Prieur’s readings (December 1, 2009)

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This post provides links to a number of interesting articles I have read over the past few days that you may also enjoy.

• Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi (Financial Times): This is not the end of the road for Dubai, November 30, 2009.
Other countries have gone through the same cycle and emerged in a better condition. Dubai now has a chance to emerge leaner, meaner and better.
James Quinn (Telegraph): Gold acquires new investment aura, November 29, 2009.

• When HSBC closes its vaults to hundreds of American gold bugs (investors) next July, it will be shutting the door on one of the fastest growing trends in the investment community. Although the British-based bank has decided to stop retail investors depositing the shiny stuff at its New York vaults in favour of storing gold for higher paying institutional customers, it has not stopped the rest of the world from clamouring to join the gold rush.

• John Hussman (Hussman Funds): Reckless myopia, November 1, 2009.
We face two possible states of the world. One is a world in which our economic problems are largely solved, profits are on the mend, and things will soon be back to normal, except for a lot of unemployed people whose fate is, let’s face it, of no concern to Wall Street. The other is a world that has enjoyed a brief intermission prior to a terrific second act in which an even larger share of credit losses will be taken, and in which the range of policy choices will be more restricted because we’ve already issued more government liabilities than a banana republic, and will steeply debase our currency if we do it again. It is not at all clear that the recent data have removed any uncertainty as to which world we are in.

• Spencer Jakab (Financial Times): On Wall Street – apocalypse how? November 27, 2009.
Confused about what the future holds for the economy? So are financial markets. Record gold prices and negative US Treasury yields are strange bedfellows, indicating general uneasiness but also conflicting bets on inflation or deflation.

• Kevin Carmichael (The Globe and Mail): A world awash in debt, November 27, 2009.
The financial crisis provoked a global front to stimulate economies through massive spending. But this was fuelled by a staggering amount of borrowing. Now governments are realizing that a new calamity looms – higher taxes and slashed social programs.

• Robert Reich (Robert Reich’s Blog): The housing crisis and Wall Street shame, November 29, 2009.
One out of four homeowners is now under water, owing more on their homes than the homes are worth. Why? The biggest single factor behind the housing crisis is rising unemployment. According to the latest ABC-Washington Post poll, one out of every three Americans has either lost their job or lives in a household with someone who has lost a job. Today it takes two and sometimes three incomes to buy the groceries and pay the mortgage or the rent. So if one of those incomes is gone, a homeowner can’t make the payment.

• Niall Ferguson (Newsweek): An empire at risk, November 30, 2009.
We won the cold war and weathered 9/11. But now economic weakness is endangering our global power. With pundits speculating about the end of American global dominance, Ferguson looks back on the rise and fall of the world’s great powers.

• Economist.com: Time for action, November 27, 2009.
As the yen soars, the need for intervention grows.

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