July 22, 2006
Lounsbury Musings - The Leb Crisis & Economy
Some thoughts or concerns without any particular answer at present regarding the Leb Land-Israel cris and its economic impact in the region (ex the clear disaster for Leb Land).
First, the economic impact ex-Sham:
Oil pricing. That is not going to go away. You're going to see a lot of volatility, no question about that. I'd say that the upward pressure due to risk premium is going to outweight down pressure from demand cooling. Above all given upwards tendancy during the vacation season in the OECD markets (although see Short commentary in FT re stocks, which says I am off, probably so.
That's of course a windfall for the producers and a massive tax on consumers. In region that means the Gulf gets more stupid money, slightly offset probably by downdraft on the dollar, and more liquidity than it knows what to do with or can digest and the MENA non-oil producers continue to face a killer tax on their economies (short term, longer term it's probably good to see pressure to work on efficiency, even low tech efficiency - but then most MENA governments brilliantly insulate their consumers from such price variations, dampening the price signal and leading to excessive consumption.... ah, the brilliance of subsidies).
Risk Premia & FDI
I'm fairly certain Western FDI in MENA is going to slow to a crawl. That is going to be somewhat (or maybe more than somewhat, but I'll plump for somewhat) offset by Gulf liquidity seeking friendly homes, and the smarter (okay a rare class) Khaliji investors realising that Gulf area assets are just madly overbought.
I'm not really a betting sort, but I rather do have a gut sensation that given recent US events, that Gulf money is going to be scared of the US, and to an extent Europe, and may continue its flows to emerging markets.
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I've been idly wondering (lacking any sort of data) when the Lebanese Pound is finally going to collapse - given the horrible fiscal situation of the government even before the war, it was a miracle it hadn't already. Based on Chris Allbritton's diary, it's starting:
The city’s ATMs, which normally disburse both Lebanese pounds and American dollars, are now only spitting out the brightly colored pounds, a sign that those who could have already fled — and took their hard currency with them.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at July 22, 2006 10:44 AM
Should have mentioned that, yeah, the Leb pound has to collapse.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at July 22, 2006 12:05 PM