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Posted by: Doug Henwood | February 1, 2011

Whew!

Those market worries about Egypt yesterday? History! The Financial Times reports that “Investors return to risk as Egypt fears ease.” Today is, as they say, a “risk-on” day.

Why are market participants seen as rational evaluators of anything? My five-year-old is more emotionally stable than your average trader.

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Responses

  1. Did you read the Lex column on Egypt? I can’t remember exactly, but long story short: “Egypt is an emerging, African economy, but only rarely do revolutions actually increase market efficiency. If this one does then it will be good, but it is risky!”

    Anyways, really dumb.

  2. hello doug

    i have always viewed the stock market as a prime object of study for some anthropologist interested in herd mentality, mass hysteria, vulnerability to rumour and gossip and prone to panic. why so many talk about it as primarily a study in economics is a mystery.

  3. Doug!

    Can you present a program on a “globalization” perspective on Egypt’s crony (military) capitalism?

    I refer to eg Nomi Prins (excerpts):

    “When people are facing a dim future, in a country hijacked by a corrupt regime that destabilized its economy through what the CIA termed, “aggressively pursuing economic reforms to attract foreign investment” (in other words, the privatization and sale of its country’s financial system to international sharks), waiting [for Mubarak to leave in September] doesn’t cut it.

    “Other countries in the region, such as Jordan, where the unemployment rate is 13.4 percent, and the poverty rate 14.2 percent (as in the U.S.), tried to mimic Egypt’s “open” policies, in varying degrees. That’s why eight of the 21 banks operating in Jordan are now foreign-owned, and its insurance market is dominated by U.S.-based, MetLife American Life Insurance Company. But it was Egypt that did it best.

    In March 2010, in an effort to keep foreign capital coming in, Egypt’s Ministry of Investment presented the country’s virtues to investors in a glossy “Invest in Egypt” brochure. The document proudly cited Egypt as being one of the world’s top 10 “Reformers,” as reported by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation’s (IFC). The World Bank’s definition of “reformer” has nothing to do with conditions for citizens, and everything to do with the degree and speed to which “hot” international money can zoom in and out of a country. Egypt had made the top 10 “Reformers” list for four out of the past five years (a distinction shared with Colombia, where urban unemployment has risen to over 13 percent).

    Ironically, the Ministry’s brochure touted the large college graduate population entering the job market each year — 325,000. The same graduates are the core of the current revolution. They failed to find adequate jobs and are faced with an official unemployment rate of just below 10 percent (though, similar to the U.S., that figure doesn’t account for underemployment, poor job quality or long-term prospects).

    Today, credit default swap spreads on Egyptian debt (and that of other Arabic countries) have substantially dropped in value, as international speculators are betting on further upheaval, targeting Egypt like just another number on a dartboard.

    …from AlterNet 2.4.2011


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