The U.K. faces a housing-market bubble unless the government boosts the supply of new homes, the OECD warned yesterday. U.K. home values have climbed 36.6% since 2004, the seventh-biggest rise among OECD nations and back near their 2007/8 bubble highs. The Bank of England said last week mortgage approvals had surpassed 60,000-a-month six months earlier than it had predicted. As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, while the OECD raised its forecasts for U.K. economic growth, it said risks to the recovery include “vigorous” house-price increases that may curtail affordability. We are sure this will all end well - a speculative real estate bubble as the key driver of nominal economic growth? What could go wrong?... Is it any wonder that UK realtors see the crash coming and are asking the government to step back from this policy-induced euphoria?
- JPMorgan $13 Billion Mortgage Deal Seen as Lawsuit Shield (BBG)
- J.P. Morgan Is Haunted by a 2006 Decision on Mortgages (WSJ)
- World powers, Iran in new attempt to reach nuclear deal (Reuters)
- Keystone Foes Seek to Thwart Oil Sands Exports by Rail (BBG) - mostly Warren Buffet?
- How Would Fed Deal With Debt Ceiling Crisis? Look to Minutes for Clues (Hilsenrath)
- Anything to prevent the loss of prop trading: 'Volcker Rule' Faces New Hurdles (WSJ)
- BOE Sees Case for Keeping Record-Low Rate Beyond 7% Jobless (BBG)
- Obama Backs Piecemeal Immigration Overhaul (WSJ)
- Abenomics Seen Cutting Japan Bad-Loan Costs to 2006 Low (BBG)
Jim Rogers hope-driven wish is that the politicians were smart enough at some point to say (to the central bankers), "we've got to stop this, this is going to be bad." He adds, on the incoming QEeen, "she’s not going to stop it, first of all she doesn't believe in stopping it, she thinks printing money is good." However, Rogers warns in this excellent interview with Birch Gold, "eventually the markets will just say, "We're not going to play this game anymore", and we'll have a serious collapse." The world is blinded by central bank liquidity, and as Rogers somewhat mockingly notes "if everybody says the sky is blue, I urge you to look out the window and see if it's blue because I have found that most people won't even bother to look out the window..." Rogers concludes, "everybody should own some precious metals as an insurance policy," because as he ominously warns, when 'it' collapses, "there will be big change.
Pushing the neo-liberal argument further than it wants to go, with interesting results.
- J.P. Morgan, U.S. Reach Historic Settlement (WSJ)
- OECD cuts global growth forecast (AP)
- Guess the profit margin: Wal-Mart Touts $98 TV as Holiday Seen Weakest Since 2009 (BBG)
- Republicans defy threat, block another Obama judicial pick (Reuters)
- Fed Ponders How to Temper Tapering Without Rate Increase (BBG)
- Wall Street uses 'merchant' workaround to cling to commodity assets (Reuters)
- PBOC to ‘Basically’ End Normal Yuan Intervention, Zhou Says (BBG)
- Italy’s leader warns Germany of rise of anti-European sentiment (FT)
- Yellen Nomination for Fed Chairman to Get Vote This Week (BBG)
- As U.S. default threatened, banks took extraordinary steps (Reuters)
- NSA vowed repeatedly to fix its collection errors (AP)
In 1997, the SE Asian Tigers all faced severe economic stresses, partially triggered by a primarily foreign capital-funded massive real estate bubble in Thailand. Today the EXACT same thing is happening as untempered foreign investment into Thailand’s real estate market has created not a “soaring” real estate market as economists always incorrectly explain them, but massive real estate market distortions better known as a bubble.
The Senate Banking Committee’s confirmation hearing for current Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve began with Janet Yellen delivering prepared remarks. Most observers likely tuned out well before the completion of the 2 ½ hours meeting to decide whether Yellen was worthy to succeed outgoing Chair Ben Bernanke and ascend to the top spot at the Fed. With the ongoing debacle of the Affordable Health Care website handcuffing Democrats, tough questions about QE, ZIRP, the oft talked about Taper and the possibility of reducing the Fed’s gargantuan $4 trillion balance sheet were verboten. That left Republicans to address the elephant(s) in the room. Predictably, it took nearly the entire hearing until a Senator from Nebraska offered his views about the damage being done by the various fiscal and monetary machinations undertaken to combat the Great Recession. What happened, beginning just after the 2 hour point of the meeting, was both remarkable and revealing...
It it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck... Is it really a platypus? After all, this time is different... Right?
China's GDP is about to undergo the same magic that US GDP received earlier in the year. The "Chinese system of National Accounts" will see five significant adjustments that are expected to (surprise) boost the size of the nation's estimate of its GDP. The National Bureau of Statistics is considering making the changes to reflect the latest economic and social developments and implement the reform guidelines unveiled at the 3rd Plenum recently. From the addition of research and development - intellectual properrty - (just as the US did) to including mark-to-market changes (read rises) in employee stock options and real estate in consumption data, the Chinese appear dead set on making a once-unbelievably goal-seeked number into an entirely fantastical representation of reality (which of course enables moar higher manipulation as to avoid any debt-to-gdp hurdles that the real world might see as a concern).
While the relentless multiple expansion (if not so much earnings growth and certainly not revenue contraction) looks set to push all three main stock indices over the key psychological levels of 16000, 1800 and 4000, with the all time bubble high on the Nasdaq increasingly looking like the next big target, the stock market mania has nothing on Bitcoin, which only yesterday crossed $500 for the first time ever, and as of this morning is already 20% higher, having just crossed $600 minutes ago. Which means that anything prices in Bitcoin has entered bear market in just the past day. How high BTC goes, is nobody's guess (Raoul Pal had a truly stunning price target): once the buying frenzy kicks in, step aside, especially since China is increasingly looking like it may be jumping on board the latest mania.
If one was a foreigner visiting for the first time, one would think Space Available was the hot new retailer in the country. Thousands of Space Available signs dot the bleak landscape, as office buildings, strip malls, and industrial complexes wither and die. At least the Chinese "Space Available" sign manufacturers are doing well. The only buildings doing brisk business are the food banks and homeless shelters. However, reports like the recent one from SNL Financial – Branch Networks Continue to Shrink - are emblematic of the mal-investment spurred by the Federal Reserve easy money policies, zero interest rates, and QEternity... In a truly free, non-manipulated market the weak would be culled, new dynamic competitors would fill the void, and consumers would benefit. However, extending debt payment schedules of the largest zombie entities and pretending you will get paid has been the mantra of the insolvent zombie Wall Street banks since 2009.
"Every American family deserves a false sense of security," said Chris Reppto, a risk analyst for Citigroup in New York. "Once we have a bubble to provide a fragile foundation, we can begin building pyramid scheme on top of pyramid scheme, and before we know it, the financial situation will return to normal." Despite the overwhelming support for a new bubble among investors, some in Washington are critical of the idea, calling continued reliance on bubble-based economics a mistake. Regardless of the outcome of this week's congressional hearings, however, one thing will remain certain: The calls for a new bubble are only going to get louder. "America needs another bubble," said Chicago investor Bob Taiken. "At this point, bubbles are the only thing keeping us afloat."
"We already live in a financial economy in which the debt and capital markets exceed the value of the real economy by far," Marc Faber explains to Germany's Finanzen100, "and that's before the current formation of bubbles." His most ominous warning, and one that fits perfectly with the seeming insanity of Federal Reserve (and all developed market central banks) is that "the next time a bubble bursts, then the capitalist economic system as we know will falter."
One day before the Senate's digital currency hearing titled "Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies", Bitcoin is largely oblivious to any potential regulatory threats, either at the legislative or the city level, where as reported previously the New York superintendent is in a rush to enforce BitLicenses on businesses that accept BitCoin, and moments ago crossed $500 for the first time ever. Instead, it appears that as we also reported previously, the Chinese Bitcoin craze has reached the parabolic threshold, going so far as making Bitcoin an acceptable payment for real estate, which means that while for the time being Bitcoin becomes the alternative inflation protection medium for hundreds of millions of Chinese, all bets on how high it can get are off.
Would printing the cash to fund pensions for low-income retirees trigger inflation? It's more of an open question than we might imagine at first glance.