Where Did Market Volatility Go?

Television and newspapers continue to trumpet every twist and turn of global financial markets. In truth, however, the big story is the uneerie calm that has engulfed virtually every major asset class, from stocks to bonds. Is the whole investment world on Prozac?

Conspiracy theories abound, particularly among the ranks of financial traders, for whom volatility is like wind to a sailor. These traders confidently figure that as long as markets gyrate, no matter what the direction, they can always make money. And, thanks to the rest of us who don’t have the time, information, and skill to match wits with them, they are mostly right. But, with today’s dormant markets, the pickings are slim.

The favored bogeymen of the day are giant government investors, particularly Asian central banks, with their trillions of dollars in assets. These superfunds, whose managers do not necessarily share the same passion for profit as private investors, are said to be squeezing the life out of interest rates and exchange rates. “The big Asian central banks are oppressing us,” one young trader recently complained to me.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/HDK5cTQ;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.