Right now there is a world war taking place right in front of us but all we see on cable news are the nightly military skirmishes on the periphery of the conflict. The real war is economic, financial and currency related and the empire is already over-extended in debt, military operations and financial manipulation. Surely the near-term dollar strength is evidence that while defeat is not imminent and that all markets can be manipulated for a season, ultimately real global market forces will prevail. Just remember that all empires eventually become over-extended financially, economically or militarily and the consequences of retribution and blowback are real and deadly to innocent populations.
With the new and revised (until it is re-revised again to some future date), Greek D-Day set for today's third in the past 2 weeks Eurogroup meeting, every favorable headline serves as a springboard for ES-buying algos, while every negative headline is promptly ignored. And since this is Europe's style trial ballooning, there have been many of both with just these two hitting in the last hour:
- GREECE, EURO ZONE NEAR DEAL ON PACKAGE, REUTERS CITES UNIDENTIFIED GREEK OFFICIAL
- GREECE DID NOT GO FAR ENOUGH IN THEIR LATEST PROPOSAL: GREEK GVOERNMENT SPOKESMAN
Guess which one pushed ES into the green?
According to IMF researcher Brad Jones, who wrote "Asset Bubbles: Re-thinking Policy for the Age of Asset Management", the "business risk of asset managers acts as strong motivation for institutional herding and "rational bubble-riding." This is a critical observation, and one which suggests that the mere groupthink of massive asset managers is what leads to not only herding, lack of originality and the "hedge fund hotel" phenomenon, but also to recurring and ever greater asset bubbles. As Jones further writes, "subdued leverage is not a sufficient condition for financial stability—if systemic risk, and activity in the wider economy, is shaped importantly by large shifts in risk premia owing to the "rational herding" motivations of asset managers."
Like spirits, debt and risk make for a great party but a terrible hangover...
While the world's attention is glued to events in Greece, the real action continues to evolve quietly thousands of kilometers east, in China, where the near record surge in new loans remains unable to offset the dramatic slowdown in shadow banking issuance. And while China's bubble-chasing, animal spirits have recently reoriented themselves from real estate to the stock market, it is the real estate that holds the bulk of China's wealth. The problem here is that as China reported overnight, new-home prices in the world's most populous country just recorded their biggest annual decline ever!
In a world in which the NSA's fingerprints are already on every form of electronic communication and information exchange, the latest revelation - conveniently presented by a Russian-based security firm - may have just implicated the US digital supespy agency in the biggest "backdoor" infiltration scandal of all time... and with it crushed the future revenue potential of countless US technology corporations.
As London is to Moscow, so Miami is to Rio... Following the re-election of Dilma Rousseff - the center-left president that is generally loathed by Brazil's elites - the WSJ reports, rich Brazilians are relocating to South Florida en masse. As one attorney notes, "mainly they feel concerned about the instability of Brazil’s political environment; they don’t want to be the last ones to leave,” with Brazilians among Miami’s top three foreign buyers of high-price real estate, along with Argentines and Venezuelans, two other troubled economies. As one Rio broker exclaims, "Miami is the biggest Brazilian city outside of Brazil right now."
In the 40 years since US President Richard Nixon made what was then considered a bold move, visiting Mao Zedong in Communist China, both countries have changed dramatically. The US has become increasingly socialistic, more focused on Big Government and more of a totalitarian state; shifting from the world’s foremost creditor nation to the world’s foremost debtor nation. By contrast, China has opened up considerably, with billions of people becoming upwardly mobile, in response to China becoming more capitalistic. Increasingly, the US is acting like a country in decline, whilst China is acting like a country on the rise.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is not “demand” from the world’s population which creates the mind destroying drug trade. Rather, it is the world financial oligarchy, looking for massive profits and the destruction of the minds of the population it is determined to dominate, which organized the drug trade. The case of HSBC underscores that point. Serving as the central bank of this global apparatus, is HSBC.
Last year, the global economy was supposed to start returning to normal. Interest rates would begin rising in the United States and the United Kingdom; quantitative easing would deliver increased inflation in Japan; and restored confidence in banks would enable a credit-led recovery in the eurozone. Twelve months later, normality seems as distant as ever – and economic headwinds from China are a major cause.
One of the bigger asset bubbles in recent US history has nothing to do with stock, bonds or commodities, We are talking about farmland. And yet, like all other bubbles - be they the result of retail euphoria or central bank rigging - this one too must come to a close, and as the WSJ reports, the first crack in the farmland bubble are appearing, after farmland values declined in parts of the Midwest for the first time in decades last year "reflecting a cooling in the market driven by two years of bumper crops and sharply lower grain prices, according to Federal Reserve reports on Thursday." the average price of farmland in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s district, which includes Illinois, Iowa and other big farm states, fell 3% in 2014, marking the first annual decline since 1986, which makes farmlands the only asset class that had not seen a down year in nearly three decades!
- Greece will do 'whatever it can' to reach deal with EU (Reuters)
- ECB Urges Greek Political Deal as Emergency Cash Is Tight (BBG)
- Fighting rages in run-up to Ukraine ceasefire (Reuters)
- Eurozone GDP Picks Up, Thanks to Germany (WSJ)
- Two J. P. Morgan Executives Connected to Asia Hiring Probe Pushed Out (WSJ)
- Putin's High Tolerance for Pain and Europe's Reluctance to Inflict It (BBG)
- Indigestion Hits Top U.S. Food Firms (WSJ)
- Alibaba's Jack Ma seeks to reassure employees over U.S. lawsuits (Reuters)
When you accept the fact history is cyclical and continuous linear progress is not what transpires in the real world, you free yourself from the mental debilitation of normalcy bias and cognitive dissonance. Things do get worse. There are dark periods of history and they recur on a regular cycle. And we are in the midst of one of those dark periods. This Crisis will not be resolved without much pain, sacrifice, bloodshed, and ultimately war. The American people have lost their ability to think, reason, question, do math, control their urges, defer gratification, or realize when they are being lied to by the people they elected to public office. A culture of ignorance, celebration of the absurd, salutation of stupidity, honoring of the inane, being mesmerized by electronic gadgets, and satiating their egocentric shallow impulses on social media, is a sure recipe for societal collapse.
We have been living in a new era of “fantasy finance” since the Fed officially intervened massively, in 2009, and since the non-official control of the gold price, in 2013. Investors are now thinking that everything is possible: stocks rising into infinity, oil being given to us by producers and refiners almost for free (it sells cheaper than mineral water), countries that can borrow at historically ri-di-cu-lous rates, and, no later than just a few days ago, a bank in Denmark that pays people to contract a real estate loan (negative rates) ! The financial world, with its lies and immoral management, has been transformed into a Pinocchio’s Enchanted Island... for adults !