The Feel Good Measure

Posted by Jack Crooks - Black Swan Capital LLC

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One of Michael Campbell’s favorites, Black Swan Capital is offering Exclusively for readers and listeners of MoneyTalks a very SPECIAL OFFER.

In Today’s Currency Currents….

“A headline I came across this morning stated plainly: Economic Recovery May Prove Much Stronger than Expected.”

“Don’t ever average losers. Decrease your trading volume when you are trading poorly; increase your volume when you are trading well. Never trade in situations where you don’t have control. For example, I don’t risk significant amounts of money in front of key reports, since that is gambling, not trading.” – Paul Tudor Jones, in Market Wizards

FX Trading – The Feel-Good Measure

France’s per capita GDP is roughly 14% lower than per capita GDP in the US. But that’s only a mirage … and only factors in economic figures, rather than the actual mood of those who make up the economy. The differential between the two economies should actually be much narrower, or so we’re told.

Perhaps France isn’t the only economy bogged down by its economic numbers. Germany keeps reporting stronger levels of consumer, investor and business confidence. Just today the ZEW index of investor confidence rose to highs not seen since the end of 2006.

Bear in mind that lofty confidence numbers at that time were no surprise – it marked the peak of the global credit bubble; times were good.

Despite the fact that kneejerk reaction to today’s ZEW number is poor because analysts were actually expecting a much stronger number, it begs the question: what are they putting in the water over there in Germany?

Whatever it is, don’t forget to factor that into their GDP figures.

It’s obvious just by looking at the markets of late that the consensus is looking for a solid recovery, perhaps having already commenced. A headline I came across this morning stated plainly: Economic Recovery May Prove Much Stronger than Expected.

Ok, very well then. But someone better tell the UK so they don’t miss out on the happiness boat.

The Bank of England is considering ratcheting down their deposit rate a bit further, in an attempt to encourage banks to lend all that money the BOE has shared with them; it seems UK banks (and most others for that matter) haven’t conveyed the same confidence in recovery as global investors. The Bank governor noted today that the country’s major banks are still dependent on public sector aid.

Darn – I can’t imagine how this somber tone must be influencing the GDP mood of the United Kingdom.

And is the European Central Bank at risk of falling victim to similar feelings? Sure, Germany and France seem to have their minds focused on the ultimate goal. But the ECB doesn’t have the luxury of governing just France and Germany. As the article in the Key News section above discusses:

“Europe’s economies are rebounding at different speeds, complicating the European Central Bank’s efforts to put the region back on a more stable footing.”

Now that just doesn’t seem fair that the ECB has that demonstrative hurdle impeding its effectiveness. And on that note, China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Yao Jian, chimed in on the recent tariff imposed on Chinese tire exports to the US.

He said, “It’s not fair if the U.S. only cares about its own employment and not China’s growth,” noting the potential for social instability should Chinese industry begin to feel the pain of this decision.

Not fair? It seems, though, that what the US has done here fits within the guidelines of the WTO agreements (assuming one has time to read through tens of thousands of pages highlighting how “free trade” is supposed to work).

So what’s not fair? Looking out for the interests of the economy that’s under your direction? China should know something above favoring its own economy, in a very perverse sort of way.

Perhaps Joseph Stiglitz has it right. He’s part of the fine crew that’s responsible for proposing measures of societal well-being, or as it could be also called: economic fairness accounting.

“A political leader attempting to promote the well-being of his citizens is pulled in different directions: he will be graded on economic performance but there are many other dimensions to the quality of life, including the state of the environment. While there is no single indicator that can capture something as complex as our society, the metrics commonly used, such as gross domestic product, suggest a trade-off: one can improve the environment only by sacrificing growth. But if we had a comprehensive measure of well-being, perhaps we would see this as a false choice. Such a metric might indicate an increase in wellbeing as the environment improved, even if conventionally measured output went down.”

Karl Marx would be so proud. This should work wonders on drowning out the capitalistic shortfalls of the markets.

We are all psychiatrists now.

Jack and JR
Black Swan Capital LLC


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