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John Mauldin - Gavekal on Russia and Japan

March 20, 2014 | About:

John Mauldin

March 19, 2014

I look at dozens of sources a day on global macroeconomics, but one source I go to every day is my good friends at Gavekal. The Gavekal partnership – father Charles Gave, son Louis-Vincent Gave, and noted economist and journalist Anatole Kaletsky – spans three continents: Charles is based in Paris, Anatole is in London, Louis has set up shop in Hong Kong, and the firm also has an office in the US. And they have an extensive team of outstanding analysts.

Gavekal’s publishes global macro articles for its clients on an almost daily basis, and for today’s Outside the Box they have allowed me to share two of them with you. First, Louis Gave gives us a very insightful analysis of Russia’s permanent interests and makes a very interesting case connecting Middle East oil and Crimea.

The author of the second piece is Gavekal Asia Research Director Joyce Poon, who has been rising on my must-read list because she consistently thinks differently and more deeply than most conventional analysts. Her analysis here on Japan is very intriguing, convincing, and counterintuitive to standard economic theory. But, you’ll note, the end result is to still short the yen.

Incidentally, Anatole Kaletsky will speak at our Strategic Investment Conference this year, as he has for the past several years. This is a must-attend conference.

There has been a great response to the exclusive-to-Mauldin-Economics video interview by Jim Bruce of Janet Yellen when she was the president of the San Francisco Fed. He interviewed her in the course of producing the gonzo documentary on the Federal Reserve, Money for Nothing. The original interview was quite wide-ranging – over two hours – and Jim has edited the interview to just over 10 minutes of the most pertinent and interesting pieces segments. Given that today is the day Yellen chairs her first Fed meeting, I think it might be interesting to see what her views are on the role of the Federal Reserve.

What's fascinating to me are the risks inherent in so many of her beliefs:

  • That the Fed can reduce “the pain that people feel when they want to have jobs” by stimulating financial markets with ultra-low rates
  • That the Fed will be able to control inflation no matter how profligate Washington gets
  • That the Fed wasn't irresponsible in deliberately fueling the housing bubble, and shouldn't raise rates to puncture a bubble because it might impact the economy.

These are the views that are going to be driving Fed policy and shaping the monetary environment in which we all invest. I think it’s worth your time to consider. You can watch the interview here.

As you receive this I am on a plane to Buenos Aires, where I will spend the day before flying on to Salta and then driving three hours up through a beautiful canyon to Cafayate. Sometime early in the week I will make a 4- to 5-hour trek over the roughest terrain I’ve ever driven on, back to see my old friend Bill Bonner at his hacienda at 10,000 feet in the Andes. He retreats there for two months every year, where he continues to write and pursue his avocation of building things with his own hands. In theory there is internet, but in practice I was completely cut off for a few days when I was there last year. Withdrawal was acute, but I survived. I might even need to stay a few days longer with just my books to see if the reflexive tics go away.

Continue reading here.

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