Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Required Reading: The Daily Davos AND The DD's BearBlog

I always thought the bear was the symbol of Bern.

I had to wait 'til after the close to post this (lots of links) and know a lot of our visitors are going to miss out. This is good stuff.
I first came across the WSJ's The Daily Davos blog last year and got hooked, immediately.
Here are some of DD's posts (including BearBlog):

Wall Street CEOs: Turmoil No Reason to Cancel Davos Trip
This week’s market turmoil hasn’t dissuaded top executives of major investment banks and other financial institutions from making the trek to the World Economic Forum’s five-day long annual retreat in the Swiss mountains.

In fact, more top financial executives have come to Davos this year than ever before and none of the major bankers have cancelled, according to Justin Blake, an official at the Forum. Asked if they thought about staying home, given that some shareholders might not want to see their boss at a ski resort at a time of financial crisis, bankers were dismissive....

BearBlog: Calling for Pain

BearBlog takes a look at what Davos attendees say is in store for the global economy — and what they said last year.

For years, famous bear Stephen Roach prowled around Davos gatherings warning that the U.S. economic party, built on asset bubbles, would end in tears. Few listened. Now he’s back, warning that it is futile of the Fed and others to resist the reckoning.

Mr. Roach, chairman of Morgan Stanley in Asia and formerly the firm’s chief economist, pours scorn on the Fed’s decision to slash interest rates on Tuesday. “The Fed is ‘pushing on a string’ here,” he says. Rate cuts won’t stop a slide toward recession that’s being caused by bursting bubbles in credit and housing.

“I do not believe that aggressive Fed rate cuts will resolve the extreme imbalance between supply and demand in the U.S. property market that will be pushing housing prices lower for some time. Nor do I believe that recent Fed actions will restore the functioning of credit markets to their pre-crisis state,” he says....
BearBlog: Goldilocks and the Three Ugly Bears
Last year, Nouriel Roubini was the lone pessimist on Davos’ five-person opening economics panel. His colleagues predicted the world economy would continue to grow strongly without overheating, a rosy scenario economists dubbed “Goldilocks.”
Mr. Roubini, chairman of Roubini Global Economics and a New York University economics professor, demurred. “Goldilocks is threatened by three ugly bears,” he said, predicting a subprime meltdown, an end to cheap credit and rising oil prices would bring U.S. consumer spending to a halt. At the time, Mr. Roubini’s “ugly bears” provoked more laughter than concern.

But Goldilocks has already met two of those bears and signs are mounting that the third — in the form of a sharp falloff in U.S. consumer spending — could show up soon. “Sometimes people say about me that even a broken clock can be right twice a day,” says Mr. Roubini, who contends his habitually gloomy outlook has been, over the years, more nuanced than he’s given credit for....
BearBlog: A Grim Best-Case Scenario
Harvard economics professor Ken Rogoff offers a grim best-case scenario for the global economy in 2008: “If nothing else happens and events are very benign during the rest of 2008, we’re going to see a prolonged slowdown in the U.S. and possibly a technical recession. We may well see a major bank failure, and we’ll certainly see some medium-sized bank failures. There will be a continuing decline of the dollar, and, generally, slower global growth.”That’s if nothing else happens.

“The real question now is whether we’ll have a catastrophic downturn that’s going to cause deep damage in the financial system, which will cause the recession to last much longer,” says Mr. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and a Davos regular who predicted correctly last year that the U.S. dollar would decline and the U.S. current-account deficit shrink in 2007. “I have not been going around every year saying there’s going to be a major recession in the coming year,” he notes, dismissing the notion that he’s a perennial bear. “Even at this point, I think we’re another shock away. But on the other hand, there’s a good chance that that shock will come.”...
Here's The Daily Davos' homepage. Don't miss George Soros calling for "a massive injection of regulation" of financial markets.
(no extra credit for guessing who will be there to "assist" in writing the reg's.)
Here's our most recent post on Mr. Soros: UBS: "Outlaw Gold Mining"