Central bank credibility is at all-time highs. As a consequence, we suggest, equities are near all-time highs too while gold is scraping multi-year lows. A change though may be in the offing with all three. Not today, nor tomorrow. But perhaps sooner than most think. Here’s how we see it...
Is the oil cartel impotent? Is the price of oil going to fall further? What to expect from tomorrow's OPEC meeting.
While there has been no global economic outlook cut today, or no further pre-revision hints of "decoupling" by the appartchiks at the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, both European and US equities are pointing at a higher open, because - you guessed it - there were more "suggestions" of "imminent" QE by a central bank, in this case it was again ECB's Constancio dropping further hints over a potential ECB QE programme, something the ECB has become the undisputed world champion in. The constant ECB jawboning, and relentless central bank interventions over the past 6 years, led to this:
- GERMANY SELLS 10-YEAR BUNDS AT RECORD-LOW YIELD OF 0.74%
The punchline: this was another technically "failed" auction as it was uncovered, the 10th of the year, as there was not enough investor demand at this low yield, and so the Buba had to retain a whopping 18.8% - the most since May - with just €3.250Bn of the €4Bn target sold, after receiving €3.67Bn in bids.
Is the price of oil today driven more by global growth and supply/demand factors or by monetary policy factors? We hope it doesn’t surprise anyone when we say that we think monetary policy dominates ALL markets today, including the global oil market. What’s the ratio? Our personal, entirely subjective view is that oil prices over the past 3+ months have been driven by 3 parts monetary policy to 1 part fundamentals. How do we come up with this ratio? For the past 3+ months the oil Narrative has been dominated by public statements from influential answer-suppliers talking up the oil price dynamic of a rising dollar and monetary policy divergence. That’s the source of our subjective view of a 3:1 dominance for monetary policy-driven factors over fundamental-driven factors. However – and this is the adaptive part where we play close attention to Narrative development and dissemination – the noise level surrounding this Thursday’s OPEC meeting is absolutely deafening.
A “YES” vote for the gold referendum is a first step towards redressing the imbalance that exists between the SNB and the people of Switzerland. A “YES” vote will begin a process to restore restraint, accountability, and transparency on an institution that took advantage of the removal of its previous gold holding constraint already once before to explode its balance sheet, reinvent itself as a hedge fund, and significantly expand into areas of policy far beyond its original remit. Central banks should be lenders of last resort and systemic regulators. In a direct democracy, decisions regarding taxation, membership in trade / political unions, and the autonomy of the national currency should be determined by popular vote not decreed or circumvented by central bank edict.
Since moral hazard - the disconnect of risk and consequence - is the fundamental cause of the global meltdown of 2008, the only solution is to eliminate moral hazard. By this we mean de-institutionalizing moral hazard. But de-institutionalizing moral hazard means smashing the vested interests' primary engine of wealth and political power. Playing monetary games has done nothing to eliminate moral hazard; indeed, playing monetary games cannot possibly eliminate moral hazard, as monetary policy enforces moral hazard.
Did China just re-enter the currency wars? The Chinese Yuan dropped 0.29% overnight - its biggest drop since September and 2nd biggest devaluation since March - as the currency tumbles back in line with the PBOC's fixing for the first time in over 3 months. Despite 'hopes', S&P confirms the recent (and reconfirmed) rate cut doesn’t signal renewed government intentions to resort to aggressive stimulus to prop up economy. More troubling is the fact that China's huge corporate debt market appears to be freezing as over $1.2 billion in bond sales were scrapped or delayed last week suggesting wall of maturing debt will find it increasingly difficult to roll-over and keep the dream alive (especially in light of Haixin's bankruptcy last week).
Central bankers reached a new low overnight when Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan warned of "disastrous consequences" from a pulpit in a church on a historic hill in the town of Uster, Switzerland, which Bloomberg dubbed the 'sermon on the hill.' "Hungry people don't stay hungry for long, they get hope from fire and smoke as they reach for the dawn..."
Abraham Lincoln famously said at Gettysburg in 1863 that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. The system we have today is none of those things.
Why is Bitcoin dangerous and of little intrinsic value? Because my local Central Banker Told Me So! - OR - The lasting message from the highly Centralized, Centrally Planned, Central Banks of the World? "We think, so you don't have to!"
Another day, another case of central banks, not one but two this time, dictating "price" action.
"Even if economic conditions continue improving, equity prices are bound to fall sharply at some point, inflicting painful losses on investors. This is what happened in 1987, roughly five years into the last structural bull market. Boom-bust cycles are inevitable because improving economic conditions encourage speculative excesses, which are then blown away as greed gives way to fear."
Still convinced it's different this time? Think again... these 9 charts suggest Europe is very much on its way to Japan... and remember Japan was doing QE through this period too...
A central bank was (and still is officially) supposed to be independent of politics, to be a buffer between a society’s long term interests and a politician’s short-term ones. In particular, no-one should issue huge amounts of money to make it look like they were just awesome leaders that make everyone rich, while sinking the future of a society in the process. Today’s central banks do nothing BUT engage in short term policies that keep incumbents as happy as they can be in bad economic circumstances. Central banks have become political instruments that pamper to the tastes of whoever may be in charge on any given day, which is the exact 180º opposite of why they exist in the first place. What drives central bankers in November 2014 is fear, pure and simple, if not absolute screaming panic.