Hugh Hendry Recreates ABX, Discloses Mystery Trade With 1.5% Downside, 75% Upside
Hugh Hendry, always beautifully opinionated, nails it at the Russia 2010 forum with the following oneliner: "Who cares about anyone's opinion. You pay money for what they do with that opinion." We are in complete agreement as this conforms precisely with what one of our former legendary, multi-billionaire, corpulent superiors once said "nobody gives a fuck about your opinion." On the other hand presenting amusing observations coupled with engrossing narrative, that nobody seems to have an issue with.
The following clip from the Russia Forum pits one against another Marc Faber, Hugh Hendry, Nassim Taleb, PIMCO's Michael Gomez, Investec's Michael Power, resulting in a memorable debate. A few blogs caught this clip and posted it yet few actually watched it, as the biggest news from the panel was not Taleb's admonition that "every single human being should be short treasuries", an opinion which Hugh Hendry squashes through the groupthink meatgrinder, but Hugh Hendry's cryptic disclosure that he has uncovered the ABX trade for the next decade, which has "1.5% downside and 75% upside." Hendry teases, but until the end refuses to disclose what the specific trade is. And while we realize the futility of recreating others' opinions, here is the money quote from the Scottish contrarian:
"The problem with the bailout of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, is that it did nothing to eliminate the debt. The debt is just unprecedented in the western world... We've had a tripling in leverage for the last 30 years. That tripling in leverage has produced unprecedented gains. The British stock market up 43 times in nominal terms, the S&P up 25 times. This has left many people still hungry for risk. I have a portfolio today... In the UK we have interest rates which are at a 300 year low, since the bank of England was conceived in 1692. I get paid money every day underwriting the risk that the BOE will cut rates further. I use that to cheapen an option which say "I don't think the Bank of England, and ECB, is going to raise rates in the next 4 months." And if nothing happens i make 5 times my money. If they raise rates, I lose my premium. My premium is not a lot. I'll survive that. On the other side of my book, I have discovered something which is close to the Paulson trade in CDOs in US mortgages in 2005 and 2006. Can you believe that a trade with that kind of dynamic exists today. Can you believe if nothing happens and I am just wrong than again I will lose 1.5% but if I am right I will make 75%. That trade exists today and maybe later on I will tell you about it."
And continuing with opinions, here is the former GSAM and Odey executive on Treasuries:
"I am hugely intellectually bullish on Treasuries. I am long. I fear the end of QE, the money funds are making on the [curve], I am aware of the issuance, I am aware that the States is going to have to sell $2.5 trillion of this stuff. But that's the marketplace - the marketplace disseminates the bad stuff. I think there is a lesson in Japan. You think they are going to succeed - Mark [Faber] thinks they are going to create inflation. The precedent of Japan suggest that if you allow leverage in your society to breach a certain level, let's call it 200 or 230% of GDP, then what happens is monetary policy doesn't work, fiscal policy doesn't work. They've had helicopters, they have distributed free money to their citizens, they have built bridges to nowhere and prices are falling and look set to fall further. My fear just now is that the community of risk is very short treasuries, and is very long risk: risk assets are the hedge against inflation. Now if something untoward happens, the gamma on that trade bankrupts you."
Elsewhere, you will hear Taleb's proposed portfolio composition (if you have read Fooled by Randomness or The Black Swan you won't be surprised), as well as his escalating and very much justified disdain for economists: "if the number of economists from US universities in a country is high, the country risk is high, if the number is low, the risk is low."
And a whole lot of debate over China, with Hugh Hendry dismantling Jim O'Neill and the other China bulls. "I love Jim O'Neill. I love that Goldman Sachs guy. He says you either get it, or you don't. I don't get it. In the future there will be a Confucius saying: the wise man not invest in overcapacity. The flaw of the business model, at the center of it is a craving for power as opposed to profit." (Kinda funny, coming from a former Goldmanite.) Please watch Hendry's view on China beginning 55 minutes into the clip.
For those P&L detectives here is Hugh's most recent missive. Good luck with extracting what the next ABX trade is.
The full hour + debate can be found here. We think far too highly of our readers' intellectual ability than to point out that the English audio stream would require hitting the Eng button.
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