Friday, November 27, 2015

Pension Adequacy in an Ageing World

[Disclaimer: Since I work for a pension fund, this blog post should be taken as biased and not wholly objective. You have been warned]

From Project Syndicate, Allianz Asset Management on pension adequacy (excerpt):

Rehearsals for Retirement

MUNICH – Over the rest of the twenty-first century, the global human population is expected to keep growing; more important, it will keep growing older. By the year 2100, the United Nations expects there to be more than ten billion of us, up from 7.3 billion today. In the meantime, the number of people older than 60 is expected to double by 2050 and more than triple by the end of the century.

As societies around the world prepare for swelling numbers of retirees, the policy challenge will be to ensure the financial sustainability of pension systems while guaranteeing adequate incomes for those no longer working. Today, according to recent research by Allianz, only four countries appear to have achieved this: Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, and New Zealand....

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Interest Rate Parity and Exchange Rates

[If you want to skip all the math and theoretical stuff, go ahead and jump down to the conclusion]

Take a bond, any bond.

Actually take two. Make them zero coupon as well, with a one year maturity (for ease of exposition). Bond A is issued in Country A, while Bond B is issued in Country B, both at a discount of 5% to face value i.e. both bonds yield 5% in a single year.

Let’s define the spot exchange rate (S) as the ratio of currency B to currency A, say for example, $4 of country B currency is exchangeable to $1 of country A currency.

Monday, November 16, 2015

3Q 2015 GDP: Flip A Coin

Last week’s GDP report was a mixed bag. On the one hand it paints a picture of an economy slowing down, especially in terms of domestic demand. On the other hand, some of the indicators appear to have bottomed out.

The headline numbers aren’t appealing (log annual and SAAR quarterly changes; 2010=100):


Friday, November 13, 2015

Low Interest Rates: It Isn’t Just QE

We’re nearing Fed “liftoff” with a better than 50% chance that the US Fed Funds Rate will rise above 0%-0.25% for the first time since 2008. But even taking into consideration the extraordinary monetary accommodation conducted by the major advanced economy central banks, interest rates globally have been in secular decline for very nearly 50 years, since the heyday of stagflation in the 1970s.

Money printing doesn’t half explain what’s going on.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Adventures In Measuring Productivity

Noah Smith has a headache (excerpt):

Big TFP data mystery!

I had been under the impression that over the last three decades or so, the rich countries had all experienced similar rates of TFP growth. My source for that was the OECD's time-series on multifactor productivity (another name for TFP).....

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

September 2015 IPI: Steady Recovery

Monday’s industrial production figures paint a picture of recovery (log annual and monthly changes; seasonally adjusted; 2000=100):



Manufacturing output has been steady for most of the year, but mining output (read: oil & gas) had been on a downtrend. More worrying to me was the sharp drop off in electricity generation – that pointed to underlying weakness in both business and consumer demand. Unless this was a dead cat bounce, September’s figures suggests whatever malaise hitting both sectors is now over.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Budget 2016: Some Thoughts

The best laid plans of mice and men…

I was going to put up an analysis of Budget 2016 the day after the budget, but as luck would have it, I managed to come down with pneumonia and have spent most of the last two weeks trying to recover. So here’s a very belated, quick overview of what I think of the budget.

Or you can take this is as the confused, feverish ramblings of a diseased brain.