Krugman is wrong. An economic boom, based on nothing but hot air (phony credit, with no real resources behind it), is fraudulent. It will never take us to real growth. Just the contrary. The best thing to do is to pop the bubble…and then pick up the pieces. Besides, it will pop whether we want it to or not. Heck, we believe in magic as much as the next guy. But the magic act is wearing a little thin. The smoke is dispersing. The rabbits have disappeared. All the glam and sparkle, the shock and awe, the claptrap and hokum – they’re all giving way to economic reality. We are beginning to see more clearly: the Fed’s theory is nothing but hot air.
If one adds up the Total Social Financing injected in the first quarter, one gets a stunning $1 trillion dollars in new credit, or $1,001,000,000,000 to be precise, shoved down China's economic throat. As shown on the chart below, this was an all time high in dollar terms, and puts to rest any naive suggestion that China may be pursuing "debt reform."
Good news is still bad news after all. After last night's China 6.7% GDP print which while the lowest since Q1 2009, was in line with expectations, coupled with beats in IP, Fixed Asset Investment and Retail Sales (on the back of $1 trillion in total financing in Q1) the sentiment this morning is that China has turned the corner (if only for the time being). And that's the problem, because while China was a good excuse for the Fed to interrupt its rate hike cycle as the biggest "global" threat, that is no longer the case if China has indeed resumed growing. As such Yellen no longer has a ready excuse to delay. This is precisely why futures are lower as of this moment, because suddenly the "scapegoat" narrative has evaporated.
The last time Europe had at least two consecutive months of deflation was in late 2014/early 2015 when the ECB launched its sovereign QE, and when prices staged a modest rebound into the rest of the year. One year later, it's more of the same, and as Eurostat revealed earlier today, after a headline price drop of -0.2% in February, March prices declined once more, this time by -0.1% in line with expectations, driven by a -8.7% plunge in energy prices.
After January's record-smashing CNY3.4 trillion (half a trillion dollars!) surge in aggregate credit expansion in China, the post-lunar-new-year hangover hit hard in February as credit growth tumbled 77% from Janaury's level to just CNY780 ($112bn). This is the weakest February loan growth since 2011. Drastically missing expectations, and following authorities comments on the need to "monitor" excess credit growth, all categories of total social finance registered a sharp drop... which as Goldman warns, means China's GDP growth target will be "challenging."
China's velocity of money is now the lowest in the entire world, a world in which China provided 40% of the entire credit impulse since 2008: "In the last seven years, China has accounted for around ~40% of entire global incremental debt creation. Such a rapid accumulation of debt in less than a decade, when combined with the capital-intensive nature of the economy and a less sophisticated financial sector, drove China’s velocity of money to one of the lowest levels globally (~0.5x, i.e. below that of Japan)."
In the aftermath of last week's disappointing G-20 Shanghai summit, there was much riding on this weekend's start of the China's People's Congress, and specifically what if any stimulus announcement Beijing will make; sadly for stimulus addicts China mostly disappointed and after the unimaginative scope of growth proposals, it is hardly surprising that European stocks and US equity futures have taken a leg lower.
As we wrote early yesterday when we summarized the outcome of the first day of China's People's Congress, China failed to deliver any of the major stimulus programs the market was expecting. So what exactly did China announce on its first day of the National People's Congress. Read on to find out...
There were hopes that China would announce a raft of fscal stimulus measures at the much ballyhooed NPC aimed boosting growth and taking some of the pressure off of montary policy. No such luck. The budget deficit came in at just 3%, an expansion from last year's 2.3%, but well below the 4% some analyasts were hoping for.
If, and when, a run on physical cash begins, there will be roughly $1 dollar in physical to satisfy $10 dollars in savers' claims, a ratio which drops to 20 cents of "deliverable" cash if the $100 bill is taken out of circulation.
“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”
If China's new debt in January were a country, it would be the world's 27th-biggest economy.
One day after markets saw a violent return of optimism, which sent stocks around the globe and US equity futures soaring (the US was closed for President's Day) driven by terrible Japanese and Chinese economic data which in turn hinted at more central bank easing, animal spirits have cooled off despite some truly unprecedented Chinese credit numbers.
"The world has fundamentally shifted over the last decade, especially since we’ve emerged from the Great Recession... But the professional class has been very slow to understand what is going on, not just quantitatively but qualitatively in a new generational configuration that I call the Fourth Turning. They don’t accept the new normal. They keep insisting, just two or three years out there on the horizon, that the old normal will return – in GDP growth, in housing starts, in global trade. But it doesn’t return."
Calls by various mainstream economists to ban cash transactions seem to be getting ever louder, while central bankers have unleashed negative interest rates on economies accounting for 25% of global GDP, with $5.5 trillion in government bonds yielding less than zero. The two policies are rapidly converging. This is what the resulting cashless society would look like.