Whenever the topic of recession comes up, the mainstream and especially economists (redundant) become quite defensive about the possibility. Just a few days ago, presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed the US was headed for “a very massive recession” and that it was “a terrible time right now.” The Washington Post, as you would expect, was skeptical of the claim because orthodox economics will have none of it, writing that Trump is “embracing a distinctly gloomy view of the economy that counters mainstream economic forecasts," because there is no obvious recession, only unexplained (to the mainstream and economists) slowdowns, nobody feels the boiling water...
As we detailed initially here, and followed here, there is a clear and present danger - no matter what the vareious Fed speakers say - that The Fed will be forced into negative rates sooner rather than later. The market appears to be losing complete faith in The Fed's current narrative as bets on NIRP have reached record levels - with 2017 now more likely than 2016 (QE first?).
First, it was The BoJ's utter collapse from omnipotence to impotence. Then came the collapse of The Fed's credibility in the short-term. And now, in the most egregious example of total central bank failure - the 'market' has priced out any chance of a rate hike through 2018... and in fact, there is now a greater chance of a rate-cut (than rate-hike) into 2017.
Unfortunately, we remain stuck in the cleanup phase so long as economists and their ability to direct policy continue to suggest the Great Recession was anything other than systemic revelation along these lines; a permanent rift between what was and what can be. It is and was never about oil; only now that oil projects volatility into the dying days of eurodollar leverage.
What we do know is that the eurodollar system is failing and we know how it is failing. From negative swap spreads to the shrunken, depressed money and credit curves, they all spell out the death of the current standard. The money supply, for lack of a more appropriate term in the “dollar’s” universe, is in the long run converging with the shriveled economic baseline. The immediate problem for our current circumstances is that we don’t yet have any idea what that foundation might look like even now- how far is down.
US Treasury yields are collapsing across the entire curve, down 9-10bps from their pre-opening highs this morning. While 10Y pushed belwo 1.80% (to one-year lows), it is 5Y yields that have traders the most anxious as record speculative short positions get crucified, breaking below three-year channel lows...
Instead of allocating capital to expensive tail risk bets on direct asset class collapse (in equities, credit, and commodities), it appears, just as we detailed previously, the 'smartest money in the room' is "betting" indirectly on a stock market crash through eurodollar options.
To an economist, the economy can bear no recession. In times of heavy central bank activity, an economy can never be in recession. Those appear to be the only dynamic factors that drive economic interpretation in the mainstream. And they become circular in the trap of just these kinds of circumstances – the economy looks like it might fall into recession, therefore a central bank acts, meaning the economy will avoid recession; thus there will never be recession. The risks are all still there, and economists are still determined to downplay if not miss them entirely.
China’s stock market is a small, relative matter; the more troubling imbalances lie and remain elsewhere. This change in production profitability is concerning on three fronts: China’s industry persists at only getting worse even though it has already reverted to a state not seen in a decade or more; consumer appearances may seem generally optimistic despite all that but only because industrial activity has yet to fully make adjustments through resources and labor; and financial trends are likely already at the stage of self-reinforcement within and without.
If the eurodollar and wholesale banking system had been sliced to such a thin margin again by 2011 so as to so heavily depend on the modern duality of gold, it not only would not survive it literally could not survive. The paper dilution we see now may just be that judgement finally seeking open admission.
We are told bank earnings and revenue are under pressure from a slew of “tough markets” but what makes those markets so untenable in the first place?
Japan has pioneered the absurd in orthodox economics, but we mustn’t think we are all that far away from the same. What planet are we living on? It is, at least, truly the death of money both as an economic tool and even the living, historical concept. Again, if we think that only something for or from Japan, ask yourself what a Yellen might do if 2016 turns out the way it is shaping up. Our future is continuously bleak as central bankers cling with religious devotion to increasingly absurd redistribution schemes, or to fix the error – them.
In the end we all know that “informal central bank cooperation” doesn’t really amount to anything. That lesson could be applied to the Bundesbank “selling dollars” in 1969, the PBOC “selling UST’s” in 2015 or the worthless, useless Federal Reserve RRP in 2016. They really don’t know what they are doing, they never have and it truly doesn’t matter fixed or floating. Adjust accordingly because we know how this ends; we’ve already seen it.
Last week we asked (and answered) whether capitulation was close (the answer - no). Earlier this week, we noted that the equity market remains stubbornly in denial that things could get much worse (even as credit and eurodollar markets suggest otherwise). Today we get a double whammy of confirmation as Goldman warns that the current drawdown could be significantly worse than August's (and markets are not pricing in the risk) and then DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach warning that "this is not stopping any time soon."