Matthew Strauss's blog

U.S.-China Trade Dispute

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Whether by design or accident, the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago. Were it not for the subsequent tweets, comments and actions by both countries, one could have dismissed the early-May breakdown in talks as a hiccup or simply negotiation tactics. But as it stands, it seems increasingly likely the U.S.-China dispute is not going to be resolved any time soon. Unlike last year, when China went out of its way to re-engage the U.S. after the Trump administration threatened and eventually implemented higher tariffs, Chinese officials responded much more combative this time around.

China A shares inclusion: Don't miss the big picture

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As of June 2018, several onshore Chinese stocks – so-called A shares – will be included in the widely followed MSCI Emerging Markets Index and MSCI All Country World Index; but don’t be swept up by the hype and marketing gimmicks surrounding the event. The move in and of itself is not a game changer, but it is an important reminder that China is changing the way global investors should think about their investment strategies.

Currency management part one – Reality check

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Within the first few weeks of 2016 the Canadian dollar has dished out pain and joy in abundance. The irony is that within a single month both bulls and bears experienced these emotions in extremes. The currency first fell dramatically in the early part of January only to fully reverse by early February.

India deciphering

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There is no single India. I've come across this theme a number of times over the years, but never as notable as my recent visit to the land of the tiger. I didn't come across a tiger but did cross paths with motorists and cyclists that made crossing paths with a tiger look like an attractive alternative. States, or provinces if you wish, are the talk of town especially the differences between the 29 states. Per capita income in the top five states is around US$3500, while Bihar comes in at US$682.

Emerging market rollercoaster

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Global risk-off events are becoming an annual ritual. In the past five years it has been triggered by European debt concerns (2011 - 2012), taper tantrum (2013), the big commodity correction (2014) or fear over growth in China (2015). Weaved into these events were U.S. political and policy uncertainties. 

India, after the elections

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Even before landing in New Delhi, I got a first-hand experience of the inadequate infrastructure and bureaucratic red tape in India during a recent research trip. My flight was rerouted to Ahmedabad due to thunderstorm activity, where we sat for a few hours on the tarmac waiting for paperwork to be filled out only to find out that the plane ahead of us presumably took all the fuel. A 14-hour flight turned into a 21-hour affair. I like flying, but trust me, 21 hours in the same plane is a long time.

24 hours is a long time in the Ukraine crisis

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When I visited Russia and Ukraine late last year I did not include Crimea in my itinerary. A region that contributes less than 3% to the country’s already small economy was never going to grip the imagination of foreign investors. How quickly things have changed. Sevastopol (home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet) and Simferopol (capital of Crimea) are now making regular appearances in the daily news.

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