It took a while, but three months after we wrote "How The Petrodollar Quietly Died, And Nobody Noticed", someone finally noticed.
Greece’s problem can only be truly solved if large scale debt restructuring is accepted and executed. But that would initiate a chain of events that would bring down the bloated zombie that is Wall Street. And it just so happens that this zombie rules the planet. We are all addicted to the zombie. It allows us to fool ourselves into thinking we are doing well – well, sort of -, but the longer term implications of that behavior will be devastating. We’re all going to be Greece, that’s inevitable. It’s not some maybe thing. The only thing that keeps us from realizing that is that the big media outlets have become part of the same industry that Wall Street, and the governments it controls, have full control over. And that in turn says something about the importance of what Yanis Varoufakis and Syriza are trying to accomplish. They’re taking the battle to the finance empire. And it should not be a lonely fight. Because if the international Wall Street banks succeed in Greece, some theater eerily uncomfortably near you will be next. That is cast in stone.
Needless to say, Greece is only the poster child. The McKinsey numbers above suggest that “peak debt” is becoming a universal condition, and that today’s Keynesian central bankers and policy apparatchiks are only pushing on a giant and dangerous global string. So now we get to ground zero of the global Ponzi. That is the monumental pile of construction and debt that is otherwise known on Wall Street as the miracle of “red capitalism”. In truth, however, China is not an economic miracle at all; its just a case of the above abandoned Athens stadium writ large.
There’s a fairly easy way to tell if a firm is a marketing firm or an investment firm. Do you see its advertising on buses, cabs and posters? Do they have a practically limitless range of funds? This is not to denigrate marketing firms entirely. But as the financial markets lurch between unprecedented bouts of bad policy, and achieve valuations that we strongly suspect are unlikely to persist, it may be worthwhile to consider the motives of the people charged with managing your money. Are they asset managers, or asset gatherers?
Remember the "great rotation"? Neither do we, because the bank that year after year coined the term to prepare investors for a renormalization of the economy as bond yields rise alongside stocks (something that happens in any normal, non-centrally planned banana world), that would be Bank of America for anyone confused, just reported that in the latest week, EPFR data showed inflows to all fixed income funds of $16.04 billion – the highest on record going back to at least 2008. On the "other side of the spectrum were stocks that had $5.52bn of outflows, down from a $1.62bn inflow in the prior week." And just like that, it's a bond-pickers' market, even as central banks trade with each other in various dark pools to keep global equities, and thus confidence, stable even as the capital tsuniami screams deflation for years to come.
It has been a quiet overnight session, following yesterday's epic short-squeeze driven - the biggest since 2011 - breakout in the S&P500 back to green for the year, with European trading particularly subdued as the final session of the week awaits US nonfarm payroll data, expected at 230K, Goldman cutting its estimate from 250K to 210K three days ago, and with January NFPs having a particular tendency to disappoint Wall Street estimates on 9 of the past 10. Furthermore, none of those prior 10 occasions had a massive oil-patch CapEx crunch and mass termination event: something which even the BLS will have to notice eventually. But more than the NFP number of the meaningless unemployment rate (as some 93 million Americans languish outside of the labor force), everyone will be watching the average hourly earnings, which last month tumbled -0.2% and are expected to rebound 0.3% in January.
What if the biggest challenge to capitalism grows out of its strengths not its weakness?
In Part 1, we described the world’s economy as one that is based on energy. The design of the system is such that the economy can only grow; shrinkage tends to cause collapse. If this view of the situation is correct, then we need an ever-rising amount of inexpensive energy to keep the system going. We have gone from trying to grow the world economy on oil, to trying to grow the world economy on coal. Both of these approaches have “hit walls”. Now we have practically nowhere to go.
"Central bank polices have ruptured the proper functioning of capital markets. Some investors myopically believe that 'money printing needs a home' and that it will end up in equities (the asset class with upside). However, such a belief needs to include a deep faith in the central bank’s abilities to navigate a soft landing. History is not on their side. Investors pouring into equities might be playing an epic game of chicken."
Six years on from the financial crisis and central banks are still hacking away at interest rates. Australia and Romania's did this week and while Poland and India held off, both are expected to prune rates later in 2015.
"Most Shorted" stocks are now comfortably green on the year after the last 4 days have seen the biggest short squeeze in 15 months. Today alone, "most shorted" stocks are up 1.8%. Welcome to the new normal dash for trash on hopes that Greece is "fixed", Q€ "works", and despite dismal US macro data, it will be the economic engine of the world...
It Will Now Cost You 0.75% To Save Money In Denmark: Danish Central Bank Cuts Rates For FOURTH Time In Three WeeksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/05/2015 10:07 -0500
It has become a weekly thing now. In its desperation to preserve the EURDKK peg, the Danish central banks has cut rates into negative, then cut them again, then again last week, and moments ago, just cut its deposit rate to negative one more time, pushing NIRP from -0.5% to -0.75%, its fourth "surprise" rate cut in the past 3 weeks!
The Face Of The Oligarch Recovery: Luxury Skyscrapers Empty As NYC Homeless Population Hits Record HighSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/04/2015 15:55 -0500
As Manhattan builds eight figure luxury apartment units merely to serve as bank accounts for international oligarchs, New York City’s homeless population soars to a new record high. It’s the ultimate manifestation of how criminal and crony this so-called “recovery” has been.
The following chart from Deutsche Bank illustrates the difference between life under the Classical Gold Standard and today’s “modern” forms of money. For the first four hundred years depicted here, money was gold and silver - the quantity of which rose at roughly the same rate as the human population. Prices during that time fluctuated, but only modestly by today’s standards, and they always returned to more-or-less the same level. In other words, money held its value for not just years but centuries. It was a fixed aspect of the financial environment and was therefore not a tool of economic policy. Governments and individuals had to adapt to unchanging money rather than forcing money to adapt to political circumstances. A phase change occurs in the 20th century when the US created the Federal Reserve and World Wars I and II placed survival above monetary stability for most of Europe and Asia.