Economic principles explain why the Saudis began, in late 2014, to pump crude as fast as they could – or close to as fast as possible. In fact, there is a good reason why the Saudi princes are panicked and pumping.
"I think stagflation is starting to show - that idea of stronger nominal growth but weaker real growth is starting to show up across the economy. It certainly is showing up with real personal consumption slowing; it's showing with slower job creation growth as the wage rate rises, and it's showing up in weaker profits as the share of labor income rises reducing profit margins for corporations."
The credit markets are signaling that the debt fueled expansion that began in 2010 is turning to bust. This is the most precarious moment in financial market history because as the world slides into recession global central banks have no ability to soften the oncoming recession with debt creation. The world economy is on the precipice of another Great Depression.
QE3 ended 17 months ago and shockingly the S&P 500 is exactly where it was 17 months ago. How many bull markets go flat for 17 months? As John Hussman accurately points out, we are experiencing a topping formation in the third and biggest bubble of the last 16 years. It’s a long way down from here.
As of this moment, the three main government bodies - including the People's Bank of China - that run China's economy, the financial system or regulate the market all have a direct stake in the market, literally.
Not many months ago bullish Wall Street strategists and pundits were celebrating the backdrop. It appeared to many that global central bankers had mastered the perpetual “money” machine. Markets could only go higher. Yet one would have to be delusional not to recognize the darkening clouds overtaking the world and U.S. Look no further than global terrorist attacks, geopolitical tension and the sour U.S. political discourse as confirmation that All is Not Well.
Some reversals of financial trends prove so momentous they define the generation in which they occur. The stock market crash in 1929 kicked off the Great Depression, which ushered in the welfare and then the warfare state and redefined the relationship between government and citizens. Bonds and stocks began their bull market runs in the early 1980s. Now, those markets are fonts of optimism increasingly unhinged from reality. The US has come full circle. The New Deal and World War II marked a massive shift of resources and power to the federal government. Conversely, financial reversal will fuel a virulent backlash against the government and its central bank.
In our debilitated high-risk regime, there is now only modest upward runway for the markets to run (and wilder choppiness regardless which sometimes may assuredly question your judgment). But eventually the music stops and the drunkards get bruised stumbling for the exits.
If the VXX ETN (shown in red) was instead purchased at any point over this period, it would have instead averaged a rise of 5% (with a 5% standard deviation). From October 19, through December 14, the VIX averaged 16% (or 1 percentage point more than today). And despite this drop in VIX if one blindly bought VXX and shorted XIV (shown in yellow), at any point during this 34-day period , then today they would have enjoyed a typical profit of 40%.