Chart o’ the day: the real world

Written By: - Date published: 9:54 am, August 2nd, 2011 - 68 comments
Categories: capitalism - Tags:

Sources- Statistics NZ trade figures. Reserve Bank foreign exchange turnover.

68 comments on “Chart o’ the day: the real world”

  1. vto 1

    This should be front page news and linked directly to John Key.

    What does Key have to say about it? I mean currency trade is supposed to be about support of trade etc, however it is quite clear that near 95% of currency trade is 100% pure speculation.

    Talk about non-productive shit.

    • mikesh 1.1

      The chart doesn’t tell us where “invisibles” come. In the left block or the right block. Assuming they are in the right block then we don’t know how much of that block is actual speculation.

  2. Afewknowthetruth 2

    ‘This should be front page news and linked directly to John Key.’

    You have got to be dreaming!

    The prime function of the corporate-owned media is to keep all fundamental truths well hidden and keep the proles distracted with trivia. And make a profit out of it.

    99% of the populace don’t even realise: they actually pay money to be distracted and misinformed. That’s how successful the corporate misinformation system is.

    • Gosman 2.1

      Perhaps you can suggest that the next left led government could set up a ministry for truth so that the ‘correct’ view of the world can be put forward.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1


        Actually, re-introducing not for profit news media media channels would do it.

        • felix

          “Back in reality” was for Gos, not you btw. Public news channels are definitely needed.

      • felix 2.1.2

        Back in reality, giving bodies like the BSA a few more teeth to deal with the accuracy of reporting mightn’t be a bad idea.

      • Ianupnorth 2.1.3

        Even when there is truth, knowledge that is generated from robust academic research the current government choose not to believe it and do the opposite of what is recommended!

    • vanakast 2.2

      Except that this, like the media, leaves out a huge amount of information. A lot of the media isn’t corporately owned, it’s publically funded, and it certainly isn’t all right-wing.

  3. JustMal 3

    Nice chart. Whats the source, be interested to know if there is any historical information available (ie, would like to look at how its changed over the last few years)

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 4

    Why else would Key say you can do nothing , as a former currency trader thats what they want.

    The small margins on huge speculative flows and the ‘carriage’ trade are what he made his fortune on. Being paid massive bonuses based on the profit for his company.

    I see an opening for Winston Peters here, as Labour sits on its hands regarding currency speculation.
    Its right up Peters street to rail against the ‘big money speculators’ and the effect its having on average kiwis. Watch this space

    • Gosman 4.1

      New Zealand used to strictly control the currency by setting it’s value against the US Dollar. That didn’t stop the speculators causing a run against it in 1984.

      You just need to look at Zimbabwe, (where currency speculation was made illegal pre 2008), to see what would happen if you attempted to do something similar here.

      You can’t eliminate a market were there is a need for it.

      • mik e 4.1.1

        Yeah right again Gossip Man telling porkies again . make it up as you go Gossman. its hardly wort replying to BS Zimbabwe was a totally different scenario nothing faintly similar to NZ 1984 .You say you have worked for different investment banks what as cleaner or tea lady.Muldoon was playing games with the opposition while they were waiting in the wings. Muldoom borrowed and hoped us into a corner not unlike Bill English and Roger Douglas.Zimbabwe lost most of its productive sector and there were to few goods in the market due to his nihilistic behavior .The opposite was true of Muldoon we had to many goods and couldn’t sell them. Goossman your under standing is a joke your claims to have worked for big investment banks is an even bigger joke!

        • Gosman

          You have no idea about what happened in Zimbabwe with regard the currency there do you mik e? Well that much is clear from your response.

          So to educate you a little – what the Government there tried to do for a number of years, especially between 2000 and 2008 was to set the price of the Zimbabwe dollar, in essence to fix it.

          The trouble was the dollar is only worth what the market is willing to pay for it, not what a Government official decides it is worth.

          Zimbabwe found that out the hard way when the official market dried up and people took their money to the black market instead.

          NZ learned a similar lesson in 1984 when Muldoon refused to let the market determine a more realistic value of the currency.

  5. Which chart, the meaningless one at the top, or the electionresults one just underneath?

    The top one has virtually no information so it’s impossible to tell what it relates to, the other is an “if the eelction was today” sort of scenario that also has limited meaning because if an election was today many people would be thinking differently about how they might vote.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.1

      So all your, (what would it be, dozens?), of comments about what the polls tell us are actually meaningless Pete?

  6. freedom 6

    i know it is bashing my head against a brick wall but a structure based on financial renumeration is no way to run an Election Poll. I-Predict is a stock exchange. People have a commercial interest in the results. If that does not skew the content then i don’t know what would. How can it be at all accurate when people always will, always can and always do manipulate stocks to make money.

    It might be fun for those taking part but being touted around the place as a poll device to show how voters may or may not be behaving is not what we need when trying to kick a Trader out of office.

    • Gosman 6.1

      So make some money by betting against the bias in the market. It would seem to be a no brainer but one which lefties seem to fail to grasp.

      • freedom 6.1.1

        Gosman, there is a popular starfish who is less obtuse than you
        that is why i am saying it is an unreliable tool for reporting polling, d’uh

        • Gosman

          You don’t understand the market do you?

          The value of these things are dependent on the real event. Hence if it is totally skewed because of the bias you claim exists then it would be easy to make a killing by basing your bets on what you think the actual reality is.

          • Colonial Viper

            “make a killing”

            what by inflating the value of our dollar to the point that our real tech exporters whither and die?

            Thanks, but the NZD should not be used as just another chip in the ludicrous world finance casino.

          • felix

            He’s explained his point twice now Gos. Please read it this time.

            • Gosman

              Ummm… his point, if I read him correctly, is that I-predict is bollox because of the underlying bias of the people in the market. However if there does exist such a bias, as the basis of the market is real world outcomes, it would be easy to make money by betting against the market.

              For example if I-predict is suggesting that National will win the election by 10 percentage points and you think this is bollox and as a result of inbuilt bias then bet that it will be less than that or even that Labour will win. you will get quite good rate on that and therefore make a nice tidy sum.

              Now what is so hard for you to understand about that?

              • felix

                “Ummm… his point, if I read him correctly, is that I-predict is bollox because of the underlying bias of the people in the market.”

                Then no, you don’t understand his point correctly. Have another crack at it.

                And this time, read the words first then figure out what’s being said.

                • Gosman

                  How abou you, (or freedom) tell me what the point is because –

                  “I-Predict is a stock exchange. People have a commercial interest in the results. If that does not skew the content then i don’t know what would. How can it be at all accurate when people always will, always can and always do manipulate stocks to make money.”

                  Seems to indicate pretty clearly that freedom was trying to claim that I-predict is inaccurate because of the nature of the people engaged in the market.

                  Where in that passage is there anything remotely suggesting something other than what I have suggested it means?

                  • felix

                    I don’t see anything there about a bias in the market. Try again.

                    • Gosman

                      Ummmm….. freedom was trying to state the I-predict market doesn’t relect reality because of this manipulation – that means the market is biased.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Not sure if ‘biased’ is the right word, but its certainly not a ‘free market’ in terms of transparency or efficiency 🙂

                    • felix

                      No Gos, not in the way you’re implying.

                    • Gosman

                      So felix explain exactly what freedom’s point was if not stating that I-predict is a biased market (i.e. one which reflects more a particular view of a select number of market participants rather than the underlying reality).

                    • felix

                      Here’s what you said, Gos: (you don’t mind, do you?)

                      his point, if I read him correctly, is that I-predict is bollox because of the underlying bias of the people in the market.

                      Stop yer wriggling and read it fer yerself.

                    • Gosman

                      You have till to tell me what freedom’s point was if not that I-Predict does not reflect reality because of the underlying bias of people in that market to attempt to manipulate it for financial ends.

                      So what was his point felix?

                    • felix

                      Oh ffs you’re never going to get it on your own, are you?

                      The money isn’t made and lost according to any “real event” as you put it, that’s for the suckers.

                      The money is made on the way up and on the way down. Movement is all that matters.

                      It’s not real Gos. You’re either being taken for a ride or you’re trying to pull the wool. Either way you’re full of shit.

                    • Gosman

                      So please explain how all that is reflected in freedom’s statement “How can it [i.e. I-predict] be at all accurate when people always will, always can and always do manipulate stocks to make money”?

                      It seems quite clear from that single sentence that freedom doesn’t think I-predict is an accurate reflection of the underlying reality.

                      Which was exactly my point. If freedom doesn’t think this then take advantage of this fact and place bets that more accurately reflects reality.

                  • freedom

                    I will use small words ok.
                    It is a Stock Market -so it is flawed as a device for polls.

                    An exchange where trading is conducted

                    An inquiry into public opinion conducted by interviewing a random sample of people

                    do you see the difference?

                    • Gosman

                      Then make money on this flaw.

                      It is quite simple really freedom. I-predict will pay out when something in the real world becomes more likely to happen. You sell as the event becomes more likely to happen and if you are correct then as more information comes to light then this will be reflected in the price.

                      You think it doesn’t reflect accurately the chance of this thing happening because of the way it has been baised by market participants in their efforts to make money.

                      However if it isn’t pricing correctly because of this reason it offers you and prime opportunity to make some cash by betting on something with better than even odds.

                      Let me put it another way for you using a real life example. Some people made a killing in Hong Kong horse race betting because to Chinese people cerain numbers are lucky and certain are unlucky. So Horses that had the number 8, (which I believe is very lucky), received more money than they may have warrented because of form. Hence if you had a good betting strategy you could beat the market.

                    • lprent []

                      Why bother gambling? Who cares.

                    • Gosman

                      Life is a gamble lprent. Human activity is driven by risk and reward.

                      As for why freedom should care, essentially I was advising freedom to put the money where the writing skills were. If what freedom was stating was correct then I-predict is a market ripe to be expolited by someone who takes advantage of the distortions.

                    • lprent []

                      Oh I agree that it is a shallow market that would be easy to exploit. My point was that as a market it also carries no real meaning outside of making money. Why would I or freedom want to participate? That is why it is shallow – because it is designed for shallow people. You can tell – they show Act getting significiant vote… 😈

                      If I have time or effort or resources to expend on a political party then I can and do that directly. If I have something to say on the political process I can and do that directly as well.

                      For that matter if I want to support a company I often just go and work for them or directly buy their shares – many interesting companies aren’t listed in any market.

  7. Lindsay 7

    Ever since we have had a floating exchange rate specualtion in foreign exchange made up approx 95% of all FE trades. It is a zero sum game, the winners = the loosers.
    We should put a tax on it as was suggested by the economist Tobin, ie the Tobin Tax.

    • freedom 7.1

      Just desserts
      The real lunacy of the modern Markets, be it crops, cash, diamonds or debt, is how the majority of trading now occurs with no human pause of consideration or thoughts of redress to the
      ramifications of the investment. In times past a Trader’s house was a fancy restaurant that most would speak of in hush reverie and maybe get to see once or twice on those very special occassions that colour one’s life. They were always a busy place.

      Friends and foes would gather, some arriving by ship, or plane, some by private car, some on public trains but all could walk in the gate knowing as long as the bill could be paid, they had as fair a chance as the next guy to get a table. The Traders were there to facilitate the transaction and it happened at the physically-constrained speed of the human. Even with the advent of digital technology into the markets, there was always a human to show the menu, take the order and deliver the desserts. The Trader may have slowed the course during a run on apple pie or softened a call for more baklava and pushed out a tiramisu, but not today.

      Today the market is Algorithm. A monument to avarice. You get to look in through a slit in the wall and shout an order for a cheeseburger but never again will you see the front door. It doesn’t matter if you have a jacket & tie, there are no longer any tables open in the dining room. If you are quick and don’t mind the smell, there are some spots on the back terrace by the bins.
      Your experience of the party is now well and truly that of an outsider.

      Inside, Crab Platters of digital delectations are being cracked crunched chomped swallowed and excreted before the Human Trader even saw the option was on the table.

      Do you want fries with that?

      • Gosman 7.1.1

        What are you on freedom?

        When was this supposed magical happy time when people visited a traders luxury appointed house to spend a few memorable and life changing moments?

        • freedom

          its a bloody analogy. Way to ruin a creative day you pinhead.

          For Gosman: or, Comprehension for toddlers

          In days past if you had a few bucks you could trade and people controlled the trades. Now if you have a few bucks you have a computer trading autonomously for you.

          • Gosman

            You really have no idea about the history of the market do you.

            Markets have tended to be loud, messy, busy places where people shout and jostle and attempt to get the best deals for themselves. You just need to look at market places in third world nations to realise that.

            In short your polyyannaish world never existed.

            • Bored

              Methinks you confuse a useful thing such as a market with a useless thing such as a a casino. Anybody working in a market will tell you it works best in a win win fair trade scenario where something useful changes hands. A casino on the other hand pits you on an all or nothing win lose scenario.

              • Gosman

                No I think you mistake a market for a bureaucratic clearing house.

                Markets are whatever people want them to be. Even if you attempt to control them or make them illegal they will still exist in whatever form the people involved in them want.

                That is why Socialists could never, and can never, control the black market. I suspect you think the black market is a bad thing.

                • Bored

                  FFSake Gos, you are a total pillock. I work in markets. I do real business stuff in them, and I know speculation when I see it. Even do some. You get some real life stuff poked at you and you go off about beaurocrats….I never even mentioned them. Where did that tosh come from?

                  Then its the “socialist” call. FFSake again. I said markets were useful…sounds a very socialist statement dont you think? Thats just the point, you dont think.

                  Then the “black market” comment. Are you getting desparate?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Funny this is, capitalists can’t control black markets either.

                    Look what happened when the completely opaque, undisclosed, unregulated multi-trillion dollar black market in financial derivatives collapsed in 2008.

                    Threatened to take down the entire global economy.

                    Going to happen again in the next 6 months I’d say.

                    And lets not even talk about the market in illicit drugs in capitalist ol’ NZ.

                    Lesson: GOS has NO IDEA what he is talking about.

            • freedom

              Why are you such a literal and close-minded individual ? I know that the world i sometimes allude to has never existed you complete moron, if it did do you think people like myself would bother to be fighting for one. Gosman you are without doubt one of the most obstinate children i have ever attempted to communicate with.

              You talk of a free market that has never been free. You say you want a level playfield yet put the goalposts on a bank. You blather on about the wastrels that are the left and how they never amount to anything real. If real is the world that i see around us and that is all it will ever be, and that satisfies you then i despair for your heart Gosman, i really do.

              • Gosman

                So what was the point of raising the idea of times past when you now admit they never existed and doesn’t reflect the reality of the human condition when it comes to commercial interactions between two or more people?

                Why didn’t you just state that was where you dream, (and it is a dream), humans could get to at some indeterminate time in the future?

          • Gosman

            Your analogy does highlight why left wing people never understand the market because they think they can tame and civilise human nature in some utopian vision of love and light.

            • Colonial Viper


              Actually that’s why you have market regulations and rules; because Lefties know very well that human nature can be cruel and unkind to the vulnerable and powerless.

            • mik e

              Of course its nothing to do with internal hyper inflation and the fact Zimbabwe has no productive sector . I suspect that the wheel barrows of cash got to much for them and they went back to bartering it was never going to work in a country like Zimbabwe using it as an example shows the futility of your argument!

              • Gosman

                Zimbabwe had a large non-agricultural productive sector mik e. It was the second largest in SADC until the early 2000. It was Zanu-PF’s policy of fixing the dollar, inefficient SOE’s, and excessive size of the Zimbabwe state that destroyed it and led to the Hyper inflation. Zanu-PF’s land grab starting in 2000 only accelerated the decline of what was already in a very parlous state.

                • Bored

                  Gos, much as I dont like the Zimmers business have you ever considered that what you were watching that lead to the hyper inflation was the ending of a century old invasion and imposed system? Perhaps the natives just got plain pissed off with it and did not care about the money and foreign interests reactions. To me it looks like a very high price to pay to get rid of invaders and their systems but who knows? Did you lose a farm?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Bored, economic collapse always occurs when the serfs and the coloureds get uppity.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      It is a zero sum game, the winners = the loosers.

      Uh, not true, our real economy exporters have been slaughtered by the high dollar and the variability in our dollar.

      Having our dollar >US60c has meant hundreds of thousands of jobs destroyed.

      If we were smart like Singapore we would peg the dollar to a (secret) basket of foreign currencies and weight its movements to achieve our national economic goals.

      • Lindsay 7.2.1

        For the speculators it is a zero sum game, the gains = the looses.

        • Colonial Viper

          Sure I get that bit, but who gives a shit when the speculators create collateral carnage in the real economy and in real businesses?

          btw I support a Tobin Tax or something very similar.

  8. Adrian 8

    Let’s tax the fuckers. A Financial Trading Tax at ONLY one tenth of 1% on this figure would bring in $265 million a month or $3.18 billion a year. Although once instigated it would slow the trade down, so we wouldn’t get so much but at least the NZD would be at a sensible price, because at the current level it is going to send exporters to the wall and cost thousands of jobs.

    • DonKey 8.1

      But Adrian, the speculators are the “wealth creators” and randian heroes of the national economy. We mustn’t scare them away with nasty taxes,

      Let’s cut public services so that they can drain our economy more, the little people won’t mind

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      Indeed sometimes the benefit of a new tax is not how much money it brings in, but the behaviours it incentivises.

      Just like the CGT :mregreen:

  9. mik e 9

    Just about every other country is intervening in its currency using many different devices .China has no problem setting it currency so all its productive sectors can make a steady profit. The only ones that make a steady profit in New Zealand are the untaxed speculators . They are nothing but leaches on the productive sectors !New Zealand is one of the very few countries that allow the productive sector to be annihilated every time one of our sectors stars making a profit so hence we borrow more to keep the economy afloat which makes the currency more volatile

    • Dan 9.1

      Sorry, but if you’re going to claim that someone is ‘profiting’ from the dollar, then you better include consumers, which is pretty much everyone. Oil would be at least a dollar more expensive if the USD were to fall by 30c, which would impact every good in the country. So consumers do benefit from the higher dollar too.

  10. vto 10

    Just remember, it always go volatile just before the meltdown…

  11. Matthew Hooton 11

    Zetetic – I am sure your graph is accurate but the point I think you are trying to make is wrong. It is the so-called speculators who keep the currency relatively stable. If there were no speculators, everytime Air New Zealand bought a new plane or Fonterra brought back dividends from its offshore investors, the currency would swing massively. The speculators means that such transactions don’t singificantly affect the value of the currency. This means, ironically, that real businesspeople – eg Air New Zealand, Fonterra, etc – can rely on the value of the currency much more than if the speculators weren’t involved. This seems a stretch at 88c but its still true!

    • Gosman 11.1

      Yes but our lefty friends on the whole don’t understand the benefit of having liquid markets Matthew.

      To many of them all speculation is inherently evil and should be stamped out. Prices should be set at fair value and managed under the auspices of a benevolent and just Government agency.

    • vto 11.2

      That is a point he has, tangential and minor

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