"King Abdullah’s life spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations. He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region. At home, King Abdullah's vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world."
Since its inception in 2008, easy monetary policy has created very few positive effects for the real economy — and has created considerable (and in some cases unforeseen) negative effects as well. The BIS warns of financial bubbles. While economic policymakers should take a closer look at Japan, China, and yes, the United States, when debating the limits of monetary stimulus and the dangerous nature of financial bubbles; sadly, the discussion is happening too late to be anything more than an intellectual exercise.
"There will first be a pernicious excitement, and next a fatal collapse." -- Walter Bagehot, Lombard Street (1844)
After 6+ years of deepening poverty and rising stock markets, of creative accounting, of QE and ultra-low interest rates, of extend and pretend and outright propaganda and of what have you, all of which have led us to where we are today, facing yet more rounds of stumbling from crisis into multiple crises, it would seem clear that the model, if not the mold, is broken. In order to fix it, let alone replace it altogether, we need to understand to what extent it is broken. And to do that, we first need to know what exactly the model is. However, the rich-and-powerful in Davos believe in one model only, the one of ever increasing centralization and globalization, because that’s the model that got them where they are.
The "Deflationary Vortex": Global Dollar Economy Suffers Biggest Plunge Since Lehman, Down $4 TrillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/20/2015 16:28 -0500
One of the macroeconomic observations that has gotten absolutely no mention in recent months is the curious fact that while global economic growth has not imploded in recent quarters, it is because GDP has been represented, as is customary, in local currency terms. Of course, this comes as a time when local currencies (at least those which are not the USD) have been plunging against the greenback on the back of the expectations that the Fed will hike rates some time in the summer or later in 2015. Which also means that in "dollar economy" terms, i.e., converted in USD, things are not nearly as good. In fact, as the chart below shows, the global dollar economy is not only shrinking fast, but it is doing so at the fastest pace since the Lehman collapse, having lost a whopping $4 trillion, or a whopping 5% drop, in just the last 6 months!
Another Former Central Banker Finally Gets It: "The Idea That Monetary Stimulus Is The Answer Doesn't Seem Right"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/20/2015 10:12 -0500
What is it about central bankers who wait to tell the truth only after they have quit their post. First it was the maestro himself, the Fed's Alan Greenspan (most recently in "Greenspan's Stunning Admission: "Gold Is Currency; No Fiat Currency, Including the Dollar, Can Match It"), and now it is the Bank of England's former head, Mervyn King, who yesterday told an audience at the LSE that "more monetary stimulus will not help the world economy return to strong growth." That this is happening just as we learn that in one year the world's 1% will collectively own more wealth than the rest of the world combined, and two days before Goldman's Mario Draghi unleashed up to €1 trillion (if not unlimited) in QE, is hardly as surprise, and will be surely ignored by everyone until the inevitable outcome of another "French revolution" finally arrives.
As 2015 begins, policymakers around the world are faced with three fundamental choices: to strive for economic growth or accept stagnation; to work to improve stability or risk succumbing to fragility; and to cooperate or go it alone. The stakes could not be higher; 2015 promises to be a make-or-break year for the global community. The new networks of influence should be embraced and given space in the twenty-first century architecture of global governance. This is what I have called the “new multilateralism.”
Top ten things that investors will likely be watching in the week ahead.
What we see now is the recovery of price discovery, and therefore the functioning economy, and it shouldn’t be a big surprise that it doesn’t come in a smooth transition. Six years is a long time. Moreover, it was never just QE that distorted the markets, there was – and is – the ultra-low interest rate policy developed nations’ central banks adhere to like it was the gospel, and there’s always been the narrative of economic recovery just around the corner that the politico/media system incessantly drowned the world in. That the QE madness ended with the decapitation of the price of oil seems only fitting.
As a one-day upward move in a major currency its had few peers through history and is firmly in the top 10 of daily upward moves for any currency (vs the dollar) that we have data for which in many cases goes back into the nineteenth century. Most of the others in this top 10 are EM countries. So this is a rare event as when a peg gets abandoned and a big move ensues it’s usually a devaluation from a fixed rate system.What makes this move shocking is that just last month the SNB committed themselves to preventing their currency appreciating beyond 1.20 to the Euro and vowed they would enforce the policy with "the utmost determination". The risk for the global financial system is that if the SNB can make such a dramatic u-turn could other central banks follow at some point. We're not so concerned here as their situation is arguably a lot different to the ECB. The ECB might actually look at the wider market moves yesterday and be scared to disappoint.
Success, we’re constantly told, breeds success. And success breeds stability. The way to avoid failure is to copy successful people and strategies. The way to continue succeeding is to do more of what has been successful. This line of thinking is so intuitively compelling that we wonder what other basis for success can there be other than 'success'? As counter-intuitive as it may sound, success rather reliably leads to failure and destabilization. Instead, it’s the close study of failure and the role of luck that leads to success. In the macro-economic arena, we think it highly likely that the monetary and fiscal policies of the past six years that are conventionally viewed as successful will lead to spectacular political and financial failures in 2015 and 2016. How can success breed failure? It turns out there are a number of dynamics at work.
Given the potential for financial losses triggered by oil's price collapse to cascade into the financial sector at large, the Fed may well be forced to intervene either directly or indirectly... Unleash the oil weapon...
For all the hype about jobs and the booming (GDP) economy, the major portion of the retailer calendar around Christmas was a total bust. In many ways it was worse than last year, which emphasizes simply how the business “cycle” as it was understood in textbook economics no longer applies. In other words, the dichotomy between growing pessimism in credit/funding and economists is due to the continued failure of the economy to produce what economists expect.
At the very least, the ‘great recession’ seems likely to continue. A serious recession or depression will likely collapse the already fragile banking system, especially in Europe, and the savings of ordinary people and companies will become exposed to bail-ins.
The current premise is that global equities markets will rise regardless of economic fundamentals. Money must flow into equities [perceived as the only asset class capable of producing “acceptable” returns] because the alternatives offer virtually no return…with interest rates pinned near zero in most western economies. Just buy any equity [akin to dart throwing] and a “greater fool than you” will buy after your purchase, at a higher price, ad infinitum... thus ever increasing the asset’s value This is such an obviously flawed argument on so many levels... albeit, like almost any strategy, is surprisingly effective from time to time.