Follow Dr. Andreas Höfert
Andreas Höfert is Chief Economist Wealth Management and Regional Chief Investment Officer Europe.
It is contradictory to speak of “negative inflation,” but when did that ever stop economists? The phrase oxymoronically but aptly describes the problem confronting an increasing number of countries worldwide. The most obvious reason is the oil price, which has more than halved in US dollar terms over the last two quarters. Therefore, even when inflation is “turning negative” on a global scale, we would still not be in a state of deflation.
“The US is losing the currency war” is the title of an article published on 2 February by the German news magazine Die Zeit. Indeed, the mighty US dollar, which has appreciated almost 20% on a trade-weighted basis since June, seems to pose a tremendous challenge to the US. Die Zeit is even hinting at the possibility of the US economy stalling. But does the US really have to worry?
Markets were calm last Monday. The extreme left party Syriza’s victory in the Greek general election was “well anticipated” and hence “priced in.” Now, however, tough negotiations, even psychodramas, are inevitable, since the aspirations of Syriza and the Greek people seem to contradict the claims of Greece’s creditors. We had already a foretaste during this week with the announcement of the government – much more hardline, than what was anticipated – and Greece questioning the new sanctions of the European Union against Russia.
Cheaper oil – is it a blessing or a curse? Many clients, even those from Europe, have been asking this question lately. Since Europe doesn’t produce oil, it tells us something about the depressed mood there. Even obviously good news seems to be interpreted as having a potential negative impact.
On 26 January, an asteroid named 2004 BL86, estimated to be between 400 and 1,000 meters in diameter, will pass the Earth at a distance of 1.2 million kilometers, aggressively encroaching what astronomers consider the “safety zone” around the planet. On the same day, something else might hit the markets much harder: the results of the Greek snap parliamentary election.
One hundred and forty-two years: this is how long the US was the world's the largest economy. In 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund, it had to pass the baton back to China. This New Year’s Eve China will represent 16.5% of the world’s purchasing-power-adjusted GDP (USD 17.6trn), with the US at 16.3% (USD 17.4trn).
This is the third time in the last three years I've used the famous Hamlet quote as the headline for one of my editorials. And once again the subject is the situation in the Eurozone.
Last week I had the honor of giving a lecture during the Economists’ Career Day at my alma mater, the University of St. Gallen, to students, faculty members and alumni. My talk centered on the views that we at the CIO team have developed over the last five years regarding the euro crisis. We have written extensively about it in numerous publications, so I will not repeat everything here. However, there is one point I’d like to expand on since someone challenged me on it after my speech.
Appearances in the media
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