The arms race of devaluation is not free and has come at the cost of massive global debt expansion. The world has simply shifted private debt to the public balance sheet. The next major global crash will likely be driven by unhealthy sovereign credit rather than corporate credit. The next Lehman moment will be the financial collapse of a major developed country instead of a bank.
"The only way to get velocity to pick up in a benign way is to write off the debt by a meaningful amount. That would have helped in the 2008 global financial crisis if more losses had been imposed on creditors. But that obviously did not happen in 2008 as the policymakers demonstrated that they did not believe in capitalism. Otherwise, the only other way velocity picks up is by an unhealthy hyperinflationary surge reflecting a loss of confidence in central banks, an outcome that becomes more plausible the more extreme the resort to quantitative easing."
The US and world economies are drifting inexorably into the next recession owing to the deflationary collapse of commodities, capital spending and world trade. These are the inevitable “morning after” consequence of the 20-year global credit binge which has now reached its apogee. The apparent global boom during that period was actually a central bank driven excursion into the false economics of household borrowing to inflate consumption in the DM economies; and frenzied, uneconomic investing to inflate GDP in China and the EM. The common denominator was falsification of financial prices. By destroying honest price discovery in the financial markets, the world’s convoy of money-printing central banks led by the Fed elicited a huge excess of financialization relative to economic output.
“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 a result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”
- Asia shares rally, but on track for worst quarterly loss in four years (Reuters)
- Global Rally Shows Relief at End of $11 Trillion Stocks Meltdown (BBG)
- Glencore Extends Rebound as Turmoil Shows Signs of Easing (BBG)
- Putin wins parliamentary backing for air strikes in Syria (Reuters)
- China Cuts Minimum Home Down Payment for First-Time Buyers (BBG)
- German Unemployment Unexpectedly Rises in Sign of Economic Risks (BBG)
- Japan Industrial Output Slide Hints at Recession (WSJ)
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 Japan's population continues to fall (4th year in a row), what makes the situation worse, as NHKWorld reports, is that there are now a record 33.8 million people over the age of 65 (a record 26.7%), 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... and as America is beginning to see as retirement dream remain elusive, the number of working elderly increased for 11 years in a row to reach a new record figure of 6.81 million in 2014.
Usually, we don’t stop to think about how the whole economy works together. A major reason is that we have been lacking data to see long-term relationships. What we are doing now is building debt to unsustainably high levels, thanks to today’s high cost of producing energy products. This can be turned around. To do so would require immediate production of huge quantities of incredibly cheap energy products - that is oil at less than $20 per barrel in 2014$, and other energy products with comparably cheap cost structures. Of course, such a low-price, high-growth scenario isn’t really sustainable in a finite world either.
- China stocks resume sharp slide as economic worries mount (Reuters)
- OECD head says sees further cut to global growth forecasts (Reuters)
- The U.S. Dollar Is Gaining Like It's the 1980s — For Better or Worse (BBG)
- Glencore Slumps to Record Low, Erasing Gains Since Debt Plan (BBG)
- Woman killed, 400 homes destroyed by California wildfire (Reuters)
- Why Morning Is the Worst Time to Trade Stocks (WSJ)
- German Investor Confidence Damped by Weaker Emerging Markets (BBG)
This level of global inter-connected financial risk is hazardous in Mexico, where it’s peppered by high bank concentration risk. No one wants another major financial crisis. Yet, that’s where we are headed absent major reconstructions of the banking framework and the central bank policies that exude extreme power over global economies and markets, in the US, Mexico, and throughout the world. Mexico’s problems could again ripple through Latin America where eroding confidence, volatility, and US dollar strength are already hurting economies and markets. The difference is that now, in contrast to the 1980s and 1990s debt crises, loan and bond amounts have not just been extended by private banks, but subsidized by the Fed and the ECB. The risk platform is elevated. The fall, for both Mexico and its trading partners like the US, likely much harder.
The chart below warrants the question: if an even modest slowdown in Europe's pace of credit creation resulted in unprecedented economic and social upheavals for the "southern" part of the continent, what happens when deleveraging finally hits one of the other places around the globe, be it the BRICs in particular, the EMs in general, or - heaven forbid - the US itself.
A Very Unexpected Statement From A Central Banker: "We Are Merely Reacting To A Situation We Did Not Create"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/30/2015 17:44 -0400
"Sometimes the criticism directed at our policies implicitly attributes responsibility for the low interest-rate environment to central bank policies. But the truth is precisely the opposite: central banks are simply reacting to and trying to correct a situation that they did not create."
- ECB vice president Vittor Constancio
"The [Chinese] slowdown was predictable, predicted, unavoidable," Lagarde was quoted as saying." Well, yes, it was... by everyone but the IMF. Here is the history of the IMF's Chinese GDP growth forecasts taken straight from its World Economic Outlook quarterly pieces. The graph needs no explanation.
Debt is a fickle witch. When left to its own devices, which it has been for nearly seven years with interest rates at the zero bound, it tends to get into trouble. Unchecked credit initially seeps, and eventually finds itself fracked, into the dark, dank nooks and crannies of the fixed income markets whose infrastructures and borrowers are ill-suited to handle the capacity. Consider the two flashiest badges of wealth in America - cars and homes...
The reality might just be that the collective "we," and quite possibly sooner than we think, really will need a bigger boat. That is, as it pertains to the global debt markets, which have swollen past the $200 trillion mark this year rendering the great white featured in Jaws which can be equated with past debt markets as defenseless and small as a small, striped Nemo by comparison. The question for the ages will be whether size really does matter when it comes to the debt markets...
We have lived through a credit hyper-expansion for the record books, with an unprecedented generation of excess claims to underlying real wealth. In doing so we have created the largest financial departure from reality in human history. Bubbles are not new – humanity has experienced them periodically going all the way back to antiquity – but the novel aspect of this one, apart from its scale, is its occurrence at a point when we have reached or are reaching so many limits on a global scale. The retrenchment we are about to experience as this bubble bursts is also set to be unprecedented, given that the scale of a bust is predictably proportionate to the scale of the excesses during the boom that precedes it. Deflation and depression are mutually reinforcing, meaning the downward spiral will continue for many years. China is the biggest domino about to fall, and from a great height as well, threatening to flatten everything in its path on the way down. This is the beginning of a New World Disorder…