You can't say Nassim Taleb didn't warn you: the outspoken academic-philosopher, best known for his prediction that six sigma "fat tail", or black swan, events happen much more frequently than they should statistically (perhaps a main reason why there is no longer a market but a centrally-planned cesspool of academic intervention) just had a black swan land smack in the middle of the Universa hedge fund founded by ardent Ron Paul supporter Mark Spitznagel, and affiliated with Nassim Taleb. The result: a $1 billion payday, translating into a 20% YTD return, in a week when the VIX exploded from the teens to over 50, and which most other hedge funds would love to forget.
"The head of a Chinese exchange that trades minor metals was captured by angry investors in a dawn raid and turned over to Shanghai police, as the investors attempted to force the authorities to investigate why their funds have been frozen."
Members of Syriza's Left Coalition, led by Panagiotis Lafazanis who once plotted to storm the Greek mint, seize the country’s reserves, and arrest central bank governor Yannis Stournaras, have broken away and formed their own political party which they say will support Grexit and stand firm in the face of German "blackmail."
Between micromanaging the economy, equities, the yuan, and public opinion, there's no question that China has its hands full these days. But with everyone's attention now focused sqaurely on Beijing's plunge protection team and the PBoC's "controlled" yuan devaluation, the market may be ignoring the biggest risk of all...
The Dow's volatility is dead... long live The Dow's volatility.
Certain market realities were starkly exposed this week as a result of the China currency moves, Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow writes. As Keynes is supposed to have said, “When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, Sir?” Yet markets have been lulled into relying on the belief that this is no longer the case, and even if it is, any change will be stage managed for the comfort of institutional money managers. Gone are the days when you had to guess at the Fed’s policy by interpreting weekly money-market operations. But that can’t be done in any practical sense.
In a key ruling that may have implications far beyond Austria's borders, the country's constitutional court has struck down a bail-in that would have imposed losses totaling some €800 million on junior Heta bondholders.
"...rising asset prices provide investors confirming evidence that their strategy is good and everything is fine. This induction problem lulls investors into a sense of confidence, and sets the stage for the shock when events turn down. That nonlinearity causes sudden change only adds to the confusion."
The ongoing decline in the VIX starting last week (and still going) is the largest supernormal volatility collapse in VIX history. Over the past 2 years, we have been experiencing a quantifiable ‘outlier’ or ‘black swan’ decline in the VIX every 6 months as evaluated against history. We can only point to government intervention as the core reason. We firmly believe that this moral hazard produces a hidden leverage and “shadow market gamma” that at some point will result in a sustained volatility outlier event in the opposite direction.
Hyperinflation in the U.S. is coming sometime in the next 20 years or so, and this isn't a cry from a Chicken Little, but a conclusion that the analysis strongly suggests. It is possible hyperinflation could happen during the next few years, but that seems unlikely since it would require a series of major crises and political blunders – events unprecedented in the history of the United States. If this led to a corruption of Constitutional rights in the midst of an exaltation of the Executive Branch that resulted in loss of the rule of law, hyperinflation might result. It is much more probable that hyperinflation will be preceded by a long slow decline that will include a protracted period of high inflation, and that the crash of the dollar and hyperinflation will be the final tumble off a looming, steep cliff.
Western countries are increasingly displaying symptoms of instability as described by Nassim Taleb, the author of the The Black Swan, ever since the publication of an essay written with Gregory Treverton entitled “The Calm Before the Storm.” The wider public and the press seem unjustifiably complacent at this time. It seems likely that the seemingly unending “recovery” is simply the calm before the storm.
Last month the fund managers responding to BofA' fund manager survey said that a "Eurozone breakdown" was was the third biggest "tail risk" to global markets. What is much more notable is that just one month earelier, in May, not a single respondent even mentioned this as a risk. Fast forward to July when "Eurozone breakdown" is suddenly perceived as the biggest tail risk by all those surveyed.
"The Bank has started work to ensure there are no technical obstacles to our ability to accept equities as collateral should the need arise."
Does the next major conflict start with a computer glitch?
The time of deflationary confiscation is coming closer for the remaining Greek bank depositors. Those who kept their cash in safe deposit boxes at banks are out of luck too: the government has decreed they may not take it out. This is something one needs to keep in mind – if one wants to keep cash outside the banking system, one cannot leave it in a bank safe deposit box either. The government will confiscate it when push comes to shove and the banks need to be rescued.