The Fed would have needed to hike rates by 800 bps in the wake of the dot-com collapse in order to prevent the housing bubble. That would have purged the system and gradually, the FOMC could have eased by around 300 bps over the next four years. That policy course would have prevented the speculative bubble that brought capital markets the world over to their knees in 2008. And why didn’t the Fed do this? Because "such a large increase in interest rates would have depressed output more than the Great Recession did." In other words, thanks to Alan Greenspan, the US economy cannot function under a normalized monetary policy regime.
Both bubbles (rents and housing) are vulnerable to popping. The real test of valuation is: what's it worth in a recession, after all the easy money and the jobs that depended on easy money have vanished?
Three months ago, Dan Price had an idea. He would raise the pay floor at his Seatlle-based payments processing company and become a rebel hero to the 120 people who worked for him. This is the story of how one man's unwitting crusade against the disappearance of the American Middle Class went horribly awry.
It is absolutely normal for employers to completely miss the signs of impending doom. The 2007 extreme occurred just before the carnage of mass layoffs that was to begin a couple of months later. Employers were still clueless that the end of the housing bubble would have devastating effects. If they were clueless then, they are in an advanced state of delirium and delusion now. The devastating 1973-74 bear market, which cut the value of stocks by 50%, was in its early stages. This was an early example of employers being late to the funeral. Similar employer hoarding of workers has been associated with bubbles in the more recent past and has led to massive retrenchment, usually within 18 months or so.
As China Admits It Lied About Its Local Debt Levels, Local Billionaires Are Quietly Liquidating Their AssetsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/02/2015 13:26 -0400
Overnight something unexpected happened: Sheng Songcheng, the director of the statistics division of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), was quoted by the National Business Daily on Saturday whereby he essentially admitted China had been lying about not only its local debt exposure but the level of NPLs across the economy. The punchline: Sheng warned about the risks of local government debt, saying that 2 trillion yuan in bond swaps may not be able to fully cover maturing debt, according to the report. What he really said, as paraphrased by Bloomberg, is that "local govt's tended to not report all their debts when audited in June 2013, thus the 2 trillion yuan debt swap plan arranged this year may not cover all debts due, Sheng cited as saying."
To get a sense of the complete devastation in the world of commodities, consider the curious case of Australia's Isaac Plans coking coal mine, which was valued at $630 million in 2011. It sold on Thursday for $1. it gets worse: based on data from Citi Research, 90% of all M&A that miners did since 2007 has been written off. The commodity bubble has officially burst - feel free to thank China.
Just the tip of the iceberg?
During a short stay in Shanghai a few weeks ago on unrelated business, we had an opportunity to witness the ground zero of the China market frenzy at its peak and its nascent plunge. Chinese retail investors make up 85% of the market, a far cry from the U.S. where retail investors own less than 30% of equities and make up less than 2% of NYSE trading volume for listed firms in 2009. Combined with the highest trading frequencies in the world and one of the lowest educational levels, describing China’s market as immature is an understatement.
This is full on mania and with inventory building up, people are starting to crunch the numbers more carefully. I’m curious, how does someone justify a 144% increase on this place? As we all know, real estate is essentially a game of musical chairs, especially in boom and bust California. Someone is trying to cash in on a lottery ticket here for Venice.
Speculative bubbles that burst are often followed by an echo bubble, as many participants continue to believe that the crash was only a temporary setback. But, echo bubbles aren't followed by a third bubble.
This seemingly inexhaustible credit line is now drying up, with severely negative consequences for oil producers with debt that's coming due. The row of dominoes swaying unsteadily in these stiff winds won't take much to topple.
We love reading quotes from Hussman in 2000 and 2007. The air is getting pretty thin up here. A stock market driven by Google, Apple, Netflix and a few other tech darlings with no earnings does not make a market. Time is running out for the bulls. The same morons on CNBC ridiculed and scorned his facts then and they scorn and ridicule him now. Do we trust Jim Cramer and Steve Liesman or John Hussman? Guess.
Two sides separated by the money line.
The only way to sort the wheat (real collateral based on enterprise value) from the chaff (phantom collateral created by central banks' speculative bubbles) is for a crash to force price discovery and the cramdown of losses.