With the snoozer of an FOMC meeting in the rearview mirror, as well as Scotland's predetermined independence referndum, last week's key events: the BABA IPO and the iPhone 6 release, are now history, which means the near-term catalysts are gone and the coming week will be far more relaxed, if hardly boring. Here is what to expect.
While some were wondering if last night's sudden, commodity-liquidation driven selloff would last, most were not, expecting that the perfectly predictable levitation in the USDJPY around a round "tractor beam" number would provide a floor under the market .Sure enough, starting around midnight eastern, the USDJPY BTFDers emerged, oblivious to comments from former BOJ deputy governor Iwata who late last night said the obvious, and what we have been saying since January 2013, namely that a weak yen puts Japan at recession risk, and that a USDJPY in the 90-100 range reflects Japan fundamentals. And, as expected, the 109 level is where the algos have hone in today as a strange FX attractor, which also means that ES has reverse sharper overnight losses and was down just 7 points at last check even as the poundage in the commodity sector continues over rising fears of a sharp Chinese slowdown driven by its imploding housing sector (most recently observed here) without an offsetting stimulus program, following several comments by high-ranked Chinese individuals who poured cold water on any hopes of an imminent Chinese mega-QE or even modest rate cut.
Back in 1930, Keynes looked out into the future and saw that with the proper management of the economy, monetary policy and the like, the world could attain a type of utopian stasis: Keynes expected growth to come to an end within two to three generations, and the economy to plateau. He referred to this imaginary state of equilibrium as "bliss," noting “thus for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem - how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well." However, Keynes did say this would happen if mankind avoided any calamitous wars and if there was no appreciable increase in population. Two more flawed base assumptions there could not have been.
While everyone debates if the Fed will, once again, be wrong in its forecasts about a rate hike cycle starting some time in mid-2015 (spoiler alert: it will be), we decided to take a look in the other direction.
We didn’t get what we first postulated yet: Crisis became calm. Contagion became cured. And last but not least catastrophe morphed into an even grander state of complacency. What we did might be even more illuminating. Here’s what a few of us also know that we are not “wrong” about:"When a monkey throwing darts can outperform most of today's so-called 'best of the best' hedge funds – we’re going to put our money on the monkey, rather than putting it anywhere close to where these people can put their hands on it for their own personal self-serving monkey business." What we don’t need – nor want – is another bowl of the 2008ish tripe washed down with this years new flavored Kool-aid.
Dear Janet; If I may be so forward, as a concerned citizen of the Constitutional Republic of the United States, it is with great consternation that I feel compelled to write you this distressing note.
Just one guy's attempt to make sense of what is likely to happen in the coming days.
“We are mindful of the potential for a build-up of excessive risk in financial markets, particularly in an environment of low interest rates and low asset price volatility,” the G-20 officials said in a communique released in Cairns, Australia. “We welcome the stronger economic conditions in some key economies, although growth in the global economy is uneven.”It is unclear just what that statement means: BTFATH, but only on a downtick?
These days, central banks have become so intertwined with the economy and capital markets that every word uttered by just about any senior Federal Reserve official is endlessly scrutinized to gauge what their next step might be. But it wasn’t always like this. There were times when the Fed actively defended the strict independence of monetary policy, as well as the role of free markets in creating prosperity and even preserving civil liberties. And those were the days of William McChesney Martin, Jr.
With precious metals back at 4-year lows against a backdrop of gold migration from west to east, paper vs physical divergences, 'disappearing' Comex positions, dark pools in London, collateral grabs, and massive monetary policy extremist actions; we thought the following two presentations worth considering. Tocqueville's John Hathaway delves into the darker corners of today's gold markets while Mike Maloney reminds us of the big picture behind gold and silver as wealth insurance. The failure of a monetary system is never a smooth road - it is rocky and undulating, with twists and turns that don't appear on any map. But the destination is always without question, despite suppression efforts: Gold will inevitably respond to an expanding fiat currency supply. That simple.
Our degenerate Central Bankers have tossed up yet another asset air-ball into the debt financed Bubblenomics Millennium. The only remaining question is why?
The Fed’s Dot Plot may look like a precise set of forecasts, with a series of purposeful markings meant to portray certainty and conviction. The math, however, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, says something else entirely. Based on actual math, it isn’t until 2016 that an increase to Fed Funds becomes a statistical certainty, with a 2.7% mean estimate and a range of 0.75 – 4.7% Fed Funds at a 0.98 standard deviation.
Maybe what we want and what we need has been confused. Maybe the thin veneer of ebullient hollow markets has been confused for the real activity of real companies. Maybe the theatre of a Wise Man with an Answer has been confused for intellectually honest leadership. Maybe theoretical certainty has been confused for practical humility. The problem with sparking renewed economic growth in the West is that domestic politics in the West do not depend on economic growth. What we have in the US today, and even more so in Europe (ex-Germany), are not the politics of growth but rather the politics of identity.
With the Fed unleashing its bubble-watchers last week, on the heels of warnings from the Central Bankers' Central Bank (BIS), The IMF has decided it is time to chirp in. As Mises' David Howden notes, after promoting QE for years (see here and here), the IMF is finally coming to realize what has been apparent for years now to almost everyone who doesn’t work for the Fed or the IMF: that low interest rates encourage risky decisions.The IMF warns, "financial market indicators suggested investor bets funded with borrowed money looked 'excessive' and that markets could quickly deflate if there were surprises in U.S. monetary policy or the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East."
Reflecting on the farce that was the FOMC statement and press conference yesterday, Bloomberg's Richard Breslow jabs that it appears Janet Yellen's 'splaining can be summed up, "we can’t know what considerable time means because we’re told it’s a very nuanced concept." In other words, we are just not smart enough, leave it to the PhDs in the room. Even Goldman was struggling to find the dovish side reflecting that market movements were more driven by positioning than anything new policy-wise. As Breslow sums up so eloquently, "a 'true normal' balance sheet remains a very distant dream, perhaps end of decade, and who knows if they’ll ever get back there."