Janet Yellen is very alarmed that some members of Congress want to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time since it was created. During testimony this week, she made “central bank independence” sound like it was the holy grail. Even though every other government function is debated politically in this country, Janet Yellen insists that what the Federal Reserve does is “too important” to be influenced by the American people. Does any other government agency ever dare to make that claim? If the Fed is doing everything correctly, why should Yellen be alarmed? What does she have to hide?
Revenue growth that has finally turned a historic corner, because while on the last day of 2014 there was still some hope that S&P500 sales will still grow even if at a very muted pace, as of Friday - for the first time since Lehman - full year revenue growth is now projected to turn negative!
If Greece gives in, Germany will have won, but its bully status will come to bite it in the face. European nations don’t accept bullying, and certainly not from Germany. It’ll be a Pyrrhic victory: the beginning of the end. If Greece however stands firm in its demands, it’s also curtains for the EU. If Greece leaves, it won’t leave alone. Only the third option, Germany caving to Greek demands, can save the EU. But Merkel and Schäuble have prepped their people to such an extent with the wasteful lazy Greeks narrative that they would have a hard time explaining why they want to give in. The EU may thus fall victim to its own propaganda
Today the financial system is even more leveraged than in 2007… backstopped by even less high quality collateral. And this time around, most industrialized sovereign nations themselves are bankrupt, meaning that when the bond bubble pops, the selling panic and liquidations will be even more extreme.
The NYT Exposes The Criminal Money-Laundering Underworld Supporting Manhattan's Luxury Housing BubbleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/07/2015 15:02 -0500
“We like the money,” said Raymond Baker, the president of Global Financial Integrity, a Washington nonprofit that tracks the illicit flow of money. “It’s that simple. We like the money that comes into our accounts, and we are not nearly as judgmental about it as we should be”... Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio program in 2013, shortly before leaving office: “If we could get every billionaire around the world to move here, it would be a godsend.”
The era of living off borrowed money is over in Greece, and the Greek people now have a choice: they can continue down the path of poverty by leaving their culture of corruption unchanged, or they can grasp the nettle and support a new culture based on transparency, fiscal prudence and strict adherence to the basic rules of monetary management.
Moments ago the number of central banks who have eased so far in 2015, most of them unexpeted, rose by one more from 15 to 16, when in addition to Singapore, Europe, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, India, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Peru, Albania, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, Russia and, most recently, Australia it was China's turn to do what so many banks had said was inevitable, even if meant backtracking on all its blustery talk about limiting bad debt expansion, and cut its reserve requirement ratio for bank by 0.5% effective Thursday, to boost liquidity and support the economy.
What ratings agency Fitch and the Bank of Canada had warned about has come to pass.
We won't go into the specific details of China's burst housing bubble, the shady underworld of its pyramid scheme wealth-management products, the fact that any hard asset in China is rehypothecated literally a countless number of times, the nuances of its deflating shadow banking system, or even the complexities of its alleged capital controls (alleged, because as a reminder, they only exist for the common folks - the really wealthy Chinese are naturally exempt from any capital flow constraints). We will point out something even more disturbing. The Offshore Yuan just hit a two-year low, reaching a level not seen since September 2012.
You've probably seen articles and adverts discussing how much money you'll need to "retire comfortably." The trick of course is the definition of comfortable. The general idea of comfortable (as I understand it) appears to be an income which enables the retiree to enjoy leisurely vacations on cruise ships, own a well-appointed RV for tooling around the countryside, and spend as much time on the golf links as he/she might want. Needless to say, Social Security isn't going to fund a comfortable retirement, unless the definition is watching TV with an box of kibble to snack on. By this definition of retiring comfortably, I reckon I should be able to retire at age 91--assuming I can work another 30 years and the creek don't rise.
Today's Brazilian economic data follows up quite well to our article from a month ago "Brazil's Economy Just Imploded" and as the earlier article on the crashing Brazilian Real hinted, things for the Brazilian economy how gone from imploding to, well, worse because not only did the twin fiscal and current account deficits rise even more, hitting a whopping 11% of GDP - the worst since August 1999, but its government debt soared to 63.4% in 2014, up from 56.7% a year ago, and the highest since at least 2006. In short - the entire economy is now on the verge of total collapse.
Amid the collapse in crude oil prices, the Norwegian central bank cut rates in December (after 1000 days on hold) and is likely to cut again as economic growth stalls. However, the country's financial regulator is warning falling interest rates risk pushing the Norwegian housing market beyond its breaking point into a "self-augmenting spiral." With prices up 8.1% YoY, and up 85% nationwide in the last decade, even Robert Shiller warned of Norway's housing bubble in 2012 - and since then household debt (and home prices) have surged. As Bloomberg reports, Morten Baltzersen, head of Norway’s Financial Supervisory Authority stressed "continued rapid growth in debt and house prices isn’t sustainable." Unintended consequences?
Forget rate hikes… an entire generation of investors and money managers (anyone under the age of 55) has been investing in an era in which risk has generally gotten cheaper and cheaper. What happens when the bond bubble bursts?
It’s terrifying how fast the whole Swiss yield curve sank under the waterline of zero. Now even the 15-year bond has negative interest. The franc has reached the end.
As we further showed, the bulk of foreign demand for New York's most expensive properties, originated in China, Russia and various other oligarch-controlled nations, where the impetus to launder illegally obtained hot money meant an impulse to buy US real estate sight unseen and virtually at any price. And all of it, of course, all cash. No mortgages. That onslaught of foreign oligarch demand is ending, and with it so is the bubble that luxurious New York real estate found itself in on the back of some $12 trillion in central bank liquidity created out of thin air in the past 6 years. Business Week cites Manhattan real estate agent Lisa Gustin who listed a four-bedroom Tribeca loft for $7.45 million in October, expecting a quick sale. Instead, she cut the price this month by $550,000. “I thought for sure a foreign buyer would come in"... They didn't.