Quantitative Easing

Hugh Hendry Live 2: "QE 'Worked' By Redistributing Wealth Not Creating It"

In the second of three interviews (part 1 here), Hugh Hendry tells MoneyWeek's Merryn Somerset Webb why central banks will go even further than anyone expects to keep the global economy afloat. Hendry notes, "there’s so much debt that if you reprice debt, the economy slows down. We saw that I think in 2012, after the taper tantrum and ten-year bond use went over 3%. What happened next? The economy slowed down. If anything I would be a buyer of U.S. Treasuries."

As The "Sanctions War" Heats Up, Will Putin Play His 'Gold Card'?

The topic of ‘currency war’ has been bantered about in financial circles since at least the term was first used by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega in September 2010. Recently, the currency war has escalated, and a ‘sanctions war’ against Russia has broken out. History suggests that financial assets are highly unlikely to preserve investors’ real purchasing power in this inhospitable international environment, due in part to the associated currency crises, which will catalyse at least a partial international remonetisation of gold. Vladimir Putin, under pressure from economic sanctions, may calculate that now is the time to play his ‘gold card’.

The Eurozone's QE Problem

"QE is a necessary condition for recovery in Europe, but is not sufficient in itself. The question is where does this bridge take us? The eurozone can survive a couple more years of miserable growth, but it can’t go on forever like this before people lose hope. There is political risk almost everywhere."

Why Japan Needs A 'Strong' Yen

Unfortunately, Natixis warns, the same error is being repeated by the Bank of Japan. The starting point of their analysis is the contrarian fact that Japan needs a strong yen. Japanese exports are hardly sensitive to their prices; Japan has a large proportion of "necessary" imports (commodities) whose price rises when the yen weakens. Unfortunately, Natixis warns, the Bank of Japan has just increased the size of its quantitative easing program, which will lead to a steeper depreciation of the yen. The only benefit will be a temporary rise in the Nikkei, an automatic result of the conversion of Japanese companies' results into yen. Nothing more...

The Fed's "Baffle 'Em With Bullshit" Strategy In 1 Simple Chart

Despite the promise of increased transparency, if you felt that deciphering Fed policy (other than uber-dovish, lower-for-longer, willing-to-wait, BTFD) became more and more confusing as the last few years progressed, you would not be alone. In fact, the complexity of the Fed's statements (not just the wordcount which we have noted numerous times) has surged from "Secondary School" reading level throughout Greenspan's era to "Post-Grad" comprehension at the peak of Bernanke's reign. Yellen, so far, has reverted modestly. As The Economist notes, this increased baffle-em-with-bullshit "Fedspeak" complexity is very reminiscent of the George Orwell's 1984-esque "oldspeak" or "doublespeak" used to keep a quiescent public bemused.

The Market's Dodging Boomerangs, Not Bullets

"The market has been dodging boomerangs, not bullets, and they are likely to come back harder for it." Importantly, rich valuations here cannot be “justified” by appeals to current interest rates or profit margins unless that justification carries with it the assumption that both zero interest rate policy and cyclically-elevated profit margins will be sustained for decades, coupled with the assumption that economic growth will proceed at historically normal rates.

All Aboard The Instability Express

Plummeting oil prices are a symptom of terrible mounting instabilities in the world. After years of stagnation, complacency, and official pretense, the linked matrix of systems we depend on for running our techno-industrial society is shaking itself to pieces. American officials either don’t understand what they’re seeing, or don’t want you to know what they see. The tensions between energy, money, and economy have entered a new phase of destructive unwind. The global economy has caught the equivalent of financial Ebola: deflation, which is the recognition that debts can’t be repaid, obligations can’t be met, and contracts won’t be honored. Financial Ebola means that the connective tissues of trade start to dissolve, and pretty soon blood starts dribbling out of national economies.

BTFTripleD Algos Engage: Futures Rebound Following Third Japnese Recession

Perhaps the biggest shock following last night's completely expected and very predictable (previewed here over a month ago) Japanese slide into triple- (actually make that quadruple) dip recession, is that it took the BTFTripleDip recession algos as long as they did to recover most of the overnight futures losses. Because after surging to 107 on a confused short squeeze kneejerk reaction, the USDJPY subsequently tumbled 150 pips to 105.50 as rationality briefly emerged, and the market wondered for a few brief hours if rewaring the destruction of one's economy is actually a prudent thing. Then, however, when European traders started walking into work, the now default USDJPY levitation on no volume came right back, and with that the correlation algo buying of E-mini futures, no doubt helped by the Bank of Japan itself taking advantage of the CME's ES liquidity rebate program. Because without confidence as expressed by the lowest and only common denominator left - global equities - there is nothing else.

Paul Craig Roberts: The Global Financial System Is "A House Of Cards Resting On Corruption"

Washington’s ability to rig markets has allowed Washington to keep its economic house of cards standing. The extent of financial corruption involving collusion between the mega-banks and the financial authorities is unfathomable. The Western financial system is a house of cards resting on corruption. Can it stand forever or are there so many rotted joints that some simultaneous collection of failures overwhelms the manipulation and brings on a massive crash? Time will tell.

Stephen Roach Warns The Fed's Fixation With Markets Is "A Potentially Deadly Trap"

The Fed remains fixated on financial-market feedback – and thus ensnared in a potentially deadly trap. Fearful of market disruptions, the Fed has embraced a slow-motion exit from QE. By splitting hairs over the meaning of the words “considerable time” in describing the expected timeline for policy normalization, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is falling into the same trap. Such a fruitless debate borrows a page from the Bernanke-Greenspan incremental normalization script of 2004-2006. Sadly, we know all too well how that story ended.