After yesterday's "Hillary rally" in the US, the overnight's session has seen more risk-on sentiment as European stocks advanced, ignoring weakness in Asia as investors followed every twist of shares of beleaguered lender Deutsche Bank, whose CEO last night assured Bill readers that the bank is not seeking a bailout, which however was contradicted by a Zeit article this morning reporting that Germany may seek as much as s 25% "bailout" stake in a worst case scenario.
Hardest hit were those marginal workers struggling to grab the lower rungs of the ladder. All of a sudden, the rungs were coated in the Fed’s grease. Between 1947 and 1970, this group – the bottom fifth of the U.S. population – enjoyed a 3% annual growth in real disposable income. As the EZ money regime of the 21st century worked its mischief, these annual increases disappeared.
A rally in global risk that started during last night's first presidential debate on the market's take that Hillary came out on top fizzled, following news that the DOJ is assessing how big a criminal fine it can extract from Volkswagen (-3.8%) over emissions-cheating "without putting the German carmaker out of business", while Iran's oil minister Zanganeh told reporters Iran is ununwilling to freeze output at current levels. Deutsche Bank dropped to a new all time low while its default risk hit fresh record highs.
The week ahead is striking in the sheer number of central bank speakers, but with the Fed on hold until December and the BoJ’s new framework now revealed, focus turns squarely from central banks to US politics. The first US presidential debate at the start of the week will be a key focus.
While today's biggest event for both markets and politics will be tonight's highly anticipated first presidential debate between Trump and Hillary, markets are waking up to some early turmoil in both Asia and Europe, with declines in banks and energy producers dragging down stock-markets around the world, pushing investors to once again seek the safety of government bonds and the yen.
"We are, it seems to us, entering the period we shall call the “Zimbabwe-isation” of the global capital markets and we say that with all sincerity… and requisite trepidation. This will end badly of course. These things always do, but until they end… until the music finally stops… the game has to be played and the music, as it plays, has to be enjoyed."
Currently no-one expects the Fed to hike today and it probably won’t. It is definitely possible though that the FOMC statement will contain a strong hint regarding a likely rate hike in November or December, since the Fed for some reason no longer wants to surprise markets. Such an announcement could well have the same effect on the markets as an actual hike though.
While the BOJ may have disappointed with its latest iteration of monetary policy, now known as "QQE with Curve Control", Asian and European stocks as well as U.S. equity index futures rallied in early trading perhaps on the back of the bounce in the USDJPY which has now completely faded.
Should we print, not print? Stimulate, not stimulate? Is austerity the right or wrong policy? Is government spending or printing effective? If we ask two economists these questions, we will likely get three opinions for each question. Economists seem confused, yet these questions are more important today than ever. Where does this confusion come from?
At a time when Russia has suffered a recession any other G20 Central Bank or government finding itself in such a position would surely focus on ending the recession, not on further reducing inflation from what is by Russian standards an already historically low level. Russia however is different.
The stock market can defy economic weakness up to a point, particularly during times of strong money supply growth – but this isn’t going to last if the weakness continues or worsens. Ultimately it will hinge on the state of the economy’s pool of real funding, and all indications are that it is increasingly in trouble.
Corporate microeconomic policies of capital misallocation (implemented in an attempt to appease investors) are negating all of the intended benefits of Fed policy. This means we are fully reliant then on fiscal policy which, as we already discussed, is off the table for as far as the eye can see. And so even if we accept that all existing economic policy frameworks (fiscal, monetary, microeconomic) really do have the very best of intentions we are still effectively dead in the water.