Jeff Deist, of The Mises View, explains how the Fed has created a perilous landscape in which there is no 'honest' pricing left - everything has been distorted. As David Stockman exclaimed, "The system we have now is one in which the Fed decides, through a Politburo of planners sitting in Washington, how much liquidity is necessary, what the interest rates should be, what the unemployment rate should be, and what economic growth should be."
Pundits enjoy pointing to NYSE margin debt as an indication of overall system leverage, and how prone to margin calls and liquidations the investor class may be at any given moment. However, in the new normal, in which sophsiticated investors fund themselves via completely different mechanism - mostly involving repo and other shadow banking conduits - margin debt has become a very much irrelevant indicator of overall leverage.
All sorts of promises, explicit and implicit, were issued to win votes. All the promises are now empty, and we might as deal with this reality head-on... if we can muster up the almost-lost ability to deal with reality rather than rely on fantasy/wishful thinking.
Well, at least someone gets it. While just about every other central bank on the planet is giving everyone two thumbs up on the economy, the deputy chair of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (Lim Hng Kiang) said last night at a dinner that “an uneasy calm seems to have settled in markets” and that “we remain in uncharted waters.” It was quite surprising to see such pointed language from a central banking official. Mr. Lim jabbed at the “obvious” risks and said there would be “bumps on the road” ahead.
The central banks need to downplay inflation, under-report it to justify their policies of the last five years...
Janet Yellen has dismissed rising inflation figures. They were “noisy,” she said. She didn’t like the sound of them. Valid numbers are harmonious. Invalid ones are cacophonous. But after so many years of listening to such loud noise coming from her own colleagues, poor Ms. Yellen may be tone deaf. At least, that is one explanation for her nonchalance toward the threat of inflation.
Are the markets ready (and, more importantly, able) to withstand higher rates? Well, with the Fed tapering another $10 bn last week to a chorus of "meh" from the markets, it certainly seems to suggest that this whole taper thing is going to trundle along harmlessly until it's been completed without disruption, but Grant Williams has a very nasty feeling about all this. Essentially, the central bank heads all around the globe are engaged in a must-win confidence game. They 'have' to make people believe that everything is under control and getting better, BUT at the same time they must ALSO make them believe that the accommodative policies currently in place will be here, essentially, forever (forever in market-time is normally about 18 months to two years). Bernanke gave us ZIRP; now Draghi — damned by his own lack of earlier action — has been forced to add NIRP to the acronym lexicon of modern finance. In reality, it's not about Zero Interest Rate Policy or, for that matter, Negative Interest Rate Policy. It's about Broken Interest Rate Policy. BIRP!
Having learned last week that the world's central banks are their sovereign wealth proxies have secretly pumped over $29 trillion into markets in the last few years, it is not entirely surprising to hear from one of the largest - Norway $888 billion oil fund - that it is buying stocks with bond hands and feet. As The Financial Times reports, Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of Norway's sovereign wealth fund, is hiring aggressively to manage its real estate portfolio and while the oil fund already owns 2.5% of every listed European company on average, it plans to go above 5%. Phew, bagholder found...
These Fake Rallies Will End In Tears: "If People Stop Believing In Central Banks, All Hell Will Break Loose"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/24/2014 15:11 -0400
Investors and speculators face some profound challenges today: How to deal with politicized markets, continuously “guided” by central bankers and regulators? In this environment it may ultimately pay to be a speculator rather than an investor. Speculators wait for opportunities to make money on price moves. They do not look for “income” or “yield” but for changes in prices, and some of the more interesting price swings may soon potentially come on the downside. They should know that their capital cannot be employed profitably at all times. They are happy (or should be happy) to sit on cash for a long while, and maybe let even some of the suckers’ rally pass them by. As Sir Michael at CQS said: "Maybe they [the central bankers] can keep control, but if people stop believing in them, all hell will break loose." We couldn't agree more.
Though the Fed is doing its best to mask its abject failure and lack of choices with public relations, the reality is it has no choice but to taper and eventually end its endless spew of credit and its unprecedented and destabilizing purchases of assets.
Judging by the surprising reversal in futures overnight, which certainly can not be attributed to the latest data miss out of Europe in the form of the June German IFO Business Climate report (print 109.7, Exp. 110.3, Last 110.4) as it would be naive to assume that centrally-planned markets have finally started to respond as they should to macro data, it appears that algos, with their usual 24 hour delay, have finally discovered Dubai on the map. The same Dubai, which as we showed yesterday had just entered a bear market in a few short weeks after going turbo parabolic in early 2014. It is this Dubai which crashed another 8% just today, as fears that leveraged traders are liquidating positions, have surfaced and are spreading, adversely (because in the new normal this needs to be clarified) to other risk assets, while at the same time pushing gold and silver to breakout highs. Recall that it was Dubai where the global sovereign crisis started in the fall of 2009 - will Dubai also be the place where the first domino of the global credit bubble topples and takes down the best laid plans of central-planners and men?
While the "mysterious, indiscriminate" buyer of US stocks has been fully unmasked now, what most likely do not know is that just this is happening at a comparable record pace nowhere else but the place which is mirroring and repeating every single Fed mistake tit for tit. Japan... “Share buybacks have the effect of supporting the market when it’s weak,” Daiwa Securities Group Inc. quantitative analyst Masahiro Suzuki wrote in a report on June 10.
With Gen-X and Gen-Y out as buyers, who's left to scoop up the tens of trillions of dollars of Boomer assets at bubblicious prices? Given that other nations face the same demographic dilemma, the answer appears to be: no one.