Tuesday, 26 October 2010

To QE or not to QE

Please sir, I want some more. The behaviour of the UK equity markets and its erstwhile participants is nothing short of a Dickensian drama. The fact the good economic data, as witnessed by the latest economic releases showing UK growth twice as rapid as predicted by City economists, can send the markets lower is a reflection of typical investor impishness of late. Breast fed well into late adulthood by BOE's pump-priming, investors cannot cope with a scenario where there is no sure-thing around the corner.

Even more worryingly for investors and the investment bankers, who advise them, are the signs of life the US economy is beginning to show. Might the insidious Fed put be wrenched away unexpectedly? This will ruin the easy momentum plays assisting bonus accruals on many a trading floor. Trades such as a perpetually weakening dollar, rising equity markets, gold's vertiginous climb and an oil market dominated by dumb money chasing it (disregarding consecutive releases of fundamental data advising a fall). Expect a cacophony of fearful voices, arguing for more easing on increasingly tenuous grounds. They will be talking their own book.

Weaning the world off easy returns with cheap risk capital is not an easy job. Too many vested interests. What we need today are brave and honest benefactors in positions of authority to explain why this weaning is necessary before it is too late. Lets hope that Mr King and Mr Bernanke are up to the task. I would not bet my free money on it though.

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