The Shanghai Composite is on the verge of 5,000 and has more than doubled in the past year but this may just be the beginning. The reason: if the Chinese stock bubble bursts, that will be the beginning of the end of the greatest con game in history.
With a global population of 7.3 billion this works out out at over $27,200 of debt for every man, woman and child alive today.
The results of the latest FOMC meeting confirm that most of the media and investor communities don't get the joke on Fed policy since the crisis. No change in '15
American banks have largely gained from low interest rates, British banks have suffered losses as a result and in the Eurozone they have been hugely detrimental to banks’ profitability. The ones who have undoubtedly lost out were those quintessential Keynesian villains: the savers. The medicine prescribed by the central banks to correct their “bad” ways has cost them billions. And given that yields have continued to go down since McKinsey's report was published, their misery has only increased. More high fives from Keynes! And yet, even within those groups the impact has been uneven. Who in the household segment is suffering the most because of ultra-low interest rates? The retirees, of course.
"China has a $28 trillion problem. That’s the country’s total government, corporate and household debt load as of mid-2014... equal to 282 percent of the country’s total annual economic output," Bloomberg notes, adding that efforts to deleverage this massive debt burden aren't compatible with the measures Beijing needs to take to boost economic growth. But if you thought the debt problem was bad now, it's going to get worse because as Reuters notes, China is about to activate the ABS machine.
The entire global financial system resembles a colossal spiral of debt. Just about all economic activity involves the flow of credit in some way, and so the only way to have “economic growth” is to introduce even more debt into the system. Unfortunately, any system based on debt is going to break down eventually, and there are signs that it is starting to happen once again.
With Abenomics seemingly a total failure (aside from managing to collapse the currency and living standards of the population - worst Misery Index in 33 years) the demographic crisis that Japan faces just got more crisis-er. As NHKWorld reports, Japan's population continues to fall (4th year in a row) but what is worse, there are now 33 million people over the age of 65 (a record 26%), more than double the number under the age of 14 (16.2 million). The ministry says the population will likely continue declining for some time as fewer babies are born and society ages. The implications are catastrophic...
Can you arbitrage time? Can you buy and sell time? We think that you can from the perspective of time horizons. In our view, financial markets are operating on the wrong time horizon – one that is too long (thanks to central banks ZIRP/NIRP and credit creation) - although there are signs that this is beginning to change.
And the answer is...
"Proactive central banks figure this out early and fight the inevitable slowdown by implementing QE and weaker currencies. They grab the other guy’s pizza slice. Their asset markets soar. As Figure 5 shows, 70% of the world’s developed markets have inflation below 0.5% – almost as high as the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. So the USD8.6tn in central bank balance sheet expansion (from the Fed, ECB, BOE, BoJ, and PBoC, which amounts to 130% growth over Dec-07 to now) has been unable to get inflation going." - Bank of America
"The Obama administration, facing defiance by allies that have signed up to support a new Chinese-led infrastructure fund, is proposing the bank work in a partnership with Washington-backed development institutions such as the World Bank." And with that, one giant shift towards de-dollarization is now in the books.
The inevitable death of the dollar may have been delayed. The reason is simply that the other three big economies of the world - Japan, China and Europe - are in even more disastrous condition. Worse still, their governments and central banks are actually more clueless than Washington, and are conducting policies that are flat out lunatic - meaning that their faltering economies will be facing even more destructive punishment from policy makers in the days ahead. The current malignant monetary regime does not merely imply that the Wall Street casino is a dangerous place for your money. No, it screams get out of harms’ way. Now!
The entire formerly rich world is addicted to debt, and it is not capable of shaking that addiction. Not until the whole facade that was built to hide this addiction must and will come crashing down along with the corpus itself. Central banks are a huge part of keeping the disease going, instead of helping the patient quit and regain health, which arguably should be their function. In other words, central banks are not doctors, they’re crack dealers and faith healers. Why anyone would ever agree to that role for some of the world’s economically most powerful entities is a question that surely deserves and demands an answer.
So today what is different is not the Wall Street spiel that Nasdaq is anchored by the likes of Apple rather than Webvan. Since the two days of March 9 and 10 in the year 2000 when the Nasdaq closed over the 5,000, the financial markets have been converted into central bank managed gambling halls and the global economy has bloated beyond recognition by 15 years of non-stop financial repression. Back then, a few hundred stocks were wildly over-valued based on monetizing eyeballs; now the entire market is drastically overvalued owing to the false financial market liquidity generated by $14 trillion of central bank asset monetization - mostly public debt - since the turn of the century. As a result, the global financial system and economy are orders of magnitude more fragile and vulnerable to collapse than they were 15 years ago.
Debt and budgets in the trillions of dollars and euros are difficult to comprehend. The US budget is nearly $4 Trillion per year while the US official national debt exceeds $18 Trillion. A single large bank may hold contracts for more than $50 Trillion in derivative contracts. Global debt is approximately $200 Trillion.