Sunday, 26 October 2008

The Telegraph and Nouriel Roubini

Although this is a Socialist Economic Bulletin it should be said that of the mainline press the Telegraph has actually been carrying some of the most interesting and wide ranging economic and business news appearing outside specialist financial newspapers. Today it has a letter by a group of monetarist economists. On Friday it carried an interesting study of the situation of hedge funds and commentary that certainly did not underestimate the scale of the present economic situation.
Rowena Mason noted that US hedge funds alone continued to have $1.7 trillion in assets. And that 'Emmanuel Roman, the co-chief executive of Europe’s biggest hedge fund GLG, has warned that thousands of hedge funds are on the brink of failure as the global economy contracts with unexpected severity... Roman... said 25pc-30pc of the world’s 8,000 hedge funds would disappear "in a Darwinian process", either going bust or deciding meagre profits are not worth their efforts.'
She also noted: 'His views were echoed by Professor Nouriel Roubini, a former US Treasury and presidential adviser known for his accurate prediction of financial crises, who estimated that up to 500 hedge funds would fail within months.
'Both men were speaking at the same hedge fund conference in London yesterday, and Prof Roubini said he would not be surprised if the US and other countries soon had to close their stock markets for more than a week to halt descent into "sheer panic".
'The economist warned that the world is heading for a protracted recession that will end the US’s financial dominance.
'"It’s the beginning of the decline of the US financial empire. The Great Depression ended in a massive war. I hope that’s not going to happen but it’s pretty ugly now," Prof Roubini said.
'He added that turmoil over world trade, currency markets and debt is likely to cause geopolitical tensions between the Western world and emerging superpowers such as Russia, China and "a bunch of unstable oil states". '
Roubini's views tend even to the cataclysmic, and in our view jump over several stages in the unfolding of the financial crisis by making comparisons to 'massive wars', but he does get the point about economic developments not being isolated from political events. The Telegraph's economics section is certainly reporting the scope of what is possible, and the breadth of different analyses of it, more widely than many newspapers - which is worth pointing out.
It makes a striking contrast to the Telegraph's political pages.

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