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The great IMF sell signal

Oriental Hotel,
Bangkok, Thailand

I am putting on the hot and green curry, which is a speciality dish here and resembles a mangrove swamp but comes on very nicely, at that, when a notion lights up in my head like a bulb, a whole new law of markets: always go short of a country that stages an IMF meeting.

I mean, when I am last in Bangkok it is six years ago and they put on a truly great meeting, everyone who survives it enjoys it, the joint is jumping and the economy is tigerish, we all want a piece, but just look at it now, up the swamp without a mangrove, money owing everywhere, your boy in here on a salvage job and the IMF trudging back to mop up.

Mom, you know how one year in every three the IMF moves out of town, all those desk jockeys hate to be dug out of cosy Washington DC and closer to the action but the change is good for them, and the member countries fall over each other to put the show on.

By now I see this as a 20-year series: 1976 sets it off with the IMF's chiller in Manila, benefit week for the Marcoses, leave your money with them and see it walk out to the shoe shops, and 1979 is the bathplug crisis in Belgrade, capital of what is then Yugoslavia but now turns into Bosnia and Herzegovina and so on, all not apt to pay their own debts, let alone some debts left over from the previous management.

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