Two years ago the S&P downgraded the credit rating of the United States sovereign debt, triggering a global equities sell-off and motivating me to write a long post called “Don’t panic”. If excessive pessimism brought on by third-party “research” was unwarranted, excessive optimism nowadays is too. There will certainly be a large number of articles saying how bad the S&P screwed up – first one right here – so, again, read them with the necessary pounds of salt. I haven’t done, and won’t do, the research on the current state of the US economy to say anything about it. I’m still qualified enough to say, again, don’t panic – but don’t believe the hype either.
I’ve thought about not writing to comment the latest bullish posts on “Brazil” by the otherwise interesting blog Reformed Broker. In one post, he argues that if he had a gun to his head to pick one market to be invested in for the next 10 years, with no option to get out before these 10 years are over, he would pick Brazil. In another post he shares “analysis” that shows how buying “Brazil” after 20% drops has had great “performance” in ages past. For the sake of foreigners seeking to know more about this, here are a few comments.
H/T to Abnormal Returns for posing a tough question – “would a mandatory savings program be net-net beneficial to society?” – and for getting many financial bloggers to answer it. To be taken with the necessary pounds of salt as I don’t know how much work went into the answers, how much time they had to think about it and how much each individual respondent actually knows about this subject. It is a question that has been bothering me tremendously when considering Brazil and demographics.
The Financial Times had an interesting story on Brazil’s struggling “elected champions”. What seems to start off as another piece on Eike Batista’s woes is, thankfully and much more relevantly, a report on the federal government’s rising interventionism.
Prof. Clayton Christensen had a very thought-provoking op-ed in the NYT. He starts by saying that it matters very little who wins the US presidential election. He then hints on the Capitalist’s dilemma: “Capitalists seem almost uninterested in capitalism, even as entrepreneurs eager to start companies find that they can’t get financing.” Next, he discusses 3 types of innovations and says that the US needs more innovations of the empowering kind. Finally, he gives three ideas to kick-start a debate on how the US can solve the “empowering innovation” problem.
Financial Times: “Brokers trying to hawk Brazilian shares to international fund managers in New York and London have had a tough time of it recently. (…) ‘The question we always get is what will be the next sector in which the government plans to intervene?’ says one analyst with a foreign bank.”
Dartmouth professor Richard D’Aveni has a thought-provoking interview at Fortune about his latest book, which is about China as a threat to US interests – valid for Brazil as well and for the same reasons. It’s hard to disagree with Prof. D’Aveni’s idea that “the free market has basically got a disavantage when you’re against a smart strategic capitalist”.
This blog’s most frequent contributor just recently reminded me of a source I had been neglecting of late: Bronte Capital. As the most recent post “The macroeconomics of Chinese kleptocracy” shows, it’s always entertaining and provocative, even though I sometimes don’t agree with their arguments. Since the statements sometimes jump the necessary explanation, it’s not easy to tell when they’ve done the homework.
The agenda for the 2012 Rio Investors Day conference is now online, and I will cover both days of the event next week (Monday and Tuesday). The “single track” design favors breadth over depth, but given the intended audience it’s probably for the best. All in all it’s a great initiative and a well-organized event. Check back next week for the notes!
This article by Economist.com actually makes for interesting food for thought regarding Brazil and other highly-regulated economies. If the USA has it rough, how do we have it here? We highlight some interesting tidbits valid for all over-regulated countries.