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The Swiss franc under intense stress

The safe-haven Swiss franc has beaten new records on several fronts. Against the single currency, the franc reached 1.15, against the US dollar it is slightly above 0.80 and against the British pound it lies at 1.30. Latest developments in the eurozone crisis saga and disappointing economic data in the US have darkened the global […]

Gold reaches new highs with sovereign debt crisis

Gold peaked yesterday slightly above USD 1594, after Ben Bernanke referred, in his twice-a-year economic report to Congress, to the possibility of resorting to a third quantitative easing plan. This sent the dollar lower and the gold price to a new high in US dollars, as well as in euro and sterling. The price of […]

China: Second quarter GDP and June macroeconomic data

Real GDP growth came in at 9.5% in the second quarter, slightly down from the first quarter figure of 9.7%, China’s economy is doing well, despite worries over potential excessive tightening. We believe that the tightening process is over and we expect a smooth economic slowdown during the second semester. For the whole year, the […]

The ECB keeps its word despite the crisis

Despite the current very uncertain environment, the ECB’s Governing Council decided yesterday afternoon to raise its interest rates by 25bp. As a result the corridor between the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility remained unchanged at 150bp. The pre-crisis corridor was 200bp. Yesterday’s decision was taken unanimously and was probably dictated to a large […]

China: Fifth Interest Rate Hike

Today, the People’s Bank of China – the Chinese central bank – announced a fifth interest rate hike of 25 bps on one-year deposit and lending rates to 3.50% and 6.56% respectively. This hike is evenly distributed on both deposit and lending rates over the duration curve – except for demand deposits that were not […]

Gold trades range bound as the fate of Greece is still uncertain

The Greek sovereign turmoil had briefly pushed the gold price to new highs. The ensuring appreciation in the US dollar then caused the price of gold correct to reach $1,500 an ounce. Yesterday’s Greek parliamentary vote backed the new austerity measures, easing the way for being granted further international financial assistance and thus avoiding default. […]

Summer of tension

Although markets have been bouncing back and forth during the first six months of the year, the performance of various styles of strategy has been frustrating for most investors.Take June, for example: between the 1st and 24th, the S&P 500 underperformed 10-year US Treasuries by almost 8 percentage points, but, in the last four trading […]

IEA releases strategic oil reserves

The IEA, the world energy watch-dog, had threatened a month ago to release strategic reserves to alleviate the supply shortage due to Libyan oil output decreasing, equivalent to about 10 days of European consumption. It proceeded to do so last Thursday, by releasing 60m barrels of oil, of which half was provided by the United […]

China declares victory on inflation

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao declared in the FT today that “overall price level is within a controllable range and is expected to drop steadily”. This declaration confirms our core scenario of headline inflation declining in the second semester from roughly 6% in June towards 4.3% by the end of the year. We believe that this […]

Insight: Socially Responsible Investments

     The views from Christophe Butz & Laurent Nguyen Lessons from the crisis Apart from wreaking havoc across the globe, the financial crisis also taught socially responsible investors two instructive lessons. First, SRI equity portfolios performed very much in line with the broad market and did not provide a significantly better downside protection. And, […]

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