Dispassionate discussion of the investment climate.
Nobel Winner Dares To Go There: "No Reason To Fear Deflation... Greece May Benefit From Gold Standard"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/16/2013 12:45 -0500
"Historically, there is no reason to fear deflation," Nobel Laureate Thomas Sargent explains to Germany's Wiwo.de, "we all benefit from lower prices." Crucially, he continues, "countries with declining prices, such as Greece, must improve the competitiveness they have lost in recent years," requiring falling wages and rising productivity (and falling unit labor costs) which will lead to companies cutting prices, "this is not a dangerous deflation, but part of the necessary correction so that these countries are internationally competitive again." That central banks pursue an inflation rate of around 2%, Sargent blasts, is because they consider it their job to "make bad debt good debt," adding that inflation is "a major redistribution machine - reducing the real debt burden for the benefit of creditors and devaluing the assets of the creditors." A return to a gold standard,he concludes, to prevent governments and central banks from limitless money-printing "would not be foolish."
On December 23, 2013, the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) will celebrate its 100th birthday, so we thought it was time to take a look at the Fed’s real accomplishment, and the practices and policies it has employed during this time to rob the public of its wealth. The criticism is directed not only at the world’s most powerful central bank - the Fed - but also at the concept of central banks in general, because they are the antithesis of fiscal responsibility and financial constraint as represented by gold and a gold standard. The Fed was sold to the public in much the same way as the Patriot Act was sold after 9/11 - as a sacrifice of personal freedom for the promise of greater government protection. Instead of providing protection, the Fed has robbed the public through the hidden tax of inflation brought about by currency devaluation.
The Forex market is the largest in the world and the least understood. Since the late 90's, traders and asset managers have flocked to it as an alternative to trade, compared to other common markets (Stocks, Bonds, Futures).
The notion that the euro area crisis is over has recently been heavily propagated by EU politicians and the mainstream media. However, it is way too early for such victory laps. Hans-Werner Sinn is perfectly correct in pointing out that the ECB's attempts to restore the 'monetary policy transmission mechanism' by suppressing interest rates in the periphery is going to perpetuate capital malinvestment,delay the necessary reforms and these interventions have actually scared private capital away, as investors require adequate compensation for the risks they are taking. Meanwhile, savers are ultimately paying for this ongoing waste of scarce capital. It is high time that central banking is recognized for the disease it is. Without central banks aiding and abetting credit expansion, this situation would never have arisen. Even a free banking system practicing fractional reserve banking could not possibly have created such a gigantic boom-bust scenario. Money needs to be fully privatized – the State cannot be trusted with it.
With global financial company stock prices soaring, analysts proclaiming holding bank shares is a win-win on rates, NIM, growth, and "fortress balance sheets", and a European stress-test forthcoming that will 'prove' how great banks really are; the question one is forced to ask, given the ruling below, is "Why is ISDA so worried about derivatives-based systemic risk?"
Ben Bernanke is participating in an IMF panel with Larry Summers, Ken Rogoff, and fromer Bank of Israel chief Stan Fischer... Full speech below...
"The reality is we're doing less with less," is the dismal reality facing Fresno police chief and appears to sum up the situation facing many of America's cash-strapped cities (as we previously discussed here). Fresno's problem, as the mayor put it, "we have no money in the current account all." The situation was so dire that covering an unexpected expense—a new air-conditioning unit or firetruck, for example, would mean slicing into the payroll or borrowing from another depleted city fund. "We can get through the day to day. [But] if there's a derailed train, a natural disaster, where's the money going to come from?" Like many other cities, Fresno saw its sales- and property-tax revenue plummet as the economy tanked. In response, the city slashed services and staff. Fresno now can pay its bills, but it can't do much more than that.
- Investors are stampeding into initial public offerings at the fastest clip since the financial crisis (WSJ)
- Kerry hails disgruntled Saudi Arabia as important U.S. ally (Reuters)
- SAC Capital prepares for a second life (FT)
- BlackBerry's Fate Goes Down to the Wire (WSJ)
- Dutch Gamble on U.S. Housing Debt After Patience Wins (BBG)
- U.S. Wants Broad Divestitures From AMR, US Airways (WSJ)
- Tensions with allies rise, but U.S. sees improved China ties (Reuters)
- China berates foreign media for Tiananmen attack doubts (Reuters)
- China manufacturers squeezed as costs rise (FT)
- European Borders Tested as Money Is Moved to Shield Wealth (NYT)
- Zurich Probe Finds No ‘Undue Pressure’ Put on Late CFO (BBG)
There are three dimensions to the broader investment climate: the trajectory of Fed tapering, the ECB's response to the draining of excess liquidity and threat of deflation, and Chinese reforms to be unveiled at the Third Plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
There has been much media insinuation in recent months that just because Spain's economy has virtually shuttered, and imports have slid to unprecedented low levels in the process pushing the (adjusted) GDP beancount positive for the first time in 3 years, that things are somehow getting better. What the media has roundly ignored is that as a result of the collapse in consumption and end demand, courtesy of an unemployment rate that at least according to Eurostat just rose to a new record high, the companies that actually operate in Spain and form the basis for any real economic growth, are shuttering at an unprecedented pace. Of note: Spanish electrical appliance maker Fagor, which employs 5,700 people worldwide, or in a few shorts months, employed, is one step closer to bankruptcy after its Polish subsidiary filed for protection from its creditors. The company, which claims to be the fifth-biggest electrical appliance company in Europe, had trading of its debt suspended after its mother firm - private Spanish conglomerate Mondragon - refused to pour in money to rescue the company.
- Morning Humor from Hilsenrath - Fed Balance Sheet Not Seen Returning to Normal Until at Least 2019 (WSJ)
- Health Policies Canceled in Latest Hurdle for Obamacare (BBG)
- Was there anything RBS was not manipulating? RBS Said to Review Currency-Trading Practices Amid Probe (BBG)
- Sebelius to Testify Before House Panel (WSJ)
- And more humor: Spain's Statistics Institute Confirms End of Recession (WSJ) ... and now we await the triple dip
- Finally some credible reporting on Yellen's "foresight" - Yellen feared housing bust but did not raise public alarm (Reuters)
- Japan government moves closer to Fukushima takeover (FT)
- China to step up own security after new NSA allegations (Reuters)
- Blackstone Vies With Goldman in Spain Rental Housing Bet (BBG)
- In new U.S. budget talks, Republican proposal has flipped the script (Reuters)
It is a common view that the shutdown, the debt-limit debacle and the repeated failure to enact entitlement and pro-growth tax reform reflect increased political polarization. John Taylor believes this gets the causality backward. Today's governance failures are closely connected to economic policy changes, particularly those growing out of the 2008 financial crisis. Despite a massive onslaught of legislation and regulation designed to foster prosperity, economic growth remains low and unemployment remains high. Claiming that one political party has been hijacked by extremists misses this key point, and prevents a serious discussion of the fundamental changes in economic policies in recent years, and their effects.
Earlier this afternoon, it was Steve Cohen's final fall from grace. Now, Bloomberg reports that Brazil's one time super billionaire, and now negativeworthaire, Eike Batista, whose sprawling petroleum empire was once valued in the tens of billions, is set to file for bankruptcy tomorrow.
- BRAZIL'S OGX SAID TO PLAN BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION FILING TOMORROW
We are confident that just like in Europe, there is no bank with any exposure to either OGX, Brazil, or whatever potential intercreditor avalanche will tear down many more Brazilian companies once this first insolvent domino finally tips over.
You know the old rule of thumb about laws - the more high-sounding the legislation, the more destructive its consequences. Case in point, HR 3293 - the recently introduced Debt Limit Reform Act. Sounds great, right? After all, reforming the debt seems like a terrific idea. Except that’s not what the bill really does. They’re not reforming anything. HR 3293?s real purpose is to authorize the government to simply stop counting a massive portion of the US national debt.