Monday, April 07, 2014

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 04/07/14

I may have once seen a scientific study where nine of out of ten doctors recommended a daily dose of sarcasm.  Okay, I didn't really see that, but making it up sounded cute.  I needed an intro for this week's dose of sarcasm.

Multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating high-frequency trading (HFT).  The bureaucratic imperative to "do something" is in high gear even though I'm certain it will lead to nothing.  Entrepreneurs have already solved the HFT's exploitative anomaly by creating a new trading system that slows orders down so algorithms can't exploit time differences in routing.  Investigating "HFT" as a phenomenon makes perfect sense if the political objective is to avoid indicting Wall Street campaign donors while giving the public the appearance of action.  It's a lot like declaring war on "terrorism" rather than some specific state or organization.

Research shows that G20 meetings don't move financial markets.  That's a big slap in the face to big-shots from the developed world who like to see their names in headlines.  Why are all these organizations having "summits" anyway?  World leaders lose at least a day in travel to attend meetings where sub-ministerial functionaries have already solved everything substantive.  They should cancel the G20 and other consultative bodies that do little besides provide photo-ops.

China voices its concern about capital flows.  The intended audience for this message is the Federal Reserve, not big financial institutions.  The big Western banks already know that they are limited to buying and selling the renminbi within limited bands inside the Shanghai FTZ.  China is making it clear that it is willing to defend the yuan's value if the Fed's curtailment of ZIRP roils emerging markets again.  There's a difference between willingness and ability.  The PBOC may find its ability to intervene severely limited by blowups in the shadow banking system.

There's nothing scientific about sarcasm.  I just make it happen.