More Reasons QE Is a Dud
Does this look in any way normal to anyone?
- Goldman’s Andrew Wilson Says QE in Europe a 2015 Story If at All
- European economy would have to weaken significantly before QE comes into play, said Andrew Wilson, co-head of Global Fixed Income and Liquidy management team at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
- Says Draghi has foreshadowed policy easing at next meeting, expects ECB to cut rates 1-2 times before they look to other methods such as an LTRO
- Says if other methods don’t work it would “ultimately have to be QE”
Sadly, as far as markets are concerned, the more Sturm und Drang over Ukraine, the better... this all further strengthens the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence – the market-controlling common knowledge that market outcomes are the result of central bank policy rather than anything that happens in the real economy. How can you know if this Narrative starts to waver or shift? If and when gold starts to work. This is what gold means in the modern age... not a store of value or some sort of protection against geopolitical instability... but an insurance policy against massive central bank error and loss of control.
The following outlines a solid statistical analysis of every aspect of the gold market, a thoroughly researched and well-presented account of the history of the modern monetary system and a highly original perspective of the growing bubble in debt and credit claims we have experienced since adopting today's system of credit-based money.
Fits the pattern of gratuitous bank enrichment perfectly. But this time, the beneficiaries of the Fed are foreign banks.
Remember all of those credit card and loan offers you used to receive in the mail? Bad credit? No credit? No problem. 0% APR for the first six months. Free balance transfers. No money down. And my personal favorite– no credit check. These were all classic signs that the mother of all liquidity bubbles was upon us. Looking at the expansion of credit across the West, though, it’s happening again. Fool me twice, shame on me. But this is a worldwide phenomenon now.
It has been a very quiet session so far, and despite the slow-mo levitation in the USDJPY, its impact on US equity futures has been minimal if not negative. In fact, following yesterday's latest late day tumble, which Goldman summarized as follows, "Equities tried and failed again to break 1885, it continues to be the level that we can’t escape"... it would appear we are increasingly changing the trading regime, and as Guy Haselmann explained simply, markets are slowly but surely coming to the realization that the Fed's crutches are being taken away (that they may well return following a 20%, 30%, or more drop in the S&P is a different matter entirely) and that the economy will not grow fast enough to make up for this. Perhaps the most notable "event" is the sheer avalanche of banks pushing up their forecasts for an ECB rate cut (and or QE start) to June following Draghi's yesterday comments. And so the 1 month countdown begins until the end of forward guidance, or until the ECB "shatters" its credibility as expained yesteday.
Some people are either born or nurtured into a time warp and never seem to escape. That’s Janet Yellen’s apparent problem with the “bathtub economics” of the 1960s neo-Keynesians. As has now been apparent for decades, the Great Inflation of the 1970s was a live fire drill that proved Keynesian activism doesn’t work. That particular historic trauma showed that “full employment” and “potential GDP” were imaginary figments from scribblers in Ivy League economics departments—not something that is targetable by the fiscal and monetary authorities or even measureable in a free market economy. Even more crucially, the double digit inflation, faltering growth and repetitive boom and bust macro-cycles of the 1970s and early 1980s proved in spades that interventionist manipulations designed to achieve so-called “full-employment” actually did the opposite—that is, they only amplified economic instability and underperformance as the decade wore on.
"Stocks in the advanced economies are basically fully priced," Faber pronounces, and adds that, given their low yields, government bonds are also expensive. The true contrarian play is the "most under-appreciated asset - cash." Even though investors won't earn any money and will actually lose money in the long-term because of Federal Reserve-induced dollar depreciation, Faber suggests that "for the next six months, maybe cash is the most attractive," because the US economy is not recovering at all the way stocks are priced and what is more worrisome is the potential for a sudden eruption of inflation. As we have noted numerous times, Faber blasts that despite the prices of everything going up, government statistics "are distorted by the ministry of truth" in order to enable more money printing by the central banks. Crucially, while we may not be seeing wage inflation in the US, that excess liquidity is squirting up everywhere around the world's assets (and wages in China and India for instance), and the 2008 financial crisis could be just a precursor to a more severe economic fallout on the horizon.
Mario Draghi has gone and done it: "Now that the June meeting is explicitly going to be crucial, not doing anything next month would in our view completely shatter the ECB’s credibility, and trigger a further appreciation in the euro exchange rate" - Deutsche Bank
Confused by the market? You are not alone with irrational and "Fear of Missing Out" momentum trades and (not so great) sector re(un)rotation all that matters (as has been the case for years with fundamentals not relevant for about 24 months now), so here are some tips from Scotiabank's Guy Haselmann who believes "market noise can be simplified into the following: QE= risk on, End of QE=risk off. QE is now half way toward ending, so now is the time to adjust. The fact that…… EM central banks are hiking, China is attacking its credit bubble, and Japan hiked its VAT tax while the “third arrow” is M.I.A., are also reasons to de-risk. If sanctions on Russia expand to products or industries, then real problems to EU growth will arise. This is something to watch carefully."
Confirming and continuing a trend we first described a year ago, overnight RealtyTrac reported, as part of its Q1 institutional investor and cash sales report, that the percentage of all-cash buyers has soared in the past year with "42.7% of all U.S. residential property sales in the first quarter were all-cash purchases, up from 37.8% in the previous quarter and up from 19.1% in the first quarter of 2013 to the highest level since RealtyTrac began tracking all-cash purchases in the first quarter of 2011."
Sometimes it's worth remembering that while the demise of the status quo may take a while, there are actions one should be taking despite the sound and fury each and every day. As Marc Faber warned, "I don’t trust anyone." Simply put, Faber blasts, "the monetary policies as they are implemented by central banks around the world, are actually preventing the markets from clearing and [not allowing] the economy to truly improve." His recommendation, he'd "prefer investors hold physical gold in a safe deposit box, ideally outside the US," because "Fed policy will destroy the world."