Monday, October 27, 2008

I guess this answers the decoupling question

One of the questions that was actively debated earlier this year was whether or not the emerging markets had decoupled from the western developed economies (in particular, the US).

With share markets around the world seemingly in a competition to see which can fall the furthest from their respective peaks (ditto commodities) and the common driver being concerns about a global recession being lead by the US housing market, the answer to the decoupling question today has to be that decoupling is far less of a reality than many had believed (or hoped).

My own take back in January has, unfortunately, proven to be optimistic in so far as the financial markets are concerned. Even more unfortunately, the financial meltdown is beginning to show signs of spreading to the rest of the economy. Corporate insolvencies, job cut backs and salary reductions (mostly through bonus reductions) are happening in Hong Kong already. Property prices are following equities (although not as dramatically). This is a global phenomena - whatever decoupling has happened in the world's economies it has not been enough to insulate the rest of the world from the global deleveraging that is taking place.

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