Monthly Archives: January 2007

Australia’s Drought: A Harbinger of Things to Come?

This story hasn’t gotten much coverage in the US, but Australia, which has never had abundant water, has gone through a prolonged drought which appears to be becoming semi-permanent. This is particularly problematic, not simply in terms of quality of living, but also because Australia is a major agricultural exporter (wheat and cattle), and a […]

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The Journal Beats the Financial Times for a Change, on the Frothy Chinese Stock Market

We have been hard on the Journal for its tendency to politicize news coverage and omit stories that point to systemic financial risk. So we would like to give credit to the Journal when credit is due. This morning, the Wall Street Journal had a first page story on the stock market mania in China, […]

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The Euro Versus the Dollar

A post from Mark Thoma’s Economist’s View, “Will the Euro Replace the Dollar?,” is useful and informative, but I am surprised that Thoma didn’t mention developemnts that confirm the authors’ thesis, namely, that the euro is becoming a competitor for the dollar as a reserve currency: Some countries that have been key providers of capital […]

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Pan-Regulatory Effort on Hedge Fund Exposures

The Financial Times, as is often the case, carried a story on hedge fund risks that was not covered in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Titled “Regulators concerned at hedge fund collateral,” it discusses how an international group of financial regulators is working with some of the biggest Wall Street firms […]

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CEO Hall of Shame

Thanks to footnoted.org, we have an example of the kind of behavior that gives CEOs a bad name. Except this CEO isn’t feeding at the trough of the company he currently heads, but one he USED to head. Oh, and to top it off, the company is already in the sights of shareholder activists because […]

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ECB Warns of Unstable Markets

We’ve taken note of excessive optimism and leverage (see, as examples, “The Rising Tide of Liquidity” and “More Signs of a Toppy Market“). Now the European Central Bank is also sounding cautionary notes. Ever since Alan Greenspan’s famous “irrational exuberance” observation produced a 140 point (then 2%) fall in the Dow, central bankers have been […]

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When Did Housing Lending Standards Become So, Umm, Lax?

The Housing Bubble Blog put the question more neutrally in its post headline, “When Did Lending Standards Start Charging So Much?,” but the responses all point in one direction: Readers suggested a topic on when loan standards changed. “Here’s my question for the gang – when did lending standards start changing so much? I was […]

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Municipalities Demand More Regulation of Energy Trading

Free market fundamentalists, most of which have never been within hailing distance of a real market (save perhaps a ceremonial visit to the New York Stock Exchange) view market prices as virtuous and seem woefully ignorant of the games speculators and market-makers play (see our post, “Are Speculators Driving Energy Prices?“) An article in the […]

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Goldman: On Both Sides of the Carbon Trade?

Firms jealous of Goldman Sachs’ (GS) spectacular profitability often take aim at its appetite for situations rife with conflicts of interest. A few examples: in the recent New York Stock Exchange acquisition of electronic exchange Archipelago, Goldman acted as advisor to both the NYSE and Archipelago even though it was Archipelago’s biggest shareholder and a […]

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The Fault Lines on Global Warming

A very interesing piece in the Guardian, “Davos ’07: it’s gone green,” points to surprising areas of agreement amongst the commercial cohort at Davos, but also exposes predictable fault lines. First the good news: Davos has gone green. The first thing you see on entering the conference hall is an invitation to make your visit […]

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