"Unless the root causes of popular discontent are addressed (uneven growth, pockets of high unemployment and weak wage growth), the protest vote is unlikely to go away. In fact, it may well grow."
It didn't take much to fizzle Friday's Japan NIRP-driven euphoria, when first ugly Chinese manufacturing (and service) PMI data reminded the world just what the bull in the China shop is leading to a 1.8% Shanghai drop on the first day of February. Then it was about oil once more when Goldman itself said not to expect any crude production cuts in the near future. Finally throw in some very cautious words by the sellside what Japan's act of NIRP desperation means, and it becomes clear why stocks on both sides of the pond are down, why crude is not far behind, and why gold continues to rise.
The writing has been on the wall since the S&P "junking" in September, and now Fitch has jumped on the bandwagon, cutting Brazil to BB+, outlook negative.
"For those who think Fed hikes are “good” for economic confidence, it would also be odd for the Fed to suggest, implicitly via a lowering of the dots that things were not quite so rosy. On balance the Fed therefore looks set for effectively “insisting” on their median dots – closer to a hawkish rather than dovish hike."
The real "data" that The Fed is "dependent" on...
Over the last few months, in a prime example of currency failure and euro-defenders' narratives, Finland has been sliding deeper into depression. Almost 7 years into the the current global expansion, Finland's GDP is 6pc below its previous peak. As The Telegraph reports, this is a deeper and more protracted slump than the post-Soviet crash of the early 1990s, or the Great Depression of the 1930s. And so, having tried it all, Finnish authorities are preparing to unleash "helicopter money" to save their nation by giving every citizen a tax-free payout of around $900 each month!
The recent attacks in Paris evoke strong emotions for many people, but investors need to look through those feelings to the short, medium, and long-term implications. We believe Paris may mark an important turning point for Europe and the global business cycle... but for different reasons than you may think. There is a chance that the slow disintegration of Europe will drive more capital onto US shores, boosting valuations and fueling a blow-off top in the US equity market; but beware global shocks and take any rally as a chance to get defensive.
It just keeps getting worse, and worse, and worse...
And how you will be paying for her 'exit party' bill...
Real Estate is a highly “illiquid” asset class ‘most of the time’. It always has been and always will be. However, some times, such as now - and from 2003 to 2007 as a prime example - when liquidity is flowing like water, Real Estate’s illiquidity is masked. Speculators can do no wrong. Simply having access to short-term or mortgage capital to purchase Real Estate guaranties a double-digit return. This continues until one day, suddenly, it doesn’t; and, the snap-back to the true, historical illiquid nature of the Real Estate sector happens suddenly and is amplified at first. This creates a snowball effect from which both house supply and illiquidity surge at the same time. Price then becomes the liquidity fulcrum and will drop, relentlessly ripping speculators faces off, until capital begins to view the asset class as a relative value once again.
While the US is waking up in anticipation of what is once again said to be the "most important nonfarm payrolls number" at least since the last most important such number, because anything 250,000 and above puts the June rate hike right back on the Fed calendar, while a collapse in this lagging indicator will be explained away with harsh rain showers in April, and send stocks soaring due to yet another delay in tightening expectations despite Yellen's outright warning of overvalued stocks, the UK has been up all night following a dramatic election, whose outcome has been largely the opposite of what the experts predicted, with Conservatives set to win an outright majority, resulting in embarrassment for Labor, the Liberal Democrats and the UKIP, both of which have already seen dramatic changes in their leadership, and moments ago both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage announced they would stand down as party leaders.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed today at 17,824... exactly 1 point higher than the close at the end of 2014 thanks to a sudden urgent need to sell VIX protection (because with tensions between EU and Greece at its highs, who would want any hedges into the weekend?) and bid the Dow straight up 20 points in the last minute... here's why..
"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...
"... If the unemployment rate were to edge up after reaching a trough in two years and the gap between U-6 and unemployment remains as wide as it is today – in excess of historical norms – the size of the program would be expected to reach roughly $3.3 trillion in 2024, $1.7 trillion more than in the base case." - TBAC
This may be excessively optimistic on my part, but there seems to be a slow change in the way the world thinks about reserve currencies. For a long time it was widely accepted that reserve currency status granted the provider of the currency substantial economic benefits. For much of my career I pretty much accepted the consensus, but as one starts to think more seriously about the components of the balance of payments, it is clear Keynes wad right in his call for a hybrid currency when he recognized that once the reserve currency was no longer constrained by gold convertibility, the world needed an alternative way to prevent destabilizing imbalances from developing. On the heels of Treasury Economist Kenneth Austin and former-Obama chief economist Jared Bernstein discussing the end of the USD as a reserve currency, Michael Pettis summarizes 10 reasons the USD's reserve status has become an 'exorbitant burden'.