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Martin Fluck

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  • Germany Heads Into the Double-Dip Zone [View article]
    The EU may have tripled its forecast for German economic growth to 3% for this year - but that's wishful thinking because they're scared the euro won't survive a double-dip - as they should be. Guess they're feeling a little silly now, as the ZEW index is a really reliable LEADING indicator. We now know that the record growth in the second quarter is well and truly over. "Signs are also growing that Germany’s economy, the engine of euro-region growth this year, is sputtering," writes Bloomberg today. German exports unexpectedly fell 1.5 percent in July, while factory orders slid, Federal Statistics Office and Economy Ministry reports showed last week.
    Sep 14, 2010. 02:54 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • America Is Serious About Balancing Its Trade With China [View article]
    Seems you're all as perplexed as I am about the lack of action. You'd think with an overheating economy that it might even be advantageous to revalue. It would reduce the cost of raw material for one thing, and improve the spending power of their citizens re Western imports!
    Sep 14, 2010. 09:04 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The First Green Energy Trade War? [View article]
    Doing business in China profitably is really hard, because the Chinese government deliberately tilts the playing field against them in order to help Chinese firms. The European Council on Foreign Relations has now circulated a briefing paper to urge heads of state to take a more co-ordinated approach to dealing with China, in order to avoid the divide-and-conquer tactics practised by Beijiing. The paper suggests that China must be persuaded to finally drop the protectionist barriers that have remained in place despite the country's admittance to the World Trade Organisation in 2001.
    Sep 13, 2010. 08:24 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The First Green Energy Trade War? [View article]
    The point I'm exploring here is that if the US wants a green economy, without destroying its economy, then imports from developing countries like China - that do not want to pursue a green agenda and pay for much higher electricity prices - will have to be made uncompetitive by imposing large tariffs on their exports.

    After all, why is Spain shifting its energy subsidies from solar back to domestically mined coal? To create desperately needed jobs at home and not in China.
    Sep 12, 2010. 03:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Truth About Germany's Banks [View article]
    Thanks for pointing out hidden levers.
    Sep 12, 2010. 03:22 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • America Is Serious About Balancing Its Trade With China [View article]
    We'll see if my hunch is right. Hard to tell what Congress is going to do next these days! There are some good economic reasons why China is holding up an economic recovery - and distorting the global economic system. Going to do a summary of some very interesting research I've received from a leading UK economic research company on the subject. This is an excellent SA story on the same theme.
    Sep 12, 2010. 02:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Clear and Present Regulatory Danger Facing ETFs [View article]
    I'm all for free markets. And I'm sure ETFs on equities in big liquid stock markets do more good than harm. They do what they say on the tin. But the concerns about lending are genuine, involving as they do issues of counter-party risk etc that were brought home by the credit crunch. (I just wonder what is going on when the Bank of England which is usually pretty slow on the uptake decides to highlight the risks). And speculation can go too far. As an aluminium trader in the early 90s I remember the perennial squeezes that were attempted - and the Sumitomo scandal. All fair for the grown-ups in the biz. But when a couple of trading companies caused the spike in oil in 2000 and the truckers went on strike in the UK, and everyone ran out of gas - and you learn that panic buying means that sugar, toilet paper, milk, and bread are the first things to disappear from the shelves - that's another matter entirely. Markets are meant to bring prices into equilibrium not disequilibrium.
    Sep 6, 2010. 04:22 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Canadian Taxpayers on the Hook as Housing Cools [View article]
    Thanks again for the comments. Wish I'd searched seekingalpha's database a bit harder. I don't think there's a risk for the Canadian banks at this stage, given the guarantees, but I imagine there could be some regulatory risk should thinks blow up.
    Knowing Montreal and the Quebec market personally, there hasn't been a sense of wild speculation the last couple of years. Any overvaluation would have occurred before 2006/07. Given how depressed Montreal was, prices there may have just returned to where they should have been. Western Canada is an entirely different barrel of oil.
    Moving onto a much bigger topic now... where have regulators, prosecutors etc got to holding Wall St to account, and where are they going?
    Sep 6, 2010. 03:42 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Canadian Taxpayers on the Hook as Housing Cools [View article]
    I agree. What happens next in Canada hinges on global commodity prices. And whether growing demand from China will make up for any cyclical slowdown is anybody's guess. I do think that curbing the excessive amount of speculative money flowing into relatively small commodity markets may bring some prices down a bit.
    Sep 6, 2010. 03:31 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment