William Pesek: Time for Asia to kick its strong-dollar habit


By William Pesek
Bloomberg News Service
Monday, January 8, 2007


We all start January pledging to kick this or that bad habit. It is always a tough promise to keep, and how much more so when the bad habit is decades old, like the Asian addiction to raising economic growth by keeping currencies weak.

As the 10th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis approaches, it is high time for the world's fastest-growing economic region to get out of the trap of export dependence.

Butler and Friedman on silver's logic and dreams


1:30p ET Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Silver market analysts Ted Butler and Israel Friedman team up to offer "The Logic of Silver" and "Making Dreams Come True," two essays at GoldSeek's companion site, SilverSeek, that aim to build the airtight case for investing in the metal. You can find them here:


CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer

Chavez to socialize Venezuela, shuts opposition TV, promises 'permanent revolution'


Chavez Will Nationalize Power, Telecoms

By Ian James
Associated Press
Monday, January 8, 2006


President Hugo Chavez announced plans Monday to nationalize Venezuela's electrical and telecommunications companies, pledging to create a socialist state in a bold move with echoes of Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba.

Chavez, who will be sworn in Wednesday to a third term that runs until 2013, also said he wanted a constitutional amendment to eliminate the autonomy of the Central Bank and would soon ask the National Assembly, solidly controlled by his allies, to give him greater powers to legislate by presidential decree.

Thailand won't lift capital controls


From The Associated Press
Monday, January 8, 2007


Thailand has no immediate plans to lift remaining capital controls imposed last month to curb the baht's appreciation, the central bank governor said Monday amid growing calls from foreign brokers to ease the restrictions.

Bank Gov. Tarisa Watanagase told reporters that the bank was considering revisions of "minor" measures but that the baht's relative stability since controls were imposed Dec. 19 shows that the much-criticized move was effective and necessary for the time being.

Thank Goldman Sachs, not weather, for oil price plunge


Investment House
Slashed Energy
in Commodity Index

By Michael Norman
New York Post
Monday, January 8, 2007


It might be a better idea to thank Goldman Sachs, not the weather, for the recent plunge in oil prices.

While recent balmy temperatures have certainly played a role in last week's dip in oil prices, a lesser known but equally powerful move by Goldman at the start of the year might bear some responsibility as well.

Hedging hangs in the balance


By Mandi Zonneveldt
Herald-Sun, Melbourne, Australia
Monday, January 8, 2007


Market master Warren Buffett famously said: "A group of lemmings looks like a pack of individualists compared with Wall Street when it gets a concept in its teeth." The same anecdote has been used to describe the Australian resource industry's approach to hedging -- a risk minimisation strategy.

Bolivia reported ready to increase mining taxes 600%


From Reuters
Sunday, January 7, 2007


LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Bolivia plans to raise the taxes paid by mining companies six-fold in a shake-up of the industry set to be announced in the coming weeks, a newspaper reported on Sunday, citing the country's mining minister.

Digital gold and a flawed global economic order


By Benn Steil
Financial Times, London
Friday, January 5, 2007


It is remarkable how the world's short history of floating exchange rates has affected popular thinking about what is eternally normal and proper in the economic system. Recently, China-bashing U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham wrote matter-of-factly that "one of the fundamental tenets of free trade is that currencies should float."

Bond market derivatives now offer profit without risk


A Billion-Dollar Game

By John Dizard
Financial Times, London
Monday, October 23, 2006


Free money. Profit -- profit on billions of dollars of capital -- without risk. Too good to be true, right? Tell it to the people putting on "negative basis trades."

Adrian Ash: Quantum Finance and the scramble for gold


By Adrian Ash
The Market Oracle
Saturday, January 6, 2007


Only in finance do the losers get to write history. The government then prints their memoirs in the statute books, while a new volume of folly and greed is begun.

Witness Barnard's Act of 1734. It sought "to prevent the infamous practice of stock-jobbing" that had peaked and exploded with the South Sea Bubble of 1720. Investors had long since fled Change Alley, however, and gone back to trading government bonds instead.