Pretend you’re running a corrupt government and something big and scary happens in another part of the world. Brexit, for instance. You’re quite naturally worried about the impact on your local economy and political system. What do you do? Well, one obvious thing would be to call the statisticians who compile your economic reports and tell them to fudge the next batch of numbers.
On the surface, things seem pretty quiet in mid-July 2016. But underneath the surface, it is a very different story. As you will see below, the conditions for a “perfect storm” are coming together very rapidly, and the rest of 2016 promises to be much more chaotic than what we have seen so far.
The tremendous rally of the past 4 days that has sent global stocks soaring in recent days has finally been capped and European shares, S&P futures are all modestly lower following a deadly terror attack in Nice, France. Meanwhile Asian stocks rose as Chinese economic data beat estimates, with Q2 GDP rising by 0.1% more than the estimated 6.6% on the back of stronger housing data.
"A perfect storm of slow or zero Italian economic growth, low interest rates and politically connected, often corrupt, lending have combined to create a situation where the Italian financial system is in need of a large rescue."
In a stunning study released today, one which refutes all its prior conclusions on the matter, McKinsey slams the establishment's status quo thinking and admits that the economic gains of changes in the global economy have not been widely shared lately, especially in the developed world. It finds that between 2005 and 2014, real incomes in the world's most advanced economies were flat or fell for 65 to 70% of households, or more than 540 million people.
In a somewhat shocking move, new UK PM Theresa May has appointed former London Mayor and always outspoken "Leave" campaign leader Boris Johnson as her Foreign Secretary. Given his history of foot-in-mouth disease, as Bloomberg reports, the chances of a diplomatic issue are high as from "sadistic nurse" Clinton to "dobby the house elf" Putin, we detail what Britain's latest foreign secretary thinks of his global peers...
The global meltup continues with the S&P set to open at new all time highs, some 20 points higher from yesterday's close, however the driver for the latest rally is not so much the imminent BOE announcement which is expected to cut rates by 25 bps from 0.50%, but a dramatic surge in the USDJPY just after 1am Eastern when Bloomberg revealed more details about Ben Bernanke's masterplan for Japan's helicopter money.
The idea (now being pushed by a surprising number of people who ought to know better) that governments should take advantage of historically low interest rates to “invest” with borrowed money has an obvious fatal flaw. That is, accumulating even more negative or zero-rate debt will make it functionally impossible to raise rates to “normal” levels, which is to say levels where markets can once again function as mechanisms for moving savings into productive investments. It’s not a stretch to call this the end of capitalism and the beginning of a new Dark Age.
While today's resignation of David Cameron and immediate appointment of Teresa May as his replacement was fully expected, moments ago May's cabinet served up her first major surprise when it was revealed that the man who led the Brexit campaign, Boris Johnson, and who many assumed would not hold a key role in the new UK cabinet, was just appointed to replace Philip Hammond in what may be the most prominent and important role as the UK prepares to negotiate its exit from the EU: that of foreign secretary.
The Beige Book offered its ubiquitous modest, moderate, mummified growth outlook with little insight into whether the Fed is considering any rate hike in the immediate future, with the following summary of the Fed's two non-market mandates: "Labor market conditions remained stable as employment continued to grow modestly since the previous report and wage pressures remained modest to moderate. Price pressures remained slight."
In an otherwise quiet overnight session, which among other things saw Germany sell 10Y Bunds with a zero coupon and a negative yield (-0.05%) for the first time ever (despite being uncovered with just €4.038BN sold below the €5.00BN target) anyone hoping for a confirmation that China will be able to prop up the world economy once more, was left disappointed when earlier this morning China reported June exports and imports that once again dropped substantially in dollar terms as soft demand at home and abroad continued to weigh on the world’s largest trading nation.