The characteristic feeling of the post-2008 world has been one of anxiety. Occasionally, that anxiety breaks out into fear as it did in the last two weeks when stock markets around the world swooned and middle class and wealthy investors had a sudden visitation from Pan, the god from whose name we get the word "panic." Pan's appearance is yet another reminder that the relative stability of the globe from the end of World War II right up until 2008 is over. We are in uncharted waters. The relentless, if zigzag, rise in financial markets for the past 150 years has been sustained by cheap fossil fuels and a benign climate. We cannot count on either from here on out...
This nation has become a land where character and integrity are secondary to profits for the few and self serving interests of the powerful. And as we are seeing already for the third time in this millennium’s infancy, stability and prosperity can be but short lived for even the highest paid CEO’s in such a world.
News That Matters
Austrian Economics Is Now Equivalent To Terrorism Thanks To Latest Islamic State "Gold Standard" Propaganda ClipSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/30/2015 14:16 -0400
What better way to mute demands for a return to sound money and the gold standard, than by making them equivalent to jihadist terrorism? Why, there are none, which may explain the hilarious appearance of the "Islamic State's" latest 55-minutes pro gold standard YouTube clip, which is nothing but a crash course in Austrian economics.
Pentagon Goes Barbarian
It’s all emotional bullshit because what one hardly ever reads about from these Trumpeteer Marionettes is an actual discussion about Trump on the issues. It’s more important to squeeze out yet another orgasmic fountain of joy because he threw out some Univision reporter; “Oh, look! Isn’t zee Donald just Wunderbar!!” Screw that. So, let’s look at what The Donald believes... by his own words.
- Virginia TV journalists killed by suspect with 'powder keg' of anger (Reuters)
- Policeman shot to death and three women stabbed, one fatally, in Louisiana (Reuters)
- China Intervened Today to Shore Up Stocks Ahead of Military Parade (Reuters)
- Margin Calls Bite Investors, Banks (WSJ)
- "Computer glitch" is preventing dozens of mutual funds, ETFs from promptly pricing their securities (WSJ)
- Oil prices rise more than 4 percent as equities rally (Reuters)
- Oil Industry Needs Half a Trillion Dollars to Endure Price Slump (BBG)
Just as the Roman Empire ended in the destruction of the Roman people, the American Empire will end in the destruction of the American people. Judging from histories, Roman citizens were superior to American citizens; yet, Rome failed. Americans shouldn’t expect any other outcome. The price to be paid for insouciance, self-satisfaction, and complicity is high.
Though the Saudi Arabian government publicly declared its tentative support for the widely-praised Iran nuclear deal last month, new reports reveal it is secretly funding propaganda efforts to undermine it. A new group called the American Security Initiative has spent over $6 million on advertisements criticizing the deal — using money supplied by the Saudi monarchy.
What we’ve been experiencing in markets is the plain and simple fear that always accompanies a broken story. The human reaction to a broken story is an emotional response akin to a sudden loss of faith. It’s a muted form of what Stephen King defined as Terror … the sudden realization that the helpful moorings you took for granted are actually not supporting you at all, but are at best absent and at worst have been replaced by invisible forces with ill intent. The antidote to Terror? Call the boogeyman by his proper name. It’s the end of the China growth story, one of the most powerful investment Narratives of the past 20 years. And that’s very painful, as the end of something big and powerful always is.
"It is an old saying in commodities that the best cure for low prices is low prices. Market participants are now asking how much further prices need to fall and how long they need to stay there to bring supply and demand back in to balance and halt the price declines across a broad swathe of different raw materials markets. The fear is that just as the upside of the supercycle brought an unprecedented and long period of historical price highs, the plunge to the downside is shaping up to be equally dramatic and may yet have a way to run."
Over the weeks, months, and years ahead we’ll begin to understand more about the fallout from the death of the petrodollar and nowhere is it likely to be more apparent than in Saudi Arabia where widening fiscal and current account deficits have forced the Saudis to tap the bond market to mitigate the FX drawdown that's fueling speculation about the viability of the dollar peg. As Bloomberg reports, the current situation mirrors a "very scary moment" in Saudi Arabia’s history.
Last week, in the global currency war’s latest escalation, Kazakhstan instituted a free float for the tenge causing the currency to immediately plunge by some 25%. The rationale behind the move was clear enough. What might not be as clear is how recent events in developing economy FX markets stem from a seismic shift we began discussing late last year - namely, the death of the petrodollar system which has served to underwrite decades of dollar dominance and was, until recently, a fixture of the post-war global economic order.
OPEC next gathers December 4 in Vienna, just over a year since Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi announced at the previous OPEC winter meeting the Saudi decision to let the oil market determine oil prices rather than to continue Saudi Arabia’s role of guarantor of $100+/bbl oil. Despite the intense financial and economic pain this decision has inflicted on Saudi Arabia, its fellow OPEC members, and other oil producers, the Saudis have given no indication they plan to alter course. Given the Saudi decision’s positive impact on their and their Gulf Arab allies’ relative position within OPEC and its negative impact on OPEC outsiders, it is possible, perhaps even likely, the Saudis will face an OPEC outsider revolt at the December 4 OPEC meeting.. with three possible outcomes - Reconociliation, Separation, or Divorce.
In the Western world insouciance rules governments as well as peoples, and most likely also everywhere else in the world. It remains to be seen whether Russia and China have any clearer grasp of the reality that confronts them.