The Model Minority

Michael Wang: too Asian and too perfect for the Ivy League schools. This is a typical example of modern-day socialism’s drive to allegedly “equalize opportunity”, a heading under which the incentive to make an effort to actually accomplish something in life is slowly but surely deadened among those showing the best abilities. Over time, it leads to decay in the population’s morals and intelligence, until you end up with a nation best compared to a ship of fools.

The Mistake Of Only Comparing US Murder Rates To "Developed" Countries

Much of the political thinking about violence in the United States comes from unfavorable comparisons between the United States and a series of cherry-picked countries with lower murder rates and with fewer guns per capita. This is, in turn, supposed to fill Americans with a sense of shame and illustrate that the United States should be regarded as some sort of pariah nation because of its murder rate. However, politically, historically, and demographically, the US has little in common with these nations.

The Failure To Act Responsibly Will Be The Addendum To Bernanke's Memoirs

Long gone is the illusion of: an elected body by the citizenry. Today, it’s become demonstrably self-evident the economy is run by an elected body – by the elected. And the consequences of this change is only now beginning to openly reverberate both in amplitude and frequency with every passing day.

Bank Of England Tells British Banks To Reveal Their Full Exposure To Glencore And Other Commodity Traders

Overnight we got confirmation that Glencore has indeed become a systemic risk from a regulatory standpoint after the FT reported that the Bank of England has asked British financial institutions to reveal their full exposure to commodity traders and falling prices of raw materials amid concerns over the impact of the oil and metals slump. Or, in other words, their exposure to Glencore, Trafigura, Vitol, Gunvor and Mecuria.

Mortgage Applications Soar 25% (Ahead Of Regulatory Regime Change)

Mortgage applications rose 25.5% week-over-week - the 2nd largest surge since 2009 - to the highest level (for this time of year) since 2012. Both refis and purchases soared, and exuberance immediatoley extrapolated this surge as 'proving' the housing recovery is healthy. However, as MBA admits, "many applications were filed prior to the TILA-RESPA regulatory change," strongly suggesting this is anything but sustainable.

Frontrunning: October 1

  • After Rough Quarter, Investors Buckle Up (WSJ)
  • From heroes to bystanders? Central banks' growth challenge (Reuters)
  • Russian Airstrike in Syria Targeted CIA-Backed Rebels, U.S. Officials Say (WSJ)
  • Kremlin says Syria air strikes target list of groups, not just Islamic State (Reuters)
  • That’s information warfare? Russia accused of killing civilians in Syria (RT)
  • Euro zone factory growth eases in August despite modest price rises (Reuters)
  • How Glencore's Crazy Month Makes Greek Banks Look Tame (BBG)

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Contracts For 9th Month In A Row As Jobs, Workweek, & CapEx Collapse

August's regional Fed survey collapse was unanimous... Dallas, Richmond, New York, Philly, Chicago, and even Kansas City all flashing recessionary warnings. And so now we begin to see September's data and Dallas Fed prints -9.5 - the 9th negative (contractionary) print in a row. While a small beat (against -10 exp.) and rise from August's -15.8, under the surfacxe the data is a disaster with wages lower, employees contracting drastically, and average workweek collapsing. Having noted that "the quantitative easing hangover is starting" in August, it appears - judging by the biggest plunge in Capex in 5 years.

Hawks, Doves & Chickens

The Fed remains in a box of its own making. We are beginning to doubt whether central bank will ever be hike rates again voluntarily. What is however eventually highly likely to happen is that the markets will force the Fed to act – or as Bill Fleckenstein puts it, “the bond market may take the printing press away from them”.

It All Comes Down To This

The real risk for the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates at zero and the deflationary feedback from the collapse in commodity prices, and the Chinese economy trips the U.S. into a recession. Given that "QE" programs have no real effect on boosting economic growth, the Fed would be left with virtually no "effective" monetary policy tools with which to stabilize the economy. For the Fed, this is the worse possible outcome.

Equity Markets, Credit Creation, & The Central Bank's Ultimate Priority

global bank credit looks like it is already contracting in key markets, such as China, in which case global fundamentals are definitely deteriorating. This being the case, it will take increasing amounts of newly-issued money from the central banks to perpetuate the illusion that markets are rising, and that the economy is still growing, with or without state-directed buying of equities.

Weekend Reading: Rooting For The Bull?

This past week has seen a continuation of market volatility unlike anything witnessed over the last several years. Of course, this volatility all coincides at a time where market participants are struggling with a global economic slowdown, pressures from China, collapsing oil prices, a lack of liquidity from the Federal Reserve and the threat of rising interest rates.  It is a brew of ingredients that would have already likely toppled previous bull markets, and it is only by a hairsbreadth the current one continues to breathe.

Fed Hike - Now Or Never

While Fisher, among others, believes that the recent fall in inflation is solely due to collapsing energy and crop prices, the issue of weakening economic data on a global scale, particularly that of China, may suggest much less transient nature. As we stated previously, we think the Fed realizes that we are likely closer to the next recession than not. While raising interest rates may accelerate the pace to the next recession, it is better than being caught with rates at zero when it does occur.

The End Of The Fed's "Interest Rate Magic Show" Looms

Over the last five years, we have developed an unhealthy obsession with the Federal Reserve, in particular, and central banks, in general, and there is plenty of blame to go around. Investors have abdicated their responsibilities for assessing growth, cash flows and value, and taken to watching the Fed and wondering what it is going to do next, as if that were the primary driver of stock prices. The Fed has happily accepted the role of market puppet master, with Federal Bank governors seeking celebrity status, and piping up about inflation, the level of stock prices and interest rate policy. We don't know what will happen at the FOMC meeting, but we hope that it announces an end to it's "interest rate magic show."

Why China Liquidations May Not Spike US Treasury Yields

There is no doubt that the Chinese economy is in a material economic slowdown. Policy officials’ aggressive actions and scare tactics against equity short sellers could continue to cause capital flight. However, this does not mean that China is going to sell large quantities of Treasuries. There is too much co-dependency between the US consumer and Chinese exporter. Destabilizing the US Treasury market with large sales would be tantamount to shooting themselves in the foot.