Oil markets have been largely assuming that OPEC producers could go on producing at these levels for years, but what if that’s not the case?
“If you run out of chips, you are out of the game.”
The global economy has had its artificial boom and CapEx frenzy already and years of deflationary liquidation and correction lie ahead. Money printing has failed. Any effort by the central banks to double down on another $20 trillion of bond purchases would blow the world’s financial casinos sky high. Contemporary central bankers function like a team of monetary wranglers, herding the retail cattle toward the asset gathers. At the end of the day, the asset gathers will profoundly regret what they are clamoring for.
"The world at an unprecedented moment in history where the interconnected nature of the global economy makes all players vulnerable to the mind-boggling volume of outstanding derivatives, which makes the sum of all world equity and debt look tiny in comparison..."
American adults spent an average of $251 on lottery tickets. With a return of 53 cents on the dollar, this means the average person threw away $118 on unsuccessful lotto tickets – not a great investment. So why are we spending so much? Well, lotteries are a fun, cheap opportunity to daydream about the possibility of becoming an overnight millionaire (or in this case billionaire), but on the flip side people tend to overestimate the odds of winning. Lower-income demographics spend a much greater portion of their annual earnings on lottery tickets than do wealthier ones.
In March 2014 Wall Street’s ex-items S&P 500 earnings forecast for 2015 was about $133 per share; it ended up 20% lower at $106. Yet here they go again - the consensus for 2016 started out at $137 per share last spring, and is just now beginning to make its way back toward the high $120s. It is a barometer of the abject complacency and intellectual sloth that has descended on the casino owing to two decades of Fed coddling and seven year of free money for the carry trades. In the case of Chipotle, it was always just a burrito. In the case of the US and world economy and financial markets, it’s not even that.
While most amateurs will bet on most hands, take speculative positions where the odds of success are stacked against them or try to bluff their way through a losing hand; professionals play with a cold, calculated and unemotional discipline. The professional gambler understands the odds of success of every play and measures his “bets” accordingly. He knows when to be “all in” and when to “fold and walk away.” Do they succeed all the time – of course not. However, by understanding how to limit losses they survive long enough to come out a winner over time.
The prospect that the leaders of our monetary politburo are about to be tarred and feathered by economic reality might be satisfying enough if it led to the repudiation of Keynesian central planning and a thorough housecleaning at the Fed. Unfortunately, it will also mean that tens of millions of retail investors and 401k holders will be taken to the slaughterhouse for the third time this century. And this time the Fed is out of dry powder, meaning retail investors will never recover as they did after 2002 and 2009.
Once upon a time, we had strong, vigorously enforced laws that made a bank the safest place to store paper assets. That is no longer. Now banks are where your wealth is most likely to be stolen – and by the bank itself. Thanks to the bail-in, the term “bank robbery” now has an entirely different meaning.
The $1.15 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last Friday and quickly signed by President Obama is just the latest triumph in the plutocratic management of politics that has accelerated since 9/11...proof that Washington can work. Mainstream media didn’t stop to ask: “Yes, but work for whom?” Instead, the anchors acted as amplifiers for official spin - repeating the mantra-of-the-hour that while this is not “a perfect bill,” it does a lot of good things. “But for whom? At what price?” went unasked. Secrecy today. Secrecy tomorrow. Secrecy forever. They are determined that we not know who owns them.
Once upon a time, we had strong, vigorously enforced laws that made a bank the safest place to store paper assets.
"Don't run with sharp objects" ... "If everyone jumped off the cliff - Would you do it too?" ...and "Don't talk to strangers!"
A paper recently published by the National Bureau of Economic Research confirms that a large percentage of the increase in college tuition can be explained by increases in the amount of available financial aid: "Essentially, [financial aid] lead to higher college costs and more debt, and in the absence of higher labor market returns, more loan default inevitably occurs."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s seminal masterpiece Crime and Punishment is often thought of as one of the longest classics at more than 200,000 words. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which was signed into law on Friday, is nearly twice as long. At 887 pages, the bill allocates $1.15 trillion in war and discretionary spending for fiscal year 2016 which began almost three months ago. (That’s an average of $1.3 billion in spending PER PAGE of the bill.) In making it public law, President Obama has effectively signed the death warrant of the US government’s finances.
In December 2013, in a sign of robust global trade driving demand for container ships, the Baltic Dry Index peaked at 2,330. By July 2014, rates had collapsed to 730. Today, rates have fallen to 471, the lowest since the recession began (in fact, the lowest ever). The BDI is a leading indicator pointing to worse trade conditions. Just as the 2014 collapse in the BDI reflected a collapse in global trade, the recent erosion in the BDI signals further trade weakness to come. Here's a snapshot of the meltdown.. and the pain is getting worse.