Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
If all it took to push stocks to ever recorder(est) highs, granted on no volume, but recorder(est) highs nonetheless, was for correlation algos to pick a carry FX pair trade du jour which to push the Nikkei, or the Dax, or - most frequently - the S&P higher, then all equity indices would already been in scientific digit territory. And since they aren't, it is only logical that prosperity through currency debasement can only "work" for so long.
But how long? Well, when it comes to the primary carry pair du jour, the Dollar-Yen, the answer may be just a few hundred pips more, before it all comes unglued for Japan's Prime Minister whose first stint in the role ended in a prophetic bout of epic diarrhea, Shinzo Abe.
"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 -0500
"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.
Fear Of "Surge In Debt Defaults, Business Failures And Job Losses" Means Many More Chinese Rate CutsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/23/2014 10:40 -0500
The PBOC, which cut rates for the first time in two years on Friday, will have its work cut out for it. And in the worst tradition of "developed world" banks, Beijing will now have no choice but to double down on the very same bad policies that got it into its current unstable equilibrium, and proceeds with a full-blown policy flip-flop, leading to a full easing cycle that reignites the bad-debt surge once more. And sure enough, today Reuters reports citing "unnamed sources involved in policy-making" (supposedly different sources than the unnamed sources Reuters uses to float trial balloons used by the ECB and the BOJ), that "China's leadership and central bank are ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions" due to concerns deflation "could trigger a surge in debt defaults, business failures and job losses, said sources involved in policy-making." In other words, China has once again looked into the abyss once... and decided to dig a little more.
"The People's Bank of China decided to cut financial institutions RMB benchmark interest rate loans and deposits with effect from November 22, 2014. The one-year benchmark lending rate down 0.4 percentage points to 5.6%; one-year benchmark deposit rate down 0.25 percentage point to 2.75%, while the combination of market-oriented reforms to promote the interest rate, the upper limit of the floating range of interest rates on deposits of financial institutions by the benchmark deposit 1.1 times the adjusted interest rate is 1.2 times; other grades adjusted accordingly benchmark interest rate loans and deposits, and to make appropriate benchmark interest rate maturities degenerate."
The bad news: every central-planner is now all in. The good news for the liquidity addicts, is that the S&P futures are now 12 points higher on what is clearly the only growth strategy left in a centrally-planned world, and are approaching 2070 and just 30 points away from Goldman's 2015 year end target.!
In the first of three interviews with Merryn Somerset Webb, Hugh Hendry, manager of the Eclectica Fund, talks about what it takes to be a good hedge fund manager – and how he learned to stop worrying and love central banks. As he notes, the world is "guilty of the misconstruing of a bull market in equities, for what is actually the ongoing degradation in the soundness of the fiat monetary system."
"My premise hasn’t really changed since I published my paper explaining why I had become more constructive towards risk assets this time last year. That is to say, the structural deficiency of global demand continues to radicalise the central banking community. I believe they are terrified: the system is so leveraged and vulnerable to potentially systemic price reversals that the monetary authorities find themselves beholden to long only investors and obliged to support asset prices. However, I clearly confused everyone with my choice of language. What I should have said is that investors are perhaps misconstruing rising equity prices as a traditional bull market spurred on by revenue and earnings growth, and becoming fearful of a reversal, when instead the persistent upwards drift in stock markets is more a reflection of the steady erosion of the soundness of the global monetary system and therefore the rise in stock prices is something that is likely to prevail for some time."
Washington’s ability to rig markets has allowed Washington to keep its economic house of cards standing. The extent of financial corruption involving collusion between the mega-banks and the financial authorities is unfathomable. The Western financial system is a house of cards resting on corruption. Can it stand forever or are there so many rotted joints that some simultaneous collection of failures overwhelms the manipulation and brings on a massive crash? Time will tell.
"Most Important Chart For Investors" Updated: Edwards Sees USDJPY 145 Next And "A Tidal Wave Of Deflation Westward"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/13/2014 09:38 -0500
What happens next? Here, straight from the horse's mouth that got the first part of the rapid Yen devaluation so right, is the answer. As Edwards updates with a note from this morning, "the yen is set to follow the US dollar DXY trade-weighted index by crashing through multi-decade resistance - around ¥120. It seems entirely plausible to me that once we break ¥120, we could see a very quick ¥25 move to ¥145, forcing commensurate devaluations across the whole Asian region and sending a tidal wave of deflation westwards."
While hardly a surprise, the spin for the latest round of overnight BOJ USDJPY-buying exuberance, which sent the pair higher by another 100 pips to a fresh 7 year high of 114.500 and just over 500 pips from the Albert Edwards "line in the sand" 120 and pushed US equity futures higher with it, has been the Republican sweep in the midterm elections which not only solidified GOP control of the House but also gave Republicans outright control of the Senate.
Back in late September, we posted what Albert Edwards thought at the time was "The Most Important Chart For Investors" which was quite simply, a chart of the USDJPY. Considering the BOJ's overnight move, he was absolutely correct. So for all those who missed it, here it is again, because it explains not only where the Yen is headed next, but why, sadly, this could well be the end of Japan and the mirage of a recovery that has had everybody hypnotized for the past 6 years.
Albert Edwards is angry, and understandably so: almost exactly two weeks after warning readers to "sell everything and run for your lives" and the market was on the verge of its first correction in years, several powerful verbal interventions by central banks from the Fed, to the BOJ to the ECB have staged yet another massive rebound which has nearly wiped out all the October losses. Central-planning aside (and ask how much the USSR would have wished for central planning to indeed have been "aside") we share his frustrations, almost to the point where we would reiterate word for word Edwards' furious outburst, as follows: "Simply put, the central banks for all their huffing and puffing cannot eliminate the business cycle. And they should have realised after the 2008 Great Recession that the longer they suppress volatility, both economic and market, the greater the subsequent crash. Will these morons ever learn?"
Why would one even look at a self-reported survey as an indicator of coincident activity: after all isn't it beyond obvious that every response will be full of confirmation bias and colored by the respondent's inherent optimism about the present and the future? Apparently it isn't, and neither is it obvious that for all business participants, hope dies last, something which always influences their responses. The problem is that in a world in which central banks have made a mockery of all other coincident signals, one has to dig very low. "We've used this measure less over the last couple of years as central banks have increasingly distorted the relationship between fundamentals and valuation" says Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid. And as Jim Reid shows in the table below, the various regional PMIs have so consistenly overshot in their expectations of where the manufacturing and service sector of a given country is throughout 2014, that not even the market believes, well, Markit.
From Bitcoin to the Swiss gold referendum, and from Chinese trade and North Korean leadership, Jim Rogers covers a lot of ground in this excellent interview with Boom-Bust's Erin Ade. Rogers reflects on the end of the US bull market. citing a number of factors from breadth to the end of QE, adding that he agrees with Albert Edwards' perspective that now is the time to "sell everything and run for your lives," as the "consequences of [The Fed] are now being felt." Most notably though, Rogers believes the de-dollarization is here to stay as Western sanctions force many nations to find alternatives. Simply put, Rogers concludes, "we are all going to pay a terrible price for all this money-printing and debt."
It’s generally considered that higher volatility in bond markets would accompany higher rates. Thus, if rates are falling, volatility will remain subdued. However, as the PIMCO Eurodollars liquidation showed, the market was already short. So the position liquidation is coming in a rally, rather than a sell-off. On top of that, inflation is falling and with oil under pressure should remain low. Meanwhile the Fed hawks evidently lost the argument to the doves in September, and their hand has been strengthened by the dollar rally. So the conditions are set for higher vol to accompany the fall in rates.