Gold prices pulled back this morning as traders booked gains and stagnant physical demand had the yellow metal out of favour. Recent confirmation by Janet Yellen that she will continue Bernanke's loose monetary policy lifted gold, but tapering appears priced into the metal already.
"Debt increases tail-risk," warns anti-fragility expert Nassim Taleb, "whether it's personal, corporate, or governmental." A rise in debt, he warns, implies nothing less than a rise in "the risk of catastrophe," and Taleb chides, governments "should be focused in risk-management... instead of creating these risks." This brief Bloomberg TV clip cuts to the chase as the normally circumlocutory Taleb unloads on the perils of central banks, "Mr. Greenspan created tail risk by eliminating the business cycle," and since then tail-risks have accumulated with debt the "number one creator of these risks." In a fascinating phrase, Taleb notes, "corporate debt is benign," since in failure it turns into equity, "but government debt is another matter... for it turns into inflation or worse invasion..."
The US dollar looks vulnerable to additional losses next week. While we had correctly anticipated the greenback's losses last week, we had expected it to begin recovering ahead of the weekend. This did not materialize and, leaving aside the yen, the dollar finished the week near its lows. Generally speaking, the technical outlook for the greenback has soured and, in fact, warn of some risk accelerated losses in the period ahead.
The third stage of bull markets, the mania phase, can last longer and go farther that logic would dictate. However, the data suggests that the risk of a more meaningful reversion is rising. It is unknown, unexpected and unanticipated events that strike the crucial blow that begins the market rout. Unfortunately, due to the increased impact of high frequency and program trading, reversions are likely to occur faster than most can adequately respond to. This is the danger that exists today. Are we in the third phase of a bull market? Most who read this article will say "no." However, those were the utterances made at the peak of every previous bull market cycle.
Two days ago, when we posted ""Frustrated" Liquidity Addicts Demand Moar From BOJ As Nikkei Rally Stalls", we suggested that more QE from the Bank of Japan is just around the corner (and likely to take place as early as April) as the only real "driver" behind Abenomics, the surge in the stock market had stalled for nearly 6 months. 48 hours later, and 700 points in the Nikkei higher, the realization that indeed more QE is coming has swept through the market like wildfire. So what will the Bank of Japan's expansion of quantitative easing look like, when supposedly only $75 billion per month amounting to a whopping 70% of all new issuance, is not enough? According to Goldman "the BoJ could take the lead in this reallocation process by notably increasing its purchases of risky assets, such as ETFs and RIETS, or even outright equities – say purchasing a wide range of Japanese equities by index weight." It may get even better: "the BoJ is likely to consider more unorthodox policy to push up inflation expectations" - like paradropping NGDP, better known as paradropping yen (a move Yellen herself is now contemplating as we previewed back in September).
Discussion of a market bubble (in stocks, credit, bonds, Farm-land, residential real estate, or art) have dominated headlines in recent weeks. However, QEeen Yellen gave us the all-clear this morning that there was "no bubble." Are we currently witnessing a market bubble? It is very possible; however, as STA's Lance Roberts notes, if we are, it will be the first market bubble in history to be seen in advance (despite Bullard's comments in opposition to that "fact"). From a contrarian investment view point, there is simply "too much bubble talk" currently which means that there is likely more irrational excess to come. The lack of "economic success" will likely mean that the Fed remains engaged in its ongoing QE programs for much longer than currently expected - and perhaps Hussman's pre-crash bubble anatomy is dead on...
Hunting season is off to a good start this week, and I’m not just talking about deer hunting. It seems that former Fed officials declared open season on their ex-colleagues. First, Andrew Huszar, who once ran the Fed’s mortgage buying operation, let loose in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Huszar apologized to all Americans for his role in the toxic QE programs. And then today, the WSJ struck again, this time with an op-ed by former FOMC Governor Kevin Warsh. Warsh is a former Morgan Stanley investment banker whose 2006 to 2011 stint on the FOMC spanned the end of the housing boom and the first few years of “unconventional” policy measures. After such a solid grounding in the ways of the Fed and Wall Street, he recently morphed into a critic of the status quo. His criticisms are welcome and we believe accurate, but they’re also oh so carefully expressed. They’re written with the polite wording and between-the-lines meanings that you might expect from such an establishment figure. He seems to be holding back. So, what does he really want to say?
With gold down 10 of the last 11 days (until today), Peter Schiff tells CNBC that this temporary downswing is due to "the fantasy of a US recovery," that so many actually believe and thus, due to this 'recovery' the Fed will taper back its quantitative easing. "It's not gonna happen," Schiff explains, "we have a phony recovery," and the Fed will more likely increase the amount of QE in order to sustain it, "which is very bullish for gold." Crucially, Schiff clarifies that he "doesn't think a taper is inevitable," as many believe, "but an end to QE won't happen by the Fed's choice - the market will force them to tread on the brakes as the USD collapses." As we noted earlier, Schiff also believes there is an attempt to do "whatever it takes" to pull the EUR down to maintain the USD - but as today's price action shows, it's not working... "Long-term, the fundamentals have never been better for gold."
Q3 earnings for financials show that the interest rate risk created by the Fed after years of zero rates is very real indeed
Anyone who says that he or she is prepared to “do whatever it takes”, whether it’s Mario Draghi and Angela Merkel talking about support of the euro, Ben Bernanke talking about preventing deflation, George W. Bush talking about pursuit of terrorism, or Barack Obama talking about growing the economy … is making a preventive war argument just like Curtis LeMay. Not a preventive war against a particular nation, but a preventive war against some conceptual social ill. Of course, you can’t defeat a conceptual social ill like you can defeat a nation. You can’t accept the surrender of General Deflation. These social ills will always be with us in one form or another, which means that a preventive war in the modern context is a permanent and constant war. It may not seem like we are on a war footing when it comes to NSA eavesdropping or QE, because the trappings of war … mobilizations, set battles, etc. … may not be present. But the language associated with a war footing is definitely present, and this is what creates the social space that allows these policies to exist and thrive. I am struck almost every day by how the language of extremism and war pervades our domestic political and social institutions, on both the left and the right.
You pack of fringe Zero Hedge low brows!
"I can only say: I'm sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed's first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing.... We were working feverishly to preserve the impression that the Fed knew what it was doing... The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I've come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.... Having racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in opaque Fed subsidies, U.S. banks have seen their collective stock price triple since March 2009. The biggest ones have only become more of a cartel: 0.2% of them now control more than 70% of the U.S. bank assets. As for the rest of America, good luck..... The implication is that the Fed is dutifully compensating for the rest of Washington's dysfunction. But the Fed is at the center of that dysfunction. Case in point: It has allowed QE to become Wall Street's new "too big to fail" policy."
Did you know that there are more than 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job? Right now, there are more than 11 million Americans that are considered to be "officially unemployed", and there are more than 91 million Americans that are not employed and that are considered to be "not in the labor force". When you add those two numbers together, the total is more than 102 million. Overall, the number of working age Americans that do not have a job has increased by about 27 million since the year 2000. But aren't things getting better? After all, the mainstream media is full of headlines about how "good" the jobs numbers for October were. Sadly, the truth is that the mainstream media is not being straight with the American people. As you will see below, we are in the midst of a long-term unemployment crisis in America, and things got even worse last month.
Investors who believe that history has lessons to teach should take our present concerns with significant weight, but should also recognize that tendencies that repeatedly prove reliable over complete market cycles are sometimes defied over portions of those cycles. Meanwhile, investors who are convinced that this time is different can ignore what follows. The primary reason not to listen to a word of it is that similar concerns, particularly since late-2011, have been followed by yet further market gains. If one places full weight on this recent period, and no weight on history, it follows that stocks can only advance forever. What seems different this time, enough to revive the conclusion that “this time is different,” is faith in the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing. The problem with bubbles is that they force one to decide whether to look like an idiot before the peak, or an idiot after the peak...
When the US federal government was shutdown, China jumped in on the financial bandwagon and suggested that we build ‘a de-Americanized world’, which boils down to getting rid of the dollar as the international reserve currency.