Even in the unlikely case of a fiscal union, the conflict “Draghi against Weidmann”, between the ECB and the Bundesbank will continue for years. The ECB mandate and many european inflation figures do not allow for excessive ECB rate cuts or for state financing via the printing press, but Draghi wants to help his struggling home country.
The outcome of the next round of monetary policy will be similar to those in recent history mentioned in this paper... "Perceived inflation will go through the roof. We’re talking about near 0% interest rates around the developed world (near-term rates in Germany hit 0% in the auction at the end of May and are expected to go negative). Oh yeah, and massive inflation. I think gold will have no trouble hitting $3,000/oz in the medium-term and I see copper tripling over the next decade. This is, of course, until we hit the next bubble sometime around 2018 and start over again. The trend remains: since the stock market crash of 1987, through the dotcom bubble, and into the real-estate & stock market bubbles of 2007, each euphoric high and ensuing crash have been more extreme than the last. These extremes are fueled by the easing that is meant to cure us. The policy that we are facing within the coming months/years will, as the trend dictates, trump them all, and so inevitably will its hangover."
The causal relationship between scarcity, demand, and price is intuitive. Whatever is scarce and in demand will rise in price; whatever is abundant and in low demand will decline in price to its cost basis. The corollary is somewhat less intuitive, but still solidly sensible: the cure for high prices is high prices, meaning that as the price of a commodity or service reaches a threshold of affordability/pain, suppliers and consumers will seek out alternatives or modify their behaviors to lower consumption. Much of the supposedly inelastic demand for goods is based on the presumptive value of ownership. For many workers, there simply won’t be enough income to indulge in the ownership model. The cost in cash and opportunity are too high. This leads to a profound conclusion: What will be scarce is income, not commodities.
The case for ultra easy monetary policies has been well enough made to convince the central banks of most Advanced Economies to follow such polices. They have succeeded thus far in avoiding a collapse of both the global economy and the financial system that supports it. Nevertheless, it is argued in this stunningly accurate paper via none other than the Dallas Fed (and BIS economist William White), that the capacity of such policies to stimulate “strong, sustainable and balanced growth” in the global economy is limited. Moreover, ultra easy monetary policies have a wide variety of undesirable medium term effects - the unintended consequences. They create malinvestments in the real economy, threaten the health of financial institutions and the functioning of financial markets, constrain the “independent“ pursuit of price stability by central banks, encourage governments to refrain from confronting sovereign debt problems in a timely way, and redistribute income and wealth in a highly regressive fashion. While each medium term effect on its own might be questioned, considered all together they support strongly the proposition that aggressive monetary easing in economic downturns is not “a free lunch”. Absolute must read!
With the world's suckers investors (CEOs, politicians, and peons alike) all hanging on every word the man-behind-the-curtain has to say on Friday, Stone & McCarthy has crafted an excellent 'what-if' of key takeaways and interpretations ahead of Friday's Jackson Hole Symposium speech by Bernanke. Will Draghi toe the line? Will China be pissed? and what rhymes with J-Hole? On balance, we think Bernanke will save the policy directives for the FOMC meeting (potentially disappointing the market) while highlighting that the Committee is vigilant and flexible, and ready to act.
While there are many answers to this rhetorical question, a key one is the schism that exists between the two media behemoths when it comes to the topic of the NEW QE, elsewhere incorrectly called QE3. While the now virtually daily missives from Fed mouthpiece Jon Hilsenrath, whom once has to wonder whether he is more of a part time worker at the WSJ or the New York Fed, are there to force markets ever higher each day, with promises that Bernanke will not sit idly by if the S&P were to ever close red (the S&P being a multi-year highs notwithstanding), and that as he stick saved the European close on Friday, the Fed has lots of additional capacity for more QE, Bloomberg actually has the temerity to ask: why do we need any more QE: after all so far all previous iterations have been a disaster. Sure enough, a few hours after Hilsenrath did his latest Fed planted piece in which he amusingly pretended to be objective about more QE and "sized up" costs of more QE, here comes Bloomberg in its daily Brief newsletter, with a far simpler question: why the hell do we keep doing the same idiocy over and over, hoping and praying to generate inflation, knowing full well if we do get inflation, with global central banks soon to hold half of the world's GDP on their books, it will promptly deteriorate to the "hyper" kind.
There is a frequent tendency to over state the importance of the Fed and its policies and ignore the primary fundamentals driving the gold market which are what we have long termed the ‘MSGM’ fundamentals. As long as the MSGM fundamentals remain sound than there is little risk of gold and silver’s bull markets ending. What we term MSGM stands for macroeconomic, systemic, geopolitical and monetary risks. The precious metals medium and long term fundamentals remain bullish due to still significant macroeconomic, systemic, monetary and geopolitical risks. We caution that gold could see another sharp selloff and again test the support at €1,200/oz and $1,550/oz. If we get a sharp selloff in stock markets in the traditionally weak ‘Fall’ period, gold could also fall in the short term as speculators, hedge funds etc . liquidate positions en masse. To conclude, always keep an eye on the MSGM and fade the day to day noise in the markets.
Industrial unrest hobbling the South African platinum industry deepened yesterday, prompting fears of a broader mining crisis in one of the main platinum and gold producing countries. Platinum and gold prices continued to soar partly due to real concerns of supply disruptions after 44 people died during strikes at a pit owned by Lonmin. About a fifth of global platinum production capacity is idled in South Africa today as the nation holds a day of mourning for 44 miners and policemen killed in the deadliest police violence since apartheid ended (see Newswire). Massive discontent has spread to two other important platinum mines. Amplats, the world’s largest platinum producer that is 80% owned by Anglo American, disclosed it had received demands for pay rises at its Thembelani mine. Meanwhile, another miner, Royal Bafokeng, said about 500 people were protesting outside its Rasimone mine, and preventing others from going to work. It seems likely that the protests will spread from the platinum sector, to other sectors, including the gold mining sector.
The conditions are dramatically different from the first two QE initiatives in regards to Pre-Conditions or available flexibility to undertake an asset raising initiative.
Last week we pointed out the cognitive dissonance between the 'belief' that advanced economies are gradually (and rightly) deleveraging - as central banks maintain the status quo by kicking the can - and the reality of no actual deleveraging. Today, we look at the global corporate re-leveraging cycle that, as UBS notes, has struggled to gain traction after the initial recovery phase following the 2008/9 crisis. The corporate re-leveraging process is broadly defined as trends in the use of cash as well as more active capital structure dynamics - a cycle that has ebbed and flowed over the last three years. In 2011 we witnessed some encouraging trends; but with the rolling crisis in Europe and continued uncertainty about the overall strength of the global economy, it’s probably no surprise we’re seeing an apparent stalling out of the re-leveraging cycle. Returns on capital are set to decline this year - the first time since before the financial crisis as RoE is being squeezed from all sides: asset turns, profit margins, and leverage.
"Only a crisis, real or perceived produces real change."
Even the strong falter. As the dynamics within this global economy become more severe, the strengthening local economies find it more difficult to remain on course. The situation in Australia is that the country’s currency appears to be overvalued which impedes their ability to compete in the global market place.
When financialization fails, the consumerist economy dies. This is what is happening in Greece, and is starting to happen in Spain and Italy. The central banks and Central States are attempting resuscitation by issuing credit that is freed from the constraints of collateral. The basic idea here is that if credit based on collateral has failed, then let's replace it with credit backed by phantom assets, i.e. illusory collateral. In essence, the financialization system has shifted to the realm of fantasy, where we (taxpayers, people who took out student loans, homeowners continuing to make payments on underwater mortgages, etc.) are paying very real interest on illusory debt backed by nothing. Once this flimsy con unravels, the credibility of all institutions that participated in the con will be irrevocably destroyed. This includes the European Central Bank (ECB), the Federal Reserve, the E.U., "too big to fail" banks, and so on down the financialization line of dominoes. Once credit ceases to expand, asset bubbles pop and consumerism grinds to a halt
- 'Pussy Riot' band members found guilty (Al Jazeera)
- Merkel Says Germany Backs Draghi’s ECB Aid Conditionality (Bloomberg)
- Now, the reverse psychology: Hilsenrath: Fed 'Hawks' Weigh In Against More Action (WSJ)
- London Firings Seen Surging As Finance Firms Add NY Jobs (Bloomberg)
- Facebook Second-Worst IPO Performer After Share Lock-Up (Bloomberg)
- Kocherlakota Says FOMC Goes Too Far With 2014 Rate Pledge (Bloomberg)
- China Said to Order Action by Banks as Developer Loans Sour (Bloomberg)
- Australian Treasury Dismisses AUD Intervention Calls (Dow Jones)
- Brevan Howard Loses Third Founder As Rokos Said To Leave (Bloomberg)
- Japan eyes end to decades long deflation (Reuters)... for 30 years now
- Ex-Morgan Stanley Executive Gets Nine Months in China Case (Bloomberg)
Margin Hiker-In-Chief Awakes: White House "Dusting Off" Plans For Strategic Petroleum Reserve ReleaseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/16/2012 13:34 -0500
It must be election season because moment ago Reuters just reported that the White House is "dusting off old plans on a potential SPR release as prices rise" according to a source with knowledge of the situation. This too, just like the earlier Corzine news, should not be a surprise. Obama made it expressly clear that with the election fast approaching, he would either force the CME to hike margins, which is also coming, or would proceed with the far dumber step of an SPR release, just so China can full up its own strategic release faster and at a lower cost. The spun version, of course, has to do with Iran, and the fear of "undermining" Iran sanction success. The same sanctions which the US granted key Iran client China a compliance waiver...