Leo Haviland provides clients with original, provocative, cutting-edge fundamental supply/demand and technical research on major financial marketplaces and trends. He also offers independent consulting and risk management advice.

Haviland’s expertise is macro. He focuses on the intertwining of equity, debt, currency, and commodity arenas, including the political players, regulatory approaches, social factors, and rhetoric that affect them. In a changing and dynamic global economy, Haviland’s mission remains constant – to give timely, value-added marketplace insights and foresights.

Leo Haviland has three decades of experience in the Wall Street trading environment. He has worked for Goldman Sachs, Sempra Energy Trading, and other institutions. In his research and sales career in stock, interest rate, foreign exchange, and commodity battlefields, he has dealt with numerous and diverse financial institutions and individuals. Haviland is a graduate of the University of Chicago (Phi Beta Kappa) and the Cornell Law School.


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Assorted marketplace wizards around the globe for many years have praised past and predicted future stellar (or at least rather robust) growth for key emerging and developing nations. These countries not only display cultural diversity. They also manifest a significant range in economic development, arrangements, focus, and strengths. Though many embrace democracy to some extent, their political characteristics and stability are far from uniform. Despite this variety, the popular BRIC acronym, standing for Brazil, Russia, India, and China (now including South Africa), coined by Goldman Sachs nearly 15 years ago, acts as a rough shorthand summary for much if not all of the emerging/developing nation group.


Marketplace history of course need not entirely or even substantially repeat itself. However, the recent appreciation of the United States broad real trade-weighted dollar (“TWD”) warns of erosion in global economic output rates.

The TWD established a major bottom at 84.2 in April 2008 (Federal Reserve Board, H.10; monthly average, March 1973=100). After climbing to 86.7 in August 2008 and 88.8 in September 2008, it bounded to over 93.8 in October 2008. Recall the noteworthy acceleration of the worldwide financial crisis after mid-September/October 2008. Its March 2009 pinnacle around 96.9 represented a 15.1 percent bull advance relative to April 2008.

After deteriorating to its major trough around 80.5 in July 2011, the TWD meandered sideways within a narrow range for about the next three years. Its high over that span was June 2012’s 86.3. Yet in recent months, as it did beginning in April 2008, the broad real trade-weighted dollar has marched steadily higher. A five percent bull move in the TWD from its July 2011 trough at 80.5 equals about 84.5, a ten percent climb about 88.6. A fifteen pc rally gives 92.6, a 20pc leap about 96.6.

September 2014’s 86.6 broke through June 2012’s barrier, with December 2014’s attaining 90.5. January 2015’s 92.4 rose 2.1 percent over December 2014. The TWD’s 14.8 percent ascent from the July 2011 depth rivals its April 2008 to March 2009 move. Significantly, its January 2015 level neighbors that of October 2008 and is not too distant from March 2009’s 96.9 elevation.


What do FX movements (trade-weighted, effective exchange rates) within the BRICS universe reveal nowadays? Their recent travels differ to some extent from the 2007-09 crisis adventures. However, as during the darker days of the worldwide economic disaster, the current currency voyages of Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa generally display depreciation. As in the earlier period, however, China’s currency has rallied recently on an effective exchange rate basis. Looking forward, these currency patterns alongside TWD strength do not merely confirm the TWD bull move, but also emphasize the likelihood of further slowing of global real GDP.

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Crumbling BRICS- a Currency Perspective (2-11-15)

THE HOUSE OF BRICS- HOW SOLID? © Leo Haviland, December 13, 2011

What does travel through the diverse forests of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the so- called “BRIC” nations) reveal?

Though the BRICs are key sources of world growth, they also reflect global growth patterns. BRIC territories do not possess sufficient independent firepower to propel the overall world economy significantly and permanently forward. In recent months, BRIC stocks have declined substantially. This BRIC equity weakness warns of current and further upcoming economic slowdowns not only in those countries, but sluggishness and even downturns elsewhere.

BRIC currency trends relative to the US dollar interrelate with this story told by equity playgrounds. Recent weakness in these BRIC foreign exchange cross rates reflect and confirm the fragility in BRIC stock benchmarks.

The key point is that Chinese currency appreciation, which had been slow yet persistent, now seems to be taking a breather. In the context of China’s substantial bear trend in equities, and given China’s status as a major exporter nation with massive foreign exchange reserves (a large bankroll to solve minor problems), what does this currency “non-appreciation”/modest depreciation against the US dollar suggest?

It indicates difficulties facing China finally have become quite significant- and more substantial than most China watchers recognize. In other words, China’s economic challenges (such as inflation, rising wages, weak property prices, substantial local government debt) may have grown to become a “fairly big problem”, even if Chinese authorities have not confessed to this. However, China did cut its reserve requirement ratio recently. So even if China’s stock marketplace is not an ideal benchmark for assessing “the overall Chinese economy”, at some point its stock price level and trend, when interpreted alongside other variables, can identify (coincide with) noteworthy Chinese economic problems.

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The House of BRICs – How Solid (12-13-11)


Many influential storytellers dream that economies of nations such as Brazil, Russia, India, and (particularly) China are very- or at least sufficiently- independent of America and other so-called advanced realms. Moreover, the BRIC territories supposedly possess enough power not merely to sustain adequate domestic growth, but also- at least collectively- to help drive the overall world economy significantly forward.

However, this endearing fantasy regarding the house of BRICs confronts substantial real practical barriers. Audiences should not have faith in a tempting doctrine of BRIC independence and almost endless and inevitable strength. The BRIC fraternity and numerous other developing regions indeed have built and continue to construct growing economies. Yet as the recent worldwide economic crisis that emerged in 2007 demonstrates, awful problems in a major developed nation such as the United States can spread rapidly and deeply around the world. As this is so, noteworthy troubles in the BRICs or elsewhere can affect advanced nations significantly.

Slowdowns in advanced nations probably will help to cut- and by more than a little bit- individual and collective BRIC growth relative to the sunny IMF predictions.
If the fiscal and banking crisis related to the European periphery can spread through Europe and around the world, so can the unearthing and spread of a significant problem in a nation as crucial as China. China is no house of cards, but its deck does not hold only aces.

Prior to the financial fires that began burning more visibly in 2007, how many players, regulators, or armchair quarterbacks declared that the US housing boom was likely to suffer an unhappy ending? Is China’s local government debt only a local problem?

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The House of BRICs (The Money Jungle, Part Six)