The first big problem, or rather first 9.5 trillion problems: that is how much debt the corporate buyback binge will cost companies over the next 5 years as the debt matures. The second big problem is even more important: the disappearance of virtually all demand from the primary bond market, most certainly in the junk space, and gradually, in investment grade as well.
The probability of recession is increasing. Contrary to popular belief, the beginning of a recession is not deflationary but the exact opposite. We expect a recession by the end of 2016, and if that projection turns out to be wrong due to a massive turnaround in Fed policy, the cataclysmic event will only be postponed till 2017.
Not only has the Yen strengthened and stocks collapsed since BoJ's Kuroda descended into NIRP lunacy but, in a dramatic shift that threatens the entire transmission mechanism of negative-rate stimulus, Japanese banks (whether fearing counterparty risk or already over-burdened) have almost entirely stopped lending to one another. Confusion reigns everywhere in Japanese markets with short-term interest-rate swap spreads surging and bond market volatility spiking to 3 year highs (dragging gold with it).
In what could well be a final act of desperation, central banks are abdicating effective control of the economies they have been entrusted to manage. First came zero interest rates, then quantitative easing, and now negative interest rates – one futile attempt begetting another. Just as the first two gambits failed to gain meaningful economic traction in chronically weak recoveries, the shift to negative rates will only compound the risks of financial instability and set the stage for the next crisis.
“Leave a million dollars with a bank, and in a year, you get only something like $990,000 back,” Marc Faber, respected publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, told Bloomberg by phone yesterday. “I would rather want to own some solid currency, in other words ... gold” warned Faber.
Larry Summers is a pretentious Keynesian fool, but we refer to him as the Great Thinker’s Vicar on Earth for a reason. To wit, every time the latest experiment in Keynesian intervention fails - as 84 months of ZIRP and massive QE clearly have - he can be counted on to trot out a new angle on why still another interventionist experiment or state sponsored financial fraud is just the ticket. Right now he is leading the charge for the greatest stroke of foolishness yet conceived.
The large and eclectic field of presidential contenders is in full-out campaign-promise mode, as voters demand positions on everything from ISIS to ethanol. With the economy so fragile, now might be a good time to seek commitments on who our next president will appoint to the Federal Reserve, and statements on what the proper role of the Fed should be.
With world markets begging for moar, Janet Yellen's prepared Humphrey-Hawkins Testimony was a disappointment:
- *YELLEN: FED EXPECTS ECONOMY TO WARRANT ONLY GRADUAL RATE RISES (everything is fine)
- *YELLEN: JOB, WAGE GAINS SHOULD SUPPORT INCOMES AND SPENDING (everything is awesome)
- *FED REPORT: LEVERAGE RISKS IN FINANCIAL SECTOR `REMAIN LOW' (so don't worry about banks)
- *YELLEN: FINANCIAL STRAINS COULD WEIGH ON OUTLOOK IF PERSISTENT (so, there's chance)
The bottom line this is simply a rerhash of the Jan FOMC Statement and does not offer enouigh dovishness for the market.
Economics Professor: Negative Interest Rates Aimed at Driving Small Banks Out of Business and Eliminating CashSubmitted by George Washington on 02/09/2016 18:33 -0400
The REAL Agenda ...
With China offline for the rest of the week, global markets have found a new Asian bogeyman in the face of Japan which as reported last night saw its markets crash, and the Yen soar, showing that less than 2 weeks after the BOJ unveiled NIRP, yet another central bank has lost control.
Now that talking about NIRP in the US is no longer anathema but a matter of survival for market participants for whom frontrunning the Fed's policy failure has emerged as a prerequisite trade, the question is: what are the mechanics of NIRP, what are the implications of negative rates for US markets. Here is the handy answer
It appears The ADP Employment report was not good enough to support fed rate-hikes as across the majors, traders are selling USDs... Gold is also surging. It appears someone is betting large that this week's payroll data will be weak...
It certainly does feel like groundhog day today because while last week's near record oil surge is long forgotten, and one can debate the impact the result of last night's Iowa primary which saw Trump disappoint to an ascendant Ted Cruz while Hillary and Bernie were practically tied, one thing is certain: today's continued decline in crude, which has seen Brent and WTI both tumble by over 3% has once again pushed global stocks and US equity futures lower, offsetting the euphoria from last night's earnings beat by Google which made Alphabet the largest company in the world by market cap.
Having urged "don't panic" just 4 short months ago, it appears Nigeria just did just that as the global dollar short squeeze forces the eight-month-old government of President Muhammadu Buhari to beg The World Bank and African Development Bank for $3.5bn in emergency loans to help fund a $15bn deficit in a budget heavy on public spending amid collapsing oil revenues. Just as we warned in December, the dollar shortage has arrived, perhaps now is time to panic after all.
Ben Bernanke is no longer the Fed's chairman, but this article is even more relevant today then it was when I wrote it