Saturday markets update, 27th August 2005

Saturday markets update, 27th August 2005

New, moving and interesting markets this week
Trading pit
In last week’s markets update, we commented that the fixed odds betting on the German general election predicted that Angela Merkel was almost certain to become Chancellor after the 18th September election (which has now been formally authorised by the Constitutional Court). This is still the case, with Merkel 1/16 to become Chancellor, and the CDU–CSU 1/33 to be the largest party in the Bundestag. However, Cantor Spreadfair has added interest by creating a spread betting market on the parties’ vote shares. The market is very new and no bids or offers have yet been posted – Spreadfair is a betting exchange on which your bet is against another punter. A guide to the likely prices is the latest polls collated on the Umfragen site. These have the CDU–CSU on around 42%, the SPD about 28%, with the Greens and FDP both around 8%. Though these numbers have been almost rock steady for the last week, it’s hard to see there being no movement at all between now and the election; and knowledgeable watchers of German politics may have a view on which parties are over- and underestimated by opinion pollsters.

Spreadfair has also indicated that a spread market on the 11th September general election in Japan will be coming very soon.

Another new market is Paddy Power‘s on the 2007 French presidential election. The 5/4 favourite is Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy of the Gaullist UMP party. Second favourite at 7/2 is the Socialist François Hollande. With this market, your money is tied up for the two years until the election – during which time there are likely to be plenty of twists and turns in the story. Gamblers interested in this election would probably prefer to have a betting exchange to trade in and out of positions.

On Thursday we saw that the betting odds on the New Zealand general election were moving towards Labour. This movement has continued on Centrebet, with Labour now at 7/25 and National at 9/4. Betfair has better odds if you are backing Labour, but not as good if your money is going on National.

Friday’s article covered the Tradesports markets on the US party nominations for the 2008 Presidential elections. The Democratic favourite, still by a long way, is Hillary Clinton at 42.9% (1.33/1). On the Republican side, the race is much closer, with George Allen at 20.2% (3.95/1), John McCain at 18.0% (4.56/1) and Rudy Giuliani at 14.9% (5.71/1). Better value might be found looking further down the list for state governors, whose record in getting to the White House over the last 30 years is better than that of Senators or mayors.

Returning home to the UK, the market attracting most interest is on the Conservative leadership. The clear favourite is still Shadow Home Secretary David Davis at 0.73/1. After former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke’s statement in which he described the euro as a failure – so far, his odds have shortened slightly to 7.8/1. Shadow Education Secretary David Cameron remains second-placed at 4.3/1.

A new market, which appeared online just after Tuesday’s article here, is on the next Labour deputy leader. Paddy Power gives the edge here to David Blunkett (7/2), followed by Jack Straw (4/1) and Charles Clarke (9/2). All three ministers are regarded as Blairites; an alternative betting strategy would be to look for candidates who could balance a Gordon Brown-led ticket in a different way – though perhaps not as “different” as 100/1 outsider George Galloway.

If you are opening a Spreadfair account, it would be appreciated if you followed the link in this article or on the right-hand sidebar. This pays a small commission which goes towards the costs of running the site. Many thanks.

Philip Grant

Guest editor

Mike Smithson is on holiday until 5th September.

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