October 25, 2010

This Halloween you can thrill your friends and neighbors with the most famous faces in finance, and be the life (or death) of your Halloween party! Chatham Financial is your source for the scary best Halloween costumes on the planet! You’ll make the grandest entrance with our costume recommendations, and dress to impress with attention to detail and deep knowledge of Halloween markets. So sit back, rest your bones, and follow our costume advice to ensure a wicked welcome at your next Halloween party!

Ben Bernanke. Yes, the number one costume this season is Ben Bernanke, which comes in two varieties. Whether you think of the Fed Chairman as Dr. Evil, robbing seniors and savers of precious yield with his near-zero interest rate policy, or Captain Recovery, navigating uncharted financial waters and steering the USS Economy to safe harbor, you can pull off either look with a few accessories! Start with the Chairman’s unmistakable style and appearance for authenticity, and add just the right amount of flair. The Dr. Evil Bernanke should wear a dark hooded cloak and carry a scythe, as he harvests the souls of maturing mortgage backed securities to reinvest in treasuries, and reaps what was sewn in the economy by his predecessor, Chairman Greenspan. Don’t forget the bubble blower to highlight that US government treasuries could be the next asset bubble to burst! The Captain Recovery Bernanke ensemble requires a superhero cape that bestows upon the Fed Chairman the herculean task to return the economy to full employment. Be sure to wear a mystical satchel filled with rarely seen tools of monetary policy, so the Fed Chairman can sprinkle a bit of stimulus wherever he goes. Finally, the winged sandals of Mercury complete the look, allowing the Captain Recovery to withdraw said stimulus with lightning fast speed, lest the economy overheat. If you’re in need of a good sidekick for either look, the Spectre of Inflation or the Bond Vigilante will do, but truth be told they are both expected to be more popular next Halloween!

Lady Gaga. At number two on our list, the Lady Gaga costume may well be the most daring look this Halloween. Commodity marketers are delighted by the uptick in demand for cattle futures contracts settling in October, as fans try to replicate the Lady Gaga meat covered dress, which is at once both clever and creepy. Please note, though, that the USDA and health professionals are squarely in the “don’t-wear-a-meat-dress” camp, and suggest that party goers in close proximity should wash hands to prevent illness. While some Halloween guides suggest switching to vegan accessories or plastics to replicate the look, there is only one substitution that will make you the talk of the party (and the World Trade Organization) for months to come. Consider replacing one commodity for another, and substitute rare earth metals to complete your gaga ensemble. The sophistication of these hard-to-come-by, globally desirable accessories will turn heads as limited supply meets rising industrial demand. Without a doubt your costume will be the subject of admiration and congressional hearings on China’s protectionism, well beyond the election cycle. As with most Halloween costumes, though, look for this collection to fall in popularity by next Halloween, as supply from Canada and the US comes online and takes the coolness factor away!
Justin Bieber. Your guests will swoon when they catch a glimpse of the moppish-hair, reminiscent of the Beatles, and Bieber Fever is sure to spread quickly at this Halloween party! The Justin Bieber costume requires the Bieber wig, sunglasses, concert tour headset, the purple hoodie with the white jeans and matching jean jacket, and don’t forget the Swedish Fish from backstage (yum!). You’ll not only represent the latest brands and styles, you’ll be doing your part to save the retail sector, and kick start the economy. With nearly 70% of GDP tied to consumer spending, getting this look just right means you will be part of a macro economic megatrend, providing stimulus far greater than that of any fiscal or monetary policy measures. But don’t blink! Just like cash-for-clunkers came and went, Bieber Fever could just as quickly turn into pop culture plague, and result in a backlash so sinister that consumers actually recommit to saving their money and paying down debt, which is frightening to both Bernanke and Bieber alike!

Dollar Bill. Its back. Last year’s surprise runaway best costume turns out to be a big hit again this year. The costume is quite simple and requires only a sandwich board with a stack of money drawn on the front, or a few large foam dollar bills and huge googly eyes from your local party supply store. Go ahead, dust off your Money-you-could-be-saving-with-Geico costume from last season, and try it on for size. Doesn’t fit that well, does it? Its not you (well, probably not), it’s the fact that the US dollar is down more than 5% against the euro and 4.5% against the pound sterling from this time last year. While clients of Geico might save 15% after a fifteen minute phone call, your stack of bills will buy nearly 15% less Japanese yen than at the recent peak in April 2010. Even though inflation is subdued, your purchasing power continues to shrink when you convert into the world’s major trading currencies. Your costume might get smaller still if the Fed goes ahead with the long speculated plan to buy more treasuries, pushing down not only yields but shrinking the dollar in the process. Some Halloween guides would have you believe that this costume will fit better next year, but as with your other financial obligations, you will likely need to stretch those bills if you want to make it work!

If you have questions about this year’s crop of Halloween costumes, give us a call! While Chatham’s advisory is generally limited to business risk of the interest rate, foreign exchange or commodity risk variety, we are happy to help you dominate the time-sensitive and seasonal Halloween party market!