The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and Bank of England have an unusually close and under-appreciated relationship, with Bank of England representatives actually sitting on the LBMA Management Committee.
We currently face a monumental dilemma. How do we extract ourselves from all this excessive debt without crashing the world economy? It’s basically a “one time” get out of jail card for the world economy.
Will she, or won't she? That is the question everyone wants answered regarding whether Yellen will hike rates in two weeks time. To be sure, historical precedented is not on the side of the hawks: as Bloomberg's Daniel Kruger reminds us, "Last September in ambiguous circumstances Yellen opted to stay on hold. Three years ago in September Ben Bernanke chose not to taper QE3 bond purchases."
Federal Reserve Vice-Chairman Stanley Fischer made a couple of controversial statements this week regarding negative interest rates. Fisher stated negative rates “seem to work” while admitting they are bad for savers but they “typically they go along with quite decent equity prices.” There are two problems in play. The first is an explicit admission that the Fed sponsors wealth inequality. The second problem is Fisher does not understand how markets even work.
With home prices in San Francisco beyond the reach of all but the elitest of the elites, it appears the "just well off" are migrating to Oakland in search of affordable properties. Despite being the second most dangerous city in America, Bloomberg reports that Oakland’s housing market is still soaring even as growth cools in San Francisco as the East Bay city had California’s highest annual appreciation of home values and the biggest rent growth of the 50 largest U.S. cities.
The tragedy of Venezuela continues unabated, but that doesn't mean the government of President Nicolás Maduro has stopped trying to fix problems. Maduro has reportedly instituted a policy of fining bakeries that allow lines to stretch out their front doors, according to PanAmPost, claiming the lines aren't a true indicator of a severe shortage of bread, but rather, a political "strategy of generating anxiety."
Over the last two years, the Fed Up Campaign has routinely brought a coalition of low-wage workers to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to protest Federal Reserve hike rates amidst the unequal “economic recovery.” The Jackson Hole event is invite only, closed to the public and costs $1,000 per person to attend. It appears that this year, Janet Yellen and company went out of their way to ensure there would be no such protests diverting the attention of the nation's most esteemed economists.
Somewhere, someone first said “bull markets don’t die of old age.” We suppose this throwaway phrase was first uttered in a time and place much like today. That is, in the midst of a protracted bull market where stock prices had detached from the assets and earnings of companies their shares represent claim to.
"...financial markets, far from accurately reflecting all the available knowledge, always provide a distorted view of reality. The degree of distortion may vary from time to time. Sometimes it’s quite insignificant, at other times, it is quite pronounced. When there is a significant divergence between market prices and the underlying reality, there is a lack of equilibrium conditions. I have developed a rudimentary theory of bubbles along these lines..."
"Wicksellians believe that in today’s climate, where markets are being swamped with money pumped in by central banks via QE, long-term sovereign bond yields need to rise steeply to revert to their ‘natural’ rate of interest. An unexpected spike in inflation might be the trigger for this upward movement. According to proponents of this scenario, bonds would then be sent crashing. Conversely, the Fisherian camp believes that low government bond yields essentially reflect the anaemic state of the economy. Wicksellians are duly offloading their positions in government bonds, whereas Fisherians are building up theirs."
Fisher’s most telling comment came during the Q&A session when he was asked how his personal portfolio was positioned. Fisher’s response: “In the fetal position.” Moreover, he also said that “all my very rich friends are hoarding cash.”