The central banks are now out of dry powder - impaled on the zero-bound. That means any resort to a massive new round of money printing can not be disguised as an effort to “stimulate” the macro-economy by temporarily driving interest rates to “extraordinarily” low levels. They are already there. Instead, a Bernanke style balance sheet explosion like that which stopped the financial meltdown in the fall and winter of 2008-2009 will be seen for exactly what it is—-an exercise in pure monetary desperation and quackery. So duck and cover. This storm could be a monster.
Today things for the former Goldman banker went from bad to worse, when as the FT reports, the ECB lost its "normal political cover" to make a bold decision, in fact the boldest decision in the ECB's history: one which could lead to a political and legal retaliation by Germany itself. The reason, as FT's Peter Spiegel explains, is that unlike previously when EU summits resulted in "greenlighting" blueprints which, if only on paper, enabled Draghi to proceed unconstrained, this time there was no such blank check compact. The bottom line, as Spiegel concludes, is that "Draghi won’t have the normal political cover he needs to make a bold decision early next year – a problem only compounded by the European Commission’s decision last month to put off the day of reckoning for France and Italy over whether they will face sanctions for failing to live up to the EU’s crisis-era budget rules."
But the market acts deaf, dumb and blind...
We are now far advanced into the third central bank generated bubble of the last two decades, but our monetary politburo has taken no notice whatsoever of its self-evident leading wave. Namely, the massive malinvestments and debt mania in the shale patch.
Amid the collapse of the global carry trade, no nation on earth has benefited more (and is now suffering more) from the dash-for-trash, buy-the-pig-sty trade than Greek stocks and bonds. Combining carry unwinds with uncertainty over snap Presidential elections (which could usher in a left-wing anti-EU party into power) and a 'technical-only' extension of its handouts from Troika and Greek capital markets are in freefalll. The Athens Stock Index is down over 11% on the day, destroying 3 weeks of gains; the Greek 3Y bond price has collapsed (as the carry-traders pile out through small doors) inverting the yield curve - never a good sign.
Those who have been following the ridiculous moves in the Shanghai Composite in recent months, knew it was only a matter of time before yet another major stock market (one which recently surpassed the Nikkei for the second largest spot in the world) crashed violently, further eroding faith in the centrall-planned "price discovery" process. The only question was when. Tonight we got the answer.
PBOC Tries To Pop Equity Bubble, Tightens FX & Slashes Collateral/Margin Availability; Yuan Crashes Most Since 2008Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/08/2014 23:29 -0400
Unlike the Federal Reserve - which openly encourages speculative wealth creation/redistribution and has never seen an equity bubble it didn't believe was contained - the PBOC appears, by its actions tonight, to be concerned that things have got a little overheated in its corporate bond and stock markets as hot money ripped into the nation's capital markets on hints of further easing and QE-lite a few months ago. In a show of force, the PBOC simultaneously fixed CNY significantly stronger (implicit tightening) and enforced considerably stricter collateral rules on short-term loans/repos. With Chinese stocks concentrated is even fewer hands than in the US (and recently fearful of the surge in margin trading), it appears the PBOC is trying to stall the acceleration is as careful manner as possible. The result, as Bloomberg notes, is a major squeeze in CNY (biggest drop since Dec 2008), interest-rate swaps ripped higher along with corporate bond yields, and most Chinese stocks sold off (with two down for every one up) though the latter is stabilizing now.
"The highly abnormal is becoming uncomfortably normal... There is something vaguely troubling when the unthinkable becomes routine."
You almost have to step outside of economics, even out of the financial world as a whole, to pose what is the most elementary question about our economy today. That can’t be right. The most elementary question is not how we can achieve growth, it’s whether we need growth, and what we would need it for that is important enough to destroy our entire societies and economies for.... We’re in dire need of fresh blood and smart new ideas to clean up the mess the present ideologies and their puppets and puppetmasters have created.
The Federal Reserve and its owners print and party, while the rest of us work and weep..................
Another day, another record for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Main Street’s favorite measure of Wall Street stock performance. How did we get here? The answer sits in a comfortable blend of good returns from a range of industry sectors. Seven of the Dow 30 names have added over 100 points to the total 1,303 point gain for the Average this year: Visa (251 points), UnitedHealth (185), Nike (136), 3M (129), Disney (116), Johnson & Johnson (111) and Home Depot (106). By contrast, there is just one 100 point loser: IBM (negative 137 points). The collapse in energy stocks hasn’t hurt the Dow very much – just 113 points year to date related to declines in ExxonMobil and Chevron. And to satisfy the most common “What if” scenarios we hear: adding Apple on its split day this June would have added an estimated 166 points, and Facebook’s whole-year 2014 performance would have pushed the Average higher by 162 points.
By now everyone has heard of the NY Fed's most famous employee (who did not work at Goldman Sachs previously): Kevin Henry, who according to his latest LinkedIn profile was recently promoted to Senior Associate at the Capital Markets desk at the NY Fed (and if they haven't, a refresh can be found here, here and here). Which is fine: Kevin deserves all the recognition and accolades that are due to anyone who manages to centrally-plan the world's biggest bond market. Because after all that's what the Fed does: it intervenes in the bond market. Nothing strange about that. And yet we have one question: why does Kevin seem to exhibit an absolute fascination when it comes to equity ETFs?
The hypothesis that follows, if carried through, is certain to have a significant effect on gold and the relationship between gold and all government-issued currencies. The successful remonetisation of gold by a major power such as Russia would draw attention to the fault-lines between fiat currencies issued by governments unable or unwilling to do the same and those that can follow in due course. It would be a schism in the world's dollar-based monetary order.