Mile High Munchies

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:26+00:00 April 3rd, 2017|Global Market Update|

Well, no one saw this coming. Denver skyline Photo: Larry Johnson. Source: Wikipedia There’s a touching scene in Peter Hessler’s book “Country Driving” where a family in a small Chinese village receives a gift from the local Communist Party. It’s a framed skyline of a gleaming foreign city with a digital readout of the temperature, time, and date. The unnamed city was supposed to represent China’s bright future. The city was Denver; the year was 2005. Through foresight or good fortune, the Chinese Communist [...]

Trade is Hard

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:39+00:00 October 24th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Why is free trade so hard to understand? Source: Moeconomics Blog The idea is simple: when everyone does what they do best, we’re all better off. Like a Mark Zuckerberg giving up coding to run Facebook. He knows how to code, by all reports he’s a good coder. But it wasn’t a productive use of his time. His time was better spent acting as Facebook’s CEO—managing his sector leaders, understanding where the business is moving, working out financial issues. So he gave up coding, [...]

Re-Thinking Brexit

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:41+00:00 October 5th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Can uncertainty cause a recession? Source: Econlib Economists are always looking for ways to test their theories. They can’t put economies into test tubes and sprinkle a little stimulus on them—they have to look for natural ways to examine how people react economically to new conditions. So they study businesses right near a state border to see if changing the minimum wage law has much impact, or they use the draft lottery to study the effect of military service on lifetime earnings. The Brexit [...]

If You Build It ….

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:43+00:00 September 14th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Is more infrastructure spending the solution to our economic woes? Photo: HuBar. Source: Wikipedia Politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to love infrastructure spending. They get to brag about all the jobs they created. Sometimes they get an airport or a bridge or a highway named after them. And infrastructure spending is supposed to help economy. But does it, really? Consider Japan. In the ‘70s and ‘80s Japan’s economy was booming. We were all “turning Japanese.” After decades of strong economic expansion, [...]

Migration Economics

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:17+00:00 January 6th, 2016|Global Market Update|

What does migration do to an economy? Photo: Villes. Source: Animal Photos There are a lot of folks that are being forced to move right now. The Syrian Civil War has generated over 4 million who have fled their country. In 2014, the UN estimated that almost 60 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes—by war, persecution, or other trouble. Of these, only a fraction sought refuge in the developed world. But that number has been going up, and will be a record [...]

China: Is That All There Is?

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:40+00:00 August 13th, 2015|Global Market Update|

What’s happening with the Chinese Yuan? Photo: Dodgerton Skillhause. Source: Morguefile When the People’s Bank of China devalued their currency by 2%, there was an immediate market reaction. Some other Asian currencies quickly followed—the Singapore Dollar, the Malaysian Ringgit. There was discussion of an impending currency war. Stock markets around the world tumbled. One month chart of Asian Currencies: Aussie Dollar (orange); Korean Won (red); Chinese Yuan (blue); Singapore Dollar (green); Malay Ringgit (yellow). Source: Bloomberg But I all I could think of was [...]

Dollar Rising?

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:14+00:00 November 5th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Where is the dollar going? Source: Wikipedia Last night we had an election. Republicans took control of the Senate and expanded their control of the House. Millions of Americans took to the polls to express their political preferences. But a different election has been taking place—one where anyone, anywhere can vote. And this election happens every day. This occurs in the financial markets—stocks, bonds, and currencies. Voting requires only dollars, not sense. And lately they’ve been expressing confidence in the US economy. The trade-weighted [...]

High Stakes Hold-Up

By | 2017-07-17T12:34:14+00:00 September 22nd, 2014|Global Market Update|

What good are sports stadiums? Source: Wikipedia I don’t mean to the teams. It’s obvious that teams need a place to play. And if they want to attract more fans, the bigger the venue, the better. No, I’m talking about whether stadiums are good for local communities. And there, the record is mixed. […]

Odysseus: The Resourceful Investor

By | 2014-06-27T09:56:57+00:00 June 27th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Investors need to be resourceful. Whether it’s reading a set of financial statements or watching the Federal Reserve Chair talk about the economy, investors need to use all their wits to understand what’s going on. There are myriad difficulties and distractions that would keep us from accomplishing our goals. We have to think clearly and creatively. The Greek hero Odysseus faced the same problem. After the Trojan war, each of the leaders headed back home. Odysseus faced one of the longer journeys, as his [...]