Just when we thought US foreign policy couldn't sink to new lows, it does just that. Recall yesterday's less than veiled threat by China president Xi Jinping Xi called for greater military communication with the U.S., adding that "A conflict between China and United States will definitely be a disaster for the two countries and the world. As long as we uphold mutual respect, maintain strategic patience and remain unperturbed by individual incidents and comments, we’ll be able to keep relations on a firm footing despite ups and downs that may come our way.” So what does the US do? Nothing short of taking a machete and poking the Dragon in the mouth.
"There is a colossal bubble in all asset prices and eventually it will burst," is the subtle recurring message from The Gloom, Boom, & Doom Report's Marc Faber, warnings that "maybe has begun to burst already." While Faber admits he has called for such a correction previously, he notes that the difference now is that "valuations are so much higher; and contrary to what the mainstream economists believe, I don't believe the global economy is strengthening; in fact I believe it is weakening." Furthermore, while "you never know what will trigger for a bull market or bear market is until after the fact," Faber offers 3 factors (aside from the Fed) that could trigger a 30% crash or more... beginning with "a) In The White House we have a very poor President - which will lead to political issues domestically in the US," which are not priced in.
The dollar's demise has been often foretold. The euro, SDRs, the yuan, Bitcoins all were going to be viable alternatives. The dollar persists.
This week was very busy with economic data. For the most part, the majority of the data came basically inline with expectations. However, the internals of the various reports were much less encouraging. The most noteworthy report, and the least important from an investment standpoint, was the monthly employment report which came in at 288,000 jobs for the month. As with the bulk of other reports, the more important details were lost to the headlines... full-time employment relative to the working age population has remained primarily stagnant since the financial crisis and actually fell in the latest month. This is a key reason why economic growth continues to struggle.
Is good news about to become the ultimate bad news. JPMorgan's Michael Feroli notes that (for the first time in recent memory) is pulling forward their projected date for Fed tightening and the inevitable end of the free-money cycle. Based on a belief in the committee's limited appetite to wait in inflation and today's report, JPMorgan notes a Q2 tightening seems plausible. Of course, this will be repeated mantra like as evidence of escape velocity and the status quo is back but, as we noted here, while policy economists claim that interest rates can be “normalized” at no cost; a more likely scenario is that policy “normalization” leads us directly into the next bust.
In Reality, War Will Bring An End to the Petrodollar, and Impose Hardship on the Average American ...
Alongside that other canard of global monetary machinations, Christine Lagarde (who oddly declared earlier that "the global economy will not return to 'pre-crisis' world" and asked if central banks need a 'financial stability goal' -mandating a market "put" of sorts); Fed head Janet Yellen will be addressing her peers at The IMF this morning. We expect a lot of "noise" comments, "lower for longer", "weather" excuses, and escape velocity is coming any minute as she desperately tries to keep the "don't worry, you will be ok without all our money printing" meme alive.
Is the New Normal of ever-higher stock valuations sustainable, or will low volatility lead to higher volatility, and intervention to instability? Though we're constantly reassured by financial pundits and the Federal Reserve that the stock market is not a bubble and that valuations are fair, there is substantial evidence that suggests the contrary.
It stands to reason that when the Fed eventually lifts interest rates, we’ll see the usual effects. After a sustained rise in rates, you can safely bet on: Fixed investment and business earnings dropping sharply; GDP growth following investment and earnings lower; Many people losing their jobs; and Risky assets performing poorly. These consequences follow not only from the arithmetic of debt service and present value calculations, but also from the mood swinging psychology of entrepreneurs, lenders and investors. Yet, policy economists claim that interest rates can be “normalized” at no cost. Our conclusion is to reject forecasts calling for the economy to power right through interest rate hikes without stumbling. A more likely scenario is that policy “normalization” leads us directly into the next bust.
Janet Yellen is an officious school marm. She constantly lectures us on Keynesian verities as if they were the equivalent of Newton’s Law or the Pythagorean Theorem. In fact, they constitute self-serving dogma of modern vintage that is marshaled to justify what is at bottom an economic absurdity. Namely, that through the primitive act of banging the securities “buy” key over and over and thereby massively expanding its balance sheet, the Fed can cause real wealth - embodying the sweat of labor, the consumption of capital and the fruits of enterprise - to magically expand beyond what the free market would generate on its own steam. Dr. Yellen, of course, claims there are no financial bubbles to worry about because the Keynesian bathtub of potential GDP has not yet been filled to the brim. Perhaps she would like to put in a bid for one of these homes...
- Facebook Researchers Manipulated News Feeds in 2012 Study (BBG)
- Argentina at Brink of Default as $539 Million Payment Due (BBG)
- Hedge fund correlation risk alarms investors (FT)
- As China Flexes Muscle, Obama Frets Over Rival’s Weakness (BBG)
- As caliphate declared, Iraqi troops battle for Tikrit (Reuters)
- Dubai Caps Worst Month Since 2008 as Real Estate Stocks Tumble (BBG)
- Russian Advisers Ready Iraq to Use New Combat Aircraft (BBG)
- Blackstone Readies Big-Bet Hedge Fund (WSJ) - so what was GSO?
- Pope says communists are closet Christians (Reuters)
- Thomson Reuters revising FX trading standards (Reuters)
"... it is hard to avoid the sense of a puzzling disconnect between the markets’ buoyancy and underlying economic developments globally.... Never before have central banks tried to push so hard... Few are ready to curb financial booms that make everyone feel illusively richer. Or to hold back on quick fixes for output slowdowns, even if such measures threaten to add fuel to unsustainable financial booms.... The temptation to go for shortcuts is simply too strong, even if these shortcuts lead nowhere in the end."
The greatest problem we have is misinformation. People simply do not comprehend why and how the economic policies of the post-war era are imploding. This whole agenda of socialism has sold a Utopian idea that the State is there for the people yet it is run by lawyers following their own self-interest. Even confiscating all the wealth of the so-called rich will not sustain the system. Consequently, we just have to crash and burn and start all over again.
With the cease-fire on shaky ground in Ukraine, and the ongoing proxy war between the US and Russia growing in intensity (once again ignited in Syria); it seems Putin has fired a significant warning shot across the bow of the west. Reuters reports that Russia is considering banning state companies and other strategically important firms from holding accounts at foreign-owned banks. As Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger notes if this actually happens, it would be a very big deal with significant negative implications to the global economy, and certainly an escalation in the friction between these two geopolitically crucial nations.
According to the latest Nielsen Media Research data, in the second quarter of 2014, CNBC viewership for all viewers just dropped to 162,000 - a new (and depressing for Comcast) low, on par with CNBC's viewership from Q2 of 1997! Where things get funny is when one looks at the ratings of that consummate entertainer, that self-appointed "voice of the people", Jim Cramer. Sadly for Cramer, the people are now gone. Because also according to Nielsen Jim Cramer's Mad Money show just had its lowest ever rated month in the 25-54 demo, and is about to have its second lowest rated month ever across total viewers.