdued following a third day of losses in the US, while Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks rose modestly. The MSCI Asia Pacific index lost 0.2 per cent, placing the regional barometer on track to close at its lowest since June. In Greater China equities were up, a day after state media reported that The People’s Bank of China planned to widen the definition of “first-time mortgage”, enabling borrowers with no outstanding home loans to qualify for interest rate discounts. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

India: A finite balance

For those who don’t know, India is a big, extremely uneven, place. From HSBC (with our emphasis):

India is a federation, with the central and state governments having both separate and shared responsibilities. While central government policies and transfers shape state policy agendas, states still have a relatively high degree of autonomy. As a result, state policies vary greatly.

The rise of India can be seen in each state, but in some more than others. Between the 1990s and 2000s a handful saw average growth rates jump significantly – Uttarakhand in the north (8.5ppts) and Bihar (5.1ppts), Sikkim (8.4ppts) and Nagaland (4.7ppts) in the east.

 Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Tuesday,

- ‘They don’t want moderate Uighurs’.

- Alibaba could buy Yahoo for free.

- Entrepreneurs not having nearly as much fun, or making nearly as much money, as you might think. Read more

The 6am London Cut

The Cut, The Survey: The 6am Cut, Lunch Wrap and Closer emails will soon be relaunched in enhanced form. We want to ensure we’re providing only the most useful data, news and views — taking this short 2 minute survey would help us do that.

Markets: A first look at China manufacturing conditions in September suggested some expansion, bringing relief to markets in China and Australia. HSBC’s “flash” purchasing managers index gave a reading of 50.5, up from 50.2 in August. Economists were on average anticipating a figure of 50.0, with several expecting contraction. Australia’s mining sector halved a 1.5 per cent loss to 0.7 per cent, but it remains in decline after iron ore, a key export, extended its year-to-date price decline overnight to more than 40 per cent. Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Monday,

- The political economy of a universal basic income.

- What if counterfactuals never existed?

- That referendum was fun. Shall we do it again?

- Xi who must be obeyed. Read more

The 6am London Cut

The Cut, The Survey: The 6am Cut, Lunch Wrap and Closer emails will soon be relaunched in enhanced form. We want to ensure we’re providing only the most useful data, news and views — taking this short 2 minute survey would help us do that.

Markets: Asia-Pacific equities began the new week on a sour note, with all major indices in the red after key commodity prices fell and momentum in US markets stalled on Friday. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

You call that a balance sheet expansion?

“Too Low To Resuscitate Optimism” indeed…

From BofAML on the definitely underwhelming, potentially stigmafied TLTRO pickup (our emphasis):

When gathering all the comments made by banks on their participation at today’s operation, we find that the major banks in Spain, Italy and Greece have requested a total of €40bn, i.e., 40% of their Sep+Dec available allowance (Exhibit 1, page 4). After extrapolating this to the whole banking system in each of the three countries and including estimates for Portugal and Ireland, we find that the periphery could have accounted for as much as €61bn, out of the €82.6bn borrowed yesterday.

This leaves an estimate of €21.7bn for the take-up by core banks, representing as little as 9% of their available allowance (Table 1). To derive a more precise estimate of the country breakdown, we have to wait for each national central bank to release the details of their end-of-Sep balance sheet. This should happen starting from early-October (with Italy, Finland and Belgium the first to report).

 Read more

The (early) Lunch Wrap

Good morning New York,

FT ALPHAVILLE Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Friday,

- We are a camera, the rise of GoPro.

- “Obama’s neglect of Federal Reserve appointments is, in some ways, mysterious.”

- From the lips of Michael Woodford. Read more

The 6am London Cut

The Cut, The Survey: The 6am Cut, Lunch Wrap and Closer emails will soon be relaunched in enhanced form. We want to ensure we’re providing only the most useful data, news and views — taking this short 2 minute survey would help us do that.

Looks like a No in Scotland. The FT Live blog here, but at pixel with most of the counting done, this is how it stood:

 Read more

Slowly, very slowly, getting China’s house in order?

Oh look, China’s property market has worsened again:

 Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Thursday,

- Keynes, Norman and the Macmillan committee.

- One bank’s cost is another firm’s revenue.

- The Darwin economy – why Smith’s invisible hand breaks down.

- The real Olive Garden scandal. Read more

The 6am London Cut

The Cut, The Survey: The 6am Cut, Lunch Wrap and Closer emails will soon be relaunched in enhanced form. We want to ensure we’re providing only the most useful data, news and views — taking this short 2 minute survey would help us do that.

Markets: The Asia-Pacific response to the Federal Reserve’s policy update was mixed, with Japanese stocks soaring but other major indices in the red. Thanks to a weakened yen Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 1 per cent to 16,049, on track for its highest closing level since early January. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

Sony, 56 years later

Yup. That’s what you get when your expected annual net loss looks set to come in at nearly five times your initial prediction at some Y230bn ($2.14bn). Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Wednesday,

- Timothy Geithner’s revenge: A broken bond rating system.

- The overpaid CEO.

- “The trend seems to be that more people are insider trading than you’d think… The strange thing is that they’re always doing it so badly.”

- How the free rider idea evolved. Read more

The 6am London Cut

The Cut, The Survey: The 6am Cut, Lunch Wrap and Closer emails will soon be relaunched in enhanced form. We want to ensure we’re providing only the most useful data, news and views — taking this short 2 minute survey would help us do that.

Markets: Central bank activity fuelled market action, with China spurring a rally in bank stocks with another move to prop up growth, while emerging market stocks climbed on hopes that the US Federal Reserve would stick to its dovish language in this week’s policy update. The recipient banks led the rally, with shares in Bank of Communications climbing 3 per cent in Hong Kong. The index of H shares – those of China-based companies traded in Hong Kong – rose 1.7 per cent. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

SOE you think you can reform, the optimists’ roster

Evidence of something — even if it’s not necessarily reform — from Deutsche:

Noteworthy announcements about SOE reform and deregulation have appeared about every two days since the Third Party Plenum in November 2013…

 Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Tuesday,

- The case for open borders with Bryan Caplan.

- Replaying the 30s in slow motion.

- Why the economic gender gap will eventually close.

- David Cameron (from Wikipedia 2100). Read more

The 6am London Cut

The Cut, The Survey: The 6am Cut, Lunch Wrap and Closer emails will soon be relaunched in enhanced form. We want to ensure we’re providing only the most useful data, news and views — taking this short 2 minute survey would help us do that.

Markets: Asia-Pacific trading was downbeat as investors awaited key events later this week, including a monetary policy update from the US Federal Reserve. In Hong Kong, the morning session was cancelled due to Typhoon Kalmaegi, but trading is to resume in the afternoon following the lowering of the No. 8 storm signal. Futures indicate a slight uptick in the Hang Seng Index, after it slipped 1 per cent to a five-week low on Monday. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Monday,

- Silicon Valley has officially run out of ideas.

- How to get it wrong.

- Bitcoin and the Greater Fools theory.

- Felix Salmon on why Scotland is voting Yes. Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Friday,

- Scotland and the SNP: Fooling yourselves and deceiving others.

- Their own imaginary Keynes.

- The death of adulthood in American culture.

- The fading dream of EM convergence. Read more

China’s anti-corruption trillions

Some thoughts from Nomura a little while back on where exactly all of this anti-corruption cash being swept up in China on the orders of Xi Jinping might end up.

Potentially, in the coffers of local and central government:

Our anecdotal checks reveal that for cases involving cooperation among various local and central governments, distribution of any recovered funds has largely been based on negotiation among the governments involved.

… a billion here, a billion there

 Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Thursday,

- What will bring down US equity prices?

- “This study ought to be the final nail in the coffin of techno-libertarianism. “

- Lifting the oil export ban is really about Downstream Medium Oil vs. Upstream Medium Oil.

- The euro crash? Read more

FX vol is back, say relieved FX analysts

FX vol is edging back and we have the notes to prove it.

The question is whether they are reflecting an overreaction to a small jump, after a period of slumped volumes and returns, or a real shift with further to go? Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Wednesday,

- Disseminating economic expertise: a Scottish case study.

- Unionising at McDonalds.

- Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a spreadsheet.

- “To economic growth, the cause – and solution – to all of life’s problems”. Read more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: “Asian stocks fell, with the regional index dropping the most in a month on concern that China’s growth is slowing and amid speculation that U.S. interest rates will rise sooner than estimated. The dollar traded near a six-year high to the yen and crude oil rose. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped a fifth day, slipping 0.8 percent by 12:49 p.m. in Tokyo. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index retreated 1.9 percent as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced money-supply growth that was the slowest in five months. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures declined 0.2 percent after the U.S. gauge’s biggest retreat since Aug. 5.” (BloombergRead more

Equities, ex-UK

After reading John McDermott (formerly of these pixels) on the latest independence vote poll numbers and why he reserves the right to panic…

Take a moment to reflect on this late (potential) addition to the No-vote campaign, via Citi’s Jonathan Stubbs:

The history of the union has been kind to UK equity investors. Since the Acts of Union were passed by the Parliament of England (1706) and Parliament of Scotland (1707), UK equities have returned c12,700,000,000% (Figure 1) with a slightly less impressive annualised return of 6.3%. Our back-test concludes that equity investors have been well served by the Union, to date.

 Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Tuesday,

- Wrestling with smoke and Scottish identity.

- “If you’re standing in line for this lunch, it’s probably because you’re not big enough to rate a one-on-one meeting with one of Alibaba’s two traveling color-coded management teams over the next 10 days.”

- Rawls, Bentham and the Laffer Curve.

- Cleaning up after the elephant parade at the Dodd, Frank & Gensler Circus. Read more