It's that time of year again. When hindsight is 20/20 and coulda/woulda/shoulda gives way to reality. With the US equity market barely able to keep its head above green water, a look around the world shows investors could have done a lot better... (or not)
In 2013, Maduro’s first year in office, the government released a Christmas carol praising the Socialist utopia's dictator. Last year, Maduro debuted a “socialist Barbie” that almost bankrupted stores forced to sell it after the government forced the price down to a tenth of its value. And this year, as AFP reports, "Christmas is dead, there is not enough money," according to one resident, noting there is no Christmas decor anywhere and people do not have enough money to buy presents. Some cannot even afford the basic goods needed to put together a traditional feast of roast pork and assorted sides.
On Monday, Zimbabwe announced that this small, economically devastated country would officially make the Chinese Yuan its legal tender as it seeks to increase trade with Beijing. In exchange for becoming not only a military but also financial colony of China, $40 million of its debts to Beijing would be canceled. China was delighted it cost it only a $40 million debt write off to acquire its first official African colony.
In an unexpected turn of events, the disappearance of not just synthetic but very physical dollars has hit one region much harder and much faster than we expected. Africa.
“To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious, but the stupid have an answer for everything.” ~Edward Abbey
When the 'Land of the Rising Sun' jumps into the abyss...
Danish border guards may confiscate gold, jewelry, diamonds, and other valuables from refugees as they enter the country (though wedding rings are now off limits). The Danish government’s excuse is that they need to confiscate assets from refugees in order to pay for the services they’re providing to those same refugees. Having armed men indiscriminately seize refugees’ personal belongings doesn’t strike me as the best representation of a free society. Not that this matters anymore.
At this point, many readers may be thinking to themselves that it can’t get any worse.
Hitler said often that the bigger the lie, the easier it would be [for the masses] to believe. This is no where more true than Forex.
Draghi’s Friday talk of a “no limit” ECB balance sheet must have Weidmann and responsible members of the ECB at their wits end. It’s the nature of monetary inflations that there’s always a need for more. Throughout history, it’s been ‘just one more round of ‘printing’’ or ‘just one more year and then we’ll rein things in’. But things spiral out of control – and there’s a lot of currency with a lot more zeros. It can end in hyperinflation, at least when monetary inflation is afflicting the real economy. Today’s strange variety is inflating securities market Bubbles. It will end with Bubbles bursting and confidence collapsing. Integral to the bursting Bubble thesis is that policymakers are losing control. Granted, such analysis has about zero credibility when markets are in melt-up mode. But perhaps the markets’ response to Draghi is a forewarning.
The very first major economic collapse in recorded history occurred in 218-202 BC when the Roman Empire experienced money troubles after the Second Punic War. As a result, bronze and silver currencies were devalued. As HowMuch.net depicts in the video below economic collapses date back thousands of years. While many countries today still feel the effects of the most recent Global Financial Crisis, it is important to note that economic troubles are not unique to the present-day, but rather date back to some of the oldest civilizations.
While hyperinflating Argentina has begun discussing a rise in the denominations of its banknotes, and South Africa has admitted defeat in the currency wars, it appears Kazakhstan's collapsing currency and crashing reserves has prompted action. Since allowing the Tenge to "free float" in August it has imploded (from 188 to 308 per USD) and so today The Kazakh Central Bank unveiled the new 20,000 Tenge banknote - double the highest denomination previously.
Apparently taking a page out of the Spanish government's playbook, Argentines in the Santa Cruz region were surprised yesterday afternoon when at least five bright yellow armored trucks accompanied by heavily armed police paraded through the city. Just weeks after Kirchner's Peroniost government lost the election, and coming after five office fires (destroying banking and economic files from the current regime), local press reports the trucks loaded up with $130 million of banknotes at the airport and driven to banks in the region where outgoing President Kirchner's sister-in-law is governor. Amid comments by the central bank that there are no reserves left, and ongoing discussions of larger banknote denominations and (implied 50% devaluations), one could only speculate where the officially "business-as-usual" transfer of $100s of millions of banknotes will end up.
"There are more people in the world who need a currency they can trust, than there are people in the world who can trust their currency."
Price for Thanksgiving dinner pre-Fed: $0.50
Price for Thanksgiving dinner 102 years after establishement of the Fed: $50