China's official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 55.1 from 52 in February, according to Li & Fung Group, a Hong Kong-based company that releases data for the Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. It marked the 13th straight month the index showed expansion and was in line with the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 13 economists. A reading above 50 indicates growth.
Another PMI for China released by HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE ADR: HBC) was even more positive, showing a rise to 57.0 in March from 55.8 in February.
How can banks and lending institutions take our money and then turn around and shut nearly everyone out - which simply prolongs this recession? Can anyone explain why the present administration and regulatory bodies are not forcing the banks to loan monies to qualified applicants?
At this rate, we will be dead soon. Without borrowing, we will die.
(Signed) Living in Costa Rica
For example, when you talk about the Obama administration's determination to keep interest rates low - this has consequences. What will those rates be in, say, a three-year to five-year time frame? What if the European countries keep having implosions like Greece - meaning that countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy follow suit?
In your opinion, will that eventually sink the euro, or does the Eurozone have to bail out those countries with a plan that's similar to the one that it is developing for Greece? What happens to other currencies in either of these scenarios?
Finally, is it your opinion that China is trying to curtail its growth to keep itself from overheating? Can Beijing successfully continue to do this - or will this blow up in China's face? If you look down the road, say, three to five years, what do you believe the consequences, if any, will be?
Again, Shah, this was a really informative article. I would love to hear your views on what you actually see playing out in each of these areas during the next few years.
Answer: Thank you for your kind words about the article and for taking the time to pose your questions - which are excellent ones, by the way. Let's take a look at them, one at a time...
Earlier this week, Fitz-Gerald's prediction acquired a powerful new disciple: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) Chief Economist Jim O'Neill.
In an essay that's part of a report published Friday for Chatham House, a London-based foreign-affairs researcher, O'Neill wrote that China's yuan is destined to become a global reserve currency on par with the U.S. dollar or European euro.
The "forces" I was referring to are called "capital waves." Capital waves create some of the biggest trading opportunities in the markets today. Investors who are able to spot capital waves and identify their likely impact have a huge advantage over those who don't.
With oil, for instance, pundits were calling for new highs of $200, $250, $300 and even $500 a barrel. But behind the curtain, there was a major capital wave at play: I knew that oil was being pumped out of the ground like mad, and that shipping rates were exploding because oil was being stored in offshore, idled tankers. I knew that as little as $20 billion had been "re-allocated" out of the equity markets and into this new-asset-class investment for pension fund accounts.
As a speculative frenzy seemed to be enveloping the oil market, I called for oil prices to plummet - to more than a few looks of incredulity or outright guffaws.
When the secondary capital waves took hold, the speculative advance in oil prices first stalled - and then oil prices plunged as capital exited in another wave.
Don't feel bad if you missed this opportunity. That's the important thing to remember about capital waves - they're out there if you know where to look and how to interpret them. In fact, as good as this oil play was, I see even better opportunities ahead.