In some respects we’re in danger of running out of appropriate descriptive superlatives for the current bout of “irrational exuberance” (we’re open for suggestions). The current asset bubble is in many respects reminiscent of the late 1990s tech bubble, but it also differs from it in a number of ways. One of the major differences is that the exuberance recorded in the data is largely confined to professional investors, while the broader public is still licking its wounds from the demise of the previous two asset bubbles and remains largely disengaged (although this has actually changed a bit this year). Monetary pumping merely redistributes existing real wealth (no additional wealth can be created by money printing) and falsifies economic calculation. This in turn distorts the economy’s production structure and leads to capital consumption, thus the foundation of real wealth that allows the policy to seemingly “work” is consistently undermined. At some point, the economy’s pool of real funding will be in grave trouble (in fact, there are a number of signs that this is already the case). Widespread recognition of such a development can lead to the demise of an asset bubble as well.
With Ukraine, according to President Poroshenko, on the verge of World War III, it appears the people of the divided nation face another all too familiar war... on their living standards. As Hyrvnia continues to collapse to record-er lows, Ukraine's Central Bank warns of further stress and FX (think USDollar or EUR) demand because the "population is in panic." With a 19.8% inflation rate last month and a 48% devaluation in the currency this year, Bloomberg reports the costs of imported goods from gasoline to fruit and from medicine to meat is soaring. One store-owner reflected that she "feels the hryvnia devaluation everywhere," and another noted "I can't imagine how people survive on a single pension. We can’t even go to the drug store. We try to use herbs instead." The Central bank expects inflation to keep rising (having previously peaked at 10,256% in 1993 as the Soviet economy was dismantled). "Inflation is the same as the war," warns one analyst, "it may lead to protests if people blame the authorities for failing to conduct proper policies."
As we prepare for the annual food fest, and post-Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced food coma; we thought this weekend's reading list should be a bit of a smorgasbord of interesting topics to stimulate your brain cells between naps and football.
While not hyperinflating, the slow and insidious diminishment of the fiat US Dollar's purchasing power (and thus the living standards of lower- and middle-class Americans - who are not balls deep invested in the US stock 'market') is nowhere more evident than in the soaring costs of Thanksgiving Day dinner during the Fed's 100 year reign...
"Gold Is A 6,000 Year Old Bubble" - Citi's Dutch Strategist Throws Up All Over Gold, Days After Dutch Gold RepatriationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/27/2014 - 17:40
"Gold is the world’s most persistent bubble: 6,000 years old and going strong" - Citigroup's Willem Buiter.
Dear Willem, thank you for that valiant effort. After reading a few thousands words of shallow propaganda we understand your "confusion": our advice, if you want to understand what gold really is, read the following from Kyle Bass: "Buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It's That Simple." Because if there is a bubble that is even bigger and longer than the "6000-year-old gold bubble" it is that of human corruption, greed, and idiocy. And that doesn't even include the stupidity of those who don't grasp this simple truth.
A recent article argues that the increasing demand for consumer credit is an indicator of increasing consumer confidence. The argument seems reasonable due to the way it is presented--there is an entirely different conclusion one would draw were the argument presented differently.
Because buying bonds and lowering interest rates will do what exactly...
Are you in better shape financially than you were last Thanksgiving? If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate because most Americans are not. As you chow down on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce this Thursday, please remember that there are millions of Americans that simply cannot afford to eat such a meal. According to a shocking new report that was just released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of 2.5 million. And right now one out of every seven Americans rely on food banks to put food on the table. Yes, life is very good at the moment for Americans at the top end of the income spectrum. The stock market has been soaring and sales of homes worth at last a million dollars are up 16 percent so far this year. But most Americans live in a very different world.
Goldman: "US production growth will slow... would not be sustainable beyond a few months"
SocGen: OPEC decision is "unambiguously bearish... market to do the job of throttling U.S. shale oil growth."
Spot the difference...
While the media continue to just about exclusively paint a picture of recovery and an improving economy, certainly in the US – Europe and Japan it’s harder to get away with that rosy image -, in ordinary people’s reality a completely different picture is being painted in sweat, blood, agony and despair. Whatever part of the recovery mirage may have a grain of reality in it, it is paid for by something being taken away from people leading real lives.
Houston, we have a problem...
As we warned yesterday, the last time that U.S. oil drillers got caught up in a price war orchestrated by Saudi Arabia, it ended badly for the Americans. OPEC's decision not to cut production, and Nigeria's comments on the need for burden-sharing among non-OPEC members, ensures a crash in the US shale industry according to Leonid Fedun (Russia's Lukoil board member). The Russian finance minister's comments that oil at $80 in coming years is moderately optimistic and as Fedun ominously warns, this is a "major strike against the American market." Isolated, much?
But, but, but... all the clever talking heads said they wil have to cut...
*OPEC KEEPS OIL PRODUCTION TARGET UNCHANGED AT 30M B/D: DELEGATE
WTI ($70 handle) and Brent Crude (under $75 for first time sicne Sept 2010) are collapsing... as will US Shale oil company stocks and bonds (and thus all of high yield credit) tomorrow. The Saudis are "very happy" with the decision, Venzuela 'stormed out, red faced, furious.' Commentary from various OPEC members appears focused on the need for non-OPEC (cough US Shale cough) nations to "share the burden" and cut production (just as the Saudis warned yesterday).