Entries by Joe Spearing

The dilemmas of Pravin Gordhan

• On 22nd February, Finance minister Gordhan presented his annual budget to the national assembly.
• Gordhan faced a painful trade-off between managing South Africa’s eye-watering debt situation, supporting stagnant private consumption and political sustainability in the most unequal country in the world
• We simulate South Africa’s debt/GDP path under different assumptions, and argue that the economy still has a long way to go to achieve fiscal sustainability

Brexit: how bad could it get?

In April we noted the uncertainty that a Brexit vote would bring to the British economy.
In this post, we examine how the economic risk the UK now faces may be manifested in a post-Brexit UK. In particular, we look at a “worst case scenario”, and what this might mean for the economy, and the currency.

JPY: Has Japan lost the Currency War?

The currency war “truce” at the G20 meeting in February of this year has effectively placed political pressure on Japan to refrain from further depreciation of the yen. We investigate whether this has frozen USDJPY at its “fair value”. Although a naïve reading of PPP figures suggests that the outcome is reasonable, adjustment for productivity differentials suggests that the yen is now heavily overvalued versus the dollar, with attendant negative consequences for the Japanese economy.

Market Volatility: the Brexit Premium

The uncertainty associated with the outcome of the referendum on Britain’s EU membership is already affecting financial markets and the wider economy. By examining the pricing of derivatives, we can identify the price the market is putting on this uncertainty, and what movements in currency are expected between now and the referendum itself.

How tight is the Copper market? Implications for Chile

• The recent uptick of Chinese demand for copper and low levels of warehouse stocks give a misleading picture of the state of the copper market.
• Taking a broader view of stocks, we suggest that there is a substantial amount of “missing copper”, large portions of which are held by the Chinese State reserve Bureau (SRB).
• The policy of the latter in 2016 is therefore key to the performance of copper.