"China will exert a negative influence on the rest of the world by reinforcing the deflationary tendencies that are already prevalent. China is responsible for a larger share of the world economy than ever before and the problems it faces have never been more intractable...the EU is on the verge of collapse. The Greek crisis taught the European authorities the art of kicking the can down the road, although it would be more accurate to describe it as kicking a ball uphill so that it keeps rolling back down. The EU now is confronted with not one but five or six crises at the same time."
The Standard and Poor’s rating agency, notorious for its controversial assessments, has this time bashed Poland in the wake of the anti-Polish frenzy whipped up by the European media. To be more precise, Poland was assailed by a German S&P analyst who lowered Poland’s rating from A- to BBB+, despite the economic data that by no means warrant such an evaluation.
How overoptimistic are Wall Street forecasts year in and year out? On average, forecasts were wildly bullish, even with the gains in recent years with results no better than a coin toss as to whether the S&P came in above or below the average forecast. Nonetheless, every year had one thing in common: Not once did a consensus predict a down year.
The debt valuation adjustment, or DVA, will no longer be included in net income, according to revisions to the fair-value measurement standard published by the Financial Accounting Standards Board Tuesday. The DVA rule increased net income when a bank’s bonds tanked, on the theory that the firm could buy back its bonds at a lower price and benefit from the decline in value.
In the end, the Fed did not surprise, and raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade in a widely telegraphed move while signaling that the pace of subsequent increases will be “gradual” and in line with previous projections. The Federal Open Market Committee unanimously voted to set the new target range for the federal funds rate at 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, up from zero to 0.25 percent.
In a supreme twist of irony, Bear Stearns is back - maybe not the firm itself - but the people who were in charge of its distressed and junk bond trading group, and just like the summer of 2007, it is an ex "Bear"-run hedge fund that was the first to gate, just as the credit cycle is turning and the default cycle has begun, as we explained last week, just one day before everyone's attention finally focused on junk debt.
George Orwell explained the cynical mechanism of Perpetual War in "1984" as a means to control the masses through terror and scarcity. Western Civilization has been embroiled in various continuous wars since Hitler invaded Poland. The Western public has passively abided Perpetual War, not because of scarcity, but because of consumer abundance, which was developed by virtually anonymous men like Edward Bernays in the 1920s. This is how men in the shadows transformed the American citizen into the American consumer, thus turning the public into a docile, unwitting accomplice in the mayhem which envelops the globe which so enriches those on high.
Overnight Hillary Clinton, in her latest populist push to present herself as "one of the people" wrote a NYT op-ed explaining "How I'd Rein In Wall Street", we were wondering if it would include draining Wall Street balance sheets with mandatory and far greater donations to her campaign by Wall Street firms - a strategy that may actually work as it hits banks where it hurts the most: their money. To our disappointment, this was not included.
The global Central Banks have literally bet the financial system that their theories will work. They haven’t. All they’ve done is set the stage for an even worse crisis in which entire countries will go bankrupt.
The fact of the matter is that despite public opinion, there are problems that are so big that the Central Banks cannot fix them. We’ve seen this in Switzerland and China and now in Europe. It will be spreading to other countries in the near future.
The cries for going totally crazy are growing louder... the lunatics are running the asylum. One shouldn’t underestimate what they are capable of. The only consolation is that the day will come when the monetary cranks will be discredited again (for the umpteenth time). Thereafter it will presumably take a few decades before these ideas will rear their head again (like an especially sturdy weed, the idea that inflationism can promote prosperity seems nigh ineradicable in the long term – it always rises from the ashes again). The bad news is that many of us will probably still be around when the bill for these idiocies will be presented.
Most investors don’t take kindly to change. “The market” chooses to stay in the here and now; each human component vibrant and alert while the whole is passive and inert…like a herd of wildebeests, protected by its mass and collective wisdom that each one of them is statistically safe from lions as long as they stay together.