Economics

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14 Feb: Third Avenue Funds – Thoughts on the Market and New Positions

Portfolio Manager commentary as of December 31, 2016 regarding small cap investments. Third Avenue is a private investment firm rooted in their collective value-driven investment philosophy. Since their founding in 1986, they have consistently pursued a fundamental, bottom-up approach to deep value and distressed investing–the fund has it’s focus on the company’s balance sheet, the value of its underlying assets, and the discounted price of its securities.

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13 Feb: Behaving responsibly in a low interest rate environment – a central banker’s perspective

The growth trend has been declining in many mature economies not just since the crisis, but for several decades. This slowdown in growth has led to lower long-term interest rates. The structural causes of this trend of slowing growth is a subject of controversy among specialists. Demographic and technological developments are mentioned, as are the effects of the financial cycle, which may be out of sync with the business cycles. I do not want to pre-empt this ongoing discussion. Instead, I would like to focus on two issues, which in the current context are very relevant from a monetary policy perspective – regardless of the structural causes underlying the weak economic growth.

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02 Feb: Looming debt problem in China

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report in which it increased its forecast for China’s GDP growth by 0.3 percentage points to 6.5 percent. However, the IMF report also warned that “slow progress in addressing corporate debt” posed a risk to the forecast. China’s claims to be over the worst of its corporate debt problem seem to be wishful thinking. One thing is certain: The debt problem is real; it’s a drag on growth; and policies so far have not gotten rid of it.

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14 Dec: How to invest in water the next big thing

Is it the next gold rush or just a hype ? We all remember the movie The Big Short which tells the story of four investors who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse in 2008. The first of these investors that predicted the burst of the housing bubble was Dr. Michael Burry, who is portrayed in The Big Short by Christian Bale. The last line of the movie, printed on a placard, is: “Michael Burry is focusing all of his trading on one commodity: Water.”

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26 Oct: Italy’s banking sector staring into the abyss

The financial sector is on the brink of collapse. The country that probably gave the English-speaking world the word for bank – medieval Italian merchants traded with each other on a bench known as banca – has a €360bn problem in its fragmented banking sector. This is the amount of non-performing loans, loans on which customer’s repayments have fallen behind.

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18 Mar: How To Read Economic Data

We want to fill a gap here. A lot of economic data is published day in and day out but yet most of us don’t really understand the lingo behind it. Let’s bring some clarity into this. Regularly we come across certain terms dealing with measures of economic activity. Most of them are pretty straight forward if you give it a chance.