Review of “How to Make Money with Global Macro”

how-to-make-money-with-global-macro

After reviewing Greg Gliner’s “Global Macro Trading” earlier, I thought I’ll work my way on another book. There aren’t many books on global macro and macro investing out there, so Javier Gonzalez’s new book – “How to Make Money with Global Macro” naturally piped my interest to work through it.

I got it via Fishpond.com, which provides free shipping to Singapore-based customers.

The first thing I have to say about the book is that its title could be misleading; whereby one would get the first impression that it would provide a set of money-making investment techniques. However, the book does nothing of that sort, but rather with the author aiming to provide conceptual frameworks for the global macro practitioner.

The book is structured into 2 main portions: ‘Global Macro Introduction‘ and ‘Topics on Global Macro‘.

The author begins by breaking down the philosophy of global macro, dealing with epistemic issues surrounding the understanding and application of macro. He pointed out that global macro practitioners have to rely on empirical observation and analysis (the art is highly reliant on inductive reasoning) rather than what has been handed down by traditional academia (riddled by ideological difficulties and unrealistic assumptions and models). I have to agree with the author on this as I personally find it difficult to reconcile what I know of the real world with many premises taught in academia…

In the first part ‘Global Macro Introduction‘ the author literally runs the reader through various decades (the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s) observing broader market themes and the performance of various asset classes/market segments (the USD, equities, bonds, commodities, real estate). Charts are provided with various important events marked out on them, allowing one to see historical timelines.

The second part – ‘Topics on Global Macro‘ sees the author running through various broad topics that are of key interest to the macro practitioner. Some of these topics include wars arising from geopolitical conflict, commodity cycles, bear markets, the US Dollar, and gray swan events.

I found this section to be interesting as certain concepts like the Core-Periphery framework are explored, and the all important implications of the US Dollar are discussed. Issues like inflation and interest rate cycles from the Fed are also brought up. This section also serves to remind me that alpha generation from macro investing requires a workable understanding of the intricate relationships between various market drivers as well as broad global developments (structural changes, economic trends, political events, cultural norms). The challenge also lies in turning this workable understanding into a viable mode of implementation and execution that can be replicated.

Gray swans like climate change effects and pandemics arising from biological diseases are covered in brief, but it got me thinking about how many institutions and professional investors out there are really thinking about such developments (and making defensive moves for it). Potential alpha lies in distilling some of these grey swans particularly if fewer people think about them…

Overall, How to Make Money with Global Macro is an easy book to work through as long as the reader knows a thing or two about the financial markets and a rough understanding of theoretical economics. However, due to its empirical observations of various market developments over the past 4 decades, it would probably be helpful to have a prior knowledge of such events so as to understand the contexts of passages under study (its by no means necessary).

Additionally, it could possibly be enlightening if a hypothetical portfolio of assets was constructed upon an understanding of the inferred conclusions in the book, and simulated through different market conditions throughout the decades to see how it has performed.

To end off, its study of the various overarching and broad relationships of the world and markets intrigues me and serves as an add-on framework for application in global macro investing!

To find out more about the author and his work: http://macroecon.org/

Rating: 3.5/5

You may get Gonzalez’s book via Amazon.com

*image credits to Amazon*


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