Continuing deceleration of population growth offset by rate cuts incentivizing ever greater debt loads (with continually underperforming GDP) was the central banks only play. And now as population growth and decelerating demand really begin to wane...the playbook is basically exhausted save for one play...simply print money with which to buy and "permanently retire" those assets. Think Treasury's, think MBS, think equity's...think anything that can be digitally created and digitally destroyed all to perpetually shrink the outstanding float (think perpetual short squeeze). How long this can maintain asset values northward march in the face of the populations southward divergence is anybody's guess.
These waxing and waning empires are dangerous as their vulnerabilities and short-comings become exposed, and their territories challenged. That fact that Putin is being prodded from within Russia to be less diplomatic and more aggressive in posturing for war is downright unsettling. Many of our most dangerous American leaders are all-too willing to poke the bear and evoke a reaction.
Xi not only is the Commander-in-Chief in the fight against corruption; he’s now Commander-in-Chief of China’s joint battle command center as well. Yet even this awesome concentration of power does not mean that Xi is an unassailable deity. On the key drama – the state of the economy – it has emerged that in a recent interview by the People’s Daily with an anonymous “authoritative person”, printed on the front page and exposing deep economic divergence among the CCP leadership, the “authoritative person” in question was none other than Xi. He had to take to the key media read by anyone who’s anyone in China to press his point on how to fix China’s debt-ridden economy; low growth is OK, and the new normal; as for blind credit expansion/monetary easing, that’s not OK. Xi, once again, is adamant; it’s now or never to start a painful restructuring of the Chinese system.
In a world in which growth is slowing, is it not strange that the Fed (privately owned by the largest banks in the world) would institute a system of rising payments rewarding banks for not taking risk or lending money! This all tends to make believe that manipulation is the order of the day and the explanation is far simpler than most would believe...
We are all living in Hybrid War time. From R2P (“responsibility to protect”) to color revolutions, from currency attacks to stock market manipulations. From judicial-financial-political-media enabled “soft” coups – as in Brazil – to support for “moderate” jihadis, multiple stages of Hybrid War now cross-pollinate and generate a vortex of new mutant viruses. This is the new normal; Cold War 2.0, 24/7.
If an economic system collapses in the woods and no one is paying attention, are there any consequences outside the woods? Well, yes, of course. As with most situations financial and global, however, consequences are not usually taken very seriously until they have spawned a vast bog of sewage we all have to then swim through. The issue is and always will be “interdependency,” and the dissolution of sovereign borders. The European Union dynamic, for example, can only end in one of two ways - the complete dismantling of the supranational body and a return to sovereignty, or, a socio-economic crisis followed by even more centralization and the end of all remnants of sovereignty. Either way, the consequences will not be pretty. The same strategy may also be used in the Western hemisphere; more specifically, the collapse in South America that almost no one in the mainstream seems to be paying much attention to.
Seymour Hersh has reported that the Obama Administration falsely blamed the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad for the sarin gas attack that Obama was trying to use as an excuse to invade Syria, exposing that a secret agreement in 2012 was reached between the Obama Administration and the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, to set up a sarin gas attack and blame it on Assad so that the US could invade and overthrow Assad. Notably, multiple reports suggest the US Consulate in Benghazi Libya was operating a "rat line" for Gaddafi’s captured weapons into Syria through Turkey; and now, for the first time, Hersh has implicated Hillary Clinton directly in this "rat line."
While the Arab countries floated themselves on oceans of petro-dollars forty years ago, they have little need for them now. So we must now turn our attention to China, which is well positioned to act as white knight to Saudi Arabia. China’s SAFE sovereign wealth fund could easily swallow the Aramco stake, and there are good strategic reasons why it should. A quick deal would help stabilise a desperate financial and political situation on the edges of China’s rapidly growing Asian interests, and keep Saudi Arabia onside as an energy supplier. China has dollars to dispose, and a mutual arrangement would herald a new era of tangible cooperation. The US can only stand and stare as China teases Saudi Arabia away from America’s sphere of influence.
The Third World War is currently being fought. How long before it moves into its hot stage?
The fact is, Simple Janet has already proven the end game. Money printing central bankers can’t stop. Were they to allow financial prices to normalize and trillions of bad credit to be liquidated, the whole financial house of cards they have built around the planet would blow sky high. The "soft landing" case is a null set.
So Wall Street, US Big Oil and the proverbial “American interests” win this round at the circus – thanks to the, once again proverbial, vassal/comprador elites. Chevron execs are already salivating with the prospect of laying their hands on the pre-salt oil deposits; that was already promised by a trusted vassal in the Brazilian opposition. The coup goes on. The real hyenas haven’t yet pounced. So it's far from over.
Mind the terminal growth assumption. The warning signs are everywhere that what lies on the other side is not a world of 24.3X valuations.
The US Dollar Index is sitting at 94.62, just above a critical support zone at 93-94. Meanwhile, the Trade-Weighted Dollar Index has pulled back ~3.4% from its high on Jan20’16. It is hard to tell that long USD is a consensus trade because investors have lost their conviction.
Color revolutions would never be enough; Exceptionalistan is always on the lookout for major strategic upgrades capable of ensuring perpetual Empire of Chaos hegemony. While it ain’t over till some fat man in the Brazilian Supreme Court sings, the whole developing world should be fully alert – and learn the relevant lessons, as Brazil is bound to be analyzed as the ultimate case of Soft Hybrid War.
- Dow's Freakish Bounce Makes Investors Whole, Can't Erase Doubts (BBG)
- R.I.P. Dollar Rally as Dovish Fed Spurs Worst Slump Since 2011 (BBG)
- Global Currencies Soar, Defying Central Bankers (WSJ)
- Oil hits 2016 high above $42 on production and demand outlook (Reuters)
- The U.S. Is Exporting Its Oil Everywhere (BBG)
- Hillary Clinton’s Allies Launch Plan to Undercut Donald Trump Now (WSJ)