At first glance, the title to this commentary seems facile, especially to those readers in higher income brackets. The reality, however, is that “investing in food” is a risk-free means of generating an annual return on one’s investment that would likely exceed the return one could earn on almost any other investment – despite the fact that nearly all other asset classes carry significant risks.
BNP is out with a note calling China’s equity bubble “a microcosm for the overall economy: unsustainable growth in leverage masking ever-deteriorating fundamentals and increasing future downside risks. Margin purchases are now accounting for almost 20% of equities daily turnover which itself has soared to wholly unprecedented levels in another sign of self-feeding speculative frenzy. What happens next is clearly an ‘unknown-unknown’."
If there is one chart that most clearly captures the unsustainable US home price appreciation bubble, it is the following which was released overnight from RealtyTrac: home price appreciation nationwide has outpaced wage growth by a 13:1 ratio!
The collapse of phantom-wealth bubbles could occur in the next year or two, or be delayed for another 5 to 6 years. But the implosion of phantom-wealth bubbles is assured by the internal dynamics of bubbles.
“Government can have no more than two legitimate purposes,” wrote the 18th-century English political philosopher William Godwin, “the suppression of injustice against individuals within the community and the common defense against external invasion.” But the US system of government – nourished by the almost unlimited credit that its money gives it – has swelled to a shape that would have been grotesque and unrecognizable to Godwin. To those who still maintain some romantic attachment to the ideals of the American Revolution, it is merely repulsive.
Energy accounts for 10% of Canadian GDP and around 25% of exports and the swift fall in oil prices is having a profound effect in the nation’s oil producing regions where home sales are collapsing by as much as 65%.
"...markets can turn from tranquil to turbulent in short order. It is worth noting that in 2006 volatility was low, and companies were generating record pro?t margins, until the business cycle came to an abrupt halt due to events that many people had not anticipated. Although investor appetite for equities may remain robust in the near term, because of positive equity fundamentals and low yields in other asset classes, history shows high valuations carry inherent risk... potential ?nancial stability risks arising from leverage, compressed pricing of risk, interconnectedness, and complexity deserve further attention and analysis."
It’s time for the Japanese to get seriously scared now. Like many other countries, Japan – and its political class – creates a false image of enduring prosperity by letting its central bank increasingly buy up ever more of its sovereign bonds. It’s a total sleight of hand, there is nothing left that’s real. There’s no there there. This is of course the same as what happens in Europe. And it’s precisely because central banks buy up all these bonds, that their yields scrape the gutter. It’s a blueprint for killing off the last bit of actual functionality in an economy.
Caught Between A Housing Bubble And Falling Crude Prices, Norway Will Invest Oil Riches In Foreign Real EstateSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/23/2015 20:30 -0400
Just as the central bank runs out of viable options, the country's sovereign wealth fund (which once famously loaded up on Greek bonds) is set to buy "a lot" of Asian property with the country's oil riches.
"Leverage is risky. Purchasing assets with borrowed money can amplify small movements in prices into extraordinary gains or crippling losses, even default."
- San Fran Fed
"Proactive central banks figure this out early and fight the inevitable slowdown by implementing QE and weaker currencies. They grab the other guy’s pizza slice. Their asset markets soar. As Figure 5 shows, 70% of the world’s developed markets have inflation below 0.5% – almost as high as the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. So the USD8.6tn in central bank balance sheet expansion (from the Fed, ECB, BOE, BoJ, and PBoC, which amounts to 130% growth over Dec-07 to now) has been unable to get inflation going." - Bank of America
Janet’s Yellen’s pettifogging today about her patient lack of impatience was downright pathetic. Her verbal hair-splitting is starting to make medieval ritual incantations sound coherent by comparison. But unlike the financial media’s dopey dithering about “dot plots”, Yellen at least has something to hide behind all the gibberish. Namely, she and her merry band of money printers are becoming more petrified each month that they will trigger a thundering Wall Street hissy fit if they move to “normalize” interest rates - even as they are slowly beginning to realize that continuance of ZIRP much longer will only intensify the market’s addiction to rampant speculation, free money carry trades and the associated risks to financial stability.
The only market year to date that has shown truly impressive gains in both local currency and USD terms, is also the best performing market of 2014 - China, which is now up almost 100% in less than a year! Here, courtesy of UBS, is the complete list of what may be causing China's relentless stock market surge.
- Fed May Not Hit Neutral Until 10th Anniversary of Lehman Collapse (BBG)... make that never
- Global stocks and bonds roar Fed approval, dollar fights back (Reuters)
- EU to tell Greece time, patience running out (Reuters)
- U.S. likely to delay planned closure of two Afghanistan bases (Reuters)
- Norway Signals Reduction After Unexpectedly Holding Rate (BBG)
- Oil Falls to $55 as Kuwait Comments Refocus on Oversupply (Reuters)
- Tsipras Heads to Summit as Merkel Tries to Defuse Greek Crisis (BBG)
- Yahoo Pulls the Plug on China Operations (WSJ)