Borrowing Costs

How Socialism Destroyed Puerto Rico, And Why More Defaults Are Looming

With Puerto Rico missing a payment on a bond overnight "due to non-appropriation of funds" but denying that this constitutes anything close to a default, the territory may be about to retake the limelight as Greece is now "fixed." As Peter Schiff explains, this is far from over... As in Greece, the Puerto Rican economy has been destroyed by its participation in an unrealistic monetary system that it does not control and the failure of domestic politicians to confront their own insolvency. But the damage done to the Puerto Rican economy by the United States has been far more debilitating than whatever damage the European Union has inflicted on Greece. In fact, the lessons we should be learning in Puerto Rico, most notably how socialistic labor and tax policies can devastate an economy, should serve as a wake up call to those advocating prescribing the same for the mainland. 

Icahn Vs. Fink: Wall Street Legends Clash Over "Dangerous" ETFs

On Wednesday, Carl Icahn and Larry Fink engaged in an epic debate about the role ETFs play in perpetuating systemic risk. Icahn, taking a page from the Tyler Durden playbook, talks phantom liquidity before calling BlackRock "a dangerous company", and opining that Fink and Janet Yellen are "pushing the damn thing off a cliff."

Janet Yellen Explains How Everything Is Awesome (But Not Awesome Enough) - Live Feed

"It will be appropriate at some point this year...to raise the Fed funds rate and normalize monetary policy," Yellen recently explained but given recent comments from Fed heads and the FOMC Minutes, it appears the real meme is "everything is awesome, we promise and as long as it stays that way we will hike rates just a little bit, stand back and watch the implosion, then stand ready to step back in to save the world... oh, and if Greece, China, US Shale, or LatAm blow up contagiously, we won't normalize policy ever again." Yellen speaks on the US economic outlook at The City Club of Cleveland.

The Fed's Window For Hiking Rates Continues To Close

The Fed understands that economic cycles do not last forever, and we are closer to the next recession than not. While raising rates would likely accelerate a potential recession and a significant market correction, from the Fed's perspective it might be the 'lesser of two evils. Being caught at the "zero bound" at the onset of a recession leaves few options for the Federal Reserve to stabilize an economic decline. The problem is that they may have missed their window to get there.

FDIC Sounds Alarm On Insolvent, "Zero Hedged" Oil & Gas Producers

"U.S. regulators are sounding the alarm about banks’ exposure to oil-and-gas producers, a move that could limit their ability to lend to companies battered by a yearlong slump in prices," WSJ reports, reinforcing the notion that North America's "zero hedged" O&G sector is in for a rough ride.

Here Comes "Prexit": Puerto Rico In "Death Spiral", Debts Are "Not Payable", Governor Refuses To "Kick The Can"

As we noted last night, for a whole lot of time nothing at all can happen under the guise of "containment"... and then everything happens all at once. Because not even two full days after Greece activated the "Grexit" emergency protocol, leading to capital controls, and a frozen banking system and stock market, moments ago the NYT reported that the default wave has jumped the Atlantic and has hit Puerto Rico whose governor Alejandro García Padilla, saying he needs to pull the island out of a “death spiral,” has concluded that the commonwealth cannot pay its roughly $72 billion in debts, an admission that will probably have wide-reaching financial repercussions.

"Artificial" Phantom Liquidity Will Disappear In "Adverse, Turbulent" Markets, BIS Warns

"The growing size of the asset management industry may have increased the risk of liquidity illusion: market liquidity seems to be ample in normal times, but vanishes quickly during market stress. This liquidity may be artificial and less robust in the event of market turbulence." So what's the solution? Unfortunately there isn't one. Instead, fund managers are simply resorting to emergency liquidity lines with banks which is just another manifestation of using cheap cash to delay the Schumpeterian endgame scenario which, if ever allowed to play out, will finally purge capital markets, reset the system, and free the world from the nefarious clutches of central bankers gone mad with delusions of Keynesian grandeur.

Credit Market Warning

There are large signs of stress now present in the credit markets. You might not know it from today's multi-generationally low interest rates, but other key measures such as liquidity and volatility are flashing worrying signs. While some may hope that rising yields are signaling a return to more rapid economic growth, or at least that the fear of outright deflation has lessened, the more likely explanation is that something is wrong and it’s about to get... wronger.

The Lesson In China: Don't Go Bubble In the First Place

What the stock bubble shows is the unthinkable degree of difficulty in trying to actually manage letting air out of any bubble in an orderly fashion. It may already be too late, as growth declines still further month by month, but stock prices go even more insane, drawing in more and more “retail” accounts and regular Chinese. In other words, the reform idea may have been impossible from the start; that the PBOC went ahead anyway, and still continues despite all that has happened, more than suggests that they now recognize the most dangerous existence is asset bubbles, far and away more important than even “necessary” growth.

Another Fed "Insider" Quits, Tells The Truth

"The Fed is allowing the [market] tail to wag the [monetary policy] dog... The Fed's credibility itself is at stake... they have backed themselves into a very tight corner... the tightest ever... The hope today is that the current era of easy monetary policy will have no deep economic ramifications. Such thinking, though, may prove to be naive... All retirees’ security is thus at risk when the massive overvaluation in fixed income and equity markets eventually rights itself."

Chinese Corporations Become Stock Speculators, Joining Housewives, Banana Vendors

"Chinese companies are finding stock investing an attractive option as the wider economy struggles with tepid demand, excess industrial capacity, persistently high borrowing costs and other troubles. Their interest poses a challenge for policy makers, who want to nurture markets companies can tap for investment capital, rather than creating a venue for speculation," WSJ reports.