Authored by Steve H. Hanke of The Johns Hopkins University.
Since the Great Recession, politicians have obsessed over bashing banks and bankers. According to Pols of all stripes, bankers caused the 2008-09 crash and ensuing slump. To make the world safe from banks, the “all-knowing” have given us Basel III, Dodd-Frank, and a plethora of banking regulations. This has, among other things, provided Bernie Sanders and his ilk with an open field.
Because so much is riding on what so few decide,once the faith in the Central Banks fail, the chances of us getting out of this diminish every second...
There is no productivity mystery, only a distinct and illegitimate lack of curiosity on the part of economists to simply take the Establishment Survey as gospel regardless of how little it fit the rest of the world. It also calls into question the legitimacy of the FOMC and monetary policy that was certainly subject to, and predicated upon, the same quackery. No matter how little the payroll reports described the economy as it was, including the relation to GDP, they held on to nothing else to instead deny everything.
It didn't take much to fizzle Friday's Japan NIRP-driven euphoria, when first ugly Chinese manufacturing (and service) PMI data reminded the world just what the bull in the China shop is leading to a 1.8% Shanghai drop on the first day of February. Then it was about oil once more when Goldman itself said not to expect any crude production cuts in the near future. Finally throw in some very cautious words by the sellside what Japan's act of NIRP desperation means, and it becomes clear why stocks on both sides of the pond are down, why crude is not far behind, and why gold continues to rise.
Eventually the prospect of recession that can’t be cured by the central bank printing presses will ignite sheer panic in the casino. Then the monetary fools running them will be reviled to the ends of the earth. But not before the lunatic 100X valuations of the FANGs implode like those of all the high flyers which have gone before. For the third time this century it is time to sell the bubble. Yes, do back up the trucks!
"The nominal GDP of the industrialized world has grown just 4.1% since the lows of Q1’2009, one of the tiniest, deflationary expansions ever. And while asset prices are up significantly since their 2008/09 lows, the underlying message from Wall Street in recent years has been doggedly deflationary."
According to the head of financial markets research Asia Pacific at Rabobank, Michael Every, not only has China not begun to delever at all, but since McKinsey's update, its debt has risen by another 70% of GDP! According to Every, China's 2015 debt-to-GDP might be as high as 346%, and while that is in line with wealthier developed economies but is “vastly higher” than any EM peer.
Decades of accumulated market distortions appear to be on the brink of a great unwind, most of which can be blamed on expansionary monetary policies. If so, the banking crisis of 2008 was a prelude, rather than the crisis itself. The Keynesians will blame the Fed for a complete policy failure. The reality is, that by implementing conventional policies on the recommendation of group-thinking macroeconomists, the central banks have dug a hole too deep to escape. Recognition of the merits of Austrian sound money theory will simply expose this reality sooner than later.
"To bottom on a Shiller PE of 7x would see the S&P falling to around 550. I will repeat that: If I am right, the S&P would fall to 550, a 75% decline from the recent 2100 peak."
An unseen bubble at the heart of the financial system is deflating with unknown consequences. When bubbles deflate, and here we are talking about one in the hundreds of trillions, bad debts are usually exposed. Even though much of the reduction in outstanding OTC derivatives is due to consolidation of positions following the Frank Dodd Act, much of it is not. When free markets reassert themselves, and they always do, the disruption promises to be substantial. We appear to be in the early stages of this event. If so, demand for physical gold can be expected to escalate rapidly as a financial crisis unfolds.
My overriding theme and the central drama for the coming year is that unexpected events can take on greater importance as the Federal Reserve ends its near-decade-long Zero Interest Rate Policy. Consensus premises and forecasts will likely fall flat, in a rather spectacular manner. The low-conviction and directionless market that we saw in 2015 could become a no-conviction and very-much-directed market (i.e. one that's directed lower) in 2016. There will be no peace on earth in 2016, and our markets could lose a cushion of protection as valuations contract. (Just as "malinvestment" represented a key theme this year, we expect a compression of price-to-earnings ratios to serve as a big market driver in 2016.) In other words, we don't think 2016 will be fun.
"The most important channel through which the Dragon's Tail scenario can affect other markets is trade, although financial linkages and market contagion could also have a significant impact on some markets and asset prices."
There are many half-truths perpetrated on individuals by Wall Street to sell product, gain assets, etc. However, if individuals took a moment to think about it, the illogic of many of these arguments are readily apparent. The index is a mythical creature, like the Unicorn, and chasing it has historically led to disappointment. Investing is not a competition, and there are horrid consequences for treating it as such.
The premises of the rate increase are several: that the Fed knows best what interest rate is good for the economy... that a recovery is sufficiently established to permit an end to the emergency micro rates of the last seven years... and that otherwise everything is more or less hunky-dory. And they are all false!