The Aussie banks are very good companies. They are profitable, resilient, well capitalised, well managed, shareholder focused and have a very strong industry and regulatory structure. However, following the significant leveraging of the Australian & NZ households over the last thirty years they are now low growth and remain heavily exposed to housing, funding markets & unemployment risk. Read more
The wonders of Google auto-suggest, silver vox pop edition:
The next asset bubbles with potential to endanger the US financial system are in farm property and Treasury bonds, a leading regulator has warned, reports the FT. Sheila Bair, who chairs the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – responsible for seizing failing banks – said the health of more than 1,500 farm banks would be threatened if the “positive fundamentals” in the booming agricultural sector suddenly reversed.
GMO’s James Montier has added his two-penneth to the bond bubble debate.
He reckons it is a largely sterile conversation because what investors should be asking themselves is whether bonds are a good investment at their current low levels. Read more
Here’s an, erm, brave discussion paper out from the Boston Fed.
In it, authors Kristopher S. Gerardi, Christopher L. Foote, and Paul S. Willen examine “optimism” and “pessimism” about the US housing market before the recent crash. In other words, they’re looking at why some people missed the imminent house price implosion entirely and why some didn’t. Read more
Fresh from Hong Kong — a headache for property giant, Henderson Land.
Late on Tuesday, the company controlled by billionaire Lee Shau-kee let slip that it would take an HK$734m charge (USD$94m) on 20 cancelled Hong Kong apartment sales. Henderson had already included sales of 24 flats in its 2010 earnings, but only four of them have actually closed. Read more
The problems in China’s housing market are more severe than those in the US before the financial crisis because they combine a potential bubble with the risk of social discontent, according to an adviser to the Chinese central bank. Li Daokui, a professor and member of the Chinese central bank’s monetary policy committee, said recent government measures to cool the property market needed to be part of a long-term push to bring high housing prices under control, the FT reported.
Over the past two weeks, the Chinese government has been rolling out an aggressive campaign to squeeze speculative buyers out of a property market that many analysts fear is close to a bubble, the FT says. Almost every day a new administrative measure has been announced – raising the required deposit and interest rate on mortgages for second homes, and making it harder for people not resident in a city to get a mortgage there.
The blame game for the crisis has now reached central banks themselves. FT Alphaville notes Deutsche Bank’s view that they were simply too boring. Read more
And the great Chinese credit bubble leap forward continues, with Tuesday’s datapoint coming from Bank of China.
After all, the bank led the charge on Tuesday with some really not too shabby results. As BusinessWeek reported: Read more
The following ars technica headline caught the eye of FT Alphaville on Monday: ‘Historian finds tech bubble that didn’t pop (180 years ago)‘.
Ars cited a fresh batch of research by Andrew Odlyzko, author of a paper with an even more intriguing headline, on a subject that is, at best, niche. Read more
It sounds like an airport novel, FT Alphaville notes. But The Crisis, the 66-page paper authored by Alan Greenspan, is the closest we’ve ever gotten to a mea culpa from the former Fed chief, who chaired the US central bank in the midst of a growing housing bubble. Read more
Amid the flurry of media attempts to parse the assurances of elusive Chinese mandarins, one announcement on Monday from the housing ministry looked like it might actually tell us something about the direction of Chinese economic reform.
Fat chance. Read more
We believe that we now have a bubble in many cities, particularly the big ones. The central government is trying to deflate these bubbles gently, rather than pop them. The fact that prices have been at these levels before suggests this can be accomplished, as it was last time. But this does not mean that the land market will not experience pain during 2010-11.
That’s Standard Chartered on the matter of Chinese land prices on Monday. Read more
Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg has taken umbrage with the term ‘The Great Recession’ to describe the current global economic malaise.
According to the seasoned economist, it’s quite clear what we experienced last year was not a recession but a depression. That said, it was definitely not another ‘Great Depression’. Read more
Here’s something you may have missed — not least because it comes from a Reuters chat room.
Regardless, the comments from James McCormack, managing director of Asia Pacific sovereign ratings at ratings agency Fitch, make for thought-provoking reading: Read more
When Pimco moves in, you know there’s money to be made.
Amid signs of both currency appreciation and economic recovery among various Asian countries, Bloomberg reports on Friday that Pacific Investment Management Co., better known as Pimco, is planning to set up its first dedicated Asian-currency bond fund in Japan as it increases bets on the region’s “stable” economies. Read more
That is the building which houses the most expensive apartment in Hong Kong. The five-bedroom apartment sold for $56.6m on Wednesday, sparking further speculation that the city — and the rest of China — might be in the grips of a real estate market bubble. Read more
This is Guangqu Road in Beijing.
The headline on a recent Bloomberg stock market report out of Japan said it all: “Japan Stocks Rise on Green Technology Optimism”.
We’re seeing a growing number of headlines in that vein. Indeed, the rising wave of investor optimism on everything and anything related to so-called “green technology” has seen some lucrative deals and surging stock prices in sectors ranging from alternative energy sources to hybrid cars, anti-air pollution systems and environmental technology of every description. Read more
Were bubbles really the best choice of graphic for the USA’s Economic Recovery Act?
Dresdner has some interesting charts out today, depicting bubbles — and lots of them. Specifically in housing and equities in the UK, US and Japan.
Fortis certainly thinks so.
The bank’s analysis, which is based on Didier Sornette’s research into bubbles (think US housing and oil circa 2008), holds that recent increases in CDS spreads in both US and European markets have reached unsustainable levels and are due for a correction – sharpish. Read more
Well, Goldman aside, talk of a bubble in US treasuries is gaining pace.
To wit, the latest missive from Bill Gross, managing director of Pimco, the world’s biggest bonds fund. In his investment outlook, Gross accuses everything from Option ARMs to hedge funds to American states to the entire US social security system of being Ponzi schemes. For example: Read more
We’re not sure how new this is but thought it might be worthwhile given talk of oil bubbles, China bubbles, hyper-bubbles, et al. recently.
From New Scientist, via Infectious Greed, and further reinforcing the notion that traders are more jacked up on hormones and herd mentality than a Texan longhorn. Read more
Paul Kedrosky triggered an outbreak of comments on his Infectious Greed blog with his assertion that oil has out-bubbbled tech in terms of both duration and percentage gain.
He backed up his assertion with a chart (see below) from Bespoke Investment Group comparing the bubbles in housing and technology sector with the run-up in oil.
Kedrosky, who says he is becoming “crazy bearish” on oil prices, argues that while oil prices are unlikely to “tumble materially” tomorrow, they will, of necessity, decline: Read more