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.
The €64K question is whether the hand off from the Fed to the ECB and BOJ will be smooth enough to avoid a stock market crash between now and the end of 2016. Everything else is semantics
"The Markets Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York manages the size and composition of the Federal Reserve System’s balance sheet consistent with the directives and the authorization of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), supports debt issuance and debt management on behalf of the U.S. Treasury, provides foreign exchange services to the U.S. Treasury and provides account services to foreign central banks, international agencies and U.S. government agencies. Markets Group is establishing a presence at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and has openings for both experienced professionals and recent graduates.
Can market forces prevail in the Eurozone? With another round of central bank intervention coming four plus years after the start of the Eurozone debt crisis, this is a question worth considering, at a time when the Southern Eurozone members - Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, which collectively account for over 30% of the GDP of the early adopters of the Euro as a whole – continue to struggle. This is a complex topic for sure, but a simple economic indicator can be used to help frame the situation.
Brinkmanship, a failure of diplomacy and increasing militarism appears to have the world on the verge of a serious military conflict. Everybody should own some physical gold as a hedge and a safe haven asset to protect against the significant risks challenging us today which include bail-ins, currency wars, terrorism and war.
Look, it's really this simple: Anything that can't go on forever, won't.
To claim that this is the market at work makes no sense anymore. Today central banks, for all intents and purposes, are the market. Our overall impression is that the Fed has given up on the US economy, in the sense that it realizes – and mind you, this may go back quite a while - that without constant and ongoing life-support, the economy is down for the count. And eternal life-support is not an option, even Keynesian economists understand that. Add to this that the "real" economy was never a Fed priority in the first place, but a side-issue, and it becomes easier to understand why Yellen et al choose to do what they do, and when. When the full taper is finalized next month, and without rate rises and a higher dollar, the real US economy would start shining through, and what’s more important - for the Fed, Washington and Wall Street - the big banks would start 'suffering' again.
Self-evidently, all the major economies are saturated with debt. Accordingly, central bank balance sheet expansion has lost its Keynesian magic entirely. Now the great sea of freshly minted liquidity simply fuels the carry trades as gamblers everywhere load up with any asset that generates a yield or short-run capital gain, and fund these bloated positions with cheap options and repo style finance. But here’s the obvious thing. Central banks can’t normalize interest rates - that is, allow the money markets to rise off the zero-bound - without triggering a violent unwind of the carry trades on which today’s massive asset inflation is built. On the other hand, they can no longer stimulate GDP growth, either, because the credit expansion channel to the main street economy of households and business is blocked by the reality of peak debt. Yes, the era of Keynesian money printing is over and done. But don’t wait for the small lady at the Fed to sing, either.
This is just too delightfully ironic to pass by.
In a world in which nobody has any faith in the capital markets because over $10 trillion in central bank liquidity has been injected to prop out a fragile house of risk asset cards the one place one should have faith (because let's face it: monetarism is the only religion that matters in today's world) is that money will be printed for the foreseeable future, certainly metaphorically and also quite literally. Alas, things did not quite work out that way for the company which, well, prints money (but sadly is not a central bank) when earlier this morning the shares of De La Rue, the company responsible for printing Bank of England banknotes, plunged a record 30% after it issued a profit warning.
This week's 35bps rise in high-yield credit spreads (or ~10%) is the worst since at least June of last year and anxiety spread through other asset-classes appropriately as cheap-buyback-funding and liquidity concerns weighed on all equities - most aggressively small caps. The Russell 2000 is down around 4% from FOMC (and for the year) even with today's buying-panic this afternoon trying to rescue yesterday's losses. Much of today's moves were thanks to The Bill Gross Effect - Treasury short-end sold (2Y-5Y +5bps, 30Y unch), corporate bond spreads jumped wider (HY +20bps, IG +4bps), and European bonds (and German stocks) lurched lower. Markets recovered some of the early move but 2Y closed at 2014 yield highs. The USD closed 1% higher for the 11th week in a row to June 2010 highs. WTI crude close +1.5% on the week, gold unchanged, and copper and silver lower. VIX jumped 22% on the week, closing above 14.5.
The ongoing gold accumulation strategy by Russia, Kazakhstan and other ex Soviet states is a reserve diversification strategy. It may also be an attempt to undermine western markets and the vulnerable COMEX gold market in the U.S. It is likely a coordinated monetary policy, since Russia and Kazakhstan are members of the Eurasian Customs Union along with Belarus.
“Money amplifies our tendency to overreact, to swing from exuberance when things are going well to deep depression when they go wrong.”