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."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


So over the last year or two my buddy Terry McCrann has very confidently predicted four or five RBA decisions, immediately before the meeting (as opposed to months or weeks before), that did not come to pass. I think, on occasion, he has been head-faked by bad cues from the RBA board. Terry also has a habit of always defending/rationalising RBA decisions after the event. It is a consistent pattern. So, for example, Terry blasted me last year for suggesting that the RBA staff recommendations had been regularly rolled by the more dovish board. Embarrassingly for Terry, the recently retired RBA board member, Graham Kraehe, confirmed that I was actually surprisingly prescient (ie, right) in an interview with The Australian in January:

"There have been a number of occasions when the basic recommendation from the staff hasn't been adopted… I would not suggest there has been an increase when the staff said there should be a decrease. But we (the non-RBA staff) have said, 'Let's not move, let's sit'… And that has happened reasonably regularly."

This forced a 90 degree turn by Terry, who then claimed that, yes, while this was a big revelation, and did change his view somewhat, it did not really matter because the staff were only ever rolled when they wanted to be rolled. Are you kidding?

Today Terry says he has been told by an RBA board member, or someone involved in the process, that there could not possibly have been any leaks between 12.30pm and 2.30pm because, well, the board meeting drifted past 12.30pm. I guess if a board member has told Terry that there were no leaks,  then it must be true. As true as the claims evidently made to him last year that the RBA staff are never rolled. Leaks are an impossibility. End of story. (He completely ignores the remarks I relayed from one of the biggest hedge fund operators in the world: economic intelligence snooping for trading purposes is not uncommon.)

Finally, in striking contrast to what other journos have been told--more credibly, before the meeting--Terry claims, notably two weeks after the event, that, of course, the RBA staff never recommended a 25 basis point cut. They always wanted to cut by 50. They are at one with Terry and the Board. Sure. Tell that to Peter Martin and David Uren.