The world economy is in the grips of a dangerous delusion. As the great boom that began in the 1990s gave way to an even greater bust, policymakers resorted to the timeworn tricks of financial engineering in an effort to recapture the magic. In doing so, they turned an unbalanced global economy into the Petri dish of the greatest experiment in the modern history of economic policy. They were convinced that it was a controlled experiment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Numerous data points are showing the economy is approaching if not already in recession. And yet stocks are pricing in economic perfection. By the time they catch on… we’ll see a serious market correction.
"The effects on underlying inflation have so far been tepid. What is worrisome is that market participants still do not see consumer price inflation returning to the ECB’s 2% target on a sustained basis, let alone going above it, over any reasonable time horizon," Goldman says. And while the bank is ultimately confident that the Goldmanite in charge of the ECB will succeed in driving up inflation over time, the market would be wise to note that the US and Japanese experience with QE don't provide much in the way of empirical support for that contention.
With the USDJPY's ascent to 125, 150 and higher having seemingly stalled just under 120, with concerns that the BOJ may not monetize more than 100% of its net debt issuance suddenly surfacing, the BOJ and the Nikkei would take any help they could get. They got just that an hour ago when Fitch downgraded Japan's credit rating from A+ to A, citing lack of sufficient structural fiscal measures in FY15 budget to replace deferred consumption tax increase.
"...the ladder that has supported the move to record high U.S. corporate profit margins is beginning to snap. It may be a long way down."
Just as the S&P appeared set to blast off to a forward GAAP PE > 21.0x, here comes Greece and drags it back down to a far more somber 20.0x. The catalyst this time is an FT article according to which officials of now openly insolvent Greece have made an informal approach to the International Monetary Fund to delay repayments of loans to the international lender, but were told that no rescheduling was possible. The result if a drop in not only US equity futures which are down 8 points at last check, but also yields across the board with the German 10Y Bund now just single basis points above 0.00% (the German 9Y is now < 0), on its way to -0.20% at which point it will lead to a very awkward "crossing the streams" moment for the ECB.
This long-term weakening of the economy is the direct result of financialization and the Federal Reserve's policy of propping up impaired debt with more debt and constantly bringing demand forward with zero interest rates. The U.S. economy is slowing to stall speed--the point when gravity overcomes the lift provided by central bank free money. This deceleration is evident in a number of indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP), which is now at 0% according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's GDPNow model.
"The utterances of the Yellen/Zhou duo who kicked off yesterday’s rip make absolutely clear why the central bankers will never stop stimulating. They have embraced a spurious “inflation deficiency” doctrine, and have thereby, in effect, lashed themselves to the wheel of a doomsday machine."
Finally The "Very Serious People" Get It: QE Will "Permanently Impair Living Standards For Generations To Come"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2015 23:18 -0400
"In the long run classical economics would tell us that the pricing distortions created by the current global regimes of QE will lead to a suboptimal allocation of capital and investment, which will result in lower output and lower standards of living over time. In fact, although U.S. equity prices are setting record highs, real median household incomes are 9 percent lower than 1999 highs. The report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch plainly supports the conclusion that QE and the associated currency depreciation is not leading to higher global output. The cost of QE is greater than the income lost to savers and investors. The long-term consequence of the new monetary orthodoxy is likely to permanently impair living standards for generations to come while creating a false illusion of reviving prosperity."
Very unwelcome clarity on the Eurozone recovery, from investment bank Natixis.
Quad-witching days are volatile on normal days, so in an environment of virtually zero liquidity, in which the market careens from one extreme to another simply based on whether the Fed utters one single word, in which volatility across asset classes is soaring, and in which it is all about igniting algo momentum, today's quadruple withicng should be memorable, which is good since there is virtually no macro data today to speak of.
Janet’s Yellen’s pettifogging today about her patient lack of impatience was downright pathetic. Her verbal hair-splitting is starting to make medieval ritual incantations sound coherent by comparison. But unlike the financial media’s dopey dithering about “dot plots”, Yellen at least has something to hide behind all the gibberish. Namely, she and her merry band of money printers are becoming more petrified each month that they will trigger a thundering Wall Street hissy fit if they move to “normalize” interest rates - even as they are slowly beginning to realize that continuance of ZIRP much longer will only intensify the market’s addiction to rampant speculation, free money carry trades and the associated risks to financial stability.
The inevitable death of the dollar may have been delayed. The reason is simply that the other three big economies of the world - Japan, China and Europe - are in even more disastrous condition. Worse still, their governments and central banks are actually more clueless than Washington, and are conducting policies that are flat out lunatic - meaning that their faltering economies will be facing even more destructive punishment from policy makers in the days ahead. The current malignant monetary regime does not merely imply that the Wall Street casino is a dangerous place for your money. No, it screams get out of harms’ way. Now!
"Monetary Policy Is Bankrupt" Dr. Lacy Hunt Warns "Bonds, Not Stocks, Are A Good Economic Indicator"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/27/2015 19:35 -0400
"While the wealth effect is a theoretical possibility, it is not supported by economic fact. The stock market is not a good guide to the economy, but...the bond market is a very good economic indicator. When bond yields are very low and declining it’s an indication that the same is happening to inflation and that economic activity is weak. The bond yields are not here for any fluke of reason. They are here because business conditions in the US and abroad are quite poor."
The aim of the Greek bailout was not to restore prosperity to the country's people, but to save the eurozone. Given this, the new Greek government is entirely justified in questioning the terms that the country was given. As negotiations continue (Tsipras "war" vs the initial lost "battle), the single worst outcome of the current negotiations would be Greece's submission to its creditors' demands, with few concessions in return. Default and exit from the eurozone would allow Greece to begin correcting past mistakes and putting its economy on the path to recovery and sustainable growth. At that point, the EU would be wise to follow suit, by unraveling the currency union and providing debt reduction for its most distressed economies. Only then can the EU's founding ideals be realized.