In an interview at Institutional Investor's Delivering Alpha conference, Elliott Management’s Paul Singer discusses the perils of investing in a world dominated by Keynesian central planners, paper money, the "craziness" of China’s margin-fueled equity bubble, and "connecting the dots."
Today, an unholy alliance was born when Blythe Masters, the mother of the credit default swap and former member of the fabled "Morgan Mafia" was named chairman of Santander Consumer, the largest subprime auto lender in the US.
As a result, the world’s economy is now based upon unsound banks dealing in unsound currencies. Both have degenerated considerably from their origins.
While Janet Yellen's prepared remarks were her normal bland data-dependent-when-we-want-to-be, rate-hikes-maybe-sooner-or-later self, we suspect the Q&A of The Fed Chair's Humphey-Hawkins testimony will be worth the price of admission. Face to face with Jeb Hensarling - who dares to demand The Fed respond to Congressional probes - will be a highlight but it will be interesting to see if the politicians suck up to their debt-monetizer-in-chief or try to score politically populist points with elections not so very far away...
Yellen Statement To Congress: Rate Hike "Appropriate At Some Point This Year" If Economy Evolves As Expected - Full TextSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/15/2015 08:37 -0400
Key highlights from the first day of Janet Yellen's testimony before Congress: " If the economy evolves as we expect, economic conditions likely would make it appropriate at some point this year to raise the federal funds rate target, thereby beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy. Indeed, most participants in June projected that an increase in the federal funds target range would likely become appropriate before year-end. But let me emphasize again that these are projections based on the anticipated path of the economy, not statements of intent to raise rates at any particular time."
Just when the Chinese plunge protection team (and "arrest shortie" task force) seemed to be finally getting "malicious selling" under control, first we saw a crack yesterday when the composite broke the surge of the past three days as a result of yet another spike in margin debt funded purchases, but it was last night's reminder that "good news is bad news" that really confused the stock trading farmers and grandmas, which goalseeked Chinese economic "data" beat across the board, with Q2 GDP coming solidly above expectations at 7.0%, and retail sales and industrial production both beating, but in the process raising doubts that the PBOC will continue supporting stocks.
The Greek crisis provides a look into what awaits us unless we stop overspending on warfare and welfare and restore a sound monetary system. While most commentators have focused on Greece’s welfare state, much of Greece’s deficit was caused by excessive military spending. Even as its economy collapses and the government makes (minor) cuts in welfare spending, Greece’s military budget remains among the largest in the European Union. Congress will only reverse course when a critical mass of people reject the entitlement mentality and understand that the government is incapable of running the world, running our lives, and running the economy.
The problem with these policy extremes is that they are so painfully visibly acts of central-planning desperation. If things are as positive as we're told, then why are central planners forced to impose such absurdly extreme policies to keep the status quo from imploding? If these policies worked, why are interest rates still pegged to zero after six years of "growth" and the inflation of monumental asset bubbles? If these policies don't work (and they obviously don't, otherwise the authorities could have normalized interest rates and ceased quantitative easing, stock purchases, plunge protection schemes, etc. many years ago) and central planners keep doing more of what has failed, then the only possible conclusions are...
- Greek lawmakers split over bailout as vote looms (Reuters)
- Greek Bailout Rests on Asset Sale Plan That Already Failed (BBG)
- Greece Needs $25 Billion to Get Through August, Scicluna Says (BBG)
- Tsipras Enters Parliament Den to Sell Aid Deal to Greeks (BBG)
- Greece makes samurai bond repayment (FT)
- Iran, World Powers Have Reached Nuclear Agreement (BBG)
- Janet Yellen’s Fed Flounders in Political Arena (WSJ)
When last we checked in with Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, he was in the process of learning a frustrating lesson about central bankers in the post-crisis world. Namely, that whatever pretension of accountability the position of Fed chair retained in the lead up to the crisis disappeared entirely when Ben Bernanke 'saved the world' from financial armageddon in 2008.
Next week's key events and data, if we can look beyond Greece and China.
What happened in the China stock market is the latest culmination of the slippery slope of governmental and central bank intervention in financial markets.....
While the party in the 1990s ended badly, the festivities currently underway may end in outright disaster. The party-goers may not just awaken with hangovers, but with missing teeth, no memories, and Mike Tyson's tiger in their hotel room.
Since 1982, the entire market has been nothing but one massive slow-motion leveraged buyout. This places the SEC right up there with the Federal Reserve in market manipulation credentials.
"It will be appropriate at some point this year...to raise the Fed funds rate and normalize monetary policy," Yellen recently explained but given recent comments from Fed heads and the FOMC Minutes, it appears the real meme is "everything is awesome, we promise and as long as it stays that way we will hike rates just a little bit, stand back and watch the implosion, then stand ready to step back in to save the world... oh, and if Greece, China, US Shale, or LatAm blow up contagiously, we won't normalize policy ever again." Yellen speaks on the US economic outlook at The City Club of Cleveland.