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Baby One More Time/Oops! ... I Did It Again

Who ever hasn't heard of Britney Spears, please raise your hand. While few people I know [being a 45 year old male] would ever admit that they listen to her music, I'll bet there aren't too many hands raised out there right now, ehh?

For those of you who may be unaware, Baby One More Time / Oops!...I Did It Again was a follow up smash hit CD produced by Ms. Spears. I would like everyone to understand that the only reason I know this - is because I have a seventeen year old daughter [wink].

Anyone who has children over the age of five and owns or has even listened to a radio in the past five years knows that Ms. Spears first two albums were such large hits, and so successful, that the album, Oops!...I Did It Again, was a virtual 'lock' to repeat as another smash commercial success. Isn't it interesting how sometimes history tends to repeat itself - particularly when someone figures out the secret recipe for success?

I don't know about you, dear reader, but the notion of history repeating itself combined with the secret recipe for success kind - a - sort - of reminds me of technical analysis in economics. After all, it is recurring events or patterns of past events that are supposed to have predictive powers as to what is likely to happen in the future, isn't it? Well, with all this in mind [along with my favorite Britney tune], I couldn't help but marvel at this handy chart sent to me by a reader in Basel, Switzerland just the other day:

MAJOR FOREIGN HOLDERS OF TREASURY SECURITIES
(in billions of dollars - Yr. over Yr. chg)
Compiled from data at
http://www.ustreas.gov/tic/mfh.txt
Country Jan 04 Jan 05 % Change
Caribbean 48.1 92.5 92.3
UK 91.8 163.0 77.6
Canada 26.2 43.4 65.6
Israel 10.5 16.0 52.4
Mexico 27.5 41.1 49.5
OPEC 43.4 64.7 49.1
Ireland 14.8 21.0 41.9
China 156.2 194.5 24.5
All Other 115.7 141.3 22.1
Sweden 9.6 11.6 20.8
Japan 583.2 701.6 20.3
Germany 47.5 57.1 20.2
Singapore 23.2 27.6 19.0
Thailand 13.5 15.8 17.0
Brazil 10.7 12.2 14.0
Korea 59.6 67.7 13.6
Spain 10.8 12.2 13.0
Belgium 14.6 16.5 13.0
Luxembourg 26.1 29.3 12.3
Taiwan 53.1 59.2 11.5
Switzerland 45.1 50.0 10.9
Italy 14.7 14.9 1.4
Hong Kong 54.8 52.9 -3.5
Australia 10.8 9.7 -10.2
India 15.7 13.9 -11.5
Turkey 14.5 12.8 -11.7
Netherlands 13.2 8.7 -34.1
France 16.0 9.2 -42.5
Grand Totals 1570.9 1960.3 24.8
Chart courtesy of Mary Puplava - FinancialSense.com

You see folks, I recently wrote a piece entitled, Pirates of the Caribbean, outlining how ridiculous claims are - that Caribbean based hedge funds, depicted in green above, bought 23 billion worth of US [long maturities] securities in the month of Jan. 05.

What my newest best friend from Basel, Switzerland pointed out to me was this:

"I noticed that the table you provided allows one to make a quick list of "America's Most Servile", based on the % change in dollar holdings from Jan 04 to Jan 05. And what do you know, the Pirates have managed to surpass even the UK in terms of outright subservience and bootlicking. Quite an achievement. Once again, it is left to France to show the way."

Who would have figured? Who still remembers? I mean, what is it about the French that they are able to sniff these things out anyway? Perhaps I'm simply predisposed to the top-down philosophy of analysis while the Swiss are more inclined to pursue a bottom up approach? Who knows? After dusting off my trusty economics history book, I realize that it was France redeeming their dollars for gold, at the then official price of $35 per ounce, at the direction of Charles de Gaulle - that knocked the world off the gold standard collapsing the Bretton Woods System just over 30 years ago during the Nixon administration? All of this got me thinking. Is this a case of, Oops!...I Did It Again or would this encore sophomoric performance be better described as foreshadow; as in do it to me - Baby One More Time?

Any bets?

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