Friday, 31 October 2014

Eight Topical Questions

There are now nine questions to this paper (there were eight but the BoJ has just inserted another). You have 10 minutes to complete the questions without resource to Twitter, Google or calculators. You can turn over your question papers.... Now.

If you were Chair of the Federal Reserve would you -

a) Give clear guidance to future policy
b) Give clear guidance that was couched in terms of ifs and maybes to make it unclear.
c) Just make sure that real interest rates were always negative.
d) Retire as soon as possible and go on the lecture circuit having seen how much your predecessors make.
e) Have bought gold with your QE instead of bonds and watched ZeroHedger goldbugs explode in a logic loop as to whether QE was a good idea or not.
f) Pick up the phone to Europe and tell them it’s their turn to do something.

If you were President of the ECB would you -

a) Do everything possible to stimulate the Euro economy without doing actual QE.
b) Do QE and ignore Darth Weidmann and the Bundeathstar’s protestations.
c) Go back to Italy, or your job at Goldman as apparently the politics are similar.
d) Take the BBC News path - get interviewed, tell a sob story (no matter how cretinous), blame everyone else and sell a moralistic argument to try to garner sympathy as to why tax payers should bale you out as at the end of the day it's the governments fault.
e) Pick up the phone to Japan and ask them to throw again, apologising that you know it’s your turn but you are having a bit of a problem in the old German department.

If you were the Governor of the BoJ would you

a) Bide your time
b) Expand your monetary base further to keep favorable momentum in price expectations and continue QQE until you have stable 2% inflation
c) Realise that your only inflation is coming through JPY depreciation and, though the wrong type of inflation, hit the JPY crash dive button.
d) Put down the phone to Janet, calmly tell your deputy that you would like him to bring you every bond in the world and then walk silently towards the cabinet containing the family ceremonial sword.
e) Put down the phone to Mario and buy back all the newly minted Jpy for Euros, then go and pack for the 'holiday of a lifetime' you have just won for a luxury-all-expenses-paid-stay-as-long-as-you-like trip to Brussels.

If you thought someone in a town three miles away had Ebola would you -

a) Be exceedingly unlucky to catch it considering how difficult it is to transmit without contact with bodily fluids.
b) Put yourself in quarantine, apart from the odd bike ride.
c) Launch a petition to save your dog.
d) Buy shares in a Hazmat suit manufacturer and then ring Fox News to tell them it’s more contagious than flu and that the whole of the USA is going to get wiped out unless they buy Hazmat suits… and then take profit.

If you have just returned from a three week holiday on a deserted island would you -

a) Glance at your screens and decide nothing had been going on in US stocks and look forward to taking profit on the lazy long later in the year.
b) Laugh at your amusing broker when he rings to tell you you were stopped out 7% lower.
c) Pull up a chart of ‘what happened whilst I was on my holiday’ and, ashen faced, cancel Christmas.
d) All of the above.
e) Book another holiday and reallocate the huge profits from your leveraged position on a 14% move that you may or may not have had anything to do with starting, whilst stroking the long-haired white cat on your lap.

If you were an oil trader would you -

a) Be just fine as it’s nice to see some volatility at last.
b) Be launching a guerrilla advertising campaign to promote 12 litre SUVs.
c) Be long Saudi oil co’s vs. short the Scottish Independence Party budget plans.
d) Be stunned that just as the investment bank you work for has fired everyone else on the desk as commodities are dead leaving you alone to turn the lights out, it all boots off again and it’s apparently your fault that all the lines aren’t getting answered.

If you were a market strategist would you -

a) Make hum-drum consensus calls because it is easier not to get eaten if you are part of the shoal.
b) Make calls by looking at recent moves, getting a 15 meter ruler, extrapolating the line and placing your target at the end of it.
c) Not give a damn as to whether you are right or wrong as you don’t have to actually run any positions.
d) Use a Twitter feed as your primary source of ideas.
e) Do an MBA to go with your PhD in economics and your term at the IMF, in the hope that it will improve your forecasting ability from the 50/50 it seems to be resiliently stuck at.
f) Have left years ago to run your own fund being one of the few that is fairly consistently right.

If you were a ruler of a large super-power would you -

a) Say one thing and do one thing
b) Say one thing and do another.
c) Invoke sanctions upon those with an aggressive stance you wish to change.
d) Relish sanctions being invoked upon you as it helps your cause to rally nationalism and stimulate local production to replace imported goods all the while being able to blame imperialist bullies.
e) Assume that your influence over third parties towards threatening states would hold firm as they owe an allegiance to you.
f) Enjoy watching your neighbours squirm as winter gets cold as you have your hand on the gas taps.

If you were on the International Space Station waiting for supplies would you -

a) Invoke contigency plan epsilon theta from your ‘Advanced Space Stationing' training manual and carry on as usual.
b) Wonder why they are letting off fireworks early this year on the eastern US seaboard.
c) Cheer as you can have a month off doing sudoku puzzles in your bunk as the next experiment they were sending up has just vaporised.
d) Turn ashen as you notice you are down to your last roll of toilet paper.

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