Back to the future

Olly Newland’s Column, November 2009

I was privileged to be invited again to be part of Empower Education’s annual MARKET UPDATE for investors held earlier this month. I always enjoy these evenings as a good chance to catch up with friends and clients and also to get the valuable perspective of the other speakers.

At this event I was joined by Westpac’s chief economist Brendan O’Donavan and Mark Withers’ switched on business partner and chartered accountant Stephen Tsang.

We don’t always agree about everything, indeed we often clash (respectfully) with our views. It’s always very interesting to hear other perspectives, to trade stories, and compare strategies and what we see as market indicators.

The organiser of the event, Peter Aranyi gives us all a free hand to discuss what we like, so that the audience can soak in all the views and opinions knowing that what they hear is the truth as each of us sees it. (You can read Peter’s review of the evening here.)

The global financial picture, NZ’s own recession and its out-workings, and the idea of tax reform — as you can imagine — were all topics which loomed large in our discussions, as I’m sure they do in board rooms and kitchens throughout the country.

Double-dip or single dip? — Are we heading for another asset bubble?
With governments all around the world pumping funny-money onto the system, things could get out of control in a sudden way. (Just as the credit crisis took everyone by surprise.) I have lived through inflation in the 1980s with 18% inflation per annum, 22% interest rates — and 1,000% p.a. for overnight money. Those were not pleasant times, just as now is not a pleasant time for many people.

I surveyed the audience and asked how many people had been affected by the current recession directly — or knew someone close to them who had been affected. Almost every hand went up.

In my view (not totally disagreed with by the other speakers) there is a strong chance that, instead of the steady recovery we are told to expect, we may have yet another major bubble building up.

Personally, I think the chances are better than 1 in 4, so keep your eyes and ears open at all times.
Olly Newland speaking at a recent MARKET UPDATE evening organised by Empower Education.
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