"Central banks are not all singing and all dancing," and cannot avoid the consequences of what they are doing, concluding, "you and I have got grandstand seats here [to an imminent market shock]," and investors are about to "find out just how illiquid it really is out there."
China remains an export economy no matter how hard they try to convince the world they are moving otherwise. The idea of creating internal “demand” as a means to extricate marginal changes from everybody else is undoubtedly a good idea, even a noble one, but the reality of China as it exists top-down isn’t conducive for such a transformation. Further, that just isn’t realistic under the global conditions that have persisted since the Great Recession was declared over. In that respect, there isn’t much to separate what is occurring now from the Great Recession itself.
The entire formerly rich world is addicted to debt, and it is not capable of shaking that addiction. Not until the whole facade that was built to hide this addiction must and will come crashing down along with the corpus itself. Central banks are a huge part of keeping the disease going, instead of helping the patient quit and regain health, which arguably should be their function. In other words, central banks are not doctors, they’re crack dealers and faith healers. Why anyone would ever agree to that role for some of the world’s economically most powerful entities is a question that surely deserves and demands an answer.
For Lord Rothschild, preserving wealth has "become increasingly difficult," recently, as he warns, rather ominously, "we are faced with a geopolitical situation as dangerous as any we have faced since World War II." Furthermore Lord Rothschild summarizes his thoughts briefly, eloquently, and ominously... as he touches on the global debasement of fiat currencies, disappointing growth (in light of massive monetary stimulus), and extreme stock market valuations. As Rothschild Wealth Management noted last year, equities are not well supported by current valuations, while monetary policy is limited by high debt levels and interest rates that are already close to zero... exposing equities to a potentially sharp correction.
"Competitive devaluation” doesn’t actually work, as it is not a zero sum game (one country gaining at the expense of another) but rather currency “wars” subtract from the whole altogether (both countries lose). The entire point of currency destabilization is exactly that, and business transpires less and less under more extreme versions of instability – intentional or not. And to top it all off - No matter how you want to view all this, January was perhaps the worst month for US trade since the Great Recession.
Has the DNA of the global economy been gradually altered by endless injections of quantitative easing, morphing it into a freakish mutant? Are things that are not supposed to happen for centuries on end going to become common occurrences? The collapse of oil prices and jump in the Swiss franc have forced us to puzzle over these weighty questions. In isolation, these events and the direction of their moves did not worry us, but their magnitude, velocity and proximity to each other sent me on an intellectual quest.
So today what is different is not the Wall Street spiel that Nasdaq is anchored by the likes of Apple rather than Webvan. Since the two days of March 9 and 10 in the year 2000 when the Nasdaq closed over the 5,000, the financial markets have been converted into central bank managed gambling halls and the global economy has bloated beyond recognition by 15 years of non-stop financial repression. Back then, a few hundred stocks were wildly over-valued based on monetizing eyeballs; now the entire market is drastically overvalued owing to the false financial market liquidity generated by $14 trillion of central bank asset monetization - mostly public debt - since the turn of the century. As a result, the global financial system and economy are orders of magnitude more fragile and vulnerable to collapse than they were 15 years ago.
For this commentary to make any sense to most readers; it’s necessary to address the two questions which immediately come to their minds: “what is the Baltic Dry Index?” and “why should I care about it?” Dealing with these questions in order; the Baltic Dry Index measures the prices paid to ship various forms of cargo, in the form of an index.
Recency bias no doubt once again playing a role, but more likely it is this new-ish trend to deny any damaging economic possibility as it might disrupt the balance of financialism. Any system that cannot even countenance just a small possibility of contrary thought is not robust or “resilient” at all. As we saw in 2008-09, oil liquidations were entirely appropriate for economic conditions; how can “everyone” deny outright something even slightly similar?
- “Bail-in is now the rule” - EU Finance Minister Noonan - Austrian bondholders today … international depositors tomorrow ... We urge readers to diversify deposit holdings and acquire allocated gold to protect their wealth during the next phase of the banking crisis.
Goldman's Global Leading Indicator (GLI) final print for February affirms the global economy has entered a contraction with accelerating negative growth. Just six months after "expansion", the Goldman Swirlogram has collapsed into "contraction" with monthly revisions notably ugly and 9 out of 10 components declining in February. Some have suggested, given US equity's strong February (buyback-driven) performance, that the US economy will decouple from the world... or even drive it.. but that is 100% incorrect. US Macro data has fallen at its fastest pace in 3 years and is at its weakest level since July 2011 as 42 of 48 data items have missed since the start of February.
"None dare call it a “currency war” because that would be counter to G-10/G-20 policy statements that stress cooperation as opposed to “every country for itself”, but an undeclared currency war is what the world is experiencing. Close to the same thing happened in the 1930’s, a period remarkably similar to what many countries’ policies resemble today.... Negative/zero bound interest rates may exacerbate, instead of stimulate low growth rates in all of these instances, by raising savings and deferring consumption... Asset prices for stocks, high yield bonds and other supposed 5-10% returning investments, become stretched and bubble sensitive; Debt accumulates instead of being paid off because rates are too low to pass up – corporate bond sales leading to stock buybacks being the best example. The financial system has become increasingly vulnerable only six years after its last collapse in 2009.... Central banks have gone and continue to go too far in their misguided efforts to support future economic growth."
Clearly if Western governments were ‘merely’ drowning in debt-to-GDP ratios of roughly 100%, then theycould still argue that attempting to manage these debt-loads was legitimate rather than treasonous. However, Germany’s government (debt-to-GDP of 188%) can no longer make that claim. Nor can:
"On October 15, the deepest and most liquid market in the world demonstrated a six standard deviation move in less than two hours, a move that happens once in 506,797,346 days and a recent report by BlackRock highlights how “the secondary trading environment for corporate bonds today is broken. These examples signal that the probability of an accident is high and the stage is set for an adverse event meeting with an outsized impact on markets and possibly economies."