Last week was a complete dead zone for US macro, however with the peak of Q2 earnings season there was more than enough commotion for everyone. This week US macro starts to pick up again, with Durable Goods on Monday, followed by Case Shiller, Q2 GDP, the Chicago PMI, various consumer confidence indices, and of course, the July FOMC meeting on Wednesday.
It all started in China, where as we noted previously, the Shanghai Composite plunged by 8.5% in closing hour, suffering its biggest one day drop since February 2007 and the second biggest in history. The Hang Seng, while spared the worst of the drubbing, was also down 3.1%. There were numerous theories about the risk off catalyst, including fears the PPT was gradually being withdrawn, a decline in industrial profits, as well as an influx in IPOs which drained liquidity from the market. At the same time, Nikkei 225 (-0.95%) and ASX 200 (-0.16%) traded in negative territory underpinned by softness in commodity prices.
Straight-forward discussion of next week's economic data and events, and why it is important for the dollar.
Venezuela’s hyperinflation is reaching its final stages. It is probably already far too late for the government to stop the complete collapse of its currency. The bolivar is in the process of transforming from a medium of exchange to tinder for wood-stoves. Venezuelans who had the presence of mind to convert their savings into gold or foreign currency in good time are likely to survive the conflagration intact. Governments never seem to learn. They all believe they can somehow overrule economic laws by diktat. This is not only true of Venezuela’s government, but of practically every government in today’s world. Central planning of money has been adopted everywhere. Venezuela merely shows us what the end game for every fiat money system looks like.
"The important thing to recall is why those of us who own it, bought it. What is it about gold that ought to make it appealing – when it seems to be absolutely the thing you don’t want to have." As ValueWalk reports, Grant warned that gold thrives in the face of monetary turmoil, disorder and uncertainty, noting, "I think we have all three of these things."
We are seeing a kind of flight forward by investors – promises of future returns that may or may not eventuate continue to be highly rewarded – no price seems too high. This is actually a fairly typical bubble phenomenon. It is impossible to say for how long it will continue and how far it will go, but it is possible to say how it will end: in tears, especially for Johnny-come-lately investors.
The WSJ has released yet another gold hit piece calling it a "pet rock' and gold bugs "subjects of a laboratory experiment on the psychology of cognitive dissonance" just one day after the PBOC reveals it has added the biggest amount of gold in history in order to "ensure security." But the biggest irony is that none other than Citigroup made a far bolder case that it is not the ownership of gold but of stocks that is the ultimate act of faith: "investors remain united in their faith in the central banks – if not for their ability to create growth, then at least in their ability to push up asset prices. And yet the limits of that faith are increasingly on display." So who is right?
Last week, former Secretary of Education and US Senator Lamar Alexander wrote in the Wall Street Journal that a college degree is both affordable and an excellent investment. He repeated the usual talking point about how a college degree increases lifetime earnings by a million dollars, “on average.” That part about averages is perhaps the most important part, since all college degrees are certainly not created equal. In fact, once we start to look at the details, we find that a degree may not be the great deal many higher-education boosters seem to think it is.
Something's profoundly wrong with our global financial system. Pope Francis is only the latest to raise the alarm...What the Pope calls “an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules” is widely evident. What is not so clear is how we got into this situation, and what to do about it.
One day after the Greek "pre-deal" was announced and the world breathed a sigh of relief, sending US stocks soaring and Greek halted stocks, well, tumbling (via ETFs and ADRs), things are oddly quiet and in fact quite red in Europe, with futures in the US modestly lower, following both China's first red close in several days (SHCOMP -1.2%), and a Europe which is hardly looking very euphoric at this moment: it is almost as if the algos finally got to read the fine print of the Greek deal after trading all day on just the headlines.
"There’s been a colossal misjudgment of future demand. That long boom made it especially difficult for people to expect anything otherwise. Many bought the big story about urbanization, instead of thinking how things could go bad."
Similar to the US banks who funded home owners that shouldn’t have received mortgages and made a fortune doing so – at least initially, the Germans funded the periphery nations in an effort to drive output growth domestically. However, financing a large portion of ones’ customer purchases is a high risk endeavour. And the Germans are in the midst of this hard lesson.
What happened in the China stock market is the latest culmination of the slippery slope of governmental and central bank intervention in financial markets.....
The global and European economies are increasingly dominated by bureaucrats taking arbitrary decisions on capital allocation, with little regard for rules or process. The decisions of the ECB to reject the applications of the Bank of Greece for additional funding under ELA could have only been politically motivated, and therefore in clear violation of the ECB’s independence as enshrined in Article 123 TFEU. It is time for EU bureaucrats to stop acting as autocrats.
The Austrian School of economics has a concept called a “crack-up boom” in which a critical mass of people conclude that their government is actively trying to devalue its currency. Consumers respond by front-running the government, spending their paychecks immediately in order to convert their soon-to-be-less-valuable money into real things. Merchants, not happy about the sudden influx of suspect currency (and sensing the panic of their customers) hold out for ever-higher prices, causing inflation to spike. But it’s a special kind of inflation, driven not by a sudden increase in the money supply but by collapsing confidence among holders of the currency. In a very short time, so goes the theory, the supply of stuff available for purchase dries up, prices hyperinflate, and the economy collapses. Welcome, in other words, to Greece...