Real estate

Marc Faber Warns "The Bubble Could Burst Any Day"; Prefers Physical Gold To Bitcoin

"The Fed's policies have actually led to a lot of problems around the world," Marc Faber begins his discussion with Bloomberg TV's Trish Regan, especially "people in the lower income groups [who] spend say 30% of their income on energy, transportation, and so forth, electricity and gasoline." The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report author goes on to discuss everything from how the Fed is creating a two-class system around the world, the inexorable growth of governments, buying votes, Bitcoin, interest rates, wealth taxes, and overall market valuations. "We are in a gigantic financial asset bubble," Faber explains, "everybody's bullish," but he sees a slowing global economy (as do we e.g. Baltic Dry Index); "[The bubble] could burst any day. I think we are very stretched." Faber is on fire...

It's A Lose-Lose-Lose Deal For America: How Real Estate Bubbles Push Rents Higher

The Status Quo views real estate bubbles as a "good thing": as home prices rise, the homeowner's collateral (equity) rises, creating both a psychological "wealth effect" (now that we're richer, we can afford to borrow and blow more money) and a temporary (and thus phantom) increase in collateral that will support more household debt. What few seem to realize (or discuss) is how rising home prices push rents higher.This is an entirely pernicious effect, as renters aren't getting any more "home" for the higher rent--they're paying more money for the same shelter. Central Planning pushing housing prices higher is not win-win--it is lose-lose-lose.

Frontrunning: January 14

  • House Unveils $1.01 Trillion Measure to Fund Government (BBG)
  • Credit Suisse Tells Junior Bankers to Take Saturdays Off (BBG)
  • Spot the odd word out: ECB Sees Bad-Debt Rules as Threat to Credible Bank Review (BBG)
  • Insert laugh track here: Spain GDP grows at fastest pace in almost six years (FT)
  • Scandinavian Debt Crisis Waiting to Happen Puzzles Krugman (BBG)
  • Fed Said to Release Plan to Limit Banks’ Commodities Activities (BBG)
  • Thai Protesters Extend Blockade After Rejecting Poll Talks (BBG)
  • China provinces set lower growth goals for 2014 (BBG)

Amazon Hints At Its Global Domination Strategy

While Amazon's online business is booming (in revenues - but decidedly not profits), its somewhat sunning inactions at CES this past week raised more than a few eyebrows. Quietly and with no grandiose Michael-Bay-style presentation, Wired reports the 'we-can-make-a-profit-any-time-we-like-if-we-really-wanted' company placed an Amazon Vending Machine at the Las Vegas Airport. As Wired continues, any foray by Amazon into the world of offline retail is a big deal... when Amazon ventures into the physical world - whether with in-store delivery lockers or grocery trucks or vending machines - the company’s sheer scale and ambition demand that you think in terms of world domination. Hhmmm...

Where In The World Do People Live?

Worried that Starbucks is running out of real estate? Concerned that McDonalds will be unable to fill its quota of minimum-wage employees as urban sprawl caps out? Have no fear for as the following map shows, there is plenty of room left in the world for the chains to expand... and of course, where there is a Starbucks there is mass affluence, right? Of course, extremes of heat and cold will require a little adaptation but that's what free easy money is for...

Post Payrolls Market Recap

With no major macro news on today's docket, it is a day of continuing reflection of Friday's abysmal jobs report, which for now has hammered the USDJPY carry first and foremost, a pair which is now down 170 pips from the 105 level seen on Friday, which in turn is putting pressure on global equities. As DB summarizes, everyone "knows" that Friday's US December employment report had a sizeable weather impact but no-one can quite grasp how much or why it didn't show up in other reports. Given that parts of the US were colder than Mars last week one would have to think a few people might have struggled to get to work this month too. So we could be in for another difficult to decipher report at the start of February. Will the Fed look through the distortions? It’s fair to say that equities just about saw the report as good news (S&P 500 +0.23%) probably due to it increasing the possibility in a pause in tapering at the end of the month. However if the equity market was content the bond market was ecstatic with 10 year USTs rallying 11bps. The price action suggests the market was looking for a pretty strong print.

Guest Post: The Fed Is Playing Global Pump-And-Dump

Even if you don’t buy that QE and ZIRP will lead to a dollar collapse, you do have to admit that these Fed policies have severely brainwashed investors. The Federal Reserve is the boiler room operation that has pumped up the equities market by way of QE and ZIRP. You are investing in a pump-and-dump scam. And like in all such scams, you will lose. Clear enough for ya?

Meet China's "Street Of Fakes"

From "The Appla Store" to "Sffcccks Coffee", the southern Chinese city of Wuxi has seen a "street of fakes" sprout up that flaunts modified name of famous international stores. As the South China Morning Post reports, on this commercial street, located near the Wuxi East Railway Station, the "shanzai" (translated - knock-offs) are in fact all empty - designed to entice buyers of commercial and residential property in yet another ghost city to lever-up and speculate.

For First Time Ever, Most Members Of Congress Are Millionaires

A month ago, we showed a chart of median household income in the US versus that just in the District of Columbia. The punchline wrote itself: "what's bad for America is good for Washington, D.C." Today we got official verification that Bernanke's wealth transfer in addition to benefitting the richest 1%, primarily those dealing with financial assets, also led to a material increase in the wealth of one particular subgroup of the US population: its politicians.  According to the OpenSecrets blog which conveniently tracks the wealth of America's proud recipients of lobbying dollars, aka Congress, for the first time ever the majority of America's lawmakers are worth more than $1 million.

Janet Yellen - The Nation's New Chief Slumlord

Please welcome the nation's new chief slumlord, Janet Yellen. The previous top slumlord, Ben Bernanke, has retired from the position of Chief Slumlord (i.e. chair of the Federal Reserve) to the accolades of those who benefited from his extraordinary transfer of wealth from the many to the few. Why is the chairperson of the Fed the nation's top slumlord? Allow us to explain... We only need to understand two facts to understand the Fed's role as Slumlord.

The Real China Threat: Credit Chaos

Chinese borrowers are facing rising pressures for loan repayments in an environment of overcapacity and unprofitable investments. Unable to generate cash to service their loans, they have to turn to the shadow-banking sector for credit and avoid default. The result is an explosive growth of the size of the shadow-banking sector. The PBOC thought it could control this by limiting liquidity but underestimated the effects of its measure. Largely because Chinese borrowers tend to cross-guarantee each other’s debt, squeezing even a relatively small number of borrowers could produce a cascade of default. The reaction in the credit market was thus almost instant and frightening. Borrowers facing imminent default are willing to borrow at any rate while banks with money are unwilling to loan it out no matter how attractive the terms are. Should this situation continue, China’s real economy would suffer a nasty shock.

Deep Freeze Day Market Summary

Heading into the North American open, stocks in Europe are seen broadly higher, with peripheral EU stock indices outperforming after Ireland successfully returned to capital markets with its 10y syndication that attracted over EUR 10bln. Financials benefited the most from the consequent credit and bond yield spreads tightening, with smaller Italian and Spanish banks gaining around 4%. Following the successful placement, IR/GE 10y bond yield spread was seen at its tightest level since April 2010, while PO/GE 10y spread also tightened in reaction to premarket reports by Diario Economico citing sources that Portuguese govt and debt agency IGCP consider that the current level of yields already allows Portugal to go ahead with a bond sale. Looking elsewhere, the release of better than expected macroeconomic data from Germany, together with an in line Eurozone CPI, supported EUR which gradually moved into positive territory. In addition to that, smaller MRO allotment by the ECB resulted in bear steepening of the Euribor curve and also buoyed EONIA 1y1y rates. The Spanish and Italian markets are the best-performing larger bourses, Swedish the worst. The euro is stronger against the dollar. Japanese 10yr bond yields fall; Spanish yields decline. Commodities gain, with wheat, silver underperforming and Brent crude outperforming. U.S. trade balance data released later.