- European stocks plunge as Lunar New Year offers no cheer (Reuters)
- European Stocks Fall, Credit Weakens as Signs of Distress Abound (BBG)
- Management trouble at world's biggest hedge fund: Bridgewater succession plan in flux as heir Greg Jensen steps back (FT)
- U.S. athletes should consider not attending Olympics if fear Zika - officials (Reuters)
- Geithner Gets JPMorgan Credit Line to Invest With Warburg Pincus (BBG)
- Top Clinton Donor Wants a Law Against $1 Million Gifts Like His (BBG)
The carnage always comes by surprise, often on an otherwise ordinary Saturday morning... The government declares a surprise bank holiday. It shuts all the banks. It imposes capital controls to stop citizens from taking their money out of the country. At that point, the government is free to help itself to as much of the country’s wealth as it wants. It’s an all-you-can-steal buffet. This story has recently played out in Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, and Iceland. And those are only a few recent examples. It’s happened in scores of other countries throughout history. And we think it’s inevitable in the U.S.
"Assuming selling in accordance to the average allocation of FX Reserve Managers and SWF across asset classes, we estimate that the sales of bonds by oil producing countries will increase from -$45bn in 2015 to -$110bn in 2016 and that the sales of public equities will increase from -$10bn in 2015 to -$75bn in 2016."
Lately, a varied chorus of powerful union bosses, politicians and candidates, an asset management company executive, and a few ivory tower types have asserted that activism is short term in nature, engaged in by “hit and run” investors who care only about making a quick buck while leaving a company and its employees in ruins. It might surprise people to hear that we agree completely that the sort of activism they describe is abominable. Luckily, it does not really exist, and certainly not at Third Point. Activists today are very different from corporate raiders of the ‘80’s (about whom these criticisms might have been leveled fairly).
Matching the hindrances of the interventionist state is the manipulations of money and interest rates by central banks everywhere, which distorts markets, misdirects capital and labor use resulting in unsustainable booms and inescapable downturns that bring about wrongly invested capital and misallocated labor. This “wrong twists” to the market takes time to overcome and correct. It is government impediments to open, competitive markets – whether in America or in other parts of the world – that are the causes to behind slow growth and sluggish job creation, not “the rich” and their savings.
Fed to lose patience. Many expected Norway and Switzerland to cut rates. Could they be disappointed?
"While monetary weapons can be a good first step to remedying an economic crisis, they are clearly not enough on a standalone basis to return an economy to stability and growth. My concern is that there has been an almost total academic capture of the mechanism of the Fed and other central banks around the world by neo-Keynesian thinking and hence policymaking, while the executive and legislative branches of the government have turned a blind eye to the necessary reforms. So while the plan has thus far worked brilliantly for Wall Street, what central bankers have succeeded in doing is preventing, or at least postponing, the hard choices and legislative actions necessary by our politicians to fully implement a sustainable and prosperous future for our children—and theirs...Today I view the world as “risk-uncertain,” and in these instances I recommend the armored vehicle."
German Handelsblatt Releases Stunning Anti-West Op-Ed, Asks If "West Rabble-Rousers Are On The Payroll Of The KGB"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/08/2014 22:57 -0500
Up until this point Angela Merkel, and German media in general, had been staunchly on the side of the west when it comes to dealing with Russia, Putin and realpolitik in broader terms. That changed dramatically today when Gabor Steingart, the chief editor of Handelsblatt, Germany's leading economic newspaper, came out with a stunning op-ed, in German, English and Russian, titled simply that "The West on the wrong path" in which the editor comes out very vocally against the autopilot mode German media has been on for the past several months and calls for an end to a strategy of sanctions and Russian confrontation that ultimately "harms German interests" and is a dead end.
The US economy is a house of cards. Every aspect of it is fraudulent, and the illusion of recovery is created with fraudulent statistics. American capitalism itself is an illusion. However, Washington has unique subjects. Americans will take endless abuse and blame some outside government for their predicament – Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, China, Russia. Such an insouciant and passive people are ideal targets for looting, and their economy, hollowed-out by looting, is a house of cards.
The gaps between markets (credit, equity, and volatility) and economic (macro- and micro-) reality have seldom been larger. What is just as concerning as this yawning chasm is the similarity of a number of activities to the 'bubble' in credit in 2007 - from record CLO issuance to covenant-lite loans resurgence. As Citi's Matt King notes, the past fortnight’s virtual melt-up in all things high yielding has been accompanied by a growing sense that markets are breaking out of the patterns of the past few years. In the near term, there is no reason in principle why the moves cannot go further; but unless more of the central bank stimulus finds its way through to the economy, this opens up the risk of sudden corrections as markets fall back to earth. How long will it take for that to occur, and for markets to become scared once again? It is hard to tell, and yet, as we have noted numerous times, we have been in this situation before. In 2009, the divergences took 6 months before stocks corrected, in 2011 it took 4 months, and in 2012 it took just 1 month. It's not different this time.
There have been several recent developments that have flown in the face of both neo-liberalism and ordo-liberalism and thrown investors off balance. Discuss.
In the last few days we have seen reports suggesting Brazilian household debt and service payments are weighing on growth, that Southeast Asia’s commercial credit is approaching its pre-1997 financial crisis peak of 75% GDP, and that South Korea’s household debt has reached 164% of disposable income compared with 138% in the US at the start of the housing crisis. Chinese debt rose 15% in excess of GDP last year from 191% to 206%. Its corporate cash flow is around 50% of profitability whilst loan growth is way in excess of the banks’ return on equity meaning the growth is dependent on a continual supply of new capital to the banks. Over the last few years whilst the developed economies have struggled to reduce their debt relative to GDP – (the most successful of the major economies has probably been the US which has taken non-financial sector debt down from a high of 253.15% GDP to 248.18% GDP) – the developing economies have taken advantage of cheap funding to inflate their debt levels dramatically, leaving the global debt position worse than in 2007.. Some of the emerging market debt is relatively small and the necessary rebalancing of the economy should be relatively easy to achieve, but even if it is only a cyclical limit as oppose to the structural limits of the developed economies, it is coinciding at the same time and will add to the global problem. As data on world GDP growth would suggest, it is not just Brazil where the numbers show “the exhaustion of a growth model based on consumption”.
Presented without any comment (see original Titan letter here), and google translated to add Babel fishing insult to an already injurious, or is that hilarious, exchange between a hard core capitalist and a socialist... perfect ignorance, admiration of Obama, trade tariff threats, oh, and don't mention the war.
Yes, it is the holiday season. Yes, you are unlikely to be taking action with your investments. Yes, the morphing of what is into what will be continues uninterrupted.
There were several developments over the weekend that will influence the direction of the the markets in the days ahead, with the usual caution about the impact of the thinness of conditions.
First, the major focus remains the US fiscal cliff. One of the most important ways in which the US fiscal crisis differs from those seen in Iceland, Greece, Portugal, Ireland is that it has not been triggered by a capital strike. Investors have not fled the US. Interest rates have not trended higher. It is not a fiscal crisis. It is a political crisis