Deflation remains the enemy thanks to debt, deleveraging, demographics, tech disruption & default risks. US aggregate debt is today a staggering $58.0 trillion (327% of GDP); the number of people unemployed in the European Union is 23.6 million; Greece has spent 90 of the past 192 years in default or debt restructuring. 7 years on from the GFC... The massive policy response continues. Central bank victory means that lower rates, currencies, oil successfully boosts global GDP & PMI’s in Q2/Q3, allowing Fed hikes in Q4. Bond yields would soar in H1 on this outcome. Defeat, no recovery, and currency wars, debt default and deficit financing become macro realities.
"Central bank polices have ruptured the proper functioning of capital markets. Some investors myopically believe that 'money printing needs a home' and that it will end up in equities (the asset class with upside). However, such a belief needs to include a deep faith in the central bank’s abilities to navigate a soft landing. History is not on their side. Investors pouring into equities might be playing an epic game of chicken."
Six years on from the financial crisis and central banks are still hacking away at interest rates. Australia and Romania's did this week and while Poland and India held off, both are expected to prune rates later in 2015.
This was the “Rubicon” moment: the instant at which Central Banks gave up pretending that their actions or policies were aimed at anything resembling public good or stability.
The earnings season is all over except for the shouting, but the outcome doesn’t remotely validate Wall Street’s happy times narrative. Reported Q4 earnings for the S&P 500 companies (with about two-thirds reporting) stand at $25.02 per share compared to $26.48 in the year ago quarter. That’s right. So far Q4 profits are down 5% but shrinking corporate profits is something that you most definitely have not heard about on bubble vision. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have had a tremendous inflation of PE multiples during the last three years in anticipation, apparently, of the US economy hitting escape velocity and the overall global economy continuing to power onwards and upwards. As is evident from the financial news and “incoming” data, however, that presumption is not remotely correct.
The chart below, which presents not only the total amount of sovereign gold holdings, but indicates the percentage of the monetary base backed by gold reserves, shows something rather stunning.
Deflation goes hand in hand with releasing the individual from the debt enslavement that was created with the monetary policies of the past 100 years. Nigh unlimited printing of money has become the orthodox strategy to avoid deflation. Deflation was made the scapegoat for all sorts of economic ills in a century of pro-inflation propaganda. For deflation to happen government interference in money and the economy needs to stop. The endorsement of deflation goes hand in hand with safeguarding liberty. “Paper money has become the technical foundation for the totalitarian menace of our days.”
It Will Now Cost You 0.75% To Save Money In Denmark: Danish Central Bank Cuts Rates For FOURTH Time In Three WeeksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/05/2015 10:07 -0500
It has become a weekly thing now. In its desperation to preserve the EURDKK peg, the Danish central banks has cut rates into negative, then cut them again, then again last week, and moments ago, just cut its deposit rate to negative one more time, pushing NIRP from -0.5% to -0.75%, its fourth "surprise" rate cut in the past 3 weeks!
And so another central bank admits defeat to the forces of market supply and demand.
SNB Said To Be Buying EUR Crosses In Aftermath Of ECB's Greek Fiasco; Europe Boosts Its Own Growth ForecastSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/05/2015 06:33 -0500
Unfortunately, the country whose president two weeks ago said that "Venezuela Must Deepen Socialism To Improve Economy", which is the political equivalent of "we must do even more QE to fix record wealth inequality", may have just hit rock bottom when Venezuelans, who already must line up for hours to buy the simplest of daily necessities (which they can obtain without being arrested in the process if they are lucky) now have to pay $755 for a pack of condoms. “The country is so messed up that now we have to wait in line even to have sex,” lamented Jonatan Montilla, a 31-year-old advertising company art director. “This is a new low.”
The world believes it is in a sweet spot. There is global consensus that central banks know what they are doing and are in control, and that if economies falter, a bigger dose of QE or ZIRP or NIRP (negative interest rate policy – we just made that one up) will keep it from getting out of hand. Additionally, there seems to be a universally held belief that the U.S. is unquestionably the safe haven for the foreseeable future, that its financial crisis and long recession are behind it and that China has complete control over its own destiny. It may not surprise you to learn that we either disagree with or remain unconvinced about every one of the foregoing propositions.
"The honeymoon is over," warned SocGen overnight as "the trade of the year" turned into carnage after, essentially, a big policy error on the part of the central bank in the context of serious political pressures. Just today President Erdogan explained to whoever would listen that "interest rates are the cause of inflation," and "some are trying to hold Turkey back with interest rates," adding that "you can't decide interest rates based on inflation." However, his conclusion was what really sent the Turkish Lira spiralling... "unfortunately, this is the result of an independent central bank."
The economy being talked about in the media just doesn’t exist, no matter how you view the unemployment rate. There is no spending because there is no income(marginally deficient). Instead, what we see is instability where these low levels of activity and true wealth creation persist. There are no “tailwinds” to be found here, only confusion about the relative state of progress. Going from really bad to less bad is not recovery, just another fact of an unstable economy plodding its way toward the next, and eventual, dislocation.
Marc Faber warned at the weekend that 2015 may be the year that investors will lose confidence in central banks and that investors will “suddenly realise what a scam that central banking is”.