The "Deflationary Vortex": Global Dollar Economy Suffers Biggest Plunge Since Lehman, Down $4 TrillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/20/2015 16:28 -0500
One of the macroeconomic observations that has gotten absolutely no mention in recent months is the curious fact that while global economic growth has not imploded in recent quarters, it is because GDP has been represented, as is customary, in local currency terms. Of course, this comes as a time when local currencies (at least those which are not the USD) have been plunging against the greenback on the back of the expectations that the Fed will hike rates some time in the summer or later in 2015. Which also means that in "dollar economy" terms, i.e., converted in USD, things are not nearly as good. In fact, as the chart below shows, the global dollar economy is not only shrinking fast, but it is doing so at the fastest pace since the Lehman collapse, having lost a whopping $4 trillion, or a whopping 5% drop, in just the last 6 months!
Even more disturbing than China's growth forecast, is what the IMF sees global growth doing, which nobody will be shocked to learn, has once again been drastically slashed lower. Why is this disturbing? Because as the world is slowly learning, it is all about trade, and central banks can't print trade.
In what Bloomberg's Richard Breslow calls "a sign of the times, and not a good one" the weekend has been dominated by politicians commenting on the ECB. Not only did Erdogan un-independently suggest Turkish policy action today (as we noted here), but now Merkel, Hollande, Noonan etc. are all telling you what the ECB should do or indeed will do and then telling you that, of course, the ECB is independent. Central Banks have essentially become enormous sovereign wealth funds manipulating the markets and very much in the thrall of geo-political events. This is a very problematic development which is an inevitable follow-on to the activism of central banks in their policy conduct.
Ahead of today's Turkey central bank decision, consensus was expecting no change in either the benchmark repurchase rate (at 8.25%), nor the overnight lending and borrowing rates (at 11.25% and 7.50%, respectively). And then, out of the blue, the Turkish deputy Prime Minister was kind enough to inform markets precisely what non-consensus move the Turkish central bank will do today: TURKEY SEES RATE CUT TOMORROW BY CENTRAL BANK, DEP. PM SAYS. Sure enough, moments ago we got confirmation that when it comes to "independent" central banks leaking information to so-called heads of state such as France's Francois Hollande, Turkey is not far behind: TURKEY'S CENTRAL BANK CUTS BENCHMARK REPO RATE TO 7.75%
Germany's Bundesbank Resumes Gold Repatriation; Transfers 120 Tonnes Of Physical Gold From Paris And NY FedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/19/2015 23:03 -0500
A month ago we asked the following question: who in addition to the Netherlands has been quietly withdrawing their gold from the NY Fed. Was it Belgium? Or did the Dutch simply decide to haul back some more. Or did Germany finally get over its "logistical complications" which prevented it from transporting more than just a laughable 5 tons in 2013? And most importantly, did Germany finally grow a pair and decide not to let "diplomatic difficulties" stand between it and its gold? We now know the answer, and it was, indeed, the latter with confirmation coming from the Bundesbank itself. As the German Central Bank announced earlier today, after withdrawing an embarrassing 5 tonnes of gold from New York in 2013, its rate of repatriation soared, and in what appears to have been just the past two months, has transferred a whopping 85 tonnes of gold from 80 feet below street level at Liberty 33 back to Frankfurt!
In response to the 2008 crisis, the world's major central banks pumped an unprecedented amount of monetary stimulus into the system -- all in the name of kick-starting enough economic growth to pull the planet out of its fundamental sinkhole of Too Much Debt. More than six years and over $4 trillion later, what exactly can we say it did for us? Not enough, as the following short video summarizes...
for years the big money managers stoically took it on the chin, and whether out of lazyness or some other unexplained motive, allowed their orders to continue being HFT-frontrun on public exchanges and 3rd party dark pools year after year, making VWAP and TWAP orders a cost center, boosting the case that HFTs aren't really bad for stocks. Until now. According to the WSJ, some of America's largest mutual funds and asset managers led by Fidelity Investments "are close to launching a private trading venue designed to let them buy and sell large blocks of stock without the involvement of Wall Street firms and high-speed traders, according to people familiar with the matter." The new venture is the who's who of traditional asset management and includes nine firms, including BlackRock Inc., Bank of New York Mellon Corp. , J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and T. Rowe Price Group Inc., who are saying goodbye to "lit" markets, i.e. public exchanges, "and forming a company that will operate a their own "dark pool”...
As Credit Suisse explains "Despite the Fed ending its purchase programme, an ECB sovereign QE would reduce the available share of G3+ sovereign duration (Treasuries, Gilts, JGBs and European Government Debt) for the market to an all-time low. The ECB has the potential to take out up to 5% of G3+ duration of the market if it embarks on a €1 trillion programme. This could keep interest rates globally at very low levels despite a potential Fed policy tightening in 2015 – particularly in the longer end."
"My belief is that the big surprise this year is that investor confidence in central banks collapses. And when that happens — I can’t short central banks, although I’d really like to, and the only way to short them is to go long gold, silver and platinum... that’s the only way. That’s something I will do."
An astute reader recently posed an insightful question: we all know who benefits from asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate--owners of assets, banks, the government (all those luscious capital gains and rising property taxes), pension funds, brokers and so on. But who benefits from the inevitable collapse of these asset bubbles? If asset bubbles end badly for virtually every participant, then why does the system go to extremes to inflate them? This is an excellent question, as it goes right to the heart of our dysfunctional Status Quo.
The world of investing as we’ve come to know it is over. Financial markets have been distorted to such an extent by the activities, the interventions, of central banks – and governments -, that they can no longer function, period. The difference between the past 6 years and today is that central banks can and will no longer prop up the illusionary world of finance. And that will cause an earthquake, a tsunami and a meteorite hit all in one. If oil can go down the way it has, and copper too, and iron ore, then so can stocks, and your pensions, and everything else.
Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the dollar has lost over 97 percent of its purchasing power, the US economy has been subjected to a series of painful Federal Reserve-created recessions and depressions, and government has grown to dangerous levels thanks to the Fed’s policy of monetizing the debt. Yet the Federal Reserve still operates under a congressionally-created shroud of secrecy. No wonder almost 75 percent of the American public supports legislation to audit the Federal Reserve.
The Fed's own favorite mouthpiece Jon Hilsenrath (for more see "On The New York Fed's Editorial Influence Over The WSJ"), just released a piece in which he claims, or rather his sources tell him, that the Fed is "on track to start raising short-term interest rates later this year, even though long-term rates are going in the other direction amid new investor worries about weak global growth, falling oil prices and slowing consumer price inflation." In other words, just like the ECB in 2011, the Fed which has hinted previously that it will hike rates just so it has "dry powder" to ease once the US economy falls into recession, will accelerate a full-blown recession in the US when it does - if indeed Hilsenrath's source is correct and not merely trying to push the USDJPY higher (for reference, see Reuters "exclusive" report on the Samsung takeover of Blackberry, denied by both parties within hours - hike some time this summer.
The fact that Central banks are now openly cutting interest rates to NEGATIVE should tell you how far along we are in terms of funding problems (at these rates, bond holders are PAYING the Government for the right to own bonds). From a baseball analogy we’re in the late 8th, possibly early 9th inning.
The Bundesbank, Germany’s powerful central bank, announced very publicly this morning the further repatriation of some of it’s gold being held in foreign locations – namely in Paris and New York with the Bank of France and the Federal Reserve.