The announcement that China will start targeting the yuan against a basket of currencies and not the dollar is consistent with the strategy of undermining the dollar's value. While the view of a looming Yuan devaluation seems almost universal, GoldMoney's Alasdair Macleod warns instead that something else may be a foot - China will sell her dollars not to protect the yuan, but to dispose of an overvalued currency.
“If you run out of chips, you are out of the game.”
Things are looking increasingly shaky for central planners around the globe.
For example, the world population continues to grow, good farming land with proper soil management is a finite resource, and the world is going to need more food in the future.
There’s only one investment we can think of that many people either love or hate reflexively, almost without regard to market performance: gold. And, to a lesser degree, silver. It’s strange that these two metals provoke such powerful psychological reactions - especially among people who dislike them. Nobody has an instinctive hatred of iron, copper, aluminum, or cobalt. The reason, of course, is that the main use of gold has always been as money. And people have strong feelings about money. From an economic viewpoint, however, money is just a medium of exchange and a store of value. Efforts to turn it into a political football invariably are signs of a hidden agenda, or perhaps a psychological aberration. So, let’s take some recent statements, assertions, and opinions that have been promulgated in the media and analyze them.
There is no doubt that another major market reversion is coming. The only question is the timing of such an event which will wipe out the majority of the gains accrued during the first half of the current full market cycle. Assuming that you agree with that statement, here is the question: "If you were offered cash for your portfolio today, would you sell it?" This is the "dilemma" that all investors face today.
Importantly, while the "bias" of the market is to the upside, primarily due to the psychological momentum that "stocks are the only game in town," the mounting risks are clearly evident. From economic to earnings-related weakness, the "bullish underpinnings" are slowly being chipped away.
No professional or successful investor every bought and held for the long-term without regard, or respect, for the risks that are undertaken. If the professionals are looking at "risk" and planning on how to protect their capital from losses when things go wrong - then why aren't you? Exactly how many warnings do you need?
"It looks to me a bit like a bubble again with essentially a tripling of stock prices since 2009 in just six years and at the same time people losing confidence in the valuation of the market."
Over the last five years, we have developed an unhealthy obsession with the Federal Reserve, in particular, and central banks, in general, and there is plenty of blame to go around. Investors have abdicated their responsibilities for assessing growth, cash flows and value, and taken to watching the Fed and wondering what it is going to do next, as if that were the primary driver of stock prices. The Fed has happily accepted the role of market puppet master, with Federal Bank governors seeking celebrity status, and piping up about inflation, the level of stock prices and interest rate policy. We don't know what will happen at the FOMC meeting, but we hope that it announces an end to it's "interest rate magic show."
"...it is time to be shot of the long end of the US bond market and we wish this morning to sell the September T-note future at or near to 126 3/4. We can imagine the front month future trading to 118-119 over the course of the next several months..."
It's true that “the authorities” want the price of financial assets (stocks, bonds) to go up, and the price of hard assets (commodities) to go down… which is exactly what has happened. So do governments and central banks ever lose? In the old days, they lost all the time. In one extreme example, an individual hedge fund took out the entire Bank of England. But central banks are currently on a massive winning streak. So to answer the question, “Will we ever have a crisis,” you need to answer the question, “Will we ever be allowed to have one?”
There is an argument to be made that this could indeed be a "new market" given the continued interventions by global Central Banks in a direct effort to support asset prices. However, despite the coordinated efforts of Central Banks globally to keep asset prices inflated to support consumer confidence, there is plenty of historic evidence that suggest such attempts to manipulate markets are only temporary in nature.
Stock buybacks have been in the news lately, as their growing size has lead to criticism, especially from politicians who believe they contribute to economic inequality. But the simplest critique of the practice of buybacks can be made on economic grounds, in terms of value created or destroyed.
Whether, or not, a Greek exit from the Eurozone or a potential debt default is "the thing" that sparks the next major correction in the markets is unknown. Historically, such a widely "known" event is generally already factored into the markets and has much less of an impact when that event eventually comes to fruition. As Art Cashin suggested this morning: "I think China may be more important than Greece. Stick with the drill – stay wary, alert and very, very nimble."