June is off with a bang, and a very busy week in the macro economic calendar, both globally and in the US, which culminates with the latest "most important ever" payrolls report, one which will surely be closely watched by a Fed which may hike as soon as a few weeks from now (but probably won't).
The most prominent market event overnight was once again the action in China's penny-index, which after tumbling at the open and briefly entering a 10% correction from the highs hit just two days ago, promptly saw the BTFDers rush in, whether retail, institutional or central bankers, and after rebounding strongly from the -3% lows, the SHCOMP closed practically unchanged following a 2% jump to complete yet another 5% intraday swing on absolutely no news, but merely concerns what the PBOC is doing with liquidity, reverse repos, margin debt, etc. Needless to say, this is one of the world's largest stock markets, not the Pink Sheets.
It is unknowable how much more pronounced these excesses can become, especially in light of extremely loose monetary policy around the world. Things could easily become quite dicey as soon as tomorrow, but it is just as easily possible that valuations will continue to expand for some time yet. However, these data do indicate one thing: risk has increased enormously, and it will keep increasing the longer the bubble persists. Frankly, the situation also scares us a bit, because we expect that governments and their agencies (such as central banks) will find it extremely difficult to deal with the next crisis. They have become quite overstretched as a result of the last one. After having gone “all in” last time around, what are they supposed to do for an encore? The only options that come to mind are repressive measures such as capital controls, confiscation of private wealth, and a host of other unpleasantries.
What do we really know?
If governments have proven anything to us over the last seven years, it is that they will do anything to keep the banks from going down. If just 10% of people hit their breaking points and withdrew their money in cash - there wouldn’t be enough cash in the system to support this demand. And the banks would subsequently collapse. When a government is bankrupt, the central bank is nearly insolvent, the banking system is illiquid, and an entire population suffers from interest rates that are either negative or below the rate of inflation, capital controls are a foregone conclusion. In fact, we expect the next round of capital controls will be designed to protect the banks... from you.
While yesterday most markets were closed and unable to express their concerns at the very strong showing of "anti-austerity" parties in Spain's municipal election from Sunday, then today they have free reign to do just that, and as a result European stocks are broadly lower, alongside the EURUSD which dripped under 1.09 earlier today, with Spanish banks among the worst performers: Shares of Banco Sabadell, Bankia, Caixabank and Popular were down 1.8 to 2.3% earlier this morning, and while the stronger dollar was a gift to both the Nikkei and Europe in early trading, after opening in the green, Spain's IBEX has since slid into the red on concerns of what happens if the Greek anti-status quo contagion finally shifts to the Pyrenees.
With US markets closed for the Memorial Day holiday, and some of the key European markets likewise shuttered for public holiday including the UK, Germany and Switzerland, it is difficult to find where one can observe or trade the weekend's newsflow, which is once again centered on developments in Europe, where on Sunday Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party suffered its worst result in a municipal election in 24 years while Greece continues to threaten with default 5 some years after it should have officially pulled the plug.
Economic events and data in the week ahead.
Did you know that if you took every single penny away from everyone in the United States that it still would not be enough to pay off the national debt? Today, the debt of the federal government exceeds $145,000 per household, and it is getting worse with each passing year. Many believe that if we paid it off a little bit at a time that we could eventually pay it all off, but as you will see below that isn’t going to work either.
The divergences and similarities of these charts is quite baffling...
As tipped over a month ago, China witnessed a fourth straight quarter of capital outflows in Q1, exacerbating Beijing's currency conundrum and making it more likely that, should policy rate cuts continue to prove ineffective, Chinese QE is inevitable.
The Economist is a quintessential establishment publication. Keynesian shibboleths about “market failure” and the need to prevent it, as well as the alleged need for governments to provide “public goods” and to steer the economy in directions desired by the ruling elite with a variety of taxation and spending schemes as well as monetary interventionism, are dripping from its pages in generous dollops. The magazine has one of the very best records as a contrary indicator whenever it comments on markets. While gold hasn’t yet made it to the front page, but the Economist has sacrificed some ink in order to declare it “dead” (or rather, “buried”).
“Federal regulation and intervention cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $1.88 trillion in 2014 in lost economic productivity and higher prices. If U.S. federal regulation was a country, it would be the world’s 10th largest economy, ranking behind Russia and ahead of India. Economy-wide regulatory costs amount to an average of $14,976 per household – around 29% of an average family budget of $51,100."
Having initially missed its deadline to provide a response to Congress with regard the 2012 leak of FOMC minutes to an external newsletter writer, The Fed reluctantly admitted that none other than Janet Yellen had met with them. Today, however, as The Wall Street Journal reports, The (unaudited) Fed has agreed to furnish a congressional panel with the names of its staffers who had contact with Medley Global Advisors in the months before the leak, “with the understanding that the names will be kept confidential." So we'll happily tell you who leaked it... as long as you don't tell the public. Audit The Fed!!!
Ben Bernanke’s skin is as thin, apparently, as is his comprehension of honest economics. The emphasis is on the “honest” part because he is a fount of the kind of Keynesian drivel that passes for economics in the financially deformed world that the Bernank did so much to bring about.