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Ian R. Campbell  

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  • Country Risk For Mining Jurisdictions - June Edition [View article]
    Country risk is a very important topic. This is being reinforced this week at the G8 Summit being held in Belfast. 'Itinerant' has taken what I assume to be a significant amount of time to do what I assume he/she thinks to be meaningful work. I write The Economic Straight Talk Newsletter (, and was writing a commentary today on 'Itinerant's' analysis. I find it interesting, but unfortunately can't determine its credibility to my satisfaction given I am unable to determine who the author is, and hence have no sense of his/her background, experience, or possible biases. I find that disappointing.
    Jun 17, 2013. 01:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Expect New Highs In Gold This Year [View article]
    Although none come to mind, while there may be other good reasons to believe the gold price trend will retreat in 2012, a historical secular bull market period of 15 - 20 years - with an average of 17 years - isn't one of them.

    When forecasting, many economists and commentators fail to focus on the dramatic change in inter-country dependence in our ever more globalized world, and on financial market game-changers wrought by high frequency algorithmic trading, among other things. Historic data generated from fundamentally different economic and technological times can't be relied on by those making prognostications and forecasts in the same way they could be up to perhaps as late as 1995.

    Imagine using economic data from the pre-industrial revolution period to forecast economic trends after 1850.

    If 17 years means anything today in the context of a short-term physical gold price prognostication, that is only by happenstance.
    Mar 29, 2012. 06:52 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The De-Evolution Of Western Economies And What It May Mean For Markets [View article]
    Eduard: Very well written and balanced article. I read hundreds of article headings and multiple articles each day. Increasingly, as world and country economic issues 'tighten' (as I see things) I perceive more and more of those articles and commentaries to reflect the views of 'vested interest parties'. It is refreshing to find someone who writes thoughtfully, independently, and objectively. Good on you.
    Aug 24, 2011. 06:57 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Consumer Delinquency Rates Fall To Pre-Crisis Level [View article]
    Mark: You say "The fact that consumer loan delinquency rates are back to pre-recession levels is part of the ongoing deleveraging of American households, who are also saving now at mid-1990s levels (see post here). It's also more evidence that the worst is behind us".

    It seems to me that while this deleveraging might be taken as a testament to the honesty and work-ethic of Main Street Americans generally, it can hardly be said that it is evidence 'the worst is behind us' in America. One has only to look at the new and resale housing statistics for July that were released this week to see how 'glum' things are at a Main Street level - see

    The U.S., and still to some large degree the world, relies on consumption by the Main Street American consumer. For me, the question isn't 'how many Americans aren't paying their credit card balances', but rather they are (1) how much spending are they currently doing? and (2) how much is Main Street going to spend going forward?

    I hope you are right that 'the worst is behind' those in America. Even though I am a Canadian, not an American, on this issue I am claiming Missouri residency - as I am 'from Missouri' on that one.
    Aug 24, 2011. 06:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • All Eyes On Bernanke: Will He Send Stocks Soaring (Again)? [View article]
    I think an important question is 'can he and the Fed' create impetus in the financial markets once again. Given that the financial markets are ever more predominantly trading markets, he and his Fed colleagues probably can do that (see 'When The Market Isn't The Market' at, which quotes an article that reported 'that in the 'frenetic' week ended August 8, 'high frequency' trading firms and strategies accounted for 65% of the daily U.S. trading volume').

    Should Mr. Bernanke and the Fed offer more stimulus? That strikes me as a 'waste of time question' to address.

    All that said, if the Fed provides more stimulus, that will simply be one more short-term band-aid that won't stop the 'flow of blood' from the U.S. 'economic wound'. In fact, I think that if Mr. Bernanke and his band of merry men do slap a QE3 or other subsidization band-aid on America's hemorrhaging economy, that very act will simply put more pressure on that 'economic wound' and cause it in the end to bleed 'faster and faster'.

    No patient, no matter how 'big and powerful', in the end can survive with an inadequate blood supply, or where an ever more potent blood thinner is prescribed and administered. Recall Gulliver who succumbed to being tied down by the Lilliputians.
    Aug 23, 2011. 07:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New Deflationary Expectations Taking Hold? [View article]
    To suggest that 'stocks are a contemporary indicator of the state of the U.S. economy' makes sense to me as the financial markets ever more become trading markets. That said, in today's (and I think tomorrow's) financial markets environment the word 'contemporary' may be exactly the right one where 'contemporary is taken to mean "occurring in the present", and 'present' is taken to mean "in existence at the moment in time at which an utterance is spoken or written".

    Once those definitions are tabled and understood, I don't think it is a big leap to begin referring to 'Investment Bankers' as 'Trading Bankers' - and the dropping the word 'Investments', and substituting for it the phrase 'Fiat Currency Holdings'.

    I suggest readers of this comment think about that while considering that the word 'Investment' implies 'something of value', whereas the world 'trade' simply means to exchange something for something else.

    Pundits continue today to speak of Graham & Dodd and other 'investment notables' when discussing today's financial markets and opportunities. I for one am beginning to seriously wonder why they bother. No one I know would refer to Mozart in the same breath as they would a contemporary 'hip hop' performer.
    Aug 23, 2011. 07:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Unemployment And The Duration Of Unemployment Remains High In The U.S. [View article]
    Hello Faisal: I think you have done a good job in this article on setting out the fundamental underlying issues that will, in my view, negatively impact re-employment of the unemployed, and employment of those entering the workforce, in the U.S. for the foreseeable future.

    I think the important point you make is the importance of Infrastructure spending to create employment, as from my perspective the housing and manufacturing sectors are for some long time not likely to re-employ sufficient people to make a dint in U.S. unemployment statistics. Where the funds are going to come from to support serious infrastructure spending is quite another question - given the polarized political situation in Washington, and the inertia in Washington that is likely given the current time-proximity to the November, 2012 elections.
    Aug 22, 2011. 08:36 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future of Banking Looks Grim Again [View article]
    I think this article makes a number of good 'food for thought' points. However, it doesn't mention the changes in the mark-to-market accounting rules that took place in and after the 2008 melt-down. I believe that subsequent to those accounting rule changes the banks almost certainly will have overstated their book equities as contrasted to what those book equities would have been had they had to value their assets under the old accounting rules.

    If I am right in this many banks today will have far greater 'real' debt:equity book ratios than they are reporting. In turn, in the event of another financial market crisis 'Peter will have to pay Paul' I think that undisclosed greater weakness in bank book equities will play a part in that crisis unexpected by many analysts and investors.

    I have seen very few people focus on this in what I have read over the past 3 years, yet I think what I have spelled out here is a potentially looming 'largely unrecognized' further problem.
    Aug 13, 2011. 07:32 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Real Meaning of Yesterday's FOMC Announcement [View article]
    In my StockResearchPortal daily e-mail (see today I wrote a commentary on yesterday's Federal Open Market Committee pronouncements. The Fed Press Release does not say ‘Fed to keep interest rate near zero for 2 years’. It says that the Federal Open Market Committee yesterday decided “to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0.00% - 0.25%” and that “the Committee currently anticipates that economic conditions ….. are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013”.

    How anyone can conclude on the plain words of those direct quotes that the Fed funds interest rate is certain to remain at the current ‘target range’ for the next two years is beyond me. Rather, these Fed statements say to me that the Fed will support interest rates at any given point in time in the next twenty-four months based on its assessment of things at that point in time. For the Fed take any other position would be irresponsible in my opinion.

    To make more of the Fed's statements yesterday than that makes no sense to me, and I really don't see how anyone can take any amount of great comfort from those statements.
    Aug 10, 2011. 06:29 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Unemployment: History Suggests There's No Reason for Pessimism [View article]
    This article makes no sense to me. How can history be a guide to U.S. unemployment rates when the job landscape has been so significantly altered with globalization, and comparative country labour rates are widely diverse?

    I for one am not counting on historic economic relationships to repeat in today's changed macro-economic environment. I think that anyone who is counting on those historic economic relationship to simply re-cycle, and conducts their financial affairs accordingly, is going to be in for a shock.
    Aug 9, 2011. 07:38 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Loss of AAA Rating Unlikely to Provoke Systemic Credit Crisis [View article]
    How many readers of this article and this comment really believe that the U.S. Federal Government has until 2013 (a date attributed in this article to Oxford Analytica) to enact serious changes in the U.S. revenue collection (read income tax) system, to cut its costs, and hence to bring realism to its Federal Budgeting process?

    Donald Trump made one comment yesterday that made great sense to me. He said on CNN, just before President Obama spoke at 2:00 p.m. ET, that President Obama needs to show clear, unequivocal leadership and a sense of urgency to Americans (my words, but that is what Trump said) - and that he could begin to do that by calling all Congressmen back to Washington immediately and 'get them to work'. Trump further said that it was unacceptable to wait months until 'Thanksgiving' (not quite 4 months away) for a Joint Committee that will be struck pursuant to last week's Debt Ceiling agreement (I can't remember if he used the word 'unacceptable', but that was Trump's message). Unfortunately, in his 'talk to the Nation' yesterday President Obama simply said 'more of the same things' about the need for non-Partisan negotiation, and reiterated more platitudes about 'America will always be a AAA country', etc. That type of rhetoric is simply no substitute for hard leadership 'calls to action', and President Obama as I listened to him made none of those.

    Donald Trump has to be right. Entrepreneurs, of which he is clearly one, deal as expediently as they can will the problems they face. They don't procrastinate. They fire people who don't get the job done and who don't drive things to success.

    President Obama didn't listen to Donald Trump prior to speaking yesterday. He should have. In my view American has been 'out of time for a long time'. To suggest things will be done by 2013 is in my view ridiculous. Decisions need to be taken by August 31, and actions need to be put in place over the Labor Day weekend! And what are the chances of that?
    Aug 9, 2011. 07:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Getting Angry at the Ratings Agencies [View article]
    The truth as I see things is that at least in theory what S&P or any other Credit Rating Agency does or does not do ought not to matter very much to the financial markets. This is because if the financial markets have any level of efficiency at all, they should already have 'priced in' whatever any Credit Rating Agency does or doesn't do before they do it. If one assumes that the Investment Banks, Money Managers, and Commentators who every day analyze and and advise investors and traders have as many PhD's, MBA's, etc. with at least as much experience as do the Credit Rating Agencies, as a minimum the former ought to know as much about country or company specific 'credit veracity' as the latter. Accordingly, anyone trusting the management of their money to Investment Bankers, Money Managers, etc. ought to believe (to take a specific example) that all S&P did for those advisors was confirm what they already knew. For sure those advisors had to know (as most investors themselves ought to have known) that S&P was contemplating a U.S. Credit downgrade many days before it happened - and that a Chinese Credit Rating agency had downgraded the U.S. Credit Rating many days before.

    So, what should happen tonight when the Asian markets open? If the financial markets are to be seen as credible going forward, it should be 'business as usual'. The S&P downgrade should be just background noise. Will that prove to be the case? Unfortunately, I doubt it. Already this morning (7:45 ET on Sunday, August 7) an article titled 'Saudi stocks shed 5.46% over US, Europe woes - Petrochemical sector sheds 6.7%; Construction 6.4% lower' reports on yesterday's (Saturday's) drop in the Saudi Arabian Tadawul All-Shares Index (see

    If the financial markets move either down or up significantly tonight in Asia, Australia, overnight in Europe, and tomorrow in North America I suggest that clearly brings into question the veracity of the financial markets generally, and the veracity of the efficient market theory specifically. Certainly for sure, for me, it suggests that anyone who participates in the financial markets who ever again uses the term 'the market has priced this in' ought to find that the term 'sticks in their throat' as they struggle to say it.

    Each trading day I send an e-mail to over 10,000 people in over 100 countries where I provide commentaries on macro-economic and resource sector topics. My e-mail tomorrow includes a commentary titled 'Debt Ceiling Storm – S&P U.S. Credit Downgrade'. If you are interested, you will be able to access that commentary after 1:00 p.m. ET tomorrow (Monday) by visiting
    Aug 7, 2011. 07:56 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • That. Was. Unpleasant. [View article]
    I continue to be amazed that what has seemed obvious to me for a very long time seems to 'shock the financial markets'. Whether the equity markets in the U.S. continue to go down today or recover ground today changes nothing of what is going on the U.S. economy, the Eurozone, the United Kingdom, and the ongoing re-balancing of the world economy. Those of you who are interested in 'no axe to grind' views expressed by a Canadian might consider reviewing my Seeking Alpha Profile, and if still interested then might consider visiting www.stockresearchporta.... To read what I have had to say over the past several months - click on the 'E-mail Archives' tab on the Main Navigation line. You may find what I consider to be nothing more or less than 'common sense views' surprisingly predictive.
    Aug 5, 2011. 07:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can the Rating Agencies Be Trusted to Rate Countries? [View article]
    It strikes me that the three credit rating agencies absolutely have to be 'on notice' that they must act independently, objectively and with 'great care' with respect to any action they take in the current world (not just U.S.) economic environment when upgrading or downgrading any country's credit rating. I believe anyone who thinks otherwise simply doesn't understand how consultants - which is in essence what credit rating agencies are - think and work.

    Irrespective of whether the credit agencies did or didn't do a 'good job' in the years leading up to the U.S. sub-prime crisis, they have to be run by people with good IQ's who clearly understand that today the 'eyes of the world' are upon them as they make their decisions. They also have to know in an unequivocal way that those decisions are of enormous importance to the world economy and the equity markets. The credit rating agencies are burdened with a huge responsibility in today's economic environment - and they have to both know and feel that responsibility.

    As Tom Armistead said in the first comment to this article"Impartial opinions on the creditworthiness of sovereign nations are needed". Mr. Armistead has to be correct in this.

    Mr. Berman's opening salvo that "Here’s a radical idea for preventing a U.S. credit-rating downgrade: Shutter all the credit-rating agencies and put their executives in jail" in my view is nothing but a 'rant' made at a critical fulcrum point in time. In this environment constructive comments, not nonsensical ones, should be the order of the day.
    Jul 29, 2011. 08:51 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ignore the Eurozone's Problems [View article]
    Easily said. And so, Jack, exactly how does one protect himself or herself? Moreover, why does one have to protect oneself if its OK to simply ignore the Eurozone Soverign Debt (and U.S. Sovereign Debt) problems?
    Jul 20, 2011. 09:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment