Last week, Adam Hartung qualified for the "Mark Twain Award" if there was such a thing. In his article, "Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth & Investing," Adam goes to some length to try and show that unemployment rate, the S&P 500 and economic growth are currently better under the current administration than they were during the Reagan administration. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When considering that President Obama has been able to achieve real economic growth of just 2.04% annually despite historically low levels of inflation and interest rates combined with massive government interventions and balance sheet expansions; it makes his overall performance even more disappointing.
"The ECB's quantitative expansion is hitting the financial system at a time when broad liquidity is also very high. The rise in excess liquidity, i.e. the residual in the model of Figure 3, is supportive of all assets outside cash, i.e. bonds, equities and real estate. The current episode of excess liquidity, which began in May 2012, appears to have been the most extreme ever in terms of its magnitude and the ECB actions have the potential to make it even more extreme, in our view.... These liquidity boosts are not without risks. We note that they risk creating asset bubbles which when they burst can destroy wealth leading to adverse economic outcomes. Asset yields are mean reverting over long periods of time and thus historically low levels of yields in bonds, equities and real estate are unlikely to be sustained forever."- JPMorgan
A recent Fed paper reports that the Fed's wild money printing orgy has failed to produce much CPI inflation because “consumers are hoarding money”. It is said that this explains why so-called "money velocity" is low. Sadly, they are misinformed: In short, “hoarding” cannot possibly harm the economy. The same, alas and alack, cannot be said of money printing.
Today we learned that as part of the domestic "macroprudential" effort to ensure firms don't run out of cash in a crisis, the so-called Liquidity Coverage Ratio, US regulators said banks likely will have to raise an additional $100 billion to satisfy the new requirement, the WSJ reported. The disclosure is part of the final draft of the so-called Liquidity Coverage Ratio, released by the Fed earlier today, and which was promptly passed on a 5-0 vote Wednesday that will subject big U.S. banks for the first time to so-called "liquidity" requirements. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency adopted the rules later in the day. On the surface, this is all great macroprudential news: forcing banks to hold even more "high quality collateral" is a great idea, to minimize the amount of money taxpayers will have to fork over when the system crashes once again as it certainly will thanks to the unprecedented Fed micromanaging interventions over the past6 years. There are just three problems...
While in July margin debt did dip modestly from near all time highs hit back in June when total margin debt was virtually tied with the previous record, at $464 billion, it was that other metric tracked by the NYSE, namely Investor Net Worth, calculated by subtracting margin debt from the notional represented in free credit cash accounts and credit balances in margin accounts, that was the notable highlight in the July report: at a negative $182.1 billion, a decline of $6.3 billion from the prior month, investor Net Worth has never been lower.
Another day, another brilliant scheme from the think-tank that is the G-20: prevent systemic collapse from TBTF banks loaded up with record amounts of debt by forcing them to... issue more debt.
The July FOMC minutes generally had a slightly hawkish tone, warns Goldman's Jan Hatzius, emphasizing that labor market slack had improved faster than expected and that the labor market was now closer to what might be considered normal in the longer run. Overall, these remarks suggest that the change in the labor market language found in the July FOMC statement - shifting focus to broader labor market indicators rather than the unemployment rate specifically - was not intended to be a dovish change, as some commentators thought at the time. Finally, some participants noted some evidence of stretched valuations in specific markets.
Non-ideologically laden overview of the key issues shaping the investment climate in the week ahead.
As Chinese Credit Plummets US Stocks Soar On Hopes Of More PBOC Easing; But Is Conventional Wisdom Again Wrong?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/13/2014 22:19 -0400
Conventional wisdom, now so habituated to getting all the cheap credit it can get, did not anticipate such a dramatic collapse in Chinese credit last month, is eagerly expecting a proportional response from the PBOC, one which would potentially involve significant easing, which is precisely what US equities priced in today when they closed near the highs of the day, even as there was not a single piece of good macroeconomic news overnight. Pretty cut and dry right? Well not really. Recall that as we reported in the last week of July something odd was revealed: namely that China quietly unveiled and implemented its Pledge Supplementary Lending line, or as it is increasingly better known: China's QE.
Steve Forbes has had enough of the Federal Reserve and its "sinning" policies to undermine the dollar. In this brief interview with Birch Gold Group, the publisher and CEO of Forbes, Inc. exposes the damage that the central bank has created, "Bernanke was a disaster...has totally mucked up the credit markets." Blasting Janet Yellen "who needs to go to re-education camp," Forbes explains why he believes so strongly in the gold standard, and the one single scenario under which he would ever sell his gold.
Who best to summarize what Yellen just said (aside from Bernanke of course, however he will demand at least $250,000/hour for his profound insight), than the bank which actually runs the NY Fed: Goldman Sachs. So without further ado, here is Goldman's Jan Hatzius on what Yellen really said. "BOTTOM LINE: The Q&A of Yellen's semi-annual monetary policy testimony contained a few bits of interesting information, including a slightly hawkish shift in her description of when FOMC participants think the first rate hike may occur."
This is a big deal. On the heels of our pointing out the surge in Treasury fails (following extensive detailing of the market's massive collateral shortage at the hands of the unmerciful Fed's buying programs), various 'strategists' wrote thinly-veiled attempts to calm market concerns that the repo market (the glue that holds risk assets together) was FUBAR. Even the Fed itself sent missives opining that their cunning Reverse-Repo facility would solve the problems and everyone should go back to the important business of BTFATHing... They are wrong - all of them - as yet again the Fed shows its ignorance of how the world works (just as it did in 2007/8 with the same shadow markets). As JPMorgan warns (not some tin-foil-hat-wearing blogger with an ax to grind) "the Fed’s reverse repo facility does little to alleviate the UST scarcity induced by the Federal Reserves’ QE programs coupled with a declining government deficit." The end result, they note, is "higher susceptibility of the repo market to collateral shortages" and thus dramatically higher financial fragility - the opposite of what the Fed 'hopes' for.
Having already warned that looming political uncertainty is not at all priced-in to US equities, Goldman's Alec Phillips points out that legislation was introduced earlier this week (July 7) in the US House that would attempt to revamp the FOMC's monetary policy process. The bill would require the FOMC to justify to Congress each policy decision relative to a Taylor rule specified in the legislation. While Goldman, do not expect the bill to get very far, but the issue does appear to be a growing focus for some lawmakers and we expect further action on it in the near term.
The boom is unsustainable. Investment and consumption are higher than they would have been in the absence of monetary intervention. As asset bubbles inflate, yields increase, but so do inflation expectations. To dampen inflation expectations, the Fed withdraws stimulus. As soon as asset prices start to fall, yields on heavily leveraged assets are negative. As asset prices decline, increasingly more investors are underwater. Loan defaults rise as mortgage payments adjust up with rising interest rates. When asset bubbles pop, the boom becomes the bust.
Many believe the most significant battle of our era is between the forces of Decentralization vs. Centralization. Niall Furguson takes that battle and looks at it from a historical perspective, describing it as Networks vs. Hierarchies, and warns we "need networks, for no political hierarchy, no matter how powerful, can plan all the clever things that networks spontaneously generate. But if the hierarchy comes to control the networks so much as to compromise their benign self-organizing capacities, then innovation is bound to wane."