Global equities rallied and the pound strengthened the most since 2008, soaring by 300 pips since the Friday close as polls signaled the campaign for the U.K to stay in the European Union was gaining momentum. Haven assets including the yen, U.S. Treasuries and gold slumped. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index surged by the most since February as the MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced with S&P 500 futures. Haven assets including the yen, U.S. Treasuries and gold slumped.
Brexit has diverted attention from another little drama playing out in Europe. As of the time of writing, if you Google “Hollande threatens to ban protests” or variations thereof, you will find Russian, South African and even Iranian press reports on the topic. Otherwise, it’s basically crickets (sole exception: Politico). Gee, we wonder why? Those who elected Mr. Hollande did so because they expected him to deliver the loot. His problem is that he’s running out of stuff to loot.
"We have arguably reached the point that Keynes warned of in his General Theory where demand for money and credit to satisfy what he labeled “non-speculative” motives has been more than satisfied... At this point it is likely central bankers are “pushing on a string,” positively affecting prices for the financial markets’ flavor of the month but doing nothing for actual economic activity."
There is one chart that shows that underneath the placid surface of the S&P not all is well. The chart is the following, and demonstrates the substantial recent selloff in US bank stocks, which have been a near-flawless 'canary in the coalmine' ahead of major market inflection points, and which have successfully predicted most major crashes inthe past several decades.
The only thing that can halt the tsunami of bond buying, would be a Bond Shock, an event that is certain to take place, the only question is when. As BofA points out, the relentless chasing after government paper will change "if Quantitative Failure spreads from Europe & Japan to the US." Here's how to time it and what it would look like.
"The Staff acknowledges that market participants using the most sophisticated technology may today encounter access delays of substantially less than one millisecond when accessing the quotes of a single exchange whose data center is co-located with their own or located nearby. However, even the most technologically advanced market participants today encounter delays in accessing protected quotations of other “away” automated trading centers that can substantially exceed one millisecond, that either are transitory or permanent."
Take a declining population with declining rates of productivity growth and load it up with debt, and you get a triple-whammy recipe for permanent stagnation. There are Degrowth strategies that make sense because they're designed to be sustainable, but first the systems that have been designed to fail - Keynesian stimulus policies and the banking system - must be allowed to fail.
The febrile behavior of financial markets ahead of the United Kingdom’s referendum on June 23 on whether to remain in the European Union shows that the outcome will influence economic and political conditions around the world far more profoundly than Britain’s roughly 2.4% share of global GDP might suggest. There are three reasons for this outsize impact...
The approximate hour Janet Yellen spent wandering in circles and spewing double talk during her presser yesterday was time well spent. When the painful ordeal of her semi-coherent babbling was finally over, she had essentially proved that the Fed is attempting an impossible task. And better still, that the FOMC should be abolished. The alternative is real simple. It’s called price discovery on the free market; it’s the essence of capitalism.
Amid turmoil in Chinese FX markets (which has not ended well in the past), the need to hedge against the looming Brexit vote, and rapidly fading confidence in the ability of The Fed, BoJ, ECB to save the world; it appears what was an ignorantly complacent market has suddenly shrugged off the denial (perhaps face-slapped by Yellen) and is buying protection (in the form of VIX ETNs) with both hands and feet. As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow so eloquently notes, "markets are struggling to believe in anything."
"Central banks have lost the “War against Deflation”. They have failed to stimulate animal spirits depressed by the 4D’s of excess Debt, financial Deleveraging, aging Demographics and technological Disruption. This changes if Quantitative Failure spreads from Europe & Japan to the US. A rise in US bank CDS and/or a dive in assets related to consumer & housing credit would be very negative for global asset prices in our view. Note the new whispers of a peak in the US consumer credit cycle which, if true, at a time of zero rates in an $18 trillion, consumer-led economy would be concerning."