"While monetary weapons can be a good first step to remedying an economic crisis, they are clearly not enough on a standalone basis to return an economy to stability and growth. My concern is that there has been an almost total academic capture of the mechanism of the Fed and other central banks around the world by neo-Keynesian thinking and hence policymaking, while the executive and legislative branches of the government have turned a blind eye to the necessary reforms. So while the plan has thus far worked brilliantly for Wall Street, what central bankers have succeeded in doing is preventing, or at least postponing, the hard choices and legislative actions necessary by our politicians to fully implement a sustainable and prosperous future for our children—and theirs...Today I view the world as “risk-uncertain,” and in these instances I recommend the armored vehicle."
As was leaked on Friday, when the market surged on news that some 25 banks would fail the ECB's third stress test (because in the New Normal more bank failures means more bailouts, means the richer get richest, means more wealth inequality), so moments ago the ECB reported that, indeed, some 25 banks failed the European Central Bank's third attempt at collective confidence building and redrawing of a reality in which there is about €1 trillion in European NPLs, also known as the stress test.
We are now less than a year away from the day when Robert Zemeckis and Michael J. Fox inspired an entire generation to expect nothing less from 2015 than flying cars. Sadly, as a result of the past 6 years of human "progress" being redirected to finding creative ways of preserving crony capitalism, the failed way of Keynesian life and masking insolvent banks as lipsticked pigs, the only automotive question we have of 2015 is whether there are any GM cars that haven't been recalled; cars which one hopes will never be airborne. And yet, there is one aspect of 2015 that the Back to the Future trilogy may have gotten correct: that "other" thing which every 80's kid wants to have more than anything: hoverboards.
The recent slowdown in Chinese property sales, prices and early-cycle new starts has most impacted physical demand for (and sentiment towards) commodities exposed to the earlier stages of China’s construction cycle – steel and iron ore – which have underperformed commodities more exposed to latter stages of the construction cycle, such as copper. However, as the recent slowdown in new starts flows through to late-cycle, copper-intensive construction completions, we expect copper to come under further pressure.
“More than Forgiven, This Evil Must Be CURED”
Having grown weary of reality in America (after becoming the biggest landlord in the land of the free to borrow cheaply), Wall Street moved into the distressed property purchase ponzi in Spain (as we noted here) and, surprise, the Spanish are not happy with their new slumlords. After Madrid's local government sold 5,000 rent-controlled apartments to Goldman and Blackstone, having told tenants their rental conditions would remain the same, dozens of people have received demands for higher rent, been told their rents will increase dramatically, been threatened with eviction or moved out to escape the insecurity as old contracts expire.
One of the most dangerous philosophical contentions even amongst liberty movement activists is the conundrum of government force and prevention during times of imminent pandemic. All of us at one time or another have had this debate. If a legitimate viral threat existed and threatened to infect and kill millions of Americans, is it then acceptable for the government to step in, remove civil liberties, enforce quarantines, and stop people from spreading the disease?
Gold has been in a bear market for three years. Technical analysts are asking themselves whether they should call an end to this slump on the basis of the "triple-bottom" recently made at $1180/oz, or if they should be wary of a coming downside break beneath that level. The purpose of this article is to look at the drivers of the gold price and explain why today's market value is badly reflective of gold's true worth.
With today's exuberance around earnings (notably forgetting the reality of various bellwether fails), we thought it appropriate to get some context on just what the "market stalwarts'" results look like in context. A third of the companies in the Dow have posted shrinking or flat revenue over the past 12 months, as WSJ notes, "steady has become stagnant as companies once considered among the market’s most reliable post poor growth, quarter after woeful quarter."
As Brookings notes, "overall the economic devastation would be difficult to exaggerate," with regard the shift from print to online journalism - as the following chart sums up in all its devastating reality... it's a new world.
"I believe that the Last Great Bubble is bursting — faith in central banks to solve all problems."
Why would one even look at a self-reported survey as an indicator of coincident activity: after all isn't it beyond obvious that every response will be full of confirmation bias and colored by the respondent's inherent optimism about the present and the future? Apparently it isn't, and neither is it obvious that for all business participants, hope dies last, something which always influences their responses. The problem is that in a world in which central banks have made a mockery of all other coincident signals, one has to dig very low. "We've used this measure less over the last couple of years as central banks have increasingly distorted the relationship between fundamentals and valuation" says Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid. And as Jim Reid shows in the table below, the various regional PMIs have so consistenly overshot in their expectations of where the manufacturing and service sector of a given country is throughout 2014, that not even the market believes, well, Markit.
What do an old German bank note, a current $100 bill, and an apple all have in common? The answer, according to ConvergEx's Nick Colas, is that these simple objects can tell us much about the current investment scene, ranging from Europe’s economic challenges to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s attempts to reduce unemployment. Colas takes an “object-ive” approach to analyzing the current investment landscape by describing 10 common items and how they shape our perceptions of reality. The other objects on our list: a hazmat suit, a house in Orlando, a barrel of oil, a Rolex watch, a butterfly, a heating radiator in Berlin, and a smartphone.
Remember Europe's "austerity", or rather,as we dubbed it, fauxterity? Of course, how could you forget: after all everything that is wrong with Europe is blamed not on government corruption and the complete lack of reform, enabled so gloriously by Goldman's custodian of Europe's money printer who would do "whatever it takes" to mask Europe's sad reality that without reform the continent is doomed, but on the intolerable, insufferbale imposition of hated, loathed austerity on Europe's insolvent nations. After all, how on earth are they all supposed to get out of their debt-induced depressions if they have to, gasp, cut their debt! So yeah, we get the propaganda. What we don't get is whether everyone in Europe is completely incapable of reading simple numbers, is atrocious at math, or simply doesn't understand the definition of austerity.
Most of us have heard of the seven stages of grief. Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Guilt, Depression, Acceptance. Where are we in our journey through these stages when it come to the financial crisis, and to growth? There’s only one stage that even remotely sounds right: Denial. We’re not even close to Anger yet, not when it comes to the larger population. We simply deny that something has really changed. And even if you wish to claim that it hasn’t, no-one can deny the possibility that it has. Still, that is exactly what happens. Denial, everywhere you look. Freud’s ideas are (ab)used to hide reality from us (to ‘sell’ the message), while Keynes’ ideas are abused to hide the reality that you can’t buy growth with debt your children will have to pay back. Pretty simple, when you think about it.