Contrary to those blaming the Fed for causing stocks to fall by “raising rates” (which Joe Salerno reflects on here) we want to stress the fact that, in raising rates, the most that the Fed could do is unravel previously made mistakes. In other words, there is nothing praiseworthy in the first place about artificially propped up stock market levels. We have no interest in lauding the longevity of the bubble, because the bubble is the enemy of the healthy economy. The collapsing equity markets reveal where bubbles were formed and that our alleged prosperity is an illusion. And this is precisely what former Dallas Fed Chairman Richard Fisher stated in a conversation on CNBC last week when he confessed: “We frontloaded a tremendous market rally to create a wealth effect.”
After the white-knuckle sell-off of global equities that was finally punctuated by a rally late last week, everyone wants to know: Was this the bottom for stocks? And now Moody’s weighs in with an unwelcome warning... "it’s hard to imagine why the equity market will steady if the US high-yield bond spread remains wider than 800 basis point."
What is currently transpiring in the markets today is exactly what the "everything is awesome" crowd stated wouldn’t happen – and exactly what many others argued – was inevitable. And, suddenly it is they who are finding out the rarefied air of "brilliance" The Fed enabled them to breathe has indeed been shut off – and all that’s left to inhale is their own exhaust fumes.
"The world’s central banks can’t save us anymore." That was the message from some of the world’s most prominent investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday. Each was resistant to putting on fresh positions and expected asset prices to head downward. In short, they say, the only winning move is not to play the game. “The trade now is to hold as much cash as possible,” said Nikhil Srinivasan, chief investment officer for Generali, a European insurer with $480 billion in assets. “Equity markets could go down 15% to 20%.”
- Stronger than expected decline in GDP Growth & weaker economic activity
- China in a major meltdown its government is not capable of stopping
- Major deflationary pressures forcing commodities down & credit spreads up
Is the economy as strong as some say it is?
Eight months ago, Bank of America chief economist Ethan Harris triumphantly declared victory over the "perma-bears." Today, the "perma-bears" get the last laugh.
When the FOMC is deliberately manipulating asset prices and credit spreads... collateral damage is inevitable.
According to stocks, a half-recession is precisely where the US was as of roughly noon yesterday, when the S&P touched an intraday low of 1812. This represents a 15% drop from the all time high close of 2,131 last summer. It also represents half the post-World War II average peak to trough decline around recession, which amounts to roughly 30%.
One thing policy makers should have learned after watching Greece unravel last summer is that capital controls almost always backfire. Once the market (not to mention the populace) senses panic, it's all downhill from there and make no mistake, there's blood in the water here.
There may be shallow lulls in the asset markets, nothing ever only falls down in a straight line in the real world, but the debt will and must come down and be deleveraged. The process will in all likelihood lead to warfare, and to refugee movements the likes of which the world has never seen just because of the sheer humbers of people added in the past 50 years. When your children reach your age, they will not live in a world that you ever thought was possible. But they will still have to live in it, and deal with it. They will no longer have the facade you’ve been staring at for so long now, to lull them into a complacent sleep. And the Kardashians will no longer be looking so attractive either.
Foreign Central Banks Furiously Dump US Treasuries: Record $47 Billion Sold In First Two Weeks Of 2016Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/17/2016 19:58 -0400
According to the latest Fed data, after a drop of $12 billion in the first week of the year, another $34.5 billion in Treasurys held in custody was sold in the week ended January 13, bringing the total to just $2.962 trillion, below the previous recent low recorded in early November, and at levels not seen since April 2015. Adding up the flows from the first two weeks of the year reveals the worst and most custody holdings "outflowing" start to the year in history.
Over the last 5 years the various Fed QE (quantitative easing) interventions into the capital markets has facilitated dumb luck trading into “genius” status, and no clue analysis into “spot on brilliant” prognostications. The real issue at hand is many believed their own press, and the current state of egg on their face would make many a Denny's blush. As bad as that sounds – it gets worse.
There’s more than a whiff of 2008 in the air. The sources of systemic financial sector risk are different this time (they always are), but China and the global industrial/commodity complex are even larger tectonic plates than the US housing market, and their shifts are no less destructive. There’s also more than a whiff of 1938 in the air, as we have a Fed that is apparently hell-bent on raising rates even as a Category 5 deflationary hurricane heads our way, even as the yield curve continues to flatten.
As so often happens, whenever there is a political spat in Europe, the rating agencies are quickly involved (thing S&P and Moody's downgrades and upgrades of Greece depending on how well the vassal nation is "behaving"), and moments ago S&P downgraded Poland from A- to BBB+ outlook negative, precisely due to Poland's new media law which has been the topic of so much consternation over the past week. In other words, S&P is now nothing more than a lackey for Brussels, threatening to send Polish yields higher if Poland does not fall in line.
In the latest Chinese domestic financing report released by the PBOC last night, there were two divergent themes: on one hand bank loans grew far less than the expected 700Bn yuan; on the other hand total social financing soared to 1.82 trillion yuan, smashing forecasts of a 1.15 trillion increase, and the highest since June. As noted last night, this may have been the catalyst that spooked the markets, because as Bloomberg confirms, "the data shows companies are turning to alternative sources for credit given banks’ reluctance to lend."