The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ABS denies insider trading on data-releases. But do they run electronic counter-surveillance?

I guess the question for ASIC is who actually executed the $350k plus worth of trades in the 3 year government bond futures market less than 90 seconds before the surprisingly weak unemployment data (and the allegations similar things have happened in the last 12 months)…If someone is getting this information, it is rather unlikely that the ABS will be able to work out how through a cursory review. As Bruce Kovner, the founder of the large hedge fund Caxton, used to say: the best FX traders in the world were the Russians. Where they went, Kovner's Caxton followed. And why? Because of the data-snooping effectiveness of the KGB. It would be interesting to find out whether the ABS uses electronic counter-surveillance (eg, via ASIO) to protect its information integrity. Having a cleaner bug computers and phones in the ABS building could be worth billions of dollars. Sounds crazy? When I worked at Goldman Sachs in London in 2000-01, the firm used to have the Managing Directors' offices swept for bugs once a week...

DJ Australian Bureau Of Statistics Says No Evidence Of Data Leaks

SYDNEY (Dow Jones)--Australia's statistics agency has found no evidence that official data is being leaked after running an investigation in response to market rumors, a spokesperson said.

Although not widespread, an increasing number of market participants had in recent weeks speculated certain economic indicators had been leaked before the official embargo was released. Some highlighted a sharp move in front-end bond contracts ahead of softer-than-expected employment numbers as evidence of a leak.

But the Australian Bureau of Statistics, charged with collating and releasing the country’s various indicators, said it had looked into the rumors and found nothing untoward.

"We have investigated our pre-release lock-up and other release mechanisms thoroughly.

We have found that there is no evidence of any failure in our systems or processes in recent releases," the spokesperson told Dow Jones Newswires.

Access to the data, much if which is market sensitive, is limited to a small number of government officials approved by the bureau and a small group of reporters under strict embargo conditions.

"We take such allegations very seriously, as they have the potential to undermine trust in our statistics," the spokesperson said.