By Michael Every of Rabobank
What's Your Favourite Bond Theme?
We live in a world where all can agree on very little – but one thing that should be clear is that it’s all very James Bond. Charismatic billionaires; Cold War; secret agents; skulduggery; poisonings; spy apps in innocuous devices; military build-ups and warnings of hot war; police crack-downs; and, of course, a killer virus. Ironically, Bond himself is absent because the latest movie iteration, “No Time To Die”, has been delayed because of Covid-19: when it eventually comes out, is it going to be a wilder ride than what we already see in real life? And could Hollywood ever tell a story that contains any elements of real life developments given how it is now financed? That’s what US Republicans are asking anyway. (Personally, I feel Bond lost his mojo with the internet. Who wants to see a man licensed to double-click to save the day?)
Anyway, a British poll of ‘Who was the best Bond?’, the kind of thing Brits ask themselves all the time for some reason, unsurprisingly had Sean Connery as the top 007, but with Timothy Dalton as #2, followed by Pierce Brosnan, then Roger Moore, current Bond Daniel Craig, and finally and naturally, George Lazenby. Besides being rather unkind to Roger Moore, the king of eyebrow-raising and cheesy puns, this got me thinking: what’s your favorite Bond theme to describe what we see around us at the moment?
Perhaps “All Time High”? Which suits both US equities, shortly, and virus infection numbers. “Tomorrow Never Dies” perhaps suits equities more though.
There’s “Skyfall” for those who look at bond yields (as well as Bond) instead, because despite the recent upside surprise in US inflation, it’s surely still a deflationary, lower-yield world out there (as the RBNZ are showing us). Indeed, don’t forget “The Writing’s On the Wall” for those who listened to the Fed yesterday saying there won’t be a V-shaped recovery, but rather a W-shaped one. Plus “You Only Live Twice” for those getting a nice Fed bailout anyway.
Maybe “Die Another Day” or “Another Way to Die" for those --just chastised by the Fed-- who say the virus isn’t a real threat? Or “No Time to Die” for those who won’t take the vaccine if it ever arrives (which is as high as one in two in some surveys).
Could it be “Goldeneye” or “The Man With the Golden Gun” as we see reports that even Chinese state banks are complying with US sanctions against key figures in Hong Kong? What a goldeneye the SWIFT system is and what a golden gun the USD still proves.
Maybe “Goldfinger” for those who think the USD isn’t and that it’s time to plan to live in a secret lair under the sea or up in space and give up on life on earth? “Diamonds are Forever”, they seem to also be humming. In which case there’s “Moonraker” for those billionaires dreaming of colonizing space – once they have sorted out downtown LA traffic.
Closer to home, there’s “You Know My Name” regarding the US Vice-Presidential candidacy; or “Nobody Does it Better” for supporters of either presidential candidate. Plus, how about “From Russia with Love” for those still wrapped up in the #Russiagate scandal, which seems about to take a new twist ahead as possible indictments are made against the original accusers (not accused)? Or “The Living Daylights” for those on the wrong side of this scandal in the end, whichever way it blows, now that “For Your Eyes Only” is no longer true for the evidence?
“The World is Not Enough”, “Licensed to Kill”, “A View to a Kill” and “Live and Let Die” certainly sum up current geopolitics nicely, even as “We Have All the Time in the World” is still the EU’s theme song when it comes to joint foreign policy action.
And there’s always “Thunderball” for the lottery that is the key Aussie jobs data, which today ostensibly show 115K employment gains in a country with 1/13 of the US population, and a drop in unemployment to 7.5% from 7.8% at a time when the economy is flat-lining and large parts are once again on hard lockdown (after the survey period, admittedly).
“Do you expect me fall, Mr Aussie Bonds?”
“No, I expect you to rise!”