Here is the real reason why suddenly high denomination bank notes are the target: it is not because "drug dealers" and tax-evaders use them, but because between banning Europe's €500 bill and the US $100 bill, over half of all physical currency currently in circulation would disappear.
Negative interest rates act effectively as a hidden tax funneled directly to banks. They are inherently unhealthy. Currently, they could indicate also a measure of unease among two of the four most powerful central banks. If so, that could well escalate.
"The Fed doesn't have a clue!" - We allege that not only because the Fed appears to admit as much, but also because our own analysis leads to no other conclusion. With Fed communication in what we believe is disarray, we expect the market to continue to cascade lower - think what happened in 2000. To understand what's unfolding we need to understand how the Fed is looking at the markets, and how the markets are looking at the Fed.
Recently we joked that it is unclear just where Venezuela will find all the paper banknotes it needs for all its new currency. And, as if on cue, the WSJ answered. As it turns out we were not the only ones wondering how the devastated "socialist paradise" gets its exponentially collapsing paper currency, which in just the past month has lost 17% of its value. The answer: 36 Boeing 747s.
After yesterday's torrid, chaotic moves in the market, where an initial drop in stocks was quickly pared and led to a surge into the close after a weaker dollar on the heels of even more disappointing US data and Bill Dudley's "serious consequences" speech sent oil soaring and put the "Fed Relent" scenario squarely back on the table, overnight we have seen more global equity strength on the back of a weaker dollar, even if said weakness hurt Kuroda's post-NIRP world and the Nikkei erased virtually all losses since last Friday's surprising negative rate announcement. Oil and metals also rose piggybacking on the continued dollar weakness as the word's most crowded trade was suddenly shaken out.
There will be two key themes for investors seeking to shake off the abysmal "as goes January" blues: buybacks, which are set to return in February, and central banks, which are poised to do absolutely nothing to calm investor nerves in the next 4 weeks.
It didn't take much to fizzle Friday's Japan NIRP-driven euphoria, when first ugly Chinese manufacturing (and service) PMI data reminded the world just what the bull in the China shop is leading to a 1.8% Shanghai drop on the first day of February. Then it was about oil once more when Goldman itself said not to expect any crude production cuts in the near future. Finally throw in some very cautious words by the sellside what Japan's act of NIRP desperation means, and it becomes clear why stocks on both sides of the pond are down, why crude is not far behind, and why gold continues to rise.
The time for more insanity has come... It is the Keynesian mantra: the fact that the policies recommended by Keynesians and monetarists, i.e., deficit spending and money printing, routinely fail to bring about the desired results is not seen as proof that they simply don’t work. It is regarded as evidence that there hasn’t been enough spending and printing yet.