The financial world today is now an island on its own – separated from the real economy, as can be seen by the paradox of record high valuation in the stock market coinciding with record low inflation, employment , productivity and no hope. There is asset inflation, but deflation in the real economy. When the world has been this long at the zero-bound, the misallocation, the inability to reform, and a toolbox without new tools creates a mandate for change. "I expect stocks to trade sideways for the balance of 2015 and have now sold all my fixed income, increased my gold exposure, and I’m looking to buy mining companies and overall to increase my exposure to commodities beyond the normal allocation."
The present Chinese leadership appears to be trying to gain (regain?) more - if not full - control over the country’s economic system, while at the same time (re-)boosting the growth it has lost in recent years. President Xi Jinping, prime minister Li Keqiang and all of their subservient leaders – there are 1000?s of those in a 1.4 million citizens country- apparently think this can be done. We truly doubt it. We don’t think that they ever understood what would happen if they opened up the country to a more free-market, capitalist structure. That doing so would automatically reduce their political power, since a free market, in whatever shape and form, does not rhyme with the kind of control which the Communist Party has been used to for decades, and which the current leaders have grown up taking for granted.
On the heels of pledging $46 billion in infrastructure aid to Pakistan, China is set to invest as much as $50 billion in Brazil including $10 billion on a cross-mountain railway that will connect Latin America's largest economy with Peru's ports in what Premier Li calls "a new road to Asia." The move is a dramatic example of China's growing foothold in what is ostensibly Washington's strongest sphere of influence.
- Clinton aides sometimes blocked release of documents requested under public-records law (WSJ)
- House Benghazi panel subpoenas former Clinton White House aide (Reuters)
- Cash Crunch, for Many, Is a Monthly Woe (WSJ)
- Doubts over Greece add to euro's ECB-driven frailty (Reuters)
- For Many American States, It's Like the Recession Never Ended (BBG)
- Japan debt plan needs BOJ to keep rates low for years (Reuters)
- Euro Continues to Fall; European Bonds, Stocks Broadly Steady (WSJ)
- Los Angeles gives preliminary approval to $15 minimum wage (Reuters)
London high end property prices fall 6.3% in May, prices now 7.4% lower that this time last year. Average house prices in London dwarf those of the rest of the country. London prices average £581,074 - more than 15 times the median salary - whereas the national average is £285,891.
As the economic calendar slowly picks up following the NFP lull, we are looking at a busy week both globally and in the US, where an army of Fed speakers culminates with a Yellen speech on Friday at 1pm in Rhode Island.
Even as the establishment of new supranational lenders suggests the US-dominated multilateral institutions that have characterized the post-war world are proving unable to meet the needs of modernity, both Congress and the President have stymied IMF reform measures, sending a message to China and others that US hegemony will not die without a fight.
Dollar downmove still seems corrective in nature. Fed hike in September still seems most likely scenario. Taalk of US recession is over the top when unemployment, broadly measured is falling and weekly initial jobless claims are at new cyclical lows.
Yesterday, the FT reported that Saudi Arabia gloated in declaring victory over US shale. “There is no doubt about it, the price fall of the last several months has deterred investors away from expensive oil including US shale, deep offshore and heavy oils,” a Saudi official told the Financial Times in Riyadh, giving a rare insight into the kingdom’s thinking on oil strategy. Which is great, but there are two problems. First, any time someone say "there is no doubt about it", or "unambiguously this or that", it is a lie. Second, Saudi Arabia is dead wrong.
Germany throws its support behind a Greek referendum on euro membership while Putin invites Athens to join BRICS Bank. Meanwhile, Yanis Varoufakis has a plan for resolving Greece's debt problem — and he imagines the ECB chief is terrified of it.
Thursday, in a long-awaited opinion, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York' three-judge panel ruled that the NSA program that secretly intercepts the telephone metadata of every American was illegal. It’s now up to Congress to vote on whether or not to modify the law and continue the program, or let it die once and for all. Lawmakers must vote on this matter by June 1, when they need to reauthorize the Patriot Act. A key factor in that decision is the American public’s attitude toward surveillance. Given the vast amount of revelations about NSA abuses, it is somewhat surprising that just slightly more than a majority of Americans seem concerned about government surveillance. Which leads to the question of why?
As if the discussions in Brussels and Athens were not mired in enough uncertainty, Bloomberg reports that a Greek official confirms:
*STORCHAK ASKED TSIPRAS FOR GREECE TO JOIN BRICS BANK: OFFICIAL
The pivot appears to continue. Reportedly, Tsipras was pleasntly surprised by the proposal.
Today’s Eurogroup meeting will be key in determining where Greece and its creditors negotiations currently stand. Over in the US today, it’s the usual post payrolls lull with just the labor market conditions data expected.
"The transition from investment to consumption in the Chinese economy, together with a shift towards cleaner energy sources, has caused a sharp deceleration in dry bulk trade. After expanding at an average annual rate of 7% over the period 2005-14, seaborne demand in iron ore, thermal and metallurgical coal is set to increase by only 2% in 2015 to 2.5 billion tonnes as these trends persist," Goldman says, before warning that freight rates aren't likely to recover until at least 2020.
Having painted themselves into an impossible corner of junk Keynesian economics, they are now clueless about how to get out. So its time to recognize that there has been a monetary regime change. The Fed might well have been your friend since March 2009 or even for the last several decades. But stranded on the zero bound and smothered by a $22 trillion collective balance sheet, the central banks of the world are now fast becoming your fiend.