Weil on Finance: Emerging Markets and Deflation

Jonathan Weil joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, and his columns on finance and accounting won Best in the Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010.
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Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is worried about a deflationary shock .

"It is not hard to imagine what that shock might be," writes the Telegraph columnist, who says the credit bubble in emerging markets has been punctured. "It is already before us as Turkey, India and South Africa all slam on the brakes, forced to defend their currencies as global liquidity drains away.... Emerging markets are now half the global economy, so we are in uncharted waters. Roughly $4 trillion of foreign funds swept into emerging markets after the Lehman crisis, much of it by then `momentum money' late to the party. The IMF says $470bn is directly linked to money printing by the Fed." He quotes an unnamed official at the International Monetary Fund who says the IMF has no idea how much money will now come out of emerging markets or how quickly. "One country after another is now having to tighten into weakness. The longer this goes on, and the wider it spreads, the greater the risk that it will metamorphose into a global deflationary shock."

The view from South Africa.

The Federal Reserve's decision to cut back on bond purchases isn't the only thing causing problems for emerging markets. From the Mail & Guardian in Johannesburg: "Economists say one of the biggest factors for the depreciating rand is that South Africans are living beyond their means." South Africans consumed more than the country produced, so the country had to borrow more, and "now our neighbors are asking for their money back," says Dawie Roodt, chief economist at the Efficient Group, which is an asset-management company in Pretoria.

On Wall Street, what's old is new again .

Michael Corkery of the New York Times has a good piece about banks packaging and selling bonds backed by homes that went through foreclosure and were turned into rental properties. And what could possibly go wrong with that? "The latest company to test this emerging frontier in securitization is American Homes 4 Rent," he writes. "The company talked to prospective investors at a conference in Las Vegas last week about selling securities tied to $500 million of debt."

Did someone use inside information about the State of Union address to buy a million shares of a stupid penny stock?

Maybe. This post comes from thelongshorttrader: "President Barack Obama unveiled MYRA at the State of Union Address, a new kind of `starter' retirement accounts aimed at employees of companies that don't offer such plans. There happens to (be) a stock with ticker = MYRA . . . Myriad Entertainment & Resorts, Inc. (OTCMKTS:MYRA) = $MYRA price = $0.0001. As @BuyersStrike mentioned, someone bought ~1 million shares of MYRA (a completely dead company) on the 17th of January (2 weeks ago). The trading volume January 17th is the largest volume MYRA has experienced in its entire history. Coincidence?"

And back by popular demand, more pictures of Scout the pit bull balancing all sorts of crazy stuff on his head .

The one where he balances a guitar on his head is a must-see. So is the picture of Scout with a bongo drum.

(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist.Follow him on Twitter.)

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net