If normalisation is the result of economic recovery we will be familiar with the playbook. However, The Fed has to face the possibility that, for whatever reason, highly suppressed interest rates are not working, and an escape from the zero interest rate bound without economic recovery may have to be contemplated. If interest rates cannot rise, then the dollar itself is ultimately exposed to loss of confidence in the foreign exchanges. The dawning realisation that after recent strength, the dollar is vulnerable after all can be expected to be reflected in a positive sentiment towards gold, which once under way could drive the price up dramatically due to the lack of available bullion.
*FISCHER SAYS RATE LIFTOFF LIKELY WARRANTED BEFORE END-2015
With the world now convinmced that Janet Yellen is as dovish as she has ever been on rate hikes, today comes the first post-FOMC speech. None other than Vice-chair Stanley Fischer is due to address The Economic Club of New York on the topic of "Monetary-policy lessons and the way ahead." As Art Cashin warned this morning, Fischer "seems to feel that the Fed must raise rates this year. He is also the only Fed official to concede that any rate hike will be different than any seen before."
Hedge Fund Manager Fears "Sudden, Pervasive Loss Of Faith" In Markets; Says "It's A Truly Scary Time"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2015 16:45 -0500
First it was Sam Zell, warning "it's very likely that something has to give here." Then George Soros upped his market hedge drastically, followed by Carl Icahn's "worry about excessive money printing," adding that he was "very nervous" about US equity markets. "Financial markets are euphoric," warned Stan Druckenmiller, warning that "market participants are pricing in hardly any risks," and Crispin Odey explained "there are consequences to CB actions," stating that "we have front-row seats to an imminent market shock." And now hedge fund manager Andy Redleaf (who predicted "there is going to be a panic in credit markets," in 2007) has come out with the most ominous of warnings yet among the billionaire crowd... "I think it is a truly scary time."
Italian Bad Debt Hits Record $197 Billion As Bank Lending Contracts For Unprecedented 33 Consecutive MonthsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2015 12:53 -0500
For the third largest issuer of sovereign bonds in the world, Italy - the country all eyes will focus on once Greece and/or Spain exit the Eurozone - when it comes to NPLs things are going from bad to worse because as Reuters reported earlier, citing ABI, gross bad loans at Italian lenders continued to rise, totalling 185.5 billion euros ($196.5 billion) in January from 183.7 billion euros a month earlier.As the chart below shows, Italy now has over 10% of its GDP in the form of bad debt. And just as bad, even as NPLs rose, total debt issuance contracted once more, lending to families and businesses decreased 1.4 percent year-on-year in February, the 33rd consecutive monthly fall.
When even JPMorgan strongly implies that the ECB's QE is about to fail, one short week after it started, now may be a time to panic: "In all, we note the above analysis challenges the ability of the Eurosystem to meet its quantitative target without distorting market liquidity and price discovery."
There is a tremendous denial by analysts and economists currently of the deteriorating economic underpinnings.
Greenspan believes that in five years gold will be “measurably higher” than current levels because of the excess liquidity that will eventually be released into the open market. Such an event will undoubtedly lead to riots across America as the general public, woefully unprepared for rapidly rising prices when the pin finally pops the dollar bubble, loses access to affordable critical supplies like food, gas and other resources. The collapse of the dollar, an inevitability suggested by Alan Greenspan, will be a game changer that results in the quadrupling of the cost of living for the average American.
"Today, if you own an asset, say stocks or a home, and it went up in price, you do not perceive it as permanent. You fear it could go back down and you spend none of that money. You are not going to alter your investment decisions or your business decisions. That is why the QE-programs did not work. The goal of the Fed was to push up asset prices. With that in mind, they do not want asset prices to go down because they think it will create a reverse wealth effect. QE has been all about pushing up markets and they are not going to throw that to the wind.... By pushing up asset prices ECB president Draghi is going to make the same mistake as the Fed."
Is Janet Yellen "patient" or not? And is "patient" a nudge-nudge, wink-wink code for a period stretching beyond the next few FOMC meetings or is it just a tacit admission that the Fed will start checking its parachute harness only after the plane’s engines have at last caught fire? The last time they did this - with the benefit of hindsight - the supposed golden era was the one in which were actively sowing the seeds of our own ruin, it might give pause for thought about quite how much harm our masters' stubbornly accommodative stance is causing us again today.
WSJ Praises "Waiter, Bartender Recovery" While 74% Of Americans Believe They Will Work Until They DieSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/28/2015 18:44 -0500
The lines bethween the New Normal and the New Paranormal, between the real and the surreal are increasingly getting blurred when, having nothing else to praise about the US economy, the WSJ focuses on the "wage gains" of burger flippers... meanwhile 75% of Americans are confident they will work until their death.
"Monetary Policy Is Bankrupt" Dr. Lacy Hunt Warns "Bonds, Not Stocks, Are A Good Economic Indicator"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/27/2015 18:35 -0500
"While the wealth effect is a theoretical possibility, it is not supported by economic fact. The stock market is not a good guide to the economy, but...the bond market is a very good economic indicator. When bond yields are very low and declining it’s an indication that the same is happening to inflation and that economic activity is weak. The bond yields are not here for any fluke of reason. They are here because business conditions in the US and abroad are quite poor."
Janet Yellen is very alarmed that some members of Congress want to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time since it was created. During testimony this week, she made “central bank independence” sound like it was the holy grail. Even though every other government function is debated politically in this country, Janet Yellen insists that what the Federal Reserve does is “too important” to be influenced by the American people. Does any other government agency ever dare to make that claim? If the Fed is doing everything correctly, why should Yellen be alarmed? What does she have to hide?
One of the bigger asset bubbles in recent US history has nothing to do with stock, bonds or commodities, We are talking about farmland. And yet, like all other bubbles - be they the result of retail euphoria or central bank rigging - this one too must come to a close, and as the WSJ reports, the first crack in the farmland bubble are appearing, after farmland values declined in parts of the Midwest for the first time in decades last year "reflecting a cooling in the market driven by two years of bumper crops and sharply lower grain prices, according to Federal Reserve reports on Thursday." the average price of farmland in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s district, which includes Illinois, Iowa and other big farm states, fell 3% in 2014, marking the first annual decline since 1986, which makes farmlands the only asset class that had not seen a down year in nearly three decades!
Now that Europe has demonstrated that one can go NIRP and not crash the system, will the Fed - once its silly obsession with hiking rates in the summer only to launch even more easing and/or QE as the ECB did in 2008 and 2011 - follow suit and join a rising tide of "developed" world central banks in punishing savers for hoarding cash? In a note released last night titled "Revisiting Negative Interest Rates in the US", Goldman shares its thought on the matter. It goes without saying that Goldman is important, because whatever Goldman's econ team shares with Goldman's Bill Dudley over at the NY Fed, usually tends to become official policy with a 3-6 month lag.
What happens if one expands the Eurozone NIRP universe to include the debt of other countries including Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and so on? Conveniently, JPM has done the analysis and finds that a mindblowing $3.6 trillion of government debt traded with a negative yield as recently as last week. This represents 16% of the JPM Global Government Bond Index, or in other words nearly a fifth of all global government debt is now trading with a negative yield, meaning investors pay sovereigns, using other people's money of course, for the privilege of buying their issuance!