And to think so many otherwise very bright people still don't get it.
Chaos was seen in financial markets today as participants were thrown a curveball with the SNB 'reset'. In just 13 minutes, from 0930 to 0952 BST, the franc collapsed by 30%. Swiss shares fell more than 12% - their largest crash since 1987. Stock markets around Europe fell with investors buying "safe haven" assets such as German bunds and gold bullion ...
How will the US government fund a sudden additional shortfall of $281 per American per year?
Remaining fully invested in the financial markets without a thorough understanding of your "risk exposure" will likely not have the desirable end result you have been promised. All five of the charts below have linkages to each other, and when one goes, they will all go. So pay attention to the details.
An adviser to the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) has delivered a tentative thumbs-up to an ECB bond plan unveiled in September 2012 that was aimed at countering euro break-up fears. Dow Jones explains the key five takeaways from the court's findings...
Gold has surged 7.2% already in January, outperforming gold in dollars which is up 4.8%, and building on the 12% gains seen in 2014. Market participants are increasing allocations to gold in order to hedge a ‘Grexit’ and risks posed by euro money printing.
That the global Status Quo is terrified of deflation is the background of every policy decision and official PR sound-bite. The reason behind this unremitting terror: deflation is the Achilles Heel of the global Status Quo. Rather than being the Monster Under the Bed in central bank nightmares, deflation is the natural result of a competitive economy experiencing productivity gains.
Germany could end up in a position where it would be constitutionally bound to leave the euro area, warns the IFO economic institute's Hans-Werner Sinn, which would force "somebody to give in and that would be the ECB." Sinn blasts the looming decision of ECB QE as an excuse to help weaker nations, exclaiming, as Bloomberg reports, "the risk of deflation is just a pretext for quantitative easing, for hammering out a bailout program for southern Europe."
Every couple of years the same identical European drill repeats itself: 1) Greece makes loud noises as it approaches an election, 2) Europe says it couldn't care what the outcome is and that Greece should stay in the Euro but if it exits it won't be a disaster, 3) the ECB reminds everyone of the lie that it is not preparing for Plan B (it is) despite holding on to over €100 billion in "credibility-crushing" Greek bonds, 4) panicking Greek banks say the deposit outflow situation is completely under control (adding that "The Bank of Greece along with the European Central Bank are monitoring closely the developments and intervene whenever this is necessary," which is code word for far more familiar, five-letter word), and meanwhile 5) all non-Greek banks quietly start preparing for the worst case scenario. So far this time around, we had everything but step "5". We do now.
People are becoming more critical of our current monetary system. In the past six years, central banks have promised us growth within six months’ time. They and the whole monetary and financial system have lost credibility. The banks’ profit to GDP is the highest in history in an economic environment where we have the highest amount of unemployment since WWII. There is something very wrong with the way the system works and this is all due to the overemphasis on trying to minimize the business cycle. The real conclusion of QE can only become visible if we experience the full business cycle. In Jakobsen's view, we have never been allowed to have a down cycle since 2008. But now, there is finally going to be a down cycle because central planners can’t print more money. As Jakobsen puts it: “Now is the time for the real economy to take over”.
- French policewoman killed in shoot-out, hunt deepens for militant killers (Reuters)
- The Bold Charlie Hebdo Covers the Satirical Magazine Was Not Afraid to Run (BBG)
- Evans Says Fed Shouldn’t Rush Rate Rise as Inflation Undershoots (BBG)
- Oil holds above $51 as traders search for floor (Reuters)
- Gross Helps Fuel New Fund With His Own Cash (WSJ)
- ECB warns Greek funding access hinges on keeping bailout (Reuters)
- Greece Jolts QE Juggernaut as ECB Gauges Deflation Risk (BBG)
- Analysts Say There's No Telling How Low Oil Prices Could Go (BBG)
- Scientists find antibiotic that kills bugs without resistance (Reuters)
Mainstream Media in the US seem to emphasize the positive aspects of the drop in prices. If our only problem were high oil prices, then low oil prices would seem to be a solution. Unfortunately, the problem we are encountering now is extremely low prices. If prices continue at this low level, or go even lower, we are in deep trouble with respect to future oil extraction. The situation is much more worrisome than most people would expect. Even if there are some temporary good effects, they will be more than offset by bad effects, some of which could be very bad indeed. We may be reaching limits of a finite world.
In its usual 'leak the plans and judge market reactions' methodology, unnamed sources have released to Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad, three potential options that the ECB is considering for buying government bonds. As the Jan 22nd ECB meeting looms, Reuters reports that while the ECB declined to comment, this 'strawman' appears very similar to comments made by ECB chief economists Peter Praet last week. For now, the reaction is not positive... as this indicates the ECB is nowhere near a decision.
The Greek 3Y-10Y yield curve is back over 400bps inverted this morning as bond (and stock) prices re-tumble following a new reports. As The FT reports, forecasting group Oxford Economics says it has carried out an "in-depth" analysis of opinion polls ahead of Greece's snap general election on January 25, which shows that the radical Syriza party is on course to win a "clear mandate" to push through anti-austerity policies. Will German worry now?
- Average 10-year yield of U.S., Japan and Germany dropped below 1% for the first time ever: Free Money in Bond Markets Shows Global Economy Still Struggling (BBG)
- Brent falls below $52 as oil hits new five and a half year lows (Reuters)
- China Fast-Tracks $1 Trillion in Projects to Spur Growth (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Raises Price of Main Oil Grade for Asian Buyers (BBG)
- Oilfield Writedowns Loom as Crude Slump Guts Drilling Values (BBG)
- Biggest Oil-Rig Drop Since 2009 Spells Tough Year Ahead (BBG)
- CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month (Reuters)
- Pipeline IPOs Climb on Demand for Returns Immune to Oil (BBG)
- Natural Gas No Savior for Investors Seeking Oil Refuge (BBG)
- Euro zone economy ended 2014 in poor shape (Reuters)