Let’s not worry about US stocks dancing around the 200 day moving average, or Deutsche Bank’s miserably miserable (anticipated) results, or the 3.01% US treasury yield (only some 90 bp lower than Greece (and yes I know they are different currencies, but that’s not the point!) And, yes, the main news today will be whatever ECB head Draghi says. Don’t expect any insights into the disturbing signals of European slowdown, but prepare for the usual kick-the-can-down-the-road obfuscation about when rates are going to rise. Yawn.
Instead, let’s start with credit where credit is due.
Last night I was at the 20th Birthday Party for the UK Debt Management Office. Founded by Gordon Brown on April 1st 1998, the small and highly professional DMO staff raised nearly £150 bln for the UK last year, prompting Chancellor Philip Hammond to wonder if this made them the most productive workers in the UK? I suppose it’s no wonder my old friend, reformed banker and head of the DMO, Sir Robert Stheeman, did the maths and idly pondered: since they raise something like £800,000 for the UK every minute, perhaps its time to ask for commission based pay packages for his staff?
The success of the DMO is illustrated by the fact so many other countries have since followed the model, and by the number of bankers at last night’s do in the Treasury. Great to see so many old friends there, and thanks for the many kind words about the porridge. I really have no idea how many people read it as its distributed over a larger number of media outlets including Bloomberg, Euromoney and other financial wires – which proves its freely available commentary and therefore not subject to MiFID restrictions.