The central banks are now out of dry powder - impaled on the zero-bound. That means any resort to a massive new round of money printing can not be disguised as an effort to “stimulate” the macro-economy by temporarily driving interest rates to “extraordinarily” low levels. They are already there. Instead, a Bernanke style balance sheet explosion like that which stopped the financial meltdown in the fall and winter of 2008-2009 will be seen for exactly what it is—-an exercise in pure monetary desperation and quackery. So duck and cover. This storm could be a monster.
The so-called economic recovery that America has experienced in recent years is "unfair" and "distorted" according to Elliott Management's Paul Singer. Speaking at The DealBook Conference in New York, Singer warned that the recent 'great' jobs data is "part of the distrortion" that he has so vociferously ascribed (having previously noted that he "does not think the current optimism is warranted.") But when asked if the Fed should be blamed for income inequality in America, Singer exclaimed "Yes, they are the enablers."
One of our old rules of trading is that whenever a major asset class, index, or other benchmark has a sudden, rapid move in price, something blows up. Sky high. That’s because people get used to regimes. They get used to a certain state of affairs with a lack of volatility. They become complacent. Maybe they stop hedging. Maybe they allow themselves to have unbounded downside risk. Maybe they start gambling. So what's going to blow up?
Respected economic historian and author of the “Gloom, Boom and Doom Report,” Dr Marc Faber has warned about the continuing and coming decline of western economic power.
He believes that the generation of young people starting to work today will be the first in two hundred years to have a lower standard of living than their parents had. He believes dividend paying Asian stocks will grow wealth in the coming years and remains an advocate of owning physical gold.
Golf-clap, Janet... you really screwed this one up...
So… the prices of assets are fraudulent, the value of balance sheets is fraudulent, and earnings are fraudulent. This means that stock market caps, balance sheets, and income statements are all inaccurate representations of reality.
Just 2 short months ago we noted S&P's warning that Greece will default again within 15 months and following comments by Prime Minister Samaras that the market's drop is due to fear that Syriza will win an early election and seek a Greek exit from the Euro. Pressuring parliamentarians and the public alike, he stated "the choice is simple," warning that Greek financing needs are only covered through the end of February without further aid from the EU (but we thought they were 'recovered'). Greek stocks have crashed further, Greek default risk has spiked, and 3Y bond yields are now well north of 10% (138bps inverted to 10Y).
First it was humans. Now it is vaccum tubes.
Not quite as many fireworks overnight, in another session dominated by central banks. First it was revealed that China had injected CNY400 billion into the banking system to add liquidity as the economy slows, which is ironic because on the other hand China is also seemingly doing everything in its power to crash its nascent stock market bubble mania, following the latest news that China’s CSRC approved 12 IPOs ahead of schedule which is seen as a pre-emptive step to tighten interbank liquidity amid the recent rise in margin trading. Another central bank that was busy overnight was Russia's, which proceeded with its 5th rate hike of the year, pushing the central rate up by 100 bps to 10.50% as expected. Elsewhere, the Bank of England wants to move to a Fed-style decision schedule and start releasing immediate minutes as Governor Mark Carney overhauls the framework set up more than 17 years ago. The Swiss National Bank predicted consumer prices will drop next year and said the risk of deflation has increased as it vowed to defend its cap on the franc. Finally Norway’s central bank cut its main interest rate for the first time in more than two years and signaled it may ease again next year as plunging oil prices threaten growth in western Europe’s biggest crude exporter.
Back in September, when the results of the first much-trumpeted TLTRO were announced, everyone said it was a clear disappointment, when European banks expressed just €82.6 billion in ECB credit demand, far below the €100-€300 billion range expected and well below the €400 billion across the two 2014 TLTROs hinted by Mario Draghi. Today, we got the second TLTRO-3 result which too, was a flop, if not quite the disaster the first one was, when the ECB announced that just €129.84 billion was allotted in today's TLTRO result, spread among 306 counterparties, or 51 more than the bidder who signed up for the first TLTRO, resulting in an aggregate take up for both auctions of only €212 billion, which also happens to be €55 billion, or 21%, below the consensus expectations observed in a Goldman poll back in September 9, €40 billion below the Bloomberg median consensus estimate of €170 billion for the second TLTRO, and half the total cap of €400 billion.
For the first time in almost 3 years, the 'market' is fighting the PBOC in the FX markets. The last month has seen USDCNY rise almost 9 handles to as high as 6.21 (the weakest CNY in 5 months). At the same time, the PBOC's official 'fix' of CNY has been strengthened to below 6.12 (the strongest CNY in 9-months) diverging by the most in six months from the market. "The market is staying cautious and even bearish on the China macro outlook," notes Morgan Stanley, but as HSBC explains, "China doesn't want to join the currency wars [and wants to stall any speculation on trend] and that explains the fix movement." Simply put, markets doubt the PBOC and believe it will eventually be dragged into the currency war or just fundamentally deteriorate enough to warrant capital flight.
While on the one hand, Iceland's decision to inch towards lifting its capital controls is a positive step, it appears what they give with one hand they are taking with another. Just as we predicted three years ago, the muddle-through has failed and there are only hard choices left and sure enough BCG's envisioned 'wealth tax' appears to be rearing its ugly head once more. As Morgunbladid reports, Iceland plans to impose an exit tax as part of removing capital controls, anticipating all bank assets will be subject to the levy, regardless of whether assets are held in local (ISK) or foreign exchange.
Are much lower oil prices good news for the U.S. economy? Only if you like collapsing capital expenditures, rising unemployment and a potential financial implosion on Wall Street.
The simple message: Quantitative Easing has failed to generate inflation. Stated alternatively: QE has not been able to overcome still extant deflationary pressures. Global central banker actions in printing over $13 trillion of new money over the last 6 years have been insufficient to surmount still existing deflationary forces. It tells us the probability of further global deflationary impulses are very real. This has direct implications for any sector of the economy or financial markets whose fundamentals are negatively leveraged to deflationary pressures (think banks, real estate, etc.) Be assured the central bankers are more than fully aware of this.