This time is different...
The start of the Fed's most eagerly awaited two-day policy meeting in years has finally arrived with the market expecting Yellen to announce the first 25 bps rate hike in 9 years tomorrow with nearly 80% probability, and so far US equity futures are enjoying a last minute relief rally, while emerging market stocks rose for the first day in ten after the longest losing run since June. Europe's Stoxx 600 Index has also rebounded from a five-day losing streak, the worst in over four months.
The world is awash with debt. With central banks increasing their balance sheets through quantitative easing, simultaneously pushing down interest rates and taking huge chunks of the market out of circulation, investors have had to stray beyond developed market government bonds in search of yield.
It seems it is high time for a strategic rethink in the Global War On Terror, but powerful forces are arrayed against it. Apart from the fact that a truly huge racket is at stake, the situation is also reminiscent of the proverbial guy with the hammer – everything looks like a nail to him. So we should reasonably expect more of the same, only in even grander style (as the so-called “surge” has shown, any successes tend not only to be temporary, but have a habit to soon give way to even greater disasters).
In case you have been hibernating, the European Union (EU) is already in a complete state of disarray. Everywhere you look - economy, politics, security, society, demographics - there are very serious problems with no credible solution in sight. This does not bode well for the future of the EU, starting with those who will be living in it. The EU doesn't need any nationalists to destroy its future prospects. It’s doing absolutely fine on its own.
Impunity has been the norm. The reason there have been no efforts made to criminally investigate is obvious. Former banking regulator and current securities Professor Bill Black told Bill Moyers that "Timothy Geithner, then Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong."
The disconnect between economic underpinnings, market internals and "bullish" investor optimism leaves many investors/advisors "mentally conflicted." If they "sell" too soon, they might miss a further advance in the market. But if they wait too long, well, they have lived through that scenario previously. This week's reading list is a smattering of conflicting views about the markets and the economy.
In the final act of what has become a modern Greek tragedy, lawmakers will now be forced to choose between "approving" what is effectively a German overthrow of the Greek government, or face the collapse of the banking system and an economic depression of unimaginable propotions.
A little over two years ago, in the middle of April 2013, there was a gold crash that came seemingly out of nowhere. Worse, for gold investors anyway, that crash was repeated just a few months later. Where gold had stood just shy of $1,800 an ounce at the start of QE3, those cascades had brought the metal price down to just $1,200. For many, especially orthodox economists, it heralded the end of the “fear trade” and meant, unambiguously, that the recovery had finally at long last arrived. However, gold price activity since QE3 has been a warning, and a big one, not cause for victory celebrations.
Having written for several years about precious metals, the massive threat to our financial security (from our own financial institutions), and why gold and silver represent our best protection from that threat; it’s easy to forget that there are readers who are new to this sector. For those readers; it is necessary to review the fundamentals of supply and demand.
Debt, Distraction, Currency Wars, Itchy Fingers
Billionaire Jeff Greene - who flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week - has some words of wisdom for the average American: "America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life."
Nobel Prize Winning Economists, Federal Reserve Chair and Other Top Experts: War Is BAD for the Economy
Who Are the Worst Looters?
"I have zero doubt that Japan is about to get smacked in the mouth. And when that happens the monetary policy calculus in Japan... and the UK... and even the EU will take on a very different shape. The domestic political dictates may still overwhelm the international economic consequences of extraordinary monetary policy easing."