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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, […]

Switzerland: monetary policy assessment

As expected, at its quarterly monetary policy meeting, the SNB kept its target three-month LIBOR rate on hold at 0.25%. As the chart below shows, the official rate has been at this level since March 2009. The Central Bank seemed less upbeat on growth prospects, but remains worried by the “danger of overheating in the […]

United States: consumer price index

Although part of the recent acceleration is linked to temporary factors, we believe that core inflation will pick up further, albeit modestly, during the course of H2. Our year-end target is actually revised up from 1.6% to 1.8%. The overall CPI rose by 0.2% m-o-m in May, above consensus expectations of +0.1%. Food prices were […]

China’s May Macro Data

May trade figures came as a surprise to the market since it shows domestic demand is not declining, contrary to the consensus’ belief of a hard landing as a consequence of tightening measures introduced to tame inflation. Imports grew much stronger than market expectations, suggesting a firm demand. Inflation grew a bit but is heading […]

Greek crisis: an update

Greece’s cabinet yesterday approved the Medium Term Fiscal Strategy (MTFS) after days of acrimonious debate within the PASOK (Prime Minister’s party). It is worth recalling that the adoption of this plan is pivotal for Greece to obtain a new EU-IMF rescue package designed to fulfil its 2012 financing gap. Without this aid extension, the IMF […]

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