The Trouble With Venezuela, Part One

“Formula for success: Rise early, work hard, strike oil.” (John Paul Getty) This is the first of a two part look at aspects of the Venezuelan economy. Your author would like to point out that this is not a case of criticizing just for the sake of it, as we have been among the first […]

Unashamedly Not an Economics or Finance Post

“People in financial markets always think they are more important than the real world.” (Julian Jessop of Capital Economics)  Your correspondent was sitting at his desk Wednesday evening when a large earthquake rolled through his house. It was easily powerful enough to get him and his family quickly but calmly out of the house. After […]

Argentina: Who’s Wearing the Trousers?

On Monday we were treated to the announcement of Argentina’s July 0.5% monthly shiatsu inflation figure. As a Buenos Aires friend commented, “(The headline inflation rate) makes you laugh right up to the moment you walk in the supermarket.” Apparently, as a pair of men’s winter trousers could be snapped up at a 32% discount […]

Venezuela: It’s The Economy, Stupid

Venezuela is doing alright. And before we go any further we’re not talking politics here, okay? No choices of colour for your shirt, no clenched fists, no TV channels, no cracks about ‘devils’, no students, no mass rallies. No politics at all. Not even going to mention the name of that guy over there. You […]

Strikes in Peru

In this recent note I noted (to some people’s displeasure) that things in Peru weren’t all as wonderful as the macroeconomic numbers make out. Less than a month later, my adopted home town is about to enter its 6th day of teacher and transport strike. My wife has been too nervous to leave the house, […]

Argentina: New Brooms and Dirty Bathrooms

“Events, my dear boy, events.” (British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on the greatest challenge for politicians.)    The Argentine Presidential election season unofficially opened on Sunday, when it was revealed by official sources that Cristina Kirchner would indeed be the incumbent government’s candidate for the October 28th poll. However in the midst of the first shots […]

Peru: Country Risk Is Not Just An EMBI+ Number

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” (Bill Gates) Last week in my adopted home town of Arequipa, Peru, there was a 24 hour strike by transport workers. You probably didn’t hear much about it, but all the same it happened. The modus operandi of strikers was a […]

Ecuador Says; Do Nothing To Save The Planet

June 5th: Happy World Environment Day! As tribute to this day when environmental issues should take up at least some of our thinking time, it seems an excellent chance to bring to your attention a novel plan for the ITT oil development in Ecuador…or should that be undevelopment?   The idea is simple: the undeveloped […]

Venezuelan Freedoms, Opium and Tomato Ketchup

It’s been a fascinating and educational experience for me to witness the high level academic dialogue on Brazil here in Nouriel’s new initiative, and I can only applaud the brainpower behind the debate on the issues thus far. Long may it continue. I will therefore ignore the subject totally and instantly lower the tone with […]

Argentina: The Strong Peso Cometh?

To begin, let us make it clear we have little doubt that Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, current first lady, will become the next President of Argentina in the vote scheduled for November 2007. With only 5 months to go before polling day, the incumbent government has still to officially announce which of Los Kirchner will […]