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.


Subscribe to Leo Haviland’s BLOG to receive updates and new marketplace essays.

RSS View Leo Haviland's LinkedIn profile View Leo Haviland’s profile


In “Life During Wartime”, the Talking Heads sing: “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around.”



Looking forward, United States Treasury yields probably will continue to rise. So will yields for government debt in Germany and other advanced nations. In general, yields of emerging market sovereign debt securities probably will keep climbing as well. US dollar-denominated corporate debt yields also will ascend. Substantial inflation and massive government debt are important variables for this rising interest rate outlook. Increasing yields for this array of debt securities around the globe probably have created (led to) an important top around early September 2021 for the American stock battlefield (S+P 500 high 9/2/21 at 4546) and related advanced nation and emerging marketplace stock arenas, or will soon do so. There is a significant probability that the S+P 500 and related equity domains have commenced or soon will begin bear trends.

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW to download this article as a PDF file.
Rising Global Interest Rates and the Stock Marketplace Battlefield (10-5-21)

RHETORIC AND GLOBAL CURRENCY TRENDS © Leo Haviland, February 13, 2017

In the movie “Casablanca”, Signor Ferrari asks the proprietor of Rick’s Café Americain: “My dear Rick, when will you realize that in this world today isolationism is no longer a practical policy?” (Michael Curtiz, director)



On America’s 2016 election campaign trail and thereafter, President Donald Trump’s impassioned populist rhetoric has encompassed striking slogans such as “Make America Great Again!” and “America First!” All United States patriots of course want their country to be great. Such wordplay, however, especially appeals to citizens wary of or hostile to phenomena such as “the establishment” (elites), globalization, and (overly) free trade.

Many of America’s current and proposed domestic programs and their consequences are not divorced from international ones. Lines between (and definitions of) “domestic” and “international” are not necessarily clear. Many so-called “economic” issues interrelate with political, military, and social arenas. Prior to America’s recent national election season, many observers across the political spectrum lamented the country’s (and world’s) substantial income and wealth inequality. In any case, let’s concentrate primarily on the international trade and currency front, even though other assorted US domestic as well as a range of global issues significantly entangle with it.

Most Americans praise “free markets” and “capitalism” as “good”, but they also want them to be “fair”. A currency level and trend can symbolize relative power and its changes. Thus a “strong” dollar may be praiseworthy (and excite national pride), and the country should not permit the greenback to become “too weak” or “feeble”. But why should Americans tolerate evils such as “unfair trade” and a “too strong” dollar? As in competitive sports, isn’t it right to have a “level playing field”? Surely massive persistent trade (or current account) deficits between two nations suggest something inappropriate in policies and practices may be going on! Can’t some protectionism for American industries be good, at least in the right circumstances?

Thus America’s President and many of his supporters loudly warn of changes in tariffs and taxes. They squawk about walking away from, tearing up, or renegotiating trade agreements. They hint America will respond to the currency manipulation or excessive depreciation engaged in by its trading partners.

However, all economic (political) language, policies, and behavior related to notions of goodness, fairness, and reasonableness (rationality) merely represent personal perspectives. So whether a given trade agreement such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal treats the US fairly or appropriately, whether it is good or bad for America, is a matter of opinion. Whether a given US dollar cross rate (such as that between the dollar and the Chinese renminbi) or broad real trade-weighted US dollar level are “good”, “bad”, “too high” (“expensive”; “overshooting”), “too low” (“cheap”; “undershooting”), or “fairly (reasonably, appropriately) valued” (or near some allegedly natural, rational, logical, or equilibrium price) likewise express opinions.

Moreover, in the deeply interconnected and complex global economy and multipolar political world, even the mighty and zealous United States cannot institute many of its key programs on others without expecting a notable response (push-back) from others threatened or infuriated by them. After all, other countries around the globe, whether implicitly or explicitly, also generally place their nation first and foremost in their political and economic calculations. Most foreign countries (their leaders) do not want to seem too timid in their dealings with America. And not all Americans, or even all Republicans, applaud or even support the President’s policies, which themselves may change as time passes and negotiations proceed.

A nation and its internal political groupings often manifest significant partisan quarrels, which sometimes become ferocious. Everyone knows that history likewise displays a continuum, from relative peace and harmony to various expressions of war, battle, and violence. America’s notable current divisions are wide-ranging. Divides exist within economics and politics, but also involve topics such as age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and geography.

Widespread talk on the international stage of competitive depreciation, currency wars, and trade battles reflects the increasing strains on and within an increasingly fractured “global economic order”. The significant and wide-ranging internal economic divisions within America (and many other leading nations) to some extent mirrors and encourages such international economic (and political) tensions and changes.

Multilateral diplomatic discussions do not necessarily result in better (or worse) outcomes than bilateral ones. The current American Administration apparently prefers in the international economic (and political) realm to conclude one-on-one deals between countries (their strong leaders).

Some guides declare “life is a game.” Regardless of the faith of some luminaries, not all economic (or political or other cultural) arenas and interactions (including negotiations) are zero-sum games, or necessarily have clear winners and losers. Both (or most; or all) sides in a financial contest (whether commerce/business in general or international trade and currency in particular) may turn out to be winners (or losers) to varying extents. In any event, it is conceivable that particular sets of economic policies and responses to them can result (whether sooner or later) in unhappy (costly) outcomes for the nation promoting them, or even for numerous or a majority of countries (including those not directly participating in the fascinating discussions and artful deals on the main table).

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW to download this article as a PDF file.
Rhetoric and Global Currency Trends (2-13-17)


Some United States stock sector energy-related indices such as the XOI, OSX, XNG, and RPE stand at a crossroads between the commodities related to them and broader equity benchmarks like the S+P 500.

Such relatively narrow energy-related equity estates intersect with the overall United States (and global) economy, not just energy provinces. The energy-related indices also entwine with their “underlying” commodities such as petroleum and natural gas. An equity index vehicle containing corporations involved in the petroleum industry reflects to some extent price levels and bull and bear trends in “underlying” (related) oil prices. These (and other) narrow United States stock sector indices therefore sometimes provide helpful viewpoints for (confirm, reflect) past, current, and future paths for broader stock indices such as the S+P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, as well as for commodities “in general”. Many embrace the broad Goldman Sachs Commodity Index as a worthy indicator for the overall commodity world.

What do these four energy-related equity sectors flag nowadays to S+P 500 and commodity marketplace fans? Given their association (connection) to the broad GSCI (and that their directional walks have been roughly similar to those of the GSCI), and given the GSCI’s failure (so far) to match or venture over its spring 2011 peak, players should monitor closely whether the energy-related stock indices can sustain advances over their spring 2011 heights. Failure to do so would warn of weakness in the broad GSCI. Especially given the proximity of the major resistance levels in the S+P 500 (and that in the DJIA), the inability of these energy-related stock indices to sustain levels well above their springtime 2011 tops would confirm (or at least warn of) a downtrend in the S+P 500 as well.

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW to download this market essay as a PDF file.
Commodity Crossroads- Energy-Related Equity Indices (2-15-13)


In love and commerce, taking implies giving. On Valentine’s Day and throughout the year, undoubtedly the prudent Federal Reserve remembers the benefits of having and needs of both debtors and creditors. This regulatory chaperone surely would declare that they passionately strive to perform their very best (do what’s most reasonable according to their interpretation of their regulatory duties) for all parties concerned. Besides, they must balance competing interests. Besides again, the Fed has a long run horizon. The Fed’s recent policies nevertheless imply not only an ethics of inflation, but also manifest somewhat greater affection for debtors than creditors.

Japan’s general government gross debt as a percent of its GDP is gigantic, at 241.0 percent for 2012 (IMF, Fiscal Monitor Update, Table 1, 1/24/12). This dwarfs America’s 107.6pc and the Euro area’s 91.1pc. Japan’s general government debt has been huge for several years. How does it keep financing this massive total? And if Japan can keep doing it, doesn’t America really have a lot of room to go (and time to wait)?

Japan may have more domestic savings than America, or be more of a nation of savers from an overall cultural perspective. Japan has run a current account surplus for quite some time, in direct contrast to the bulging United States current account deficit. (See the September 2011 World Economic Outlook, Statistical Appendix, Table A10.)

However, Japan’s ability to accumulate and finance its big general government deficit also may be due to its more favorable treatment of creditors. And despite low interest rates! Creditors of the Japanese government have earned, and have earned for quite some time, a net positive return due to deflation alongside low government interest rates.

So how long will the Fed and US Treasury get away with offering negative (or very low) real returns on US government debt?

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW to download this market essay as a PDF file.
Sweet Talking, Slick Banking- Federal Reserve Policy (2-14-12)