Economics

21 January 2015

U.S. Homebuilders Lose Optimism as Sales Fall

Homebuilders are becoming increasingly pessimistic, as stagnant wages and falling demand from investors is pinching the market.The National Association of Home Builders saw its builder confidence index fall one point to 57, slightly below expectations, as recent improvements in the...

21 January 2015

Paris attacks reveal exclusion of French Muslims

While nothing excuses the terrorist killings in Paris, the French state can no longer turn a blind eye to the marginalization of Muslims. The French banlieues are becoming a breeding ground for jihadists. While nothing excuses the terrorist killings in...

20 January 2015

Did the Swiss National Bank have a Choice?

Currency wars have been predicted for years. Outright monetary battles were last seen during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when governments competed to devalue their currencies to gain market advantage. But since the return to floating exchange rates in...

20 January 2015

The ECB and BOJ’s Easing Mode Benefits the Dollar

The US dollar's strength is a product of both the expected trajectory of Fed policy and the fact that ECB and BOJ are still in aggressive easing modes.  Both sides of the equation are being driven home.  The Wall Street...

19 January 2015

Should China Expect Confrontational Policies from Washington?

In 2013, the Sino-US relations ended with concern over strategic mistrust. In 2014, bilateral relations were characterized by a sense of optimism. While bilateral trust may endure through the Obama era, challenges will ensue thereafter.The renewed sense of strategic trust...

18 January 2015

Has the Market Expectation Pendulum Swung as Far as it Can?

The investment climate has become more treacherous.  Weak wage growth and disinflationary headwinds are making market participants question likelihood of a Fed rate hike around mid-year.  The Swiss National Bank's jettisoning its prior strategy has thrown many investors off balance...

17 January 2015

Don’t Write Off Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement Just Yet

The Hong Kong Umbrella Movement, the city’s first significant and sustained extra-legal protest, provided a number of valuable lessons for the future. The Hong Kong Umbrella Movement, the city’s first significant and sustained extra-legal protest, provided a number of valuable...

17 January 2015

After the SNB Decision, the Reverberations Continue

Saying the US dollar had a good week even though it lost 18.5% against the Swiss franc may be a bit like the old joke about asking Mrs. Lincoln, "besides that, how was the play?"The Swiss National Central Bank's unexpected...

15 January 2015

Retail Sales Plummet as Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise

Retail sales fell 0.9% as jobless claims rose to a four-month high.The Department of Commerce reported Wednesday that retail sales fell 0.9% month-over-month on a seasonally adjusted basis in December, representing a 3.2% year-over-year increase from December 2013, unadjusted for...

14 January 2015

Are EMU Debtors Getting the Upper Hand Over Creditors?

The key axis in Europe is between creditors and debtors.  Each pushes their own interests.  The regime of austerity in Europe indicates that the creditors have had the upper hand.  However, two developments in the last two days suggest the...