Initial conditions matter when contemplating impact of Greek referendum
The oil price collapse of 2014-2015 began one year ago this month (Figure 1). The world crossed a boundary in which prices are not only lower now but will probably remain lower for some time. It represents a phase change like when water turns into ice: the composition is the same as before but the physical state and governing laws are different. The market must balance before things get better and prices improve. That can only happen if production falls and demand increases. That will take time. The most likely case is that oil prices will decrease in the second half of 2015 and that financial distress to all oil producers will increase. The hope and expectation that the worst is over will fade as the new reality of prolonged low oil prices is reluctantly accepted.
Cheap, easy credit has created moral hazard and nurtured magical thinking throughout the global economy.
Some people talk about peak energy (or oil) supply. They expect high prices and more demand than supply. Other people talk about energy demand hitting a peak many years from now, perhaps when most of us have electric cars. Neither of these views is correct. The real situation is that we right now seem to be reaching peak energy demand through low commodity prices.
- We need a free market in currencies, not bail-ins and a war on cash and gold - People blindly trust “experts” so welcome that some of them giving prudent advice regarding diversification - Currencies of creditor nations – Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong will outperform in long term
"If they want to lecture us on democracy building, let them lecture students at some American university," Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said Tuesday, regarding the collapse of a bilateral arrangement struck in 2009 between Moscow and Washington. Fortunately for Dolgov, it doesn't appear as though he, or any other Russian diplomats for that matter, will be forced to endure a "lecture" on democracy from the US anytime soon because as the positioning of 250 Bradleys and self-propelled howitzers, and associated armored brigade combat team equipment" in Eastern Europe makes clear, the time for dialogue of any kind has long since passed.
Over the past several months, tensions between Russia and the West have escalated meaningfully. While it’s certainly true that, since Crimea, US-Russia relations have deteriorated steadily (baskets of potatoes notwithstanding), recent events suggests the situation may come to a head more quickly than either side cares to admit. In the latest provocation, Europe has extended economic sanctions against Moscow for another six months or, until the Kremlin agrees to abide by the terms of the Minsk agreement which Europe, on the word of Kiev, assumes Moscow is violating. Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter blasts Russian "nuclear saber rattling."
Nobody can deny that the chances of war are increasing in the world.
Once more Statoil is reducing its richest asset – employees – in order to keep financial losses to a minimum because of low oil prices. It will eliminate up to 1,500 more full-time jobs and 500 temporary consultant positions by the end of 2016.
European shares remain higher, close to intraday highs, with the autos and travel & leisure sectors outperforming and basic resources, utilities underperforming. Meeting of finance officials to reach a deal over Greek aid ended in frustration, forcing leaders to call for an emergency summit for Monday. ECB plans to hold an emergency session of its Governing Council on Friday to discuss a deterioration in liquidity at Greek banks, three people familiar said. German airwave auction raises $5.7b to top 2010 sale. Bank of Japan leaves monetary policy unchanged as forecast. Shanghai Composite Index capped its worst weekly decline in seven years.
All those saying the Fed will never be able to raise rate are looking particularly smug this morning, because if the market needed a green light that despite all the constant posturing, pomp and rhetoric, the US economy is simply (never) ready for a rate hike, it got it late last night when Goldman is pushing back its forecast for the first Fed rate hike from September to December 2015 saying that "in large part this reflects the fact that seven FOMC participants are now projecting zero or one rate hike this year, a group that we believe includes Fed Chair Janet Yellen. We had viewed a clear signal for a September hike at the June meeting as close to a necessary condition for the FOMC to actually hike in September, but the committee did not lay that groundwork today."
"We have a problem with this, and that is central bank hubris. They now think that they are omnipotent, because, essentially the government has said we are going to pass over all control of the economy to the central banks, they say to everybody else including financial market participants that “you don’t know, you don’t understand, we have our models and they are right”. And that kind of hubristic approach is when you sow the seeds of your own destruction."
Gold bugs weren’t wrong - just super early. If central banks ever got religion and pulled a Volcker and hiked rates to the moon, it would be a remarkably bad time to hold gold. However, throughout history, there have been times where people were very sad that they didn’t own gold. We talk about one of them here. It’s very real, and the history of fiat currencies is also quite sad.
From Greek lobbyists to Silicon Valley VCs and from Goldman BSDs to FT reporters, The Bilderberg Group will meet later this week in Tirol to discuss what happens next to the rest of the world... here are the participants...