The most depressing part of the story: it’s the same old story.
China fired first. Maybe it was Brazil. It could have been Mexico. Or perhaps Japan. Whoever pulled the trigger, one thing is certain: the currency war is on. And the one who can debase their money furthest, and fastest, wins.
If one is looking to invest, the regular considerations might include Amazon, Google, Apple—even penny stocks (as one philosophy suggests, where is there to go but up?). Yet recent research indicates the most lucrative investment might not be in gold.
Odysseus had Scylla and Charybdis; in the present day, Greeks have been forced to choose between austerity and bankruptcy. The devil and the deep blue sea—either way, the chances of coming out in one piece are pretty slim.
It was the kind of story that sends the financial press into spasms of ecstasy. Back in November, a smiling Mr. Harper stepped in front of the cameras at the Great Hall of the People and announced that Canada secured the rights to become the first North American trading hub for the renminbi, China’s official currency.
It wasn’t the service. Or the ambience. And let’s be honest with ourselves—it wasn’t the coffee or the doughnuts either. No, it was a feeling that turned Tim Hortons into our national coffee shop. Call it a sense of humble comfort: a small-town, aw-shucks goodness its customers liked to see in themselves.
Whoever thought up the “war is good for business” thing might want to check out the action on the Moscow Exchange this year. As the crisis in Ukraine came to a boil at the end of February, investor appetite for Russian equities went into a deep freeze, and the country’s benchmark Russian Trading System (RTS) stock-market index lost 19 per cent in a matter of weeks.
Even the name sounds sketchy: “shadow bank”. An apt moniker for a business that lends like a bank, earns interest like a bank, has a pleasant and confidence-inspiring name like a bank, yet isn’t exactly a bank—particularly when it comes to regulations, transparency, and risk control.
Remember the meltdown of 2008? You know—the one where America’s housing market fell down a deep, dark hole, the world’s banks teetered on the edge of insolvency, stock markets did a face plant, and stockbrokers from here to Timbuktu considered (however briefly) defenestration as their next career move? Sure you do.