Brace yourselves, the zero sum game is on like Donkey Kong.
With Wall Street having bid real estate prices to the moon in the US (and become Spain's biggest slumlord), and handed them happily over to willing Chinese 'get-my-money-out-of-China' buyer greater-fools, it would appear the Chinese (having colonized America) have found a new more attractive place to park their excess liquidity. As Bloomberg reports, at a property auction in Lisbon, Portugal last month, about 90% of the bidders for the government-owned apartments and stores on offer were Chinese. They ended up acquiring more than two-thirds of the 45 properties, with one money-launderer investor noting "Lisbon is cheap if you compare it with other cities."
Kuroda has fired the shot that looks likely to trigger the next phase of the crazy monetary experiment we’ve all been living in for the last five years. Unfortunately, the next phase is where things start to get nasty. Just because equity markets cheered the latest sugar rush he guaranteed them should not make smart investors lower their guard — quite the opposite, in fact. Colonel Kuroda has gone up-country into the Heart of Darkness, and all we can do is await the Apocalypse now.
A bull market in the US Dollar is underway and its magnitude and duration are likely to catch everyone by surprise
When it comes to the fair value of assets, especially cash-flow generating real estate, few are as qualified to opine as the man dubbed “World’s Richest Restaurateur”, Tilman Fertitta, chairman of Landry's Restaurants which counts among its properties such brand names as Morton’s, Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., McCormick & Schmick’s, Saltgrass Steak House, Claim Jumper, Chart House, The Oceanaire, Mastro’s Restaurants, Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse and many more. Which is why his dire warning about the state of the "crazy" US real estate market, which he believes due for an imminent crash, are likely worth keeping in mind as all the panglossian permabulls see nothing but a 4th dead cat rebound ahead. That, and his take on inflation: "There is huge inflation going on right now." Somehow we doubt he will appear on CNBC any time soon...
The vice will close on some cities and states sooner than others, but it will eventually squeeze every city and state with declining revenues and rising fixed costs into default.
- Banks to Pay $3.3 Billion in FX-Manipulation Probe (BBG)
- Symbolic being the key word: U.S., China sign symbolic emissions plan, play down rivalry (Reuters)
- Europe (so really Russian sanctions) is the new "snow in the winter" - Carney Sees Europe Stagnation Impact as Growth Outlook Cut (BBG)
- Eurozone Industrial Output Points to Weak Third Quarter Growth (WSJ)
- Not everyone around Abe is insane: Kuroda Ally Flags Warning on Delaying Sales-Tax Increase (BBG)
- Hong Kong to scrap daily yuan conversion limit to boost stock investment (Reuters)
- Barclays Falls After FX Settlement Delay Reduces Discount (BBG)
- Some unhappy Yahoo investors asking AOL for rescue (Reuters)
At the end of the day, it is overwhelming clear that the headline jobs number is thoroughly and dangerously misleading because there has been a systematic and relentless deterioration in the quality and value added of the jobs mix beneath the headline. It has no value whatsoever as an index of labor market conditions, labor market slack or even implied GDP growth. The truth is, in an open global economy the quantity of labor utilized by the US economy is a function of its price - not the level of interest rates or the S&P 500. Currently, wage rates on the margin are too high, but the Fed’s ZIRP and money printing campaigns only compound the problem. They permit the government to fund with ultra low-cost bonds and notes a massive transfer payment system that keeps potential productive labor out of the economy, and thereby props up bloated wages rates; and it enables households to carry more debt than would be feasible with honest interest rates and competitively priced wage rates, thereby further inhibiting the labor market adjustments that would be required to actually achieve full employment and sustainable growth.
With the bond market closed today due to Veteran's Day and the correlation and momentum ignition algos about to go berserk without any parental supervision, it was only a matter of time before some "stray" headline sent first the carry pair of choice, i.e., the USDJPY, and subsequently its derivative, the Emini, into the stratosphere. And sure enough, just before 3am Eastern, it was once again Reuters' turn to leak, only this time not about the ECB but Japan, as usual citing an unnamed "government official close to Abe's office", that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was likely to delay a planned sales tax increase.
- JAPAN MORE LIKELY TO DELAY SALES TAX INCREASE, REUTERS REPORTS
Which of course is a repeat of what Reuters said 2 days ago but since it came on the weekend, the momentum ignition algos didn't notice. The result was an instant surge in the USDJPY, which shortly thereafter touched on 116.00 the highest level in 7 years, and is up now 200 pips since yesterday as the obliteration of Japan's economy proceeds, in turn pushing European stocks, and shortly, the S&P, higher
Meet the next piece of work...
Following Friday's sticksave, where the usual 3:30 pm ramp brigade pushed futures just barely green into the close despite a miss in the payrolls report which the spin brigade did everything in its power to make it seem that the hiring a few hundred thousand young female waitresses was bullish for the economy, overnight we have seen a listless session, dominated by more USD-profit taking as increasingly more wonder if the relentless surge higher in the Greenback is massively overdone, especially considering that stocks are screaming "worldwide recession" excluding the US, if only for now, because as Goldman explained soaring USD means plunging Oil, means tumbling E&P capex, means lower GDP, means less growth, means lower corporate profits, and so on. That said, we expect the now trivial Virtu JPY momentum-ignition algos to activate shortly, pushing the USDJPY and its derivative, the S&P500, higher in the coming minutes, and certainly before the US market opens in under 3 hours.
“A Luxembourg structure is a way of stripping income from whatever country it comes from,’’ said Stephen E. Shay, a professor of international taxation at Harvard Law School and a former tax official in the U.S. Treasury Department. The Grand Duchy, he said, “combines enormous flexibility to set up tax reduction schemes, along with binding tax rulings that are unique. It’s like a magical fairyland.”
The upper middle class in the US, defined as everyone in the top half below the richest 20 percent, owns 11.9% of the wealth. Indonesia at 10.5% and Russia at 7.5% are worse off, but in all other nations the corresponding upper middle classes own 12 to 27%of the wealth. America’s bottom half compares even less favorably to the world: dead last, with just 1.3% of national wealth.
These people know the gravy train is about to run off the rails and they’re looking for safety. They don’t care if they miss out on another 5% gain in the stock market, they want to get out of stocks NOW.
The central planners are in a state of fear and panic. They are trying everything and anything to create market validation for their policies, watching with trepidation as their favored economic metrics fail to respond to all of their frenzied efforts. They are so far over the tips of their skis right now that there's nothing they won't do. By the time a central bank is behaving as recklessly as Japan, it's time to edge towards the exit, because the chance of a flash fire in the building has grown uncomfortably high. That is, instead of providing comfort, these most recent moves should invoke greater worry for those of us alert enough to see them for what they are: acts of panic.