Over the last few months the financial media has not only turned deaf ears to the drama, (out of boredom) they have also blindly discounted any contagion effects as “isolated” at best – relative periphery contagion at worst. In other words: Any and all problems can be contained, mitigated, or solved by none other than your friendly neighborhood Central Bank. After all, if you listen to the so-called “smart crowd” these bankers have powers even Zeus would envy. So why worry about a little turmoil at the foot of Olympus? In any hero-worship endeavor one thing must remain constant or it all falls apart. Those that worship can never witness any event regardless of how minor: that the gods are not all that they portend to be. In other words: Allow just one moment of truth to be witnessed showing frailty instead of omnipotence – and the whole ruse falls regardless of the size and strength of the monuments and temples built to honor. For they will be abandoned: sometimes slowly, at others - all at once.
"The growing size of the asset management industry may have increased the risk of liquidity illusion: market liquidity seems to be ample in normal times, but vanishes quickly during market stress. This liquidity may be artificial and less robust in the event of market turbulence." So what's the solution? Unfortunately there isn't one. Instead, fund managers are simply resorting to emergency liquidity lines with banks which is just another manifestation of using cheap cash to delay the Schumpeterian endgame scenario which, if ever allowed to play out, will finally purge capital markets, reset the system, and free the world from the nefarious clutches of central bankers gone mad with delusions of Keynesian grandeur.
As we have asserted since 2012, the template for dealing with Crises has been laid out in Europe, particularly in the countries of Spain and Cyprus.
Yes, the clock’s ticking louder, louder, warns the Economist, “only a matter of time before the next recession strikes.” Unfortunately, the “rich world is not ready.” America’s not prepared. You are not ready.
One of America's most notorious bank robbers, Willie Sutton (1901-80), is said to have remarked that he robbed banks "because that's where the money is." In a strange twist, the banks themselves are now beginning literally to rob their own customers.
Relative to the monetary base, the gold price is currently at an all time low. In our opinion, this is a temporary anomaly, which we believe provides an extraordinarily favorable buying opportunity.
The Fed's QE policies of recent years have, for all intents and purposes told the world that “the dollar is our currency and your problem.” And, in recent years, the dollar has been a genuine problem for a number of emerging countries. Following this traumatic event, and the change in the perception of US stability, China went around the world and invited the likes of Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Korea to shift some of their China trade away from the dollar and into renminbi. China started doing this in 2011 and, as we see it, the renminbi’s attempt to become a trading currency is potentially one of the most important financial developments. Yet no-one seems to care.
"Investors have experienced many mood swings, some institutionalized irrationality, as well as treacherous trading conditions in the first six months of 2015. The wacky has become the norm."
If you jump off of a make believe cliff, don't be surprised when you hit the reality of the ground! Reggie Middleton
Following yesterday's furious market drop in Chinese stocks, just before the overnight open, Morgan Stanley came out with a much distributed report urging investors "Not to buy this dip", and so they didn't. As a result, the Shanghai Composite imploded, at one point trading down 8% while the Chinext and Shenzhen markets crashed even more. This was the single biggest Shanghai Composite one-day drop since 2007, and with a close at 4192.87 the SHCOMP is now on the verge of a bear market, down 19% from its June 12 highs. China's second largest market, Shenzhen, is now officially in a bear market.
For a glimpse of what happens next, look no further than Sweden.
With levels of investors complacency at extremely high levels, it is a currently "fact" that little can go wrong. There is no recession in sight; the earnings decline was all primarily related to energy companies and most importantly, global Central Banks are continuing to support the financial markets. Of course, maybe it is the last point that should be questioned. If the economy is doing so well, then why are Central Banks still needing to intervene to support the growth? This is equivalent of saying the "the patient is cured, as long as we don't take him off of life support."
The treasury auction confusion continues. After yesterday's 5 Year auction priced well weaker than expected, despite a negative repo rate of -0.85% which has actually gotten even more negative this morning dropping to -0.9%, things looked somewhat ominous for today's final for the week issuance of $29 billion in 7 year paper. And yet, moments ago the auction came out far stronger than expected, with the Treasury pricing at 2.153%, a solid 1.2 bps through the 2.165% When Issued, suggesting a far stronger demand into the pricing deadline.
Following meetings with EU officials and then with IMF chief Christine Lagarde and ECB chief Mario Draghi on Wednesday evening, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras is back at it on Thursday, in a frantic attempt to salvage a deal with creditors. He'll need to win over EU finance chiefs (who are collectively losing their will to keep Greece in the currency bloc) and the IMF as the EU summit kicks off in Brussels.
“Any of these events would likely trigger asset price volatility [and] attempts by institutional investors to redeem illiquid corporate bonds in crisis circumstances would amplify volatility.”