After the biggest two-day surge in oil in seven years, early in the overnight session both Brent and WTI continued their run for a third day, entering a bull market, 20% up from recent lows hit just last week (still 15% down on the year) when Saudi Arabia spoiled the momentum party after the world’s biggest crude exporter said it’s keeping up investments in energy projects while diesel consumption in China dropped for a fourth consecutive month, signaling an industrial slowdown. And thanks to the near record correlation between equities and oil, global stocks and US equity index futures initially rose only to slide following the Saudi comments.
So what is holding back risk appetite? A major overhang remains the question of how China will manage its currency. CNY is near the lower end of a range that has existed since August, a range our economists expect to hold through mid-year. But keeping the currency stable is being challenged by USD strength, and makes it more difficult for China to ease policy to support growth. We think this issue, above all others, is the main macro dilemma facing markets in 2016.
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.
This is just the beginning. The bond bubble will take months to completely implode. And eventually it will consume even sovereign nations.
If you believe the global economy is doing great and stocks are cheap, stop reading now; this post is not for you. We promise to write one for you at some point when stocks are cheap and the global economy is breathing well on its own - we just don’t know when that will be. But if you believe that stocks are expensive - even after the recent sell-off - and that a global economic time bomb is ticking because of unprecedented intervention by governments and central banks, then keep reading.
The World Economic Forum in Davos is submerged by a tsunami of denials, and even non-denial denials, stating there won’t be a follow-up to the Crash of 2008. Yet there will be. And the stage is already set for it.
Markets need to retreat from dependency on central bank stimulus which they falsely believe provides the magical elixir that fixes all economic and financial market woes.
We are told bank earnings and revenue are under pressure from a slew of “tough markets” but what makes those markets so untenable in the first place?
When the FOMC is deliberately manipulating asset prices and credit spreads... collateral damage is inevitable.
According to stocks, a half-recession is precisely where the US was as of roughly noon yesterday, when the S&P touched an intraday low of 1812. This represents a 15% drop from the all time high close of 2,131 last summer. It also represents half the post-World War II average peak to trough decline around recession, which amounts to roughly 30%.
"I don't think China's economic slowdown is that severe to threaten the global economy."
"China has managed debt restructurings superbly."
Faber warns that the S&P 500, which fell to 1,881 on the 19th of January, could drop to its 2011 low below 1,200.
In the end we all know that “informal central bank cooperation” doesn’t really amount to anything. That lesson could be applied to the Bundesbank “selling dollars” in 1969, the PBOC “selling UST’s” in 2015 or the worthless, useless Federal Reserve RRP in 2016. They really don’t know what they are doing, they never have and it truly doesn’t matter fixed or floating. Adjust accordingly because we know how this ends; we’ve already seen it.
"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..."