Global Economy

4 Years Later, Fed Critics Explain Why Central Planning Still Doesn't Work

On Nov. 15, 2010, a letter signed by academics, economists and money managers warned that the Federal Reserve's strategy of buying bonds and other securities to reduce interest rates risked "currency debasement and inflation" and could "distort financial markets." As Bloomberg reports, they also said it wouldn't achieve the Fed's objective of promoting employment. Four years later, many members of the group, which includes Seth Klarman of Baupost Group LLC and billionaire Paul Singer of Elliott Management Corp., explain why they stand by the letter's content...

"When Bad News Becomes Bad News" - Albert Edwards Presents His "Second Most Imporant Chart To Investors"

"amid the inevitable impending global economic and financial carnage, when people, like Queen Elizabeth ask, as she did in November 2008, why no-one saw this coming, tell them that many did. But just like in 2006, before the Great Recession, investors once again chose to tilt their ears towards the reassuring siren songs of the Central Bankers and away from the increasingly hysterical ramblings of the perma-bears and doomsayers."

Oil, Empire And Playing The Great Game

The game is many boards deep. Nobody has god-like powers, every player makes mistakes and miscalculations. The advantages and arrangements are all contingent and temporary; those with the most flexibility and the deepest spectrum of assets will eventually increase their influence at the expense of those with weaker hands and those who fail to respond promptly and decisively to new configurations on the multiple boards in play.

Europe On Triple-Dip Alert After German Manufacturing Posts First Contraction In 15 Months

If the European triple-dip alert was barely glowing a muted red until this morning, then following the latest German PMI data, which tumbled to 49.9 from 50.3, below the 50.3 consensus, and is the first contractionary print in 15 months, then they are now screaming a bright burgundy. And while the European recession has now clearly made its way to the core, it wasn't just Germany: French PMI continued to be solidly in a contracting phase, at 48.8, unchanged from the previous month, the overall European Manufacturing PMI also missed and declined, dropping from a flash reading 50.5 to only 50.3, which was a 14 month low, with the average PMI reading for Q3 the lowest since a year ago, and as MarkIt summarized, "Eurozone manufacturing edges closer to stagnation." Have no fear, though, Mario Draghi and his monetization of Greek Junk Bonds will fix everything!

Is the Stock Market Top In?

The pool of greater fools willing and able to buy assets at higher prices with leveraged free money has been drained by six years of credit/risk expansion. Those who believe the stock market can continue rising despite the end of the Fed's "free money for financiers" programs are implicitly claiming that the pool of greater fools is still filled to the brim. Simply put, speculating with leveraged free money and extending credit to marginal borrowers is not sustainable or productive, and the stock market seems poised to reflect these three dynamics...

Summarizing The "Long Dollar Trade" In One Chart

With the USD experiencing its longest stretch of weekly gains since Bretton Woods, it appears, as SocGen notes, that recent currency movements have triggered nostalgia of the pre-crisis world when dollar strength was synonymous with a prosperous global economy. However, given the extreme positioning and potential for policy-maker complacency, SocGen warns the paradox is thus that a strong dollar tantrum could be a more worrying scenario than a Fed tightening tantrum.

The Oil Head-Fake: The Illusion that Lower Oil Prices Are Positive

The essence of the Oil Head-Fake Dynamic is the inevitable drop in oil price resulting from a sharp decline in demand (i.e. global recession) will trigger disruption of the global oil supply chain that will eventually push prices higher than most currently think possible.

Can The US Economy Handle A Meaningful Downturn In Financial Asset Prices?

The key question now is “Can the U.S./global economy handle a meaningful downturn in financial asset prices?” The short answer is that it may not have a choice. The Federal Reserve has done what it can to juice the American economy and has the balance sheet to prove it. Central banks, for all their power, do not control long term capital allocation or corporate hiring practices.  Fed Funds have been below 2% for six years.  If the U.S. economy can’t continue to grow in 2015 as the Federal Reserve inches rates higher, there are clearly larger issues at play.  And those private sector problems will need private sector solutions. 

New Global Crisis Imminent Due To “Poisonous Combination Of Record Debt And Slowing Growth", CEPR Report Warns

A “poisonous combination” of record debt and slowing growth suggest the global economy could be heading for another crisis, a hard-hitting report will warn on Monday. It warns of a “poisonous combination of high and rising global debt and slowing nominal GDP [gross domestic product], driven by both slowing real growth and falling inflation”. The total burden of world debt, private and public, has risen from 160 per cent of national income in 2001 to almost 200 per cent after the crisis struck in 2009 and 215 per cent in 2013. “Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to delever and the global debt to GDP ratio is still growing, breaking new highs,” the report said. Luigi Buttiglione, one of the report’s authors and head of global strategy at hedge fund Brevan Howard, said: “Over my career I have seen many so-called miracle economies – Italy in the 1960s, Japan, the Asian tigers, Ireland, Spain and now perhaps China – and they all ended after a build-up of debt.”

"Hope Is Not Good Policy" - Saxo Bank Warns The Entire World Is Headed For A Minsky Moment

We actually to believe that the Federal Reserve can lift the entire front-end of the curve from 0-1% (current rates out to three years) to 2-4% over the next two years without adding massive further stress onto the deficit, and only adding to the debt? Servicing 2% interest when growth is 2% means you are doing worse than standing in place if you also have a budget deficit. Whatever the timing, the US, China and Europe are all headed for another Minsky moment: the point in debt inflation where the cash generated by assets is insufficient to service the debt taken on to acquire the asset. Productivity growth in the US last year was +0.36%. The real growth per capita was about 1.5%.

Goldman: "Some European Economies Already Qualify As A Japanese-Style Stagnation"

For the longest time anyone suggesting that Europe's economic collapse was nothing short of a deflationary collapse (which would only be remedied with the kind of a money paradopping response that Japan is currently experiment with and where, for example, prices of TVs are rising at a 10% clip courtesy of the BOJ before prices rise even more) aka a "Japan 2.0" event, was widely mocked by the very serious economist establishment, and every uptick in the EuroSTOXX was heralded by the drama majors posing as financial analysts as the incontrovertible sign the European recovery has finally arrived. Well, they were wrong, and Europe is now facing if not already deep in a triple-dip recession. Which also explains why now it is up to the ECB to do all those failed things that the BOJ did before the Fed convinced it it needs to do even more of those things that failed the first time around, just so the super rich can get even richer in the shortest time possible. So we were a little surprised when none other than Goldman Sachs today diverged with the ranks of the very serious economists and the drama major pundits, and declared that "recent trends in some European economies already qualify as a Japanese-style stagnation."

Oops.