As 2015 came to a close, most investors believed that 2016 would be a year dominated by a series of Fed rate hikes.
On February 20th, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the 'in/out EU referendum' he had promised in the campaign for the last parliamentary vote would finally take place on June 23rd.
On February 16th, The Washington Post printed the article, "It's time to kill the $100 bill." This came on the heels of a CNNMoney item, the day before, entitled "Death of the 500 euro bill getting closer."
On January 29th, Japan's central bank governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, announced that the Bank of Japan would introduce a Negative Interest Rate Policy, or NIRP, on bank reserve deposits held in excess of the minimum requisite.
From a financial perspective, the New Year has been anything but happy. As of January 20th, the S&P had fallen over 9% since the beginning of the year, to levels not seen since 2014,reflecting a loss of some $2 trillion in market value.
On November 30th the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that it would admit China's Renminbi currency, commonly known as the Yuan, to the select basket of reserve currencies that make up its Special Drawing Rights (SDR's).
Donald Trump has successfully placed immigration at the center of the U.S. Presidential election.
The recent nuclear non-proliferation agreement between Iran and the U.S. has created a firestorm debate in the Middle East and both sides of the Atlantic.
Based on the continued failure of the negotiating parties to make any substantive progress in the talks over Greek debt payments, the financial world is tied up in knots over a possible Greek exit from the European Union.
On April 10, General Electric, which for 123 years has been one of America's best known and most highly respected companies, announced a radical return to its basic industrial roots.
Over the past few decades while the economic power of the Chinese has grown exponentially, many observers have been surprised by the relative willingness of China to operate within the financial and economic framework established by the dominant Western order.
It is not just the level of the euro's fall, but also the speed of its fall which can prove to be so challenging. Even U.S. companies have been given little opportunity to hedge their euro-denominated revenues.
In the closing months of 2014, Germany faced a difficult dilemma. Although its own economy was holding up well, incoming data showed that the rest of the Eurozone was rapidly slipping into recession.
Like many of the important discussions in the economic world today, the negotiations between Greece and its European creditors has become increasingly absurd.
Lost in this discussion is that modern Greece, formed in 1830, has never really been required to stand on its own. Generations of support from abroad, typically given for strategic reasons, has created a false sense of prosperity in the country.
Most of the so-called developed world has followed the U.S./UK-led 'Anglosphere' in pursuit of Keynesian economics, focusing on consumption-based economic growth that can supposedly be stimulated by currency debasement.
Most of the so-called developed world has followed the U.S./UK-led 'Anglosphere' in pursuit of Keynesian economics. On the other hand, the Germans and the Swiss have long been seen as the champions of Austrian economics, which favored an economic growth based on savings, production and sound money.
Even if we estimate that real inflation is currently 3%, then our "normal" rate of interest should be around 5%. This is some 50 times the rate paid currently on most bank deposits. This gap is distorting the economy in untold ways.
Late last year, with the U.S. economy experiencing falling unemployment and seemingly low inflation, observers were extremely confident that the Federal Reserve would move judiciously in 2015 to restore 'normal' interest rates sooner rather than later.
Despite falling oil prices, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) voted on November 27th not to cut production in order to boost prices. The key to this decision appears to have been the attitude of Saudi Arabia.