There’s no question that the world economy has been shaky at best since the crash of 2008. Yet, politicians, central banks, et al., have, since then, regularly announced that “things are picking up.” One year, we hear an announcement of “green shoots.” The next year, we hear an announcement of “shovel-ready jobs.” And yet, year after year, we witness the continued economic slump. Few dare call it a depression, but, if a depression can be defined as “a period of time in which most people’s standard of living drops significantly,” a depression it is.
There’s a specific sort of instability in the world today – a game theoretic instability – which means that it has an identifiable pattern and rhythm you can understand in order to improve your investment strategy. It’s the instability of the game of Chicken, and once you start looking for it, you will see it everywhere here in the Golden Age of the Central Banker. Greece vs. the Troika? Chicken. Western sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine? Chicken. OPEC vs. US energy producers? Chicken. ECB vs. the Swiss National Bank? Chicken. Fed monetary policy communications to markets? Chicken. Abenomics? Chicken. US policy towards China? Chicken. ISIS vs. the world? Chicken.
With the Fed's June FOMC statement in just over 7 hours and a Yellen press conference to follow shortly, one in which nobody expects the Fed will announces its first rate-hiking cycle in nine years despite repeated clues by Yellen that not only is there froth in the market but that the Fed has no dry powder to contain the next crisis when it emerges (even though a rate hike will catalyze the next crisis), traders have chosen to ignore the chatter from Greece which is getting worse by the hour, and unlike recent days, have bought risk overnight based on one simple technical: of the five press conferences in ten Fed meetings held by Yellen as Chairman, the S&P finished higher 80% of the time.
What happens if the Fed actually stop reinvesting TSY holdings after they reach lift-off? Net supply will on the private market will increase accordingly and market volatility will force the FOMC to reassess their fleeting exit strategy...again
When we parsed the newly released 2009 Fed transcripts yesterday we were too busy looking to uncover things like a previously unreported plan to create a bad bank to look for signs of central planner levity, but fortunately, the research department at Bloomberg was looking for the important stuff. Thanks to their efforts we have the official Fed Chuckle Count for 2009.
For six years, we’ve been told that the US economy is in recovery. This is a totally bogus narrative that was dreamt up by the Central Planners running the Fed. The US economy is a disaster and has been since 2009.
"This is why Putin is Public Enemy Number 1. It’s because he’s blocking the US pivot to Asia, strengthening anti-Washington coalitions, sabotaging US foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, creating institutions that rival the IMF and World Bank, transacting massive energy deals with critical US allies, increasing membership in an integrated, single-market Eurasian Economic Union, and attacking the structural foundation upon which the entire US empire rests, the dollar." Up to now, of course, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have taken the biggest hit from low oil prices; but what the Obama administration should be worried about is the second-order effects that will eventually show up...
Money is stored labor. Labor is part of human life. To devalue money is to debase life itself.
Under the imposition of StealthFlation, the Velocity of Money lies dormant while increasing Inflationary risks build below the surface.
For quite some time, we have been predicting that the Russians and Chinese will, at some point, bring an end to the petrodollar system that has virtually guaranteed the US the position of having its currency be the world's default currency. This position has allowed the US, in recent decades, to go on a borrowing and currency-printing spree, the likes of which the world has never seen. But now, the US is broke, and its stature as the biggest boy has begun to wane. The other kids in the schoolyard are playing smart, whilst the US is still playing tough... and it's no longer working... The US is at war with China and Russia. It's an undeclared war, and it's monetary warfare, not military warfare.
Ghandi was once asked, "What do you think about Western Civilization?" to which he famously replied "I think it's a good idea." He may as well have been talking about free market capitalism. Capital in the 21st Century has hit the world like a new teen idol sensation. Everybody is drinking the Kool-Aid and it's being held up as the most important book ever written on the subject of how runaway capitalism leads to wealth inequality. Paul Krugman of course, loves it. As does every head of state and political hack in the (formerly) free world. So let's do something different here and accept a core premise of Capital, and say that wealth inequality is increasing, and that it's a bad thing. Where the point is completely missed is in what causes it (ostensibly "free market capitalism") and what to do about it (increase government control, induce more inflation and raise taxes). The point of this essay is to assert that it is not unchecked capital or runaway free markets that cause increasing wealth inequality, but rather that the underlying monetary system itself is hard-coded by an inner temple of ruling elites in a way which creates that inequality.
it is suddenly not fun being a Fed president (or Chairmanwoman) these days: with yesterday's 2.1% CPI print, the YoY rate has now increased for four consecutive months and is above the Fed's target. Concurrently, the unemployment rate has also dipped well below the Fed’s previous 6.5% threshold guidance, in other words the Fed has now met both its mandates as set down previously. There have also been fairly unambiguous comments from the Fed’s Bullard suggesting that this is the closest the Fed has been to fulfilling its mandates in many years. Finally, adding to the "concerns" that the Fed may surprise everyone were BOE Carney’s comments last week that a hike “could happen sooner than the market currently expect." In short: continued QE here, without a taper acceleration, merely affirms that all the Fed is after is reflating the stock market, and such trivial considerations as employment and inflation are merely secondary to the Fed. Which, of course, we know - all is secondary to the wealth effect, i.e., making the rich, richer. But it is one thing for tinfoil hat sites to expose the truth, it is something else entirely when it is revealed to the entire world.
Q1 GDP growth in the US was simply abysmal - its worst in 3 years - but that does not matter as hope springs eternal that Spring is sprung and it's all green shoots from here. However... that's not what we are seeing in personal spending data (biggest miss in over 4 years in April) and now Bloomberg's Orange Book which implicitly tracks CEO Confidence via their comments has dropped back to the year's lows - not what we are being told by the talking-heads who promulgate the hockey-stick faith in our central planners.
Today's FOMC announcement may be one of the more anticlimatic (if long-winded) in a long time: consensus largely expects the taper to continue by another $10 billion, and the Fed will, erroneously, suggest that the economy is growing at a "modest" pace (if only one ignores such things as a complete collapse in US GDP growth due to harsh weather: who knew that all it takes to stop a $17 trillion juggernaut economy was cold winter weather), but it doesn't mean there can't be surprises. Courtesy of Bloomberg, here is a list of the key things to look for in today's statement.
- Headline of the day goes to... Cold weather seen temporarily slowing U.S. economy (Reuters)
- Americans Want to Pull Back From World Stage, Poll Finds (WSJ)
- U.S. Plans to Charge BNP Over Sanctions (WSJ)
- What about Jay Carney: Putin Threat to Retaliate for Sanctions Carries Risks (BBG)
- Fed expected to take further step toward ending bond buying (Reuters)
- A Fed-Watcher’s Guide to FOMC Day: Steady Taper, Green Shoots (BBG)
- Alstom accepts 10 billion euro GE bid for its energy unit (Reuters)
- BOJ projects inflation exceeding 2 percent, keeps bullish view intact (Reuters)