• Steve H. Hanke
    05/04/2016 - 08:00
    Authored by Steve H. Hanke of The Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke. A few weeks ago, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) sprang a surprise. It announced that a...

Central Banks

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It's Official: The "Helicopter Money" Calls Have Begun





In April we said that "sooner or later, in order to avoid liquidation and stave off severe disinflationary pressures, someone will have to call in "Helicopter Janet" and once the cash paradropping begins well, we'll see you in the Weimar Republic." Sure enough, the semi-official calls for helicopter drone cash drops have arrived.

 
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A Bubble On Thin Ice





The current asset bubble depends on a number of perceptions that could easily be put to the test by unexpected developments. There is a widespread consensus on a number of issues. This includes the belief that the economy will strengthen, that the emergence of “price inflation” is practically impossible, that “QE” will always guarantee rising asset prices, and that central banks have everything under control. Now we learn that in addition to this, a surprisingly large number of traders has no experience beyond the ZIRP & QE era of recent years. Meanwhile, the market’s underpinnings in terms of liquidity exhibit numerous weaknesses.

 
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Liberation Is Unprofitable





If we had to summarize the sickness of our economy and society, we could start by noting that liberation is unprofitable, and whatever is not profitable to vested interests is marginalized, outlawed, proscribed or ridiculed. Examples of this abound.
 
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Kyle Bass Was Right: Texas To Create Own Bullion Depository, Repatriate $1 Billion Of Gold





Most investors have heard Kyle Bass' rather eloquent phrase, "buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It's that simple." However, what few may remember was his warnings in 2011, suggesting the University of Texas Investment Management Co. take delivery of its gold - as opposed to trusting it in the 'safe' hands of COMEX massively levered paper warehouse. Now, as The Star Telegram reports, Texas is going one step further with State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione asking the Legislature to create a Texas Bullion Depository, where Texas could store its gold. The goal is to create a secure facility that would allow the state to bring home more than $1 billion in gold bars that are owned by UTIMCO and are now housed at HSBC in New York.

 
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From The Keynesian Archives: Who Said In 2010 That "Europe Is An Economic Success"





"The real lesson from Europe is actually the opposite of what conservatives claim: Europe is an economic success, and that success shows that social democracy works."

 
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From Money To Psychology, Japan Reveals The Basis Of Economic Policy Corruption





At some point in the middle of the last century, economics of money shifted to economics of psychology. Abenomics is the perfect example of this faith-based policy. The Japanese economy, to any clear mind, took a huge turn for the worst under Abenomics yet its practitioners are still, somehow, given the final word on judging its performance, meaning that the mainstream still, somehow, subscribes to the religion.

 
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How Wall Street Helps US Oil Producers Extend-And-Pretend





"Wall Street’s generous supply of funds to U.S. oil drillers helped create the American energy boom. Now that same access to easy money is keeping them going, despite oil prices that are languishing around $60 a barrel," WSJ says, proving that the era of easy money has in fact led to deflation.

 
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"By Almost Every Measure Stocks Are Overvalued" Warns Goldman After Slamming Corporate Buybacks





Over the weekend, we first reported that none other than Nobel prize winner Robert Shiller said that in his opinion, unlike 1929, this time everything - stocks, bonds and housing - was overvalued. Curiously, none other than Goldman's chief equity strategist, David Kostin echoed this sentiment when in his latest weekly note to clients he said that "by almost any measure, US equity valuations look expensive. The typical stock in the S&P 500 trades at 18.1x forward earnings, ranking at the 98th percentile of historical valuation since 1976. For the overall index, the aggregate forward P/E multiple equals 17.2x, a rise of 63% since September 2011, compared with the median expansion of 48% during 9 previous P/E expansion cycles. Financial metrics such as EV/EBITDA, EV/Sales, and P/B also suggest that US stocks have stretched valuations. With tightening on the horizon, the P/E expansion phase of the current bull market is behind us."

 
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The War on Cash: Your Deposit at the Bank Can be Converted to Equity If a Crisis Hits





Perhaps the most concerning is the fact that should a “systemically important” financial entity go bust, any deposits above $250,000 located therein could be converted to equity… at which point if the company’s shares, your wealth evaporates.

 
 
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How Much More Extreme Can Markets Get?





These charts help us understand that a top is not just price, but a reversal in extremes of margin debt, valuation and sentiment. Many observers have an unyielding faith that central banks will never let markets decline ever again. There are four flaws in this blind faith...

 
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Euro-sclerosis





There appears to be little or nothing in the monetarists' handbook to enable them to assess the risk of a loss of confidence in the purchasing power of a paper currency. Furthermore, since today's macroeconomists have chosen to deny Say's Law, otherwise known as the laws of the markets, they have little hope of grasping the more subtle aspects of the role of money in price formation. It would appear that this potentially important issue is being ignored at a time when the Eurozone faces growing systemic risks that could ultimately challenge the euro's validity as money.

 
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Are All Central Bankers Idiots?





You can’t build a solid economy on the jelly of unaffordable housing, unpayable debts, and unsustainable asset prices. But that’s what we’ve got. The only way to get down to something more reliable... more real... and healthier... is to wash away the financial glop and goo that has accumulated during the last 30 years.

 
Phoenix Capital Research's picture

Good Luck Getting Your Money Out





In simple terms, if the system is ever under duress again, money market funds can lock in capital (meaning you can’t get your money out) for up to 10 days. This is just the start of a much larger strategy by the Fed to declare War on Cash.

 
 
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Hans-Werner Sinn Warns Europe - Don't Underestimate Varoufakis





Game theorists know that a Plan A is never enough. One must also develop and put forward a credible Plan B – the implied threat that drives forward negotiations on Plan A. Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, knows this very well. Many people in Europe seem to believe that Varoufakis, an experienced game theorist but a political neophyte, does not know how to play the cards that Greece has been dealt. They should think again – before Greece walks away with the pot.

 
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