The Jubilee

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Sanctity of contract: for some, not for others

Posted by Alex Krainer on October 24, 2010

In spite of the overwhelming opposition of the majority of people, the French parliament just passed a reform that will increase the age of retirement in France from 60 to 62. Whatever happened to sanctity of contract? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Why financiers LOVE democracy (and why the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize went to Liu Xiaobo)

Posted by Alex Krainer on October 12, 2010

Financiers just love western-style democracies. They’re the absolute dream clients. Politicians who promise the most tend to be most popular with the electorate. Once in office, they need not worry about the cost of their promises; if there’s a shortfall in funding, they can always turn to the financiers to borrow the extra funds.

The more they can borrow and spend, the better. After all, spending money is fun and makes you feel all powerful and important. By contrast, repaying debts is no fun and you get to feel small and humble. But paying back debts is irrelevant – it’s a problem for future administrations (well, if they’re smart, they’ll pay the old debts with new debts). Read the rest of this entry »

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Economy, market manipulation and inflation

Posted by Alex Krainer on September 2, 2010

Commodity and capital market behaviour seems to be diverging ever further from any notion of rationality. Increasingly, participants are suspecting foul play and manipulation by powerful interests as a possible explanation for this. Such allegations are nothing new, but of late, much evidence has surfaced substantiating the suspicions. The tricky bit is figuring out who is doing this and to what ends. While some hedge funds got caught manipulating prices, I believe that the chief culprits are the NY Federal Reserve and its too-big-to-fail owners. As to their objectives, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Economic imbalances, Money & investing, Politics, Risk management | Leave a Comment »

CNBC: Congressman Ron Paul is a big fat fraud!!

Posted by Alex Krainer on June 20, 2010

Anyhow, that’s what CNBC would have you believe, hoping that you are as gullible and airheaded as they must assume you are. Working in the financial industry, I have the unhappy privilege of having CNBC running continuously on TV screens scattered around the office. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

So you’re determined: you’ll invest with the stars only

Posted by Alex Krainer on April 30, 2010

These days, the alternative investments market seems like a star managers’ seller’s market: everyone wants to invest with the stars and hardly a penny finds its way toward lesser managers. Quality, no quality, performance or no performance – either you’re big and famous, or you don’t exist as far as the world’s “sophisticated” investors are concerned. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Money & investing | 1 Comment »

Market risk, hedging & shareholder value

Posted by Alex Krainer on April 13, 2010

Strategic risk management is among the most powerful ways for companies to upgrade their competitive edge, boost profitability and enhance shareholder value. This is especially true for commodity-related industries where exposure to volatile prices of commodities, foreign currencies or interest rates represents some of the main sources of risk. However, such a business should not seek to eliminate the price risk as this would also eliminate one of the strongest drivers of profitability and value creation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Hedging, Risk management | Leave a Comment »

Japan: a harbinger of (bad) things to come?

Posted by Alex Krainer on March 18, 2010

Large and gathering imbalances brewing in the Japanese economy threaten to generate a tsunami-like fallout that could soak most of the global economy. This might give rise to the next crisis of unforeseeable proportions.

False sense of security

The Japanese experience has provided comfort to western policy-makers, supposedly proving that governments can spend and borrow for as long as they like. Japan has run deficits for years and has seen its debt burden explode, yet it has also seen its long-term borrowing costs decline. But these benign conditions are likely to come to a head. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Economic imbalances, Money & investing | Leave a Comment »

US debt dumping: sign of panic or an act of war?

Posted by Alex Krainer on August 31, 2009

Although the US economy is now showing definite symptoms of deflation, the risk of a rapid decline in the US dollar, a rise in interest rates and high inflation remain considerable. To address these risks, investors should allocate a portion of their assets to funds trading financial and commodity futures which stand to benefit from major price dislocations in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Money & investing | Leave a Comment »

Tell the truth (even if it leads to your death)!

Posted by Alex Krainer on February 18, 2009

A simple thought with the power to make us better people and the world a better place.

Funny how a few words strung together have the power to profoundly affect your outlook. Two or three years ago I saw Ridley Scott’s film “Kingdom of Heaven” (if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it). In one scene, a French knight (Liam Neeson) initiates his son (Orlando Bloom) into his order; as part of the initiation rite, the father admonishes his son: “always tell the truth, even if it leads to your death.” These words never quite left my thoughts since. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Truth | 1 Comment »