Monthly Archives: September 2012

Here are the pieces that piqued our interest today:

By Gavyn Davies

Today I would like to introduce a list of the blogs that investors can follow if they are interested in tracking the key debates on global macro in the financial markets. These are some of the blogs which shape the debates at morning meetings and investment committees throughout the financial system. To prepare for these meetings (and much else besides), follow these blogs.

I admit that I have only belatedly realised just how much essential economic information and discussion is freely available in the blogosphere. The internet has given everyone the chance to become a journalist, and many macro economists have taken full advantage.

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Middle East turmoil and the US response
The Middle East is in turmoil following the murder of the American ambassador to Libya and assaults on various US embassies across the Muslim world. Roula Khalaf, Middle East editor, and Ed Luce, chief US commentator, join Gideon Rachman to discuss what recent events say about the internal stability of post-revolutionary Libya and Egypt and President Obama’s policy towards the Middle East. How will these and the other regional concerns in Syria, Iran, and the Palestinian territories affect the US election?

It has been a fun ride for journalists covering Mitt Romney’s US presidential campaign. They have been treated to a smorgasbord of gaffes from the Republican nominee – about-turns on policy, questionable facts to base his arguments on, ill-received comments such as his response to the killing of the US ambassador to Libya last week or his scepticism over London’s readiness to host the Olympics. Read more

Here’s what got us chatting at our desks this morning:

Anti-Japan protesters outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing. Photo AP

In the midst of the anti-Japanese sound and fury that has erupted
across China in the last week there is also a quiet but clearly discernible undertone not heard in previous similar outbursts – call it the ballad of the Chinese middle class.

For decades, anti-foreign protests have been the only ones the Communist Party has condoned, periodically whipping them up through provocative state media coverage and even providing logistical support. Read more

Esperanza Aguirre

Will the Spanish government request a European bailout? Will Catalonia secede from Spain? These are burning questions, but on Tuesday morning a different political topic is on the minds of many madrileños.

Esperanza Aguirre, the head of the Madrid regional government and one of the most influential figures in the Partido Popular, Spain’s ruling centre-right party, abruptly resigned from her post on Monday. She said she was withdrawing from the front line of politics “for personal reasons”. Read more

Another late night in Boston, another Romney fire-fighting operation. “God Bless Half of America,” said one of the milder tweets on the audio of Mitt Romney complaining about the 47 per cent of Americans who “do not pay taxes”.

Viral Romney disaster moments are beginning to crop up with almost metronomic regularity. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

Turmoil in the Middle East looked like a gift to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. With unseemly eagerness, the Republican candidate unwrapped his present – blaming the Obama administration for encouraging Islamist militancy. Conservative commentators chimed in. On Fox Television, Charles Krauthammer announced: “What we are seeing on the screen is the meltdown, collapse of the Obama policy on the Muslim world.”

Paraphrasing Churchill (who was speaking at a White House lunch, as it happens) to law-law is better than to war-war. Obviously disappointing that the Obama administration is willing to politicise a trade policy (or at least its timing) so blatantly, the US government starting a WTO case against China on auto parts the day that POTUS arrived to campaign in Ohio.

But that’s hardly new. George W Bush imposed steel import tariffs in 2002 ahead of the mid-term elections, knowing that by the time that the WTO had declared the tariffs illegal, as it duly did in November 2003, they would have done their electoral work. Read more

US embassies stormed, American flags burnt, diplomats assassinated. These images have played on our television screens over the past week, giving the impression of a region in deep turmoil, its rage targeted violently at the US.

Predictably, the unrest has damaged Barack Obama, the American president who has made outreach to the Muslim world a cornerstone of his foreign policy. Worse, the fury exploded in the midst of a heated presidential campaign, giving Mr Obama’s opponents fresh ammunition to portray him as a weak leader. The president had already been under fire for supposedly being too soft on Islamists rising to power in north Africa and not tough enough on Iran and its dogged pursuit of a nuclear programme.

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Here’s what we’ve been chatting about after the weekend:

There is no shortage of dramatic news this week – what with a disappearing Chinese leader, a murdered ambassador in Benghazi, riots in Cairo and protests in Madrid and Moscow. But I wonder whether less obviously world-shaking events in India may end up having a greater historical significance.

Admittedly, I am biased since I’ve just spent the last week in Delhi. (In fact, I’m still here.) But the economic future of a country of 1.2bn people – about a sixth of mankind – will shape this century. And reforms announced this week by the much-abused government of Manmohan Singh, give some hope that India may be about to rediscover its mojo. Read more

These are the pieces that prompted discussion on the world desk today: 

Where is Xi? Who knows!
A Party Congress next month is expected to confirm the once-in-a-generation leadership change atop the Chinese Communist Party. But things are not going to plan: the transition is occurring against a backdrop of a slowdown in the Chinese economy and now the mysterious disappearance from public view of Xi Jinping, just weeks before his expected elevation to lead the party. Jamil Anderlini in Beijing, Geoff Dyer in Washington and Tom Mitchell in London join Shawn Donnan to discuss the uncertainty in China.

By Ruona Agbroko

Articles you might want to take a look at today:

Mark Rutte. Photo Reuters

By Matthew Steinglass in Amsterdam

Wednesday’s Dutch election overturned myriad assumptions, as voters turned en masse towards the two large centrist parties that have backed eurozone rescue measures and abandoned the fringe anti-European parties that had been expected to win big.

Rather than punishing Liberal prime minister Mark Rutte for signing up to bailout packages for Greece and Spain and to the European emergency fund, right-wing voters re-elected him with 27 per cent of the vote, by far the party’s largest share ever. Read more

The results of the Dutch elections cap off a good week for the euro. First, the ECB promises potentially “unlimited” bond purchases. Then the German constitutional court rules that the EU bail-out funds are legal. Finally, Dutch voters defy predictions that they will swing behind radical Eurosceptic parties. Instead there is a strong showing for two mainstream, pro-euro parties – the governing Liberals (VVD) and Labour. Read more

Mitt Romney makes remarks on the attack on the US consulate in Libya (Reuters)

There are moments that can indelibly brand a politician and Mitt Romney may just have met his.

The alacrity – and brittle certainty – with which the Republican nominee responded to the violence against US diplomats on Tuesday night offers a snapshot of why his candidacy has failed to attract true believers. On Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton read out a sombre statement condemning the killing of Chris Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans. Forty minutes later, Barack Obama followed suit. Both focused on Mr Stevens’ tragic death. Read more