Gross Domestic Product
There is no reason to assume that this time will be different. These boom-bust sequences will continue until the economy is structurally undermined to such an extent that monetary intervention cannot even create the illusory prosperity of a capital-consuming boom anymore. The bankers applauding Draghi’s actions today will come to rue them tomorrow.
It’s already ‘later’. We're living through the period of time when that dawning recognition of limits will finally burst over the horizon, shining a very bright spotlight on a frightening number of our global society's unsustainable practices. The most urgent of them all, as far as everyone reading this is concerned, is the very uncomfortable fact that it is our system of money that is most likely to break first and hardest because its very design demands endless growth, without which collapse ensues. Central bank credibility (as fictitious as that may be) is essential to maintaining the current narrative, BUT central banks are rapidly losing their credibility (which should have happened simply via deductive reasoning a long time ago) and the strains are showing. When credibility in central bank omnipotence snaps, buckle up. Risk will get re-priced, markets will fall apart, losses will mount, and politicians will seek someone (anyone, dear God, but them) to blame.
Breaking the stranglehold of vested interests is the essential step to rebuilding an economy that isn't totally dependent on manipulated money and statistics.
China's broad stock indices were flip-flopping between gains and losses from the open (although securities firms continued to get monkey-hammered on more tightening by regulators) heading into the avalanche of data that hit at 2100ET. GDP growth - which was estimated at sub-7% based on real-time hard-date - was released/leaked 10mins early - rising 7.3% YoY in Q4 (just beating expectations of a 7.2% rise) but grew only 1.5% QoQ (missing the 1.7% expectation). Then came Retail Sales - beating by the most since May 2014 with a 11.9% YoY gain (against 11.7% expectations). Industrial Production grew at 7.9% YoY (beating expectations of 7.4% by the most since July 2013). Of course the fact that Chinese GDP growth of 7.4% YoY was the weakest since 1990 was entirely ignored as the immediate reaction was Yuan and Chinese equity strength.
The bad news is that as we also speculated, and as Greek officials tried to cover up as usual, the Greeks have resumed doing what they do best any time their country is facing a grand crisis: walking to the bank and withdrawing what little deposits they have left. Or rather running to the bank. Which brings us back to the topic of the Emergency Liquidity Assistnace, which as Kathimerini reported moments ago, at least two Greek systemic banks have reportedly resorted to, indicating that the liquidity situation in Greece is once again as dire as it was in the depth of the European collapse.
Just 13 short months ago - two months before then President Yanukovich was ousted - Russia lent Ukraine $3 billion (by buying their Eurobonds). As Reuters reports, the terms of that loan included a condition that Ukraine's total state debt should not exceed 60% of its GDP. As of last month, based on Moody's estimates, Ukraine has violated that condition with a debt-to-GDP of 72% (and will likely rise to 85% of GDP in 2015).. and so, according to Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov, "Russia has the right to demand early return of this loan." With European aid 'contingent on major reforms' and possibly taking up to 1 year, this leaves the good old IMF (i.e. the US and European taxpayer) to bridge Ukraine's 'gap' and ironically bailout Russia.
- Global Debt Crisis II – Total Global Debt to GDP Ratio Over 300% - Risk of Bail-Ins in 2015 and Beyond - Currency and Gold Wars - $1 Quadrillion “Weapons of Mass Destruction” Derivatives - Cold War II and New World Order as China and Russia Flex Geopolitical Muscles - Enter The Dragon – Paradigm Shift of China Gold Demand - Forecast 2015: None. Forecast 2020: Gold $2,500/oz and Silver $150/oz
The mainstream media narrative - that Germany is ready and prepared for Grexit and that it is no longer a threat to financial stability - is all hype, according to German opposition finance minister Joachim Poss. As Bloomberg reports, all that is mostly posturing for an electorate tired of the aid and angst Greece has demanded since 2010. Simply put, the potential for Euro instability from a Grexit is a detriment to Germany's massive benefits from the single currency - "Europe can’t afford a Greek exit," Poss concludes, complacency by Merkel is "playing with fire."
- French policewoman killed in shoot-out, hunt deepens for militant killers (Reuters)
- The Bold Charlie Hebdo Covers the Satirical Magazine Was Not Afraid to Run (BBG)
- Evans Says Fed Shouldn’t Rush Rate Rise as Inflation Undershoots (BBG)
- Oil holds above $51 as traders search for floor (Reuters)
- Gross Helps Fuel New Fund With His Own Cash (WSJ)
- ECB warns Greek funding access hinges on keeping bailout (Reuters)
- Greece Jolts QE Juggernaut as ECB Gauges Deflation Risk (BBG)
- Analysts Say There's No Telling How Low Oil Prices Could Go (BBG)
- Scientists find antibiotic that kills bugs without resistance (Reuters)
While the predictions of Blackstone's Byron Wien (born in 1933) have been all over the place in the last few years, they nevertheless provide some color on just what the mainstream does not believe... This is the 30th year Byron has given his views on a number of economic, financial market and political surprises for the coming year. From "our luck running out on cyberterrorism" to "shock and awe no longer working in Japan", Wien's non-predictions range from The Fed to China and from Oil to Hillary Clinton...
Britain has inched out France as the world's fifth-largest economy thanks to what The Telegraph calls "a shake-up" of the national accounts this summer. UK gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to total $2.828 trillion (£1.816 trillion) this year, compared with French GDP of $2.827 trillion, as The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said Britain's acceleration was boosted by the inclusion of sex and drugs to UK growth (as part of new pan-European accounting standards). Official estimates show prostitution added about £5.7bn to the UK economy in 2013, while illegal drugs were worth about £6.62bn. One question - how did they estimate it?
Fast forward to today when we are about to learn that Newton's third law of Keynesian economics states that every boom, has an equal and opposite bust. Which brings us to Texas, the one state that more than any other, has benefited over the past 5 years from the Shale miracle. And now with crude sinking by the day, it is time to unwind all those gains, and give back all those jobs. Did we mention: highly compensated, very well-paying jobs, not the restaurant, clerical, waiter, retail, part-time minimum-wage jobs the "recovery" has been flooded with. Here is JPM's Michael Feroli explaining why Houston suddenly has a very big problem.
The drop in oil prices is certain to cause some incremental unemployment in the U.S. energy industry; the question is simply how much and what that means for the American economy as a whole.
Are much lower oil prices good news for the U.S. economy? Only if you like collapsing capital expenditures, rising unemployment and a potential financial implosion on Wall Street.
Europe's banks are vulnerable in 2015 due to weak macroeconomic conditions, unfinished regulatory hurdles and the risk of bail-ins according to credit rating agencies ... Oh what a tangled web, we weave ...