The term “anarcho-capitalism” has, we might say, rather an arresting quality. But while the term itself may jolt the newcomer, the ideas it embodies are compelling and attractive: (1) each human being, to use John Locke’s formulation, “has a property in his own person”; (2) there ought to be a single moral code binding all people, whether they are employed by the State or not; and (3) society can run itself without central direction.
Our world, our life, has been built on debt and propaganda for many years. They have kept us from noticing how poorly we are doing. But now a third element has entered the foundation of our societies, and it’s set to eat away at everything that has – barely – kept the entire edifice from crumbling apart. Deflation.
For anyone curious how banks "represent and warrant" that they have thousands of tons of physical gold when in reality they have far less if not zero physical in storage and all in "synthetic" form, here is the blow by blow.
Here is the BIS once again with its noble - and now thorughly 'Austrian' - public service announcement, this time warning about the implications of a global "debt trap" and how everything will end in tears (stop us when this becomes familiar). We have just one request. Next time, instead of sharing these profoundly Austrian observations with the general public, maybe you can just discuss them at the next BIS Board of Directors' meeting which consists of...
‘Gold wars’ are intensifying with just 16 days left to polling day in the Swiss Gold Initiative. If the Swiss vote to revert to having 20% of currency reserves in gold, the Swiss National Bank will be forced to make huge purchases of gold bullion. Switzerland and its ‘Gold Initiative’ would contribute to driving the price of gold higher - likely in the short term and contributing to higher prices in the long term. Understanding the important recent past and what has led to the forthcoming Swiss Gold Initiative is important and why we look at it today. This context is all important and is essential reading for all who wish to understand the key issues in the debate, for all who invest in and own gold internationally and for all Swiss people.
The key event overnight was the release of European Q3 GDP data, which saw Germany averting a recession by the narrowest of margins when following a -0.2% drop in Q2 economic growth, Germany grew by the smallest amount possible in Q3, or 0.1%, in line with expectations, thus averting two consecutive quarters of decline, the technical definition of a recession. The French economy likewise posted a modest increase in Q3, although one wonders how aggressively the data had to be fudged for a country whose PMIs all indicate a -1% or greater contraction. Italy however was less creative with its use of "hookers and blow", and continued its recession with a 3rd negative print, contracting at -0.1% as expected, while Portugal also missed third quarter growth estimates.
Having told the world that it will not be undertaking system-wide rate cuts or stimulus - focusing more on idiosyncratic safety nets - last night's data from China is likely to have the PBOC frowning. Fixed Asset Investment (lowest growth since Dec 2001) and Retail Sales (lowest growth since Feb 2006) missed expectations, but it was the re-slump in Industrial Production (after a small 'huge-credit-injection-driven' bounce in September) that is most worrisome as China's 2014 output is growing at its slowest since at least 2005. As Michael Pettis previously noted "China will be no different... growth miracles have always been the relatively easy part; it is the subsequent adjustment that has been the tough part." Of course, this is not the 'soft-landing' so many bulls have expected, which, if enabled by moar credit, as Pettis warned "will inevitably lead to a very brutal hard landing."
WTI Crude plunged another 3.75% to as low as $74.06 today - the lowest since Sept 2010 and dropping at the fastest rate of collapse since Lehman. Airlines popped and Energy stocks dropped 2.7% (now worst sector of the year) but Small Caps were the worst performing major index of the day (turning first around 1030ET and dropping most in over 3 weeks). The S&P tested back into the red for the week but was VWAP-rescued twice. AAPL once again bid saved the Nasdaq. Treasury yields slid lower all day (down 2-3bps across the complex) but remain up 4-5bps on the week. The USD weakened very marginally (still up 0.25% on the week) led by EUR strength. Gold and silver were flat but copper tumbled back below $300 - its lowest close in a month (near lowest close since Jul 2010). HY Credit diverged bearishly this afternoon as stocks ramped to VWAP. VIX rose for the 3rd day in a row, back over 14. Dow record close, Russell biggest drop in 3 weeks.
Suddenly it is not just the shale companies that are starting to look impaired as a result of tumbling energy prices. According to a Deutsche Bank analysis looking at what the "tipping point" for highly levered companies is in "oil price terms", things start to get really ugly should crude drop another $15 or so per barrell. Its conclusion: "we would expect to see 1/3rd of US energy Bs/CCCs to restructure, which would imply a 15% default rate for overall US HY energy, and a 2.5% contribution to the broad US HY default rate.... A shock of that magnitude could be sufficient to trigger a broader HY market default cycle, if materialized. "
The relentless regurgitation of the only two rumors that have moved markets this week, namely the Japanese sales tax delay and the "surprise" cabinet snap elections, was once again all over the newswires last night in yet another iteration, and as a result the headline scanning algos took the Nikkei another 1.1% higher to nearly 17,400 which means at this rate the Nikkei will surpass the Dow Jones by the end of the week helped by further reports that Japan will reveal more stimulus measures on November 19, although with US equity futures rising another 7 points overnight and now just shy of 2050 which happens to be Goldman's revised year-end target, the US will hardly complain. And speaking of stimulus, the reason European equities are drifting higher following the latest ECB professional forecast release which saw the panel slash their GDP and inflation forecasts for the entire period from 2014 to 2016. In other words bad news most certainly continues to be good news for stocks, which in the US are about to hit another record high (with the bulk of the upside action once again concentrated between 11:00 and 11:30am).
This Austrian School interpretation of events fits the facts rather better than the monetarist account. The lesson for policymakers today is uncomfortable. For, on this view, if there is a parallel with the 1930s, the damage has already been done. It was done when the Fed allowed funds available for investment in capital markets to balloon, not this time through unsterilized gold inflows but through its QE experiment.
The U.S. and many other economies left the gold standard more than 40 years ago, yet advocates periodically call for its return, saying that it would curtail or prevent inflation. In these brief clips from the St. Louis Fed video series, David Andolfatto, a vice president and economist explains the gold standard noting "most economists believe a return to the gold standard would not be a wise policy," and "under the gold standard, banking panics are more likely to occur," and then pointing out somewhat stunningly that "however, the fiat system employed by the Federal Reserve has been largely successful in maintaining low inflation and price stability." Enjoy...
The vice will close on some cities and states sooner than others, but it will eventually squeeze every city and state with declining revenues and rising fixed costs into default.
Putting Things In Context ...
With the USDJPY repeatedly hitting 116.00 as a result of the same pair of headlines hitting either Reuters, the Nikkei or Sankei every 6 or so hours for the past 3 days, namely that Japan will delay its sales tax hike by almost two years, and that Abe is preparing early elections, perhaps the algos realized they were pricing in the same event about 4 times in one day, and unable to break the 7-year-high resistance level, slid dropping nearly 100 pips to just over 115 at least check, which may well be today's "tractor" level, which in turn has also dragged down both European stocks and US futures. But the thing that made the vacuum tubes really spark is that at a press conference yesterday in Beijing, Abe was quoted as saying that he "has never made any reference to the dissolution of parliament", this came after the chief cabinet secretary Suga saying that the decision on whether or not to go to the polls would be Abe’s only.