I want a yacht
December 6, 2017

Mint - Blain's Morning Porridge

I want a yacht and really that's not a lot, been an angel all year…!

For the avoidance of doubt – the Morning Porridge is unrestricted market commentary freely available to all qualified investors on an unsolicited basis. It is not investment advice…

For Foreign Readers of the Morning Porridge struggling to understand what on earth is going on in UK politics.. don't worry. This is normal.

We Brits have a long history of making things very difficult for ourselves, but muddling through eventually. Muddling through is something of a national speciality! Fret not about who is going to deliver May her quietus, and if you are worried there is no parliamentary majority for a Hard or Soft Brexit, an Andrex Brexit or even the full Spiky Norman Brexit, fear not. It will all resolve itself somehow, and sterling assets will look less toxic. We just can't say when….

(At least we hope it's going to sort itself out – but will it? The gene pool of the English Tory political classes looks shockingly shallow. What's to choose between the inbred political dinosaurs competing to unseat May? Compare and contrast the Tory public schoolkids with some of the smarter, hungrier snapping mammals up North or in Labour who understand populism and the opportunities implicit in Tory dithering. You might not agree with their politics or policy threats – but a growing slice of the electorate think they look a more attractive option than Boris, Michael or Whatshername in the twinset…)

Apologies for lack of Porridge these last few days – I've been up in Scotland. The mood is changing up in Edinburgh. Over lunch I was hearing all about the Scottish National Party's soft politicking and ear-bending of leading business and political figures opposed to full independence, but willing to consider some form of further devolution that would see the UK exit while Scotland remains associated through "regulatory alignment" (phrase of the week) with the EU, offering a stretched version of single market membership. Watching Wee Nicola Sturgeon on the TV, there is a worrying twinkle in her eye. She is up to something… and that bodes ill…

Tories and Brexiteers will be screaming a de-linked Scotland and Northern Ireland can't work… but although no one could tell me constitutionally how some parts of the UK could link to Yoorp, and the logic is vague, it's clear the political black hole in Westminster is causing even leading Tories in Scotland to toy with the concept. For Theresa May, or her successor, to survive the growing ire of the North Irish Taliban (ie the Democratic Unionist Party), there will have to be some form of accommodation with the rebellious Scots…

If you think British Politics looks messy… the Northern Irish unpleasantness might just be the amuse bouche.

Meanwhile, back in the real world...It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as activity starts to wind-down. What's happening in stocks? Does the current nervousness represent a crunch coming (witness the tumble-bumble on Trump stories), or is it just a market closing down for year end? The fact global equity gains have slowed – after a superb year – should not be cause for a crisis, but so many players have been waiting for a correction, that it could become self-fulfilling! Worst run on the Nikkei all year? Hmm...is that telling us something?

We remain far more concerned about a full bond market smash next year.

Very interesting piece on Bloomberg for Mohammed El-Erian (Mo-the-Tash) on the Global Central Bank outlook for 2018. He agrees with our view on synchronized global growth and policy alignment as the global central banks normalize policy. He's warning of potential policy difficulties, and the risks of consequent policy mistakes.

"The Fed will likely enter 2018 with another hike under its belt, and a bigger window to normalize with the tax measures making their way through Congress", he says, suggesting two or three further hikes next year and that "beautiful normalization" doesn't need to be disruptive to financial stability or growth. However, the shape of the yield curve – distorted by ongoing European Central Bank and Bank of Japan monentary zero interest rate policy – is a "complexity". The article is well worth a read!

Finally, I had loads of responses to last week's rant about Bitcoin; 97 percent of the readership agreed Bitcoin is a scam and it's only a matter of time before it bursts. As it breaks through US$12k this morning, we wonder when it's going to happen.

Some of the responses defending cryptocurrencies were very interesting. Most thoughtful were those that grasped the underlying possibility of exchanging value directly between participants without the need for banks or exchange.

Blockchain distributed ledgers can facilitate this – and that's where real opportunity lies. One reader perceives a future where the internet of information stands alongside an "internet of value". It's a fascinating concept – and I can see how a medium of exchange is needed – I just don't think it's something like a Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a first attempt to evolve something new, but it's clearly deeply flawed and looks to have been hijacked for nefarious purposes. We've all read headlines about drug-lords using BTC to hide their earnings and I'm told the bulk of trading driving BTC prices is driven out of China – folk back-dooring exchange controls. As new cryptocurrencies proliferate, I suspect BTC's current niche "shady" niche will become irrelevant. It's bound to be replaced by more effective blockchain-enabled cryptos.

Let's see what happens next…

Out of time and back to the day job..

Bill Blain

Head of Capital Markets/Alternative Assets

Mint Partners





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Mint - Blain's Morning Porridge

I want a yacht and really that's not a lot, been an angel all year…!

For the avoidance of doubt – the Morning Porridge is unrestricted market commentary freely available to all qualified investors on an unsolicited basis. It is not investment advice…

For Foreign Readers of the Morning Porridge struggling to understand what on earth is going on in UK politics.. don't worry. This is normal.

We Brits have a long history of making things very difficult for ourselves, but muddling through eventually. Muddling through is something of a national speciality! Fret not about who is going to deliver May her quietus, and if you are worried there is no parliamentary majority for a Hard or Soft Brexit, an Andrex Brexit or even the full Spiky Norman Brexit, fear not. It will all resolve itself somehow, and sterling assets will look less toxic. We just can't say when….

(At least we hope it's going to sort itself out – but will it? The gene pool of the English Tory political classes looks shockingly shallow. What's to choose between the inbred political dinosaurs competing to unseat May? Compare and contrast the Tory public schoolkids with some of the smarter, hungrier snapping mammals up North or in Labour who understand populism and the opportunities implicit in Tory dithering. You might not agree with their politics or policy threats – but a growing slice of the electorate think they look a more attractive option than Boris, Michael or Whatshername in the twinset…)

Apologies for lack of Porridge these last few days – I've been up in Scotland. The mood is changing up in Edinburgh. Over lunch I was hearing all about the Scottish National Party's soft politicking and ear-bending of leading business and political figures opposed to full independence, but willing to consider some form of further devolution that would see the UK exit while Scotland remains associated through "regulatory alignment" (phrase of the week) with the EU, offering a stretched version of single market membership. Watching Wee Nicola Sturgeon on the TV, there is a worrying twinkle in her eye. She is up to something… and that bodes ill…

Tories and Brexiteers will be screaming a de-linked Scotland and Northern Ireland can't work… but although no one could tell me constitutionally how some parts of the UK could link to Yoorp, and the logic is vague, it's clear the political black hole in Westminster is causing even leading Tories in Scotland to toy with the concept. For Theresa May, or her successor, to survive the growing ire of the North Irish Taliban (ie the Democratic Unionist Party), there will have to be some form of accommodation with the rebellious Scots…

If you think British Politics looks messy… the Northern Irish unpleasantness might just be the amuse bouche.

Meanwhile, back in the real world...It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as activity starts to wind-down. What's happening in stocks? Does the current nervousness represent a crunch coming (witness the tumble-bumble on Trump stories), or is it just a market closing down for year end? The fact global equity gains have slowed – after a superb year – should not be cause for a crisis, but so many players have been waiting for a correction, that it could become self-fulfilling! Worst run on the Nikkei all year? Hmm...is that telling us something?

We remain far more concerned about a full bond market smash next year.

Very interesting piece on Bloomberg for Mohammed El-Erian (Mo-the-Tash) on the Global Central Bank outlook for 2018. He agrees with our view on synchronized global growth and policy alignment as the global central banks normalize policy. He's warning of potential policy difficulties, and the risks of consequent policy mistakes.

"The Fed will likely enter 2018 with another hike under its belt, and a bigger window to normalize with the tax measures making their way through Congress", he says, suggesting two or three further hikes next year and that "beautiful normalization" doesn't need to be disruptive to financial stability or growth. However, the shape of the yield curve – distorted by ongoing European Central Bank and Bank of Japan monentary zero interest rate policy – is a "complexity". The article is well worth a read!

Finally, I had loads of responses to last week's rant about Bitcoin; 97 percent of the readership agreed Bitcoin is a scam and it's only a matter of time before it bursts. As it breaks through US$12k this morning, we wonder when it's going to happen.

Some of the responses defending cryptocurrencies were very interesting. Most thoughtful were those that grasped the underlying possibility of exchanging value directly between participants without the need for banks or exchange.

Blockchain distributed ledgers can facilitate this – and that's where real opportunity lies. One reader perceives a future where the internet of information stands alongside an "internet of value". It's a fascinating concept – and I can see how a medium of exchange is needed – I just don't think it's something like a Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a first attempt to evolve something new, but it's clearly deeply flawed and looks to have been hijacked for nefarious purposes. We've all read headlines about drug-lords using BTC to hide their earnings and I'm told the bulk of trading driving BTC prices is driven out of China – folk back-dooring exchange controls. As new cryptocurrencies proliferate, I suspect BTC's current niche "shady" niche will become irrelevant. It's bound to be replaced by more effective blockchain-enabled cryptos.

Let's see what happens next…

Out of time and back to the day job..

Bill Blain

Head of Capital Markets/Alternative Assets

Mint Partners



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