The meaning of events and market signals differ hugely from country to country, tribe to tribe, generation to generation. Ferguson does not mean the same thing as Hong Kong. Hong Kong does not mean the same thing as Tahrir Square or even Tiananmen Square. Monetary policy does not mean the same thing in Beijing as monetary policy means in Washington, which in turn does not mean the same thing as monetary policy in Paris or Rome. But we have an innate tendency to act as if these signals DO mean the same thing, and we can totally wrong-foot our investments as a result. The biggest thing happening in the world today is the growing divergence between US monetary policy and everyone else’s monetary policy with three HUGE implications: one for investment strategy selection, one for global growth, and one for … (gulp!) gold.
Central planners should be careful what they wish for...
A quick anecdote that should quickly confirm just how broken everything is: earlier today MarkIt reported European manufacturing data that was atrocious, with both German and European PMIs tumbling to levels not seen since mid-2013, and with Europe's growth dynamo now in a contraction phase clearly signalling what has been long overdue: a European triple dip recession. So what happens? Moments later Germany sells €4.1 billion in 10 Year paper at a record low yield below 1%.... even as the Bundesbank had to retain a whopping 17.84% of the auction, the highest since June, with only €4.663 Bn in bids for the €5 Bn target, the first miss since May 21. So hurray for the central banks, boo for the economy, and as for that mythical creature, once known as bond vigilantes, our condolences: good luck figuring out what the hell just happened, and good luck recalling what a free market is.
The global debt levels have swollen to 200 year highs. Yep, 200 year highs!
Reports of individuals snapping up near-record numbers of gold and silver coins are coming in from around the world. While individual buyers aren't the dominant players in precious metals, they do make a difference; and their renewed enthusiasm is matched by some recent national trends. There's no guarantee that this buying, encouraging as it seems, is anything more than a blip; but in the aggregate it does seem like a lot of buyers, old and new, are finding current prices to be attractive. That's how bottoms form and new bull markets begin.
For a long time, Fed printing via balance sheet expansion has been the key to understanding markets and the predominant driver that has trumped all other matters. Investors have been able to ignore significant global events, tensions, and economic conditions in faraway places, because a lower real and perceived risk premium from implicit Fed promises was the single most important aspect driving asset prices higher. This game is quickly coming to an end. As the Fed’s asset purchase program ends next month, global events and global economic fundamentals will have to be taken into account and priced accordingly.
Singapore continues its push to be a global gold hub ... Gold and money, throughout history has flowed to where it is better treated. Today, gold continues to flow from West to East. A sign of shifting economic fortunes ...
"Central Bankers have moved from being 'nudgers' on monetary policy to basically managing fiscal policy," warns Rick Santelli, adding that "in the West, it's now basically the same." As Santelli points out so accurately, the central bankers have admitted as such, noting "they have to dabble in that direction because nothing can get done in 'politics'" in the US or Europe "for the people - the voters." What this has done, Santelli chides calmly is "take the voters out of the game." Simply put, he blasts, "if central banks hadn't had such a large foray into politics, politicians would have had to sink or swim on the merit - or lack therein - of their policies... that weren't creating the growth." He concludes ominously that the 'spread' between central-bank-inspired "stability" and real-world fiscal-policy-inspired "growth" has never been wider.
Another Conspiracy Theory Becomes Fact: The Fed's "Stealth Bailout" Of Foreign Banks Goes MainstreamSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/30/2014 13:25 -0400
Back in June 2011, Zero Hedge first posted: "Exclusive: The Fed's $600 Billion Stealth Bailout Of Foreign Banks Continues At The Expense Of The Domestic Economy, Or Explaining Where All The QE2 Money Went" Of course, the conformist, counter-contrarian punditry promptly said this was a non-issue and was purely due to some completely irrelevant micro-arbing of a few basis points in FDIC penalty surcharges, which as we explained extensively over the past 3 years, has nothing at all to do with the actual motive of hoarding Fed reserves by offshore (or onshore) banks, and which has everything to do with accumulating billions in "dry powder" reserves to use for risk-purchasing purposes. Fast, or rather slow, forward to today when none other than the WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath debunks yet another "conspiracy theory" and reveals it as "unconspiracy fact" with "Fed Rate Policies Aid Foreign Banks: Lenders Pocket a Spread by Borrowing Cheaply, Parking Funds at Central Bank"
The ultra high end of US housing is now sliding fast, and that unless some other central banks steps up and resumes the injections of some $100 billion in outside money into inflating asset prices such as stocks and billionaire mansions, then all bets are soon off.
The essence of the Oil Head-Fake Dynamic is the inevitable drop in oil price resulting from a sharp decline in demand (i.e. global recession) will trigger disruption of the global oil supply chain that will eventually push prices higher than most currently think possible.
The key question now is “Can the U.S./global economy handle a meaningful downturn in financial asset prices?” The short answer is that it may not have a choice. The Federal Reserve has done what it can to juice the American economy and has the balance sheet to prove it. Central banks, for all their power, do not control long term capital allocation or corporate hiring practices. Fed Funds have been below 2% for six years. If the U.S. economy can’t continue to grow in 2015 as the Federal Reserve inches rates higher, there are clearly larger issues at play. And those private sector problems will need private sector solutions.
New Global Crisis Imminent Due To “Poisonous Combination Of Record Debt And Slowing Growth", CEPR Report WarnsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/29/2014 07:52 -0400
A “poisonous combination” of record debt and slowing growth suggest the global economy could be heading for another crisis, a hard-hitting report will warn on Monday. It warns of a “poisonous combination of high and rising global debt and slowing nominal GDP [gross domestic product], driven by both slowing real growth and falling inflation”. The total burden of world debt, private and public, has risen from 160 per cent of national income in 2001 to almost 200 per cent after the crisis struck in 2009 and 215 per cent in 2013. “Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to delever and the global debt to GDP ratio is still growing, breaking new highs,” the report said. Luigi Buttiglione, one of the report’s authors and head of global strategy at hedge fund Brevan Howard, said: “Over my career I have seen many so-called miracle economies – Italy in the 1960s, Japan, the Asian tigers, Ireland, Spain and now perhaps China – and they all ended after a build-up of debt.”
With the revelations of systemic, widespread corporate criminality of banking institutions in recent years, it is clear that global Bank CEOs are becoming the new Drug Lords.