Monthly Archives: November 2012

Consumer confidence in the US is climbing despite disposable incomes flatlining for five years, suggesting few worries about the looming fiscal cliff. James Mackintosh, investment editor, points out the worries among chief executives and warns that even if the fiscal cliff becomes a fiscal staircase, it could still be an uncomfortable climb down.

Shanghai shares have hit levels not seen since the depths of crisis in 2009. But James Mackintosh, investment editor, says the domestic gloom is combining with a growing faith in the Chinese outlook among international investors.

Another day, another late-night Greek rescue. James Mackintosh, investment editor, unravels the myths, eyes the investment opportunities and explains why Germany must accept Greece must fully write off its debt.

Reasons to be fearful are everywhere: Greece, triple-dip Japan and the looming fiscal cliff in the US. Yet, as James Mackintosh, investment editor, points out, share, bond and currency volatility are all extremely low. Is this complacency or have central banks disconnected the volatility sensors?

Japan brought the world quantitative easing, but by today’s standards it would be rated QE-lite. Now political pressure on the Bank of Japan to weaken the yen is rising, encouraging speculation on QE max. James Mackintosh, investment editor, says there are good reasons for caution

FT investment editor James Mackintosh analyses the impact on bondholders if Catalonia and Scotland were to become independent

There are signs of green shoots in the Greek current account, recording a September surplus for the first time since it joined the euro. But James Mackintosh, investment editor, worries that Greece is getting the wrong sort of rebalancing

James Mackintosh

Gold prices can be volatile

The argument for a gold standard is simple: it stops the ravages of political interference with the currency. A dollar was worth the same in 1933 as it had been a century earlier, with $20.67 buying one ounce of gold. The example almost every supporter of gold comes up with is that at the start of the 19th century an ounce of gold would buy a very nice men’s suit, as it would at the end of the century; it still will.

There’s no doubt that doing away with paper money stops politicians abusing it, printing money to fund their favourite spending schemes and, in extreme cases, destroying the currency and the economy altogether. Read more

James Mackintosh

Market outlooks for the US election were clear: an Obama victory would be bad for shares and good for bonds, as the incumbent president would have less chance of cutting a deal with an intransigent Congress than his challenger.

Barack Obama would also be bad for the dollar, as there would be no pressure on the Federal Reserve from a hawkish Republican to tighten monetary policy, meaning the easiest monetary policy ever would remain in place. Read more