In his Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, Lords of Finance, the economist Liaquat Ahamad tells the story of how four central bankers, driven by staunch adherence to the gold standard, “broke the world” and triggered the Great Depression. Today’s central bankers largely share a new conventional wisdom – about the benefits of loose monetary policy. Are monetary policymakers poised to break the world again?
The problem with these policy extremes is that they are so painfully visibly acts of central-planning desperation. If things are as positive as we're told, then why are central planners forced to impose such absurdly extreme policies to keep the status quo from imploding? If these policies worked, why are interest rates still pegged to zero after six years of "growth" and the inflation of monumental asset bubbles? If these policies don't work (and they obviously don't, otherwise the authorities could have normalized interest rates and ceased quantitative easing, stock purchases, plunge protection schemes, etc. many years ago) and central planners keep doing more of what has failed, then the only possible conclusions are...
Unlike previous quarters when JPM's earnings release was a jumble of legal addbacks, MBS charge offs and loan-loss reserve releases, this time it was positively tame by comparison.
One day after the Greek "pre-deal" was announced and the world breathed a sigh of relief, sending US stocks soaring and Greek halted stocks, well, tumbling (via ETFs and ADRs), things are oddly quiet and in fact quite red in Europe, with futures in the US modestly lower, following both China's first red close in several days (SHCOMP -1.2%), and a Europe which is hardly looking very euphoric at this moment: it is almost as if the algos finally got to read the fine print of the Greek deal after trading all day on just the headlines.
Despite the euphoria in global equity markets, The FT's Wolfgang Munchau - once one of the keenest euro enthusiasts - warns regime change is coming in Europe. The actions of the creditors has "destroyed the eurozone as we know it and demolished the idea of a monetary union as a step towards a democratic political union," Munchau exclaims, fearing they have "demoted the eurozone into a toxic fixed exchange-rate system, with a shared single currency, run in the interests of Germany, held together by the threat of absolute destitution for those who challenge the prevailing order." He concludes rather ominously, "we will soon be asking ourselves whether this new eurozone, in which the strong push around the weak, can be sustainable."
Dow Futures 'Rally' 150 Points Off Opening Lows Into Positive Territory On Greek Makeshift "Deal" ChatterSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/12/2015 23:14 -0400
We have detailed just what a total farce of a day this has been in Brussels, but even more farcical is the reaction in equity markets in the last few minutes...
Equity markets roared higher Thursday and Friday as they 'knew' a deal was imminent in Greece because Tsipras appeared to backpedal. However, after someone told Merkel the truth, and "everyone knows you can't believe" the Greeks, The Eurorgoup Meeting ends with zero agreement after 9 hours of rumor-mongering and escalating tensions. Local reporters noted the leaders could not even agree on what to disagree about as an increasing number of EU member states pushed for either a Grexit or considerably tougher sanctions austerity on the Greeks. There is no press conference and the meeting will resume tomorrow at 11am... shortly before FX markets open.
Non-bombastic look at the price action and speculative positioning, with the hope of anticipating next week's developments.
"The explosion in margin financing behind the recent astonishing run-up in Chinese A shares is a new twist on China credit concerns, a long-standing grey swan for Chinese and global growth. As of the beginning of June, the balance of margin financing outstanding was RMB2.2tn, an estimated 12% of the free float market cap of marginable stocks and 3.5% of GDP—easily the highest in the history of global equity markets."
Despite the exuberance in US and European equity markets, it appears Bitcoin is sending a different (avoid the looming capital controls) message... Does someone know something?
"With the drastic fall in share prices recently, social stability is clearly at stake," Credit Suisse says. With the bubble now finished it is only a matter of time before all the 'nouveau riche' farmers and grandparents see all their paper profits wiped out and hopefully go silently into that good night without starting mass riots or a revolution.
Markets are beginning to signal that policy makers are losing control. Many second-order-effects of the unprecedented and experimental global actions taken since the 2008 crisis are beginning to manifest. There are always causes and effects that develop; but they do so at different speeds. Many actions in recent years have prioritized 'benefits today' over 'consequences tomorrow'. 'Tomorrow' is approaching ever more quickly. There is no 'free lunch'.