Victor Hill

The grass is greener in the Land of the Long White Cloud

The grass is greener in the Land of the Long White Cloud

14 mins. to read

New Zealand is a land of moderate weather, politics and economic policy. Growth prospects for the New Zealand stock market this year are also moderately good. Kia-Ora! When you enter New Zealand the passport check is accomplished by robots – but getting through the bio-security channel is lengthy and troublesome. If you have so much as…

The Great Australian Soap Opera

The Great Australian Soap Opera

13 mins. to read

Australian politics has much in common with the country’s most famous TV soap. But the real issue right now is whether Australia can sustain its remarkable prosperity in a more uncertain world. Everybody needs good neighbours: Mr Turnbull under pressure On 09 April The Australianproclaimed that Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister, had “lost” the…

Where now for oil and the fracking revolution?
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Where now for oil and the fracking revolution?

20 mins. to read

One year ago I reported for this magazine that the global oil and gas industry was experiencing one of the severest downturns in 30 years. A perfect storm of overproduction, geopolitical tensions and the long-term move towards alternative energy sources (renewables) had caused oil prices to fall to levels that were often below the long-term…

Banker-bashing down-under

Banker-bashing down-under

9 mins. to read

Australia’s bankers are mired in scandals that make the country’s cricket team look virtuous by comparison.  Bloated bank bonuses down-under On Wednesday (05 April), the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the country’s bank regulator, resumed a theme that has driven news headlines of late down-under. Wayne Byres, the APRA Chairman, told the Australian Banking and…

Grappling with the bear

Grappling with the bear

14 mins. to read

What will be the long-term consequences of the incident in Salisbury on 04 March? It seems a new arms race, already underway, has intensified. Chess-players In Russia, chess is a spectator sport. I have seen, in Gorky Park in winter, a small crowd form around two players locked in intellectual combat over an oversize chess…

The Twilight of the Zombies

The Twilight of the Zombies

13 mins. to read

Globally, the corporate default rate is about to spike. That will have serious consequences for the international financial system – though not all bad. Rates are on the way up Interest rates in the USA and the UK are going to rise – and more quickly than we thought. We know this because the central…

Mr Hammond’s good news

Mr Hammond’s good news

13 mins. to read

The outlook for UK government finances has improved (mildly) – that is good news. But the debate about “austerity” will remain with us for many more years. Moderately encouraging numbers Until Mr Hammond’s arrival at 11 Downing Street, March was the month of the budget when tax rates and bands were announced for the forthcoming…

Brexit: We are all Ultras now…

Brexit: We are all Ultras now…

13 mins. to read

The Brexit negotiations have entered a critical phase. Decisions made by both sides in the next three months will have long-term consequences. In a state of conflict, all sides become extreme. A modern English Civil War The classic schoolboy pseudo-history 1066 And All That asserted that, during the English Civil War, the Cavaliers were “Wrong…

Expect more stock market volatility – but is it a bad thing?

Expect more stock market volatility – but is it a bad thing?

12 mins. to read

The index of stock market volatility (the VIX) has gone from almost nothing to quite something. Market experts are donning their Hi-Viz safety apparel. Should we be worried? What are stock markets for? A nineteenth century economist would have answered the question by saying that they are a means of providing essential equity finance to…

European markets – what could possibly go wrong?
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European markets – what could possibly go wrong?

13 mins. to read

The eurozone is humming with robust synchronised growth, right? So why has the biggest Wall Street hedge fund shorted European markets to the tune of $22 billion? A very big short Last week CNBC revealed that Bridgewater Capital, a Wall Street hedge fund with $160 billion under management, had taken out short positions on European…