Foreign investment is of course common around the world and is generally seen as a good thing. Americans mostly like it, for instance, when Japanese investors bid up shares of US companies or Chinese expats pay above asking price for Manhattan apartments. With only a few exceptions we take the money and don’t look back. But there must be a limit, a point where foreign interests own so much of a country that they call the shots and the locals become in effect their serfs. Greece might be the test case that shows us where that point is...
The present Chinese leadership appears to be trying to gain (regain?) more - if not full - control over the country’s economic system, while at the same time (re-)boosting the growth it has lost in recent years. President Xi Jinping, prime minister Li Keqiang and all of their subservient leaders – there are 1000?s of those in a 1.4 million citizens country- apparently think this can be done. We truly doubt it. We don’t think that they ever understood what would happen if they opened up the country to a more free-market, capitalist structure. That doing so would automatically reduce their political power, since a free market, in whatever shape and form, does not rhyme with the kind of control which the Communist Party has been used to for decades, and which the current leaders have grown up taking for granted.
“Ignorance is not bliss – it is oblivion. Determined ignorance is the hastiest kind of oblivion.” As investors, we have all been warned. Not by the future, but by the past.
The reason everything is being built for the wealthy, is because all the gains from the oligarch recovery have gone to the wealthy. This is no accident. It’s how the bailouts were designed, and how the status quo operates. Our socio-economic system since 2008 can be best described as serfdom, and nothing is going to change until people admit this, rather than hanging on to false hopes that they one day too will become an oligarch. It’s not gonna happen.
The 2nd tallest building in the world, Shanghai Tower, will open to the public mid 2015 during a time when China's own economy is going through the darkest period in recent years.
The rising risk to the housing recovery story lies in the Fed's ability to continue to keep interest rates suppressed. It is important to remember that individuals "buy payments" rather than houses. With each tick higher in mortgage rates so goes the monthly mortgage payment. With wages remaining suppressed, 1 out of 3 Americans no longer counted as part of the work force or drawing on a Federal subsidy, the pool of potential buyers remains tightly constrained. While there are many hopes pinned on the housing recovery as a "driver" of economic growth in 2015 and beyond - the lack of recovery in the home ownership data suggests otherwise.
In most of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development the income gap is at its highest level in three decades, with the richest 10 percent of the population earning 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 percent. "We have reached a tipping point. Inequality in OECD countries is at its highest since records began,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.
The big news overnight was neither the Chinese manufacturing PMI miss nor the just as unpleasant (and important) German manufacturing and service PMI misses, but that speculation about a rate hike continues to grow louder despite the abysmal economic data lately, with the latest vote of support of a 25 bps rate increase coming from Goldman which overnight updated its "Fed staff model" and found surprisingly little slack in the economy suggesting that the recent push to blame reality for not complying with economist models (and hence the need for double seasonal adjustments) is gaining steam, and as we first suggested earlier this week, it may just happen that the Fed completely ignores recent data, and pushes on to tighten conditions, if only to rerun the great Trichet experiment of the summer of 2011 when the smallest of rate hikes resulted in a double dip recession.
The uncertainty surrounding the inevitability, if not the exact timing, of multiple and possibly overlapping volatility drivers is itself a source of volatility. For the average person, these signs can be scary. Taking steps to avoid the circus as much as possible, such as extracting money from the markets, securing personal assets, and waiting out the swings, can be a source of emotional comfort and future financial stability.
The consequences of economic stagnation are not limited to finance: stagnation is causing a social depression.
The economy is growing, the markets are up, stocks are flirting with record highs… The good times are back for investors, so it seems, but are they really?
No lesser establishment economist than Martin Feldstein - Professor of Economics at Harvard University and President Emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research - has some warning words of wisdom for The Fed today: "...the Fed’s unconventional monetary policies have also created dangerous risks to the financial sector and the economy as a whole." When even The Ivory Tower is losing faith, you know The Fed is in trouble...
Futures Flat With Greece In Spotlight; UBS Reveals Rigging Settlement; Inventory Surge Grows Japan GDPSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/20/2015 07:00 -0400
The only remarkable macroeconomic news overnight was out of Japan where we got the Q1 GDP print of 2.4% coming in well above consensus of 1.6%, and higher than the 1.1% in Q4. Did it not snow in Japan this winter? Does Japan already used double, and maybe triple, "seasonally-adjusted" data? We don't know, but we do know that both Japan and Europe have grown far faster than the US in the first quarter.
Since its inception, California has always portrayed itself as the land of opportunity. Kind of like a dream within the American dream. Of course, if you ask anyone who actually lives here, they’ll tell you the truth. The only people getting rich from the dream are the ones who made it up. They prey on the gullible masses who think they can move here and become movies stars, and tech CEO’s. But more importantly, this dream is the lifeblood of our vampiric state, and always has been. Like the myths surrounding the Great Wall of China, our foundations are layered with those who fell while chasing the dream. We owe our very existence to this ever evolving scam.
Boom-and-Bust City at its glorious best.