lundi 28 février 2011

Parallèle historique à la crise actuelle

Un parallèle très intéressant (et original) entre la crise de 2008 et la panique boursière de 1907. Via The Big Picture.

Parallel Markets to 2009-11: "

These two charts, via the Chart Store, show the most parallel eras to our own — at least in terms of equities:


1907 versus 2009

click for larger charts


1974 versus 2009


Info importante : compte Twitter

Mon rythme de publication de posts s'est un peu allégé ces dernières semaines et j'ai préféré parfois reprendre des articles intéressants plutôt que livrer une pensée originale et pertinente.

Tout cela est dû à une activité professionnelle soutenue ces derniers temps.

Mais je compte bien reprendre le rythme habituel dès que possible.

En outre sachez que quand je manque de temps je favorise désormais Twitter, qui demande moins de temps et qui me permet de maintenir une activité régulière même en utilisation "mobile".

Si vous voulez me suivre sur Twitter, suivez le lien suivant :

S'abonner à akerala sur Twitter

samedi 26 février 2011

Weekend Chart Feature: QE2 and the Battle of France

February 26, 2011
In response to a special request, I have created an overlay of two major Dow peaks — the 1937 high following the Crash of 1929 and the 2007 all-time high. When we align the two highs, we see a radical parting of ways a little over three years later.
We can analyze market data with trendlines, flags, and Fibonacci ratios to our heart's content. But sometimes market behavior is best understood as a consequence of historical events. The Battle of France in May 1940 was one such example. Perhaps the Federal Reserve's second round of quantitative is another. The results to date have been dramatically different.
We can look back on Dow history and see the tumultuous impact of World War II on the market and the dramatic recovery that followed. The question now is whether a decade or two in the future QE2 will be seen as a masterful stroke of economic management or an ill-conceived delaying tactic ('kicking the can down the road') that worsened the Fiscal Crisis we still must face. This unconventional policy gamble is a game of high stakes — namely, the economic well-being of the US and other parts of the world as well.
Weekend Chart Feature: QE2 and the Battle of France

BACK TO THE FUTURE : Irina Werning - Photographer

Un peu d'art pour changer...

I love old photos. I admit being a nosey photographer. As soon as I step into someone else’s house, I start sniffing for them. Most of us are fascinated by their retro look but to me, it’s imagining how people would feel and look like if they were to reenact them today... A few months ago, I decided to actually do this. So, with my camera, I started inviting people to go back to their future.
by the way, this project made me realise Im a bit obsessive...

PANCHO IN 1983 & 2010, Buenos Aires 

MATIAS IN 1977 & 2010, Uruguay 

FLOR, MALE, SIL IN 1983 & 2010 

FER IN 1970 & 2010, Buenos Aires 
IAN IN 1984 & 2010, London
: IAN IN 1984 & 2010, London
Nico in 1986 & 2010, Buenos Aires
: Nico in 1986 & 2010, Buenos Aires
LUCIA IN 1956 & 2010, Buenos Aires
: LUCIA IN 1956 & 2010, Buenos Aires

La Negra 1980 and 2010, Buenos Aire 

Ato 1992 & 2010, Buenos Aires 
MECHI IN 1990 & 2010, Buenos Aires
: MECHI IN 1990 & 2010, Buenos Aires
FLOR IN 1975 & 2010, Buenos Aires
: FLOR IN 1975 & 2010, Buenos Aires

BENN AND DAN IN 1979 & 2010, London 
TOMMY IN 1977 & 2010, Buenos Aires
: TOMMY IN 1977 & 2010, Buenos Aires

Lulu & G in 1980 & 2010, Buenos Air 
FLO, MARIA & DOLORES IN 1979 & 201
: FLO, MARIA & DOLORES IN 1979 & 201
MY PARENTS IN 1970 & 2010, Buenos A
: MY PARENTS IN 1970 & 2010, Buenos A
FIONA IN 1978 & 2010, London
: FIONA IN 1978 & 2010, London
DAMIAN IN 1989 & 2010, London
: DAMIAN IN 1989 & 2010, London
CECILE IN 1987 & 2010, France
: CECILE IN 1987 & 2010, France

NICO IN 1990 & 2010, France 
INGRID IN 1987 & 2010, Buenos Aires
: INGRID IN 1987 & 2010, Buenos Aires
MARITA & COTY IN 1977 & 2010, Bueno
: MARITA & COTY IN 1977 & 2010, Bueno

SUE IN 1977 & 2010 , London 
MARINA IN 1988 & 2010, Buenos Aires
: MARINA IN 1988 & 2010, Buenos Aires
LALI IN 1978 & 2010, Buenos Aires
: LALI IN 1978 & 2010, Buenos Aires

David Rosenberg: Why Rising Commodity and Oil Prices are Actually Deflationary

Note introductive : Cet article par le fameux "déflationniste" David Rosenberg, correspond tout à fait à un de mes sujets de prédilection.

Je me suis depuis plusieurs années intéressé à l'évolution "séculière" du cours des matières premières parallèlement à mon intérêt pour les métaux précieux.

Dans un premier temps l'analyse de leur tendance , tend à renforcer la thèse "inflationniste" qui est favorisée par de nombreux "goldbugs".

Cependant, j'ai par la suite davantage étudié la thèse déflationniste parcequ'elle m'apparissait plus pertinente et bien plus subtile.
Elle doit prendre en compte de nombreux éléments de la tuyauterie qu'est devenu la finance mondiale, mais aussi des tendance socio-économique, séculières.

Il se trouve que nous sommes rentrés dans un nouveau paradigme depuis 2008 (et même avant en réalité, puisque le véritable retournement séculier s'est opérér autour de l'an 2000)

Ce qui aurait pu alimenter la machine inflationniste marche maintenant à l'envers, et cela est valable même pour la hausse des matières premières. C'est ce que démontre l'article ci-dessous de David Rosenberg

Ce n'est pas vraiment une perspective réjouissante...

Interesting take on why rising commodity prices ultimately have a deflationary effect – from David Rosenberg in yesterday’s Breakfast With Dave:

The bond market is telling you something very important here that rather than being a permanent source of inflation, what we are witnessing is a global exogenous deflationary shock (the impact on discretionary spending in America will be considerable — consumers use 140 billion gallons of gasoline annually and prices are already up 30 cents so far this year and the run-up is far from over).

So the bottom line is that there is still more near-term upside potential than downside risk for the oil price (and most energy stocks). This then will act as a tax on consumers and as a margin squeeze for non-oil producers and only when global demand sputters, as it did in the summer of 2008, will the oil price break. Never before has the monarchy faced such a protest — the nation itself has a population of 500,000, so 20% showed up for the protest.

What makes Libya different from a market’s perspective is that we are now talking about an oil exporter in the sudden grips of political upheaval down — although it is likely to settle in a new and semi-permanently higher range as it did coming out of the global credit collapse.

I believe we are getting closer to the point where the surge in oil prices could tip the global economy back into recession (we may have already reached that point anyway). My reading of Wall Street research shows that the trigger point for recession calls would be somewhere around $120 a barrel. As it stands, both the move in the oil price on a two-year basis and the current level in real terms suggest that the “odds” based on past performance would certainly be better than 50-50 as it pertains to the U.S. economy in any event. We must also look at what is happening from the lens of soaring food costs as only three times in the past four decades have we confronted a double-digit runup in both food and fuel prices at the same time. Good news for gas stations and maybe food stores but not for other retailers.

Source: Breakfast With Dave

Remember that back in 2008, skyrocketing food and oil prices (which peaked between March and June ‘08) immediately gave way to the most extreme deflationary wave we’ve seen since the 1930’s (and perhaps ever in such a short period of time).

Could we see something similar this time around? Perhaps – but it may be a bit early, as food and oil have not yet (by and large) exceeded their 2008 highs. Plus we’ve still got QE pumping through our monetary veins.

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David Rosenberg: Why Rising Commodity and Oil Prices are Actually Deflationary is an article from: The Contrary Investing Report 

jeudi 24 février 2011

How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws

How the Servant Became a Predator: Finance’s Five Fatal Flaws: "

Bill Black is the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a white-collar criminologist who has spent years working on regulatory policy and fraud prevention as Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention, Litigation Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and Deputy Director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement, among other positions.


What exactly is the function of the financial sector in our society? Simply this: Its sole function is supplying capital efficiently to aid the real economy. The financial sector is a tool to help those that make real tools, not an end in itself. But five fatal flaws in the financial sector’s current structure have created a monster that drains the real economy, promotes fraud and corruption, threatens democracy, and causes recurrent, intensifying crises.

1. The financial sector harms the real economy.

Even when not in crisis, the financial sector harms the real economy. First, it is vastly too large. The finance sector is an intermediary — essentially a “middleman”. Like all middlemen, it should be as small as possible, while still being capable of accomplishing its mission. Otherwise it is inherently parasitical. Unfortunately, it is now vastly larger than necessary, dwarfing the real economy it is supposed to serve. Forty years ago, our real economy grew better with a financial sector that received one-twentieth as large a percentage of total profits (2%) than does the current financial sector (40%). The minimum measure of how much damage the bloated, grossly over-compensated finance sector causes to the real economy is this massive increase in the share of total national income wasted through the finance sector’s parasitism.

Second, the finance sector is worse than parasitic. In the title of his recent book, The Predator State, James Galbraith aptly names the problem. The financial sector functions as the sharp canines that the predator state uses to rend the nation. In addition to siphoning off capital for its own benefit, the finance sector misallocates the remaining capital in ways that harm the real economy in order to reward already-rich financial elites harming the nation. The facts are alarming:

• Corporate stock repurchases and grants of stock to officers have exceeded new capital raised by the U.S. capital markets this decade. That means that the capital markets decapitalize the real economy. Too often, they do so in order to enrich corrupt corporate insiders through accounting fraud or backdated stock options.

• The U.S. real economy suffers from critical shortages of employees with strong mathematical, engineering, and scientific backgrounds. Graduates in these three fields all too frequently choose careers in finance rather than the real economy because the financial sector provides far greater executive compensation. Individuals with these quantitative backgrounds work overwhelmingly in devising the kinds of financial models that were important contributors to the financial crisis. We take people that could be conducting the research & development work essential to the success of our real economy (including its success in becoming sustainable) and put them instead in financial sector activities where, because of that sector’s perverse incentives, they further damage both the financial sector and the real economy. Michael Moore makes this point in his latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story.

• The financial sector’s fixation on accounting earnings leads it to pressure U.S manufacturing and service firms to export jobs abroad, to deny capital to firms that are unionized, and to encourage firms to use foreign tax havens to evade paying U.S. taxes.

• It misallocates capital by creating recurrent financial bubbles. Instead of flowing to the places where it will be most useful to the real economy, capital gets directed to the investments that create the greatest fraudulent accounting gains. The financial sector is particularly prone to providing exceptional amounts of funds to what I call accounting “control frauds“. Control frauds are seemingly-legitimate entities used by the people that control them as a fraud “weapons.” In the financial sector, accounting frauds are the weapons of choice. Accounting control frauds are so attractive to lenders and investors because they produce record, guaranteed short-term accounting “profits.” They optimize by growing rapidly like other Ponzi schemes, making loans to borrowers unlikely to be able to repay them (once the bubble bursts), and engaging in extreme leverage. Unless there is effective regulation and prosecution, this misallocation creates an epidemic of accounting control fraud that hyper-inflates financial bubbles. The FBI began warning of an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud in its congressional testimony in September 2004. It also reports that 80% of mortgage fraud losses come when lender personnel are involved in the fraud. (The other 20% of the fraud would have been impossible had these fraudulent lenders not suborned their underwriting systems and their internal and external controls in order to maximize their growth of bad loans.)

• Because the financial sector cares almost exclusively about high accounting yields and “profits”, it misallocates capital away from firms and entrepreneurs that could best improve the real economy (e.g., by reducing short-term profits through funding the expensive research & development that can produce innovative goods and superior sustainability) and could best reduce poverty and inequality (e.g., through microcredit finance that would put the “Payday lenders” and predatory mortgage lenders out of business).

• It misallocates capital by securing enormous governmental subsidies for financial firms, particularly those that have the greatest political power and would otherwise fail due to incompetence and fraud.

2. The financial sector produces recurrent, intensifying economic crises here and abroad.

The current crisis is only the latest in a long list of economic crises caused by the financial sector. When it is not regulated and policed effectively, the financial sector produces and hyper-inflates bubbles that cause severe economic crises. The current crisis, absent massive, global governmental bailouts, would have caused the catastrophic failure of the global economy. The financial sector has become far more unstable since this crisis began and its members used their lobbying power to convince Congress to gimmick the accounting rules to hide their massive losses. Secretary Geithner has exacerbated the problem by declaring that the largest financial institutions are exempt from receivership regardless of their insolvency. These factors greatly increase the likelihood that these systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) will cause a global financial crisis.

3. The financial sector’s predation is so extraordinary that it now drives the upper one percent of our nation’s income distribution and has driven much of the increase in our grotesque income inequality.

4. The financial sector’s predation and its leading role in committing and aiding and abetting accounting control fraud combine to:

• Corrupt financial elites and professionals, and

• Spur a rise in Social Darwinism in an attempt to justify the elites’ power and wealth. Accounting control frauds suborn accountants, attorneys, and appraisers and create what is known as a “Gresham’s dynamic” — a system in which bad money drives out good. When this dynamic occurs, honest professionals are pushed out and cheaters are allowed to prosper. Executive compensation has become so massive, so divorced from performance, and so perverse that it, too, creates a Gresham’s dynamic that encourages widespread accounting fraud by both financial firms and firms in the real economy.

As financial sector elites became obscenely wealthy through predation and fraud, their psychological incentives to embrace unhealthy, anti-democratic Social Darwinism surged. While they were, by any objective measure, the worst elements of the public, their sycophants in the media and the recipients of their political and charitable contributions worshiped them as heroic. Finance CEOs adopted and spread the myth that they were smarter, harder working, and more innovative than the rest of us. They repeated the story of how they rose to the top entirely through their own brilliance and willingness to embrace risk. All of their employees weren’t simply above average, they told us, but exceptional. They hated collectivism and adored Ayn Rand.

5. The CEOs of the largest financial firms are so powerful that they pose a critical risk to the financial sector, the real economy, and our democracy.

The CEOs can directly, through the firm, and by “bundling” contributions of its officers and employees, easily make enormous political contributions and use their PR firms and lobbyists to manipulate the media and public officials. The ability of the financial sector to block meaningful reform after bringing the world to the brink of a second great depression proves how exceptional its powers are to corrupt nearly every critical sector of American public and economic life. The five largest U.S. banks control roughly half of all bank assets. They use their political and financial power to provide themselves with competitive advantages that allow them to dominate smaller banks.

This excessive power was a major contributor to the ongoing crisis. Effective financial and securities regulation was anathema to the CEOs’ ideology (and the greatest danger to their frauds, wealth, and power) and they successfully set out to destroy it. That produced what criminologists refer to as a “criminogenic environment” (an atmosphere that breeds criminal activity) that prompted the epidemic of accounting control fraud that hyper-inflated the housing bubble.

The financial industry’s power and progressive corruption combined to produce the perfect white-collar crimes. They successfully lobbied politicians, for example, to legalize the obscenity of “dead peasants’ insurance” (in which an employer secretly takes out insurance on an employee and receives a windfall in the event of that person’s untimely death) that Michael Moore exposes in chilling detail. State legislatures changed the law to allow a pure tax scam to subsidize large corporations at the expense of their taxpayers.

Caution: Never Forget the Need to Fix the Real Economy

Economic reform efforts are focused almost entirely on fixing finance because the finance sector is so badly broken that it produces recurrent, intensifying crises. The latest crisis brought us to the point of global catastrophe, so the focus on finance is obviously rational. But the focus on finance carries a grave risk. Remember, the sole purpose of finance is to aid the real economy. Our ultimate focus needs to be on the real economy, which creates goods and services, our jobs, and our incomes. The real economy came off the rails at least three decades ago for the great majority of Americans.

We need to commit to fixing the real economy by guaranteeing that everyone willing to work can work and making the real economy sustainable rather than recurrently causing global environmental crises. We must not spend virtually all of our reform efforts on the finance sector and assume that if we solve its defects we will have solved the other fundamental reasons why the real economy has remained so dysfunctional for decades. We need to be work simultaneously to fix finance and the real economy.