It it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck... Is it really a platypus? After all, this time is different... Right?
Within the last seven years 11 countries (Poland (2006), Russia (2008), Finland (2009), France (2009), Sweden (2010), Iceland (2011), Spain (2011), Denmark (2012), Singapore (2012), Canada (2012) and Japan (2013) have realized the need to appoint their own Arctic ambassadors. These ambassadors are used for analysis and situational assessments in the emerging “grand Arctic game,” with the ultimate aim of exploiting mineral resources and using the Arctic route for shipping cargo from Europe to Asia. At present, China’s Arctic initiatives suggest that Beijing is eager to camouflage its true interests in the region with environmental monitoring, Arctic life protection and concerns about indigenous peoples. At the same time, Beijing is dropping hints that China is not satisfied with the current balance of power in the Arctic region.
It would appear that the Horatio Alger myth - that hard work and pluck will lift a person from dire circumstances to enviable success - is not living up to expectations for Americans. As WSJ's Lauren Weber notes, 40% of Americans think it’s fairly common for someone to start off poor, work hard and eventually rise to the top of the economic heap but a new Pew study shows that in reality, only 4% of Americans travel the rags-to-riches path. Unfortunately, they discovered considerable “stickiness” at both ends of the income spectrum and that Americans attached to the rags-to-riches myth might be disappointed to know that other countries show greater mobility among have-nots - "this is what we call the 'parental penalty,' and it's really high in the U.S. - If you’re born in the bottom here, your likelihood of sticking in the bottom is much higher."
With better US labor market data, the key event in the upcoming week could well be the Yellen nomination hearing in the Senate Banking Committee. Yellen will likely deliver brief prepared remarks followed by questions from members of the committee. Yellen is expected to be relatively circumspect in discussing potential future Federal Reserve policy decisions in the hearings. Nonetheless, the testimony may help clarify her views on monetary policy and the current state of the economy. Yellen has not spoken publicly on either of these topics since the spring of this year. In addition to the nomination hearing, there will be a series of Fed speeches again, including one by Chairman Bernanke.
With the recent adoption of explicit forward guidance as a stimulative policy tool by the major European central banks, virtually every major central bank is now using the tool in some form. The potential benefits and dangers of such policies as central bank communications have evolved are unclear as "the form of guidance" matters. As Robin Brooks notes, and is so well illusrated below in the example of the Riksbank's and Norges Bank's 'failures', "[In terms of implications for rates] the jury is still out on how well forward guidance works. What is clear, though, is that markets prefer 'deeds' to 'words'."
- Morning Humor from Hilsenrath - Fed Balance Sheet Not Seen Returning to Normal Until at Least 2019 (WSJ)
- Health Policies Canceled in Latest Hurdle for Obamacare (BBG)
- Was there anything RBS was not manipulating? RBS Said to Review Currency-Trading Practices Amid Probe (BBG)
- Sebelius to Testify Before House Panel (WSJ)
- And more humor: Spain's Statistics Institute Confirms End of Recession (WSJ) ... and now we await the triple dip
- Finally some credible reporting on Yellen's "foresight" - Yellen feared housing bust but did not raise public alarm (Reuters)
- Japan government moves closer to Fukushima takeover (FT)
- China to step up own security after new NSA allegations (Reuters)
- Blackstone Vies With Goldman in Spain Rental Housing Bet (BBG)
- In new U.S. budget talks, Republican proposal has flipped the script (Reuters)
Once the economy's capital structure is distorted beyond a certain threshold, it won't matter anymore how much more monetary pumping the central bank engages in – instead of creating a temporary illusion of prosperity, the negative effects of the policy will begin to predominate almost immediately. Given that we have evidence that the distortion is already at quite a 'ripe' stage, it should be expected that the economy will perform far worse in the near to medium term than was hitherto widely believed. This also means that monetary pumping will likely continue at full blast, as central bankers continue to erroneously assume that the policy is 'helping' the economy to recover.
In addition to the already noted repeat spike in Chinese overnight repo rates as the PBOC refuses to inject liquidity for nearly a week offsetting the "news" of a better than expected HSBC PMI, the other kay datapoints to hit in the overnight session were various European PMIs which were broadly lower across the board. Of note being the French, which missed both the Manufacturing Index (49.4 vs 50.1 expected, down from 49.8) and the Services (50.2 vs 51.0 expected, down from 51.0) and Germany, which missed in Services (52.3 vs 53.7 expected, same as September), while modestly beating Manufacturing at 51.5 vs 51.4 expected, up from 51.1 last. On a blended basis, the Composite Flash PMI fell from 52.2 to 51.5, against the consensus expectation of a modest rise (Cons: 52.4). Today's correction brings to a halt a series of six consecutive monthly rises in the Euro area composite PMI.
Last week, the main area of focus was the political situation in the US where Democrats and Republicans finally agreed upon a short term fix to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling. The conclusion of this saw equity markets rally to all time highs in Europe and the US, with the USD continuing to slide as markets turn their attention to the Fed’s QE programme and push back expectations of when the central bank will begin to pull back on asset purchases. With the government now reopen, attention will turn to the numerous data releases that were delayed but will now take place over the next two weeks, including the jobs report which is due on Tuesday. The release of this report will once again be used to help predict when the Fed will begin to taper QE however, recent comments from Fed members have suggested that October is likely to be too soon trim bond buying due to the lack of key macroeconomic data and the unknown economic impact as a result of the government closing for 16 days.
Dispassionate discussion of some of the vexing issues.
I like Professor Shiller and respect his work. Really, I do, but... Massive bubbles, the sort of the proportion of the 2008 crisis, are nigh impossible to miss if you can add single digits successfully and are able to keep your eyes open for a few minutes at a time. Yes, I truly do feel its that simple. I saw the property bubble over a year in advance, cashed out and came back in shorting - all for a very profitable round trip. Was I a genius soothsayer? Well, maybe in my own mind, but the reality of the situation is I was simply paying attention. Let's recap:
The study is called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies and it tested 166,000 people aged 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries. It found that in math, reading and problem solving, American adults scored below the international average. We can’t say this is surprising, after all, the public allowed the big banks that destroyed the economy to gift themselves trillions in the aftermath of the financial crisis with barely a peep in response. You don’t have to be a problem solving genius to figure that one out.
There really is very little reason why this "government shutdown" cannot continue indefinitely because almost everything is still running. 63 percent of all federal workers are still working, and 85 percent of all government activities are still being funded during this "shutdown". It turns out that the definition of "essential personnel" has expanded so much over the years that almost everyone is considered "essential" at this point. In fact, this shutdown is such a non-event that even referring to it as a "partial government shutdown" would really be overstating what is actually happening. In the end, this shutdown could turn out to be very good for America. We have a government that is wildly out of control and that desperately needs to be reigned in.
- Government Heads Toward Shutdown (WSJ), First U.S. Shutdown in 17 Years at Midnight Seen Probable (BBG), Congress in game of chicken (RTRS)
- Italian Premier Pursues Last-Ditch Rescue of Government (WSJ)
- Election risk rattles Italian government bonds (RTRS)
- Obama and Ryan Stay on Sidelines on Budget (WSJ)
- Volcker Rule Costs Tallied as U.S. Regulators Press Deadline (BBG)
- Faltering Chinese Factory Growth Adds to Rebound Fears (FT)
- Health Law Hits Late Snags as Rollout Approaches (WSJ)
- Apple Overtakes Coca-Cola as Most Valuable Brand, Study Finds (BBG)
- Euro-Area September Inflation Slows More Than Forecast on Energy (BBG) - Puting will fix that shortly
- House GOP banking on Plan C (Politico)
- Pimco shook hands with the Fed - and made a killing (Reuters)
- BlackBerry's Torsten Heins has a $55 Million golden parachute (Reuters)
- JPMorgan Urged to Pay More in Mortgage Deal (NYT)
- Soros Adviser Turned Lawmaker Sees Crisis by 2020 (BBG)
- U.N. Members Agree on Syria Disarmament (WSJ)
- U.N. Says Humans Are 'Extremely Likely' Behind Global Warming (WSJ)
- The non-falsifiable threats emerge: Shutdown Would Shave Fourth-Quarter U.S. Growth as Much as 1.4% (BBG)
- Swaps Rules Worry Industry: Coming Regulations Have Market Players Concerned About Possible Disruption (WSJ)