2017 February

Third Avenue

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.

Low Interest Rates

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.

Chinese Debt

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.