If the world’s economies were really out of intensive care, why would ultra-radical monetary policies like helicopter money be increasingly debated at the highest level of governments? Also, how come 70% of Americans believe the US economy is on the wrong course? And why do almost half of US citizens admit they couldn’t come up with $400 to meet an unexpected need? Yes, I know why ask why? And it is what is, and a bunch of other clichés. But this isn’t normal, it isn’t healthy, and - at least in the opinion of this author—it isn’t going to end well.
"The demise of positive interest rates may be nothing more than the global economy reacting to a chronic oversupply of goods through the impact of globalization including the opening up of formerly closed economies as well as ongoing technological progress." - Deutsche Bank
Question: Why is the world in an economic funk?
Answer: Private Capital is running away from trouble
"People like me who have saved all their lives realize that they their savings (no matter how much) will never throw off enough money to allow retirement, unless I live off principal. This is especially so since one can reasonably expect social security to phased out, indexed out or dropped altogether. Accordingly, I realize that when I get to the point when I can no longer work, I'll be living off capital and not interest. This is an incentive to keep working and not to spend."
Having correctly foreseen in September that "China's devaluations are not over yet" it appears Nomura's infamous 'bear' Bob Janjuah has also nailed The Fed's subsequent actions (hiking rates into a fundamentally weakening economy in a desperate bid to "convince markets that strong growth and inflation are on their way back"). In light of this, his latest note today should be worrisome to many as he warns the S&P 500 will trade down around 20% to 25% from current levels in H1, down to the 1500s and for dip-buyers, it's over: "I now feel even more certain that debt-driven asset bubble implosions cannot merely be 'fixed' with even more debt and another round of central bank-driven asset bubbles."
Despite such endless financial engineering, sales for the S&P 500 have been declining for the last three quarters. And profits have declined for the first time since the 2009 expansion. Simply put: The recovery is a mirage... It isn’t real... And it isn’t sustainable.
“To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious, but the stupid have an answer for everything.” ~Edward Abbey
Manipulating the PR optics (i.e. perception management) as a substitute for an open market doesn't make you omnipotent, it makes you a hubris-soaked fool.
As soon as the Fed moves money market rates upwards, unproductive parts of the economy will come under severe strain which in turn sets in motion recessionary forces prompting the Fed to reverse course. The only way out is to realize that the world is awash in mal-invested capital that need to be written off. Since that is inconceivable for today’s vested interests, the way forward will be further “Japanification” of the global economy. And this time we are all out of arrows.
As long as politicians and media keep talking about disinflation and central bank inflation targets, and all they talk actually about is consumer prices, we will all fail to acknowledge what’s happening right before our very eyes. That is, the system is imploding. Deflating. Deleveraging. And before that is done, there can and will be no recovery. Indeed, this current trend has a very long way to go down. So far down that you will have a very hard time recognizing the world, and its economic system, on the other side of the process. But then again, you have a hard time recognizing the world for what it is on this side as well.
Some things you CAN see coming, in life and certainly in finance. Quite a few things, actually. Once you understand we’re on a long term downward path, also both in life and in finance, and you’re not exclusively looking at short term gains, it all sort of falls into place. Of course, the entire global economy has been hanging together with strands of duct tape for decades now, but hey, it looks good as long as you don’t take a peek behind the facade, right?
"financial markets are NOT yet pricing for a recession, rather they are merely flirting with the idea. I suspect this largely reflects faith/hope in policymakers within market participants. The events of the past few weeks, both going into and after the most recent BOJ and FOMC meetings, should give those heavily invested in policymaker faith/hope a lot of food for thought... the next Fed “put” is not likely until the S&P 500 is trading in the 1500s at least (so more likely to be a Q1 2016 item rather than Q4 2015); and in terms of what the Fed could do, clearly QE4 has to be in the Fed’s toolkit"
The most pivotal importance of China is that it was the world’s latest financial hope. The yuan devaluation shatters that hope once and for all. The global economy looks a lot more bleak for it, even if many people already didn’t believe official growth numbers anymore. Because we’ve reached the end of the line, the game changes. Of course there will be additional attempts at stimulus, but China’s central bank has de facto conceded that its measures have failed. They just hope you won’t notice, and try to bring it on with a positive spin. Central banks are not “beginning” to lose control, they lost control a long time ago. The age of central bank omnipotence has “left and gone away” like Joltin’ Joe. Omnipotence has been replaced by impotence.
Just as Japan thought they could go back to pre-Plaza Accord growth rates by holding on to the old ways in the 1990s, the Chinese will expect the growth miracle to return in 2016 with the “right” policies. It will not. It is all a mirage though. Just as in Japan, the Chinese will not allow the market process to do its magic to get the economy back on a stable footing. Draconian measures to stop the recent stock market rout are a clear testimony of that. In other words, the Chinese economy will resemble that of Japan, and it will do so very soon, if it is not already there. China is heading straight into a zero growth environment, and will be mired there for years to come.