Let’s be honest, free money sounds great. And you might agree if you start daydreaming about what you’d buy with additional $1,000 or $5,000 in your bank account. The truth is, nothing is free...
"Money for free! Well not exactly. The Piper that has to be paid will likely be paid for in the form of higher inflation, but that of course is what the central banks claim they want. What they don’t want is to be messed with and to become a government agency by proxy, but that may just be the price they will pay for a civilized society that is quickly becoming less civilized due to robotization. There is a rude end to flying helicopters, but the alternative is an immediate visit to austerity rehab and an extended recession. I suspect politicians and central bankers will choose to fly, instead of die."
Moments ago, the 2016 edition of the Sohn Investment Conference started, a feeding frenzy for traders and hedge fund managers such as Gundlach, Einhorn and Chanos who descend on this popular annual "round table" to pitch their best and worst ideas. As always, the moment a company's name is mentioned in a bullish or bearish context, its stock is sure to surge or slump, as the headline-hungry algos immediate pounce in the current reactionary market environment. But is following the advice of these hedge fund gurus such a good idea?
While there was no unexpected overnight central bank announcement unlike yesterday's surprise by the RBA which unleashed volatility havoc in the FX market, which promptly spilled over into all asset classes, overnight stocks around the world saw another leg lower without a tangible catalyst, while EM currencies fell to a one-month low after two Fed presidents raised concern investors had become too complacent in their belief that U.S. interest rate raises will stay on hold. Or perhaps all that is happening is that after ignoring Trump, the market is starting to finally price in the possible reality of the Donald in the White House (although as Jeff Gundlach pointed out, Trump would be a far better president for the economy and the market than Hillary or Bernie).
Back in March, Japan's Global Pension Investment Fund appointed Norihiro Takahashi as its new president. Few paid much attention to it, but it may very well end up being one of the most significant events that occurred as we look back in twelve to eighteen months.
The ECB is effectively out of viable options. The global banking crisis is back.
For some time, the rich countries have argued that it is in everyone’s collective interest to demonetize gold. But there is a good case to be made that a shift in emerging markets toward accumulating gold would help the international financial system function more smoothly and benefit everyone.
A Surprise From JPM: "Pundits Are Urging Investors To Chase Performance; We Believe This Would Be A Mistake"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/03/2016 11:14 -0400
"Equities had a meaningful rebound from the February lows, and we now find many who didn’t want to add at the time, are looking to enter the market at these levels. Indeed, pundits are urging investors to “chase performance”. We believe that this would be a mistake; complacency has crept into the market again, technicals appear overbought and the upturn in activity appears to be stalling."
“The zero interest [rate] policy is an attack on the assets of millions of Germans..."
Overnight Australia finally admitted it has succumbed to the global economic weakness plaguing the rest of the world when in a "surprise" move, Australia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a year to a record low and left the door open for further easing to counter a wave of disinflation that’s swept over the developed world. The move sent the local currency tumbling and local stocks climbing. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens and his board lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 percent Tuesday, a move predicted by just 12 of 27 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The announcement has, not surprisingly unleashed havoc across FX markets and broadly pushed global mood into its latest "risk off" phase.
Central bankers have the unchaperoned power to create the greatest fortunes ever known to mankind at will and to invest that money wherever they want. With trillions of dollars at their disposal and trillions more whenever they want to conjure it into existence, what is to stop them from controlling the oil market just as they have stocks and bonds?
As of today, we now have three consecutive quarters of tightening lending standards. In fact, based on the latest survey, net lending standards tightened even more than during Q4 as shown in the chart below, and are now the tightest on net since the financial crisis. Needless to say, if a recession and a default cycle has always followed two quarters of tighter lending conditions, three quarters does not make it better.
Interestingly, the BoJ’s attempts to achieve its price inflation target continue to end in failure with unwavering regularity. While the central bank’s astonishing ineptness in this respect is a blessing for Japan’s citizens (at least for the moment, their cost of living doesn’t increase further), it harbors the danger that even crazier monetary experiments will eventually be tried.
If the world’s economies were really out of intensive care, why would ultra-radical monetary policies like helicopter money be increasingly debated at the highest level of governments? Also, how come 70% of Americans believe the US economy is on the wrong course? And why do almost half of US citizens admit they couldn’t come up with $400 to meet an unexpected need? Yes, I know why ask why? And it is what is, and a bunch of other clichés. But this isn’t normal, it isn’t healthy, and - at least in the opinion of this author—it isn’t going to end well.