In the week following the Fed's admission it is not only market-driven but now has a 4th mandate, which is to respond to China's hard landing on a day-to-day basis, US macro events mecrifully slow down to give everyone a chance to digest what the Fed just did. Here are the highlights.
China is looking more and more like good ol' United States...
Perception is everything in contemporary economics and the Fed is the center of perception; the medium has become the message. The truth is more this: the Fed no longer reacts to the waxing and waning of animal spirit-led demand. In the current monetary regime it exists to create and maintain animal spirits with a secular policy centered on ever-expanding credit, but it is very aware that admitting it’s centrality would defeat its purpose.
The Fed remains in a box of its own making. We are beginning to doubt whether central bank will ever be hike rates again voluntarily. What is however eventually highly likely to happen is that the markets will force the Fed to act – or as Bill Fleckenstein puts it, “the bond market may take the printing press away from them”.
Will she raise or will she not? As financial markets focus on whether we will see a Fed rate hike this week, investors may be in for a rude awakening.
The data continues to suggest that the Fed is contemplating actions inconsistent with those they have taken in the past. It is possible the Fed is motivated to increase interest rates to support the illusion that their higher interest rate projections and rosy economic forecasts are finally coming to fruition. It is incumbent upon investors to separate illusion from reality. Investing in such a misunderstood and distorted economic environment is fraught with risk especially for those failing to grasp this reality. While current Fed monetary policy is clearly unsustainable, the Fed runs the risk of severely damaging asset markets with any deviations from such policy.
"Psychopaths Are Running The World" Former US Marine Blows Whistle On Syrian False Flag, Exposes Real AgendaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/13/2015 12:45 -0400
"We have tortured and killed and maimed and raped around this planet. We don't operate under international law... who in their right mind would consider the United States or the West in general to be in any position to punish anybody? All of these players, these politicians are nothing more than puppets, they don't serve the people there is no real democracy, they serve the rich and powerful who run the world and that would be the bankers who control the money supply. The bankers make huge amounts of money....wars are great for them and ultimately they control the politicians. Psychopaths are running the world." - Ken O'Keefe, former US Marine
The market has delivered a warning shot in August, but it seems investors aren’t taking it seriously yet. This could turn out to be a costly mistake. If (or rather when) faith in the omnipotence of central banks crumbles, we could see an unusually severe market dislocation.
What the pundits attempt to do is have you focus on the forest from an inch away. While the endless optimism of the talking-heads, most recently that the selloff in developed equity markets has gone too far, each offering up various 'narrative' reasons to support their claim; simply put, they are full of tragic flaws. Allow us to color-code this for all those market "pros" and PhD "economists" who haven't been able to follow the premise over the past several months...
Bank profitability will remain under pressure for some time to come in light of the new capital regulations currently in the works. This will make it more difficult for banks to generate new capital internally, so they will have to tap the capital markets and dilute their shareholders further. It is no wonder that bank stocks remain way below the valuations they once commanded (we actually wouldn’t touch these stocks with a ten-foot pole). From a wider economic perspective, the new capital regulations are rendering banks moderately safer for depositors (as long as the markets don’t lose faith in government debt that is), but they also contribute to their ongoing “zombification”. Bank lending is going to remain subdued. This wouldn’t represent a big problem, if not for the fact that it is likely to provoke even more government activism.
Awareness about the concept of money is making a comeback. Gone are the decades in which the global citizenry was fooled to leave this subject to economists, governments and banks – a setup that has proven to end in disaster. The crisis in 2008 has spawned debate about what money is, where it comes from and where it should come from.
The last few months have seen a steady drip-drip-drip increase in US, European, and Chinese bank credit risks, even as stock prices rose (aside from the latter). The turning point appears to have been the downturn in oil prices as traders began to hedge their counterparty risk in massive levered derivative positions tied to commodities. But it is not just banks... COMEX counterparty risk mut sbe on the rise, as Jesse's Cafe Americain notes, the 'claims per ounce of gold' deliverable at current prices has spiked higher once again, to a record 126:1.
By monetizing more than the entire Japanese budget deficit, the BOJ is running of out willing sellers. Without those, Japan's QE, just like that of the ECB, will grind to a halt. Better yet, this creates a vicious loop, because with every passing month, the inevitable D-Day when the BOJ has no more TSYs on the offer gets closer, which in turn will force those who bought stocks to sell in anticipation of the end of QE, and to seek the safety of bonds themsleves, in effect precipitating the next inevitable Japanese stock market crash.
While many continue to debate if what with every passing day increasingly looks like a global recession, one from which the US will not decouple no matter how many "virtual portfolio" asset managers claim the contrary, there are those who without much fanfare are already taking proactive steps to avoid the kind of fallout that the markets have hinted in the past month of trading, is inevitable. Some such as Calstrs: the nation's second largest pension fund with $191 billion in assets (smaller only than Calpers), which as the WSJ reports is "considering a significant shift away from some stocks and bonds amid turbulent markets world-wide." According to the WSJ, it will move as much as $20 billion, or 12% of the fund’s stock portfolio, into other assets, including Treasurys.
With 30% of Venzuelans eating two or fewer meals per day, social unrest is mounting rapidly in President Nicolas Maduro's socialist utopia. As WSJ reports, soldiers have now been deployed to stem rampant food smuggling and price speculation, which Maduro blames for triple-digit inflation and scarcity. "Due to the shortage of food... the desperation is enormous," local opposition politician Andres Camejo said, and nowhere is that more evident than the trampling death of an 80-year-old woman outside a state-subsidized supermarket.