The problem of reaching limits in a finite world manifests itself in an unexpected way: slowing wage growth for non-elite workers. Lower wages mean that these workers become less able to afford the output of the system. These problems first lead to commodity oversupply and very low commodity prices. Eventually these problems lead to falling asset prices and widespread debt defaults. These problems are the opposite of what many expect, namely oil shortages and high prices. This strange situation exists because the economy is a networked system. Feedback loops in a networked system don’t necessarily work in the way people expect.
The prospect that the leaders of our monetary politburo are about to be tarred and feathered by economic reality might be satisfying enough if it led to the repudiation of Keynesian central planning and a thorough housecleaning at the Fed. Unfortunately, it will also mean that tens of millions of retail investors and 401k holders will be taken to the slaughterhouse for the third time this century. And this time the Fed is out of dry powder, meaning retail investors will never recover as they did after 2002 and 2009.
Because we squandered our opportunity to correct our own problems, our problems shall be our legacy. It’s wretched how dumb we are in our greed to have everything right now in the cheapest way possible and how willing we are to force the debts of that consumption upon our grandchildren and to pretend that won’t hurt them. We live in economic denial.
So how do you grow household wealth by $18 trillion in the face of these dismal real world trends? In a word, with a printing press. But what happened today is that Draghi showed he is out of tricks and Yellen confessed she is out of excuses.Yes, this sucker is going down. And this time all the misguided economics professors turned central bankers in the world will be powerless to reverse the plunge.
The gap between real house prices and real earnings is even wider than it was in Housing Bubble 1. History (and common sense) suggest that housing prices will once again fall sharply until the black line of house prices is well below the red line of real earnings. To expect anything different is unrealistic and highly dangerous to one's financial well-being.
There is ample evidence suggesting that Millennials simply do not want the same things as their Taco Tuesday baby boomer parents. And many simply don’t want the McMansion aspiration since many are going to have small families. This is an interesting shift. Boomers are trying to off load larger crap shacks to an audience that is more interested in smaller more centrally accessible properties.
The most anticipated economic release over the weekend was the early glimpse into China's manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors via the two key PMI surveys released by China's National Bureau of Statistics, to get a sense if the slowdown across China is stabilizing or, as some have suggested, rebounding. It did not: overnight the NBS reported that the manufacturing PMI remained unchanged in October at 49.8 missing consensus estimates of a modest rebound to 50.0, its third consecutive month in contraction territory.
The Fed's confidence trick this week was, once again, the Keyser Soze gambit (via Beaudelaire)- "convincing the world of Yellen's hawkishness, when no such character trait exists." However, unlike the movies, stocks and FX markets have already seen through the con, leaving Fed Funds futures alone to believe the hype. As we noted previously, "The Fed Can't Raise Rates, But Must Pretend It Will," repeating its pre-meeting hawkishness to dovishness swing time and again in a "Groundhog Day" meets "Waiting For Godot"-like manner. Time is running out Janet, tick tock...
"House prices have decoupled most from local incomes in Hong Kong, London, Paris, Singapore, New York and Tokyo. Buying a 60-square-meter apartment exceeds the budget of most people who work even in the highly-skilled service sector. Loose monetary policy has prevented a normalization of housing markets and encouraged local bubble risks to grow"