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Tuesday December 1, 2009 - 15:46:05 GMT
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Jack does not understand anything.

Key News
•     China Manufacturing Grows at Faster Pace, Helping Asia Lead World Recovery (Bloomberg)
•    Japan's Central Bank to Pump Cash Into Economy on Lower Prices, Higher Yen (Bloomberg)
•    JOHANNESBURG, Dec 1 (Reuters) - South Africa's manufacturing sector grew in November for the first time in 1-1/2 years, a purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed on Tuesday.

The PMI rose to a seasonally-adjusted 50.3 points in November from 47.6 in October, breaking above the 50 mark that  divides contraction from growth for the first time since April 2008 and trailing the global PMI which returned to growth several months ago.

“They do not understand anything.”

“We are strong and persistent.”

“It is the fruit-bearing tree that becomes the target of (stone) throwers.”

                      Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, commenting on the global reaction to Dubai World debt issues

FX Trading – Phew ... I’m Glad that’s Over ...    

Thank goodness the Dubai default fiasco is finally behind us. A couple days of global market chaos is enough. Now we can go back to our normal routines – buying dips and selling dollars.

For a second there Jack got me a bit worried. All that talk of hold-on-to-your-hats-this-could-get-crazy. I mean: sovereign default? Contagion? Sustained risk event? Really?

But thanks to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, it is clear that Jack does “not understand anything.” Phew – I can stop being worried about financial panic spreading from the seemingly fortified Gulf States.

Or perhaps Sheikh Mohammed, with his comments, was simply throwing a cheap shot at Ben Bernanke and his crew when they attempted to ease market anxieties by telling the world that the housing bubble’s burst was being handled, that the market for subprime was strong and persistent.

Ok, maybe Ben never said subprime was strong and persistent, but the unraveling was pretty strong and persistent; but he did do his damndest to make the financial community feel like all-things-housing were under control. Stop throwing stones.

But sarcasm aside, is Dubai World’s potential default a potential catalyst toward Global Financial Crisis 2.0?

Things got scary when Dubai’s government said they would not guarantee DW’s debt. But since a restructuring plan has been clearly defined and put forth as a first and prudent step at DW covering part of its debts, the global markets have ceased panic.  

What this whole event seems to have done though is reveal something that had been going happily ignored:

Major risks – isolated and potentially systemic – do still exist. We are not out of the woods just yet.

If no follow-through market liquidation comes from the Gulf gaffe, then the least this event has done is question the validity of asset market behavior, strong and persistent as it may seem. Oh so many questions now leak from the region in search of the next potential risk.

Wolfgang Munchau writing in the Financial Times asks: After Dubai, is Greece next?

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has similar feelings.

For now, though, it’s back to business as usual; did you hear China is expected to lead the global recovery out of recession?

The Reserve Bank of Australia is buying into that theory; rates just went up another 25 basis points Down Under. [Chart not available in text format.]

Does risk-back-on take the Aussie to the upper bound of this trend channel? It’s quite a buying opportunity if you subscribe to that view.

John Ross Crooks III
Black Swan Capital LLC

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