Sunday 5 December 2010

What do they know?

Strangely enough, in the last month or so it seemed that Portugal's politics was going to be run to the beat of the interest paid on sovereign bonds. At some point, 95% of analysts, politicians, and the media, were arguing that there could be no discussion about the 2011 budget, because otherwise the "markets" would ask for higher yields. The correlation however proved to be much lower than expected. Surprise? No, I don't think so. Markets are looking at models and computer screens, not at the Portuguese parliament or newspapers. And I have a hint that that is in fact so: the other day I got this email from a "lead analyst for Portugal in the Sovereign Risk Group" at one of the World top three rating agencies, asking for papers on a certain topic, but they had to be in English because he/she spoke (or read) "absolutely no Portuguese". How do you rate countries like that? And how do you decide about the price of the bonds? By looking at what Pedro Passos Coelho (btw, the leader of the main opposition party) says? Maybe not so. It was of course relavant that the budget passed. But also that there was genuine political dispute, and negotiations between the parties.

1 comment:

  1. You mean the papers she wanted "had to be in English", right?