Why The Collapse Of Abenomics Is Important: It's A Large-Scale Failure Of Keynesian Stimulus In Real TimeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/14/2014 21:07 -0400
We have frequently discussed the nonsensical attempt by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda to print and spend Japan back to prosperity. By now it is well known that devaluing the yen has not achieved the desired effect, but rather the opposite. Not only have exports not really received the expected boost, but Japan’s trade and current account surplus have decreased markedly, even posting negative numbers for the first time in decades. Of course, currency debasement never works: it cannot work. This is Keynesian logic and brilliance in all it splendor.
The S&P’s rally has been sustained through near-zero-cost money used to: (1) buy back stock to enrich insiders and please activist hedge funds which have borrowed big to buy big; and (2) prop up the overall market because investors have learned that buying on margin when the costs are minimal - and below dividend yields - just keeps paying off. Stein’s law says, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” Too bad it doesn’t say when. Gold loses its luster when: (1) inflation seems to be as remote as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; and (2) even a concatenation of crises fails to send investors rushing into the time-tested crisis consoler. We see geopolitical risks expanding from here - not contracting - and stick to our investment advice that the broad stock market is precariously valued. A range of options is available for those who wish to hedge themselves against even worse news. Gold is part of any such risk mitigation. So are long government bonds. Most importantly, we have entered an era when wise investors will devote as much time to reading the foreign news as they allocate to reading the investment section.
For a mass of people so easily terrified by guys in caves funded and armed by our intelligence services and “allies” in the Persian Gulf, the American public talks with such armchair bravado when it comes to launching bombs from drones and sending other people’s children to die. Makes you wonder though, which one is it? Is the American public actually the tough guy soldier it pretends to be when cheering overseas military interventions, or is it really a scared, propagandized, coward hiding in one of our nation’s endless cubicle rows? Unfortunately, based on recent opinion polls demonstrating approval for military action against ISIS, it appears to be the latter. The former is merely a front put on by that terrified, economically insecure, silently suffering automaton.
The US economy is dead. The Fed has known this for a long time, but pumped it up to where it is now to draw in all the greater fools, the so-called big investors who have made money like honey from QE and ZIRP. They are the greater fools. The American real economy ceased being a consideration long ago. We’re in for big surprises, and they won’t be pretty, they’ll be pretty nasty. There are far too many people who think of themselves as smart who don’t see the difference between a theater play and a reality show. The Fed will raise rates because that will make the biggest banks the most money. There’s nothing else that matters. The Fed can’t revive the US economy, that’s just a foolish notion. But it can suck a lot of wealth out of it.
What’s the easiest way to make a 500x return on investment?
When it comes to the poorest quartile of US society, some 14 million people, any suggestion that US society is deleveraging and setting the stage for pent up releveraging and thus, economic growth, is dead wrong. In fact, as the Fed's triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, released last week showed, America's poorest have never been more in debt!
Getting out of a Liquidity Trap with monetary policy playing the lead role necessarily involves a Dornbuschian sequence of rational overshooting: The Fed must drive up Wall Street prices, which move quickly, so as to get to Main Street prices that move up slowly, most importantly, wages. This sequencing implies that Wall Street prices must become very rich relative to Main Street prices in order to achieve so-called escape velocity from the Liquidity Trap. At the transition point, Wall Street prices will be rationally “overvalued” relative to their long-term “fair value.” The dominant risk for Wall Street is not bursting bubbles, but rather a long slow grind down in profit’s share of GDP/national income. And you can stick that into a Gordon Model, too! Bonds and stocks may at present be rationally valued, but borrowing from the lyrics of Procol Harum’s Keith Reid: Expected long-term returns are turning a more ghostly whiter shade of pale.
While the world was poring through the details of the latest round of preannounced western sanctions against Russia - a round which Russia commented would have little actual impact - and just as excitedly awaiting the Kremlin's retaliation, which Putin warned is coming shortly, far from the glare of the center stage Europe quietly folded to a bigger Russian demand namely to delay the implementation of a Ukraine free trade deal by more than one year until the end of 2015 and likely beyond.
There is a connection between modern capital markets and the NFL (and between Central Bankers and Roger Goodell). The connection is solipsism – a pathological egocentrism where reality is defined by an individual’s mental perceptions and constructs. Collective solipsism is what overwhelming Common Knowledge looks like. It’s the annihilation of an individual’s perception of reality in favor of a group perception of reality. The collective solipsism of modern markets is the most crucial game to comprehend.
Rents and housing costs make up 30% of CPI. They’re its largest component. They’re soaring in real life. But not in the CPI.
"The apparently long-term rupture of Russia's relations with the West offers an opportunity to the Chinese leadership to enhance its already close relationship with the Kremlin and thus turn the global geopolitical balance in its favor - not unlike former US president Richard Nixon and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger who reached out to Chairman Mao Zedong in 1972. The Russians, angry with Washington, are now more amenable to giving China wider access to their energy riches and their advanced military technology. The Western sanctions pushing Russia out of the international financial system are also making Moscow more ready and willing to back the Chinese yuan against the US dollar." - China Daily
While today's key news event will likely be the preannounced latest, third, round of anti-Russian sanctions and the Russian retaliation, the reality as DB notes, is that the market seems to be seeing "some fatigue" in this story with the ECB, Scotland and next week's Fed meeting taking center stage. As a result, and ahead of expectations of change in Fed language which should carry a more hawkish tone, the dollar has been bid up some more overnight, leading to fresh multi-year highs in the USDJPY, and the now-paired TSY trade, with 10Y yields up to 2.57%, although this may now be in short-term oversold territory. The latest Scottish poll appears to have dented some of the "Yes" momentum, with 52% of the polled saying they would vote No in the referendum, although right now neither side has a clear majority when factoring in the undecideds: which means it will come down to the wire next week, with clear implications for Europe's secessionist movements if the Yes vote still manages to prevail, not to mention massive ramifications for the UK.
Governments and mainstream media outlets have a great way of presenting sensational threats and evil villains. They want us to be terrified of men in caves, roving bands of barbarians, and deadly viruses that turn our insides out. Last night, for example, President Obama told the world that ISIL poses the most significant threat to global security. (Ironically al-Qaida no longer seems to be a threat, and ISIL, which no one had heard of until a few months ago, is now public enemy #1. It just goes to show how shallow and reactionary the security theater is...) But here’s the truth: If you live in the Land of the Free, you’re far more likely to get ‘accidentally’ shot by a police officer than blown up by a terrorist.
While we have grown used to eye-poppingly 'odd' data from China (and increasingly the US), last night's surge in Aussie employment is among the greatest statistical pieces of muppetry we have ever seen. As Bloomberg reports, Australian employers added a record number of jobs in August - great news, right? Confirming CBA's decision to hold rates (not cut) and instantly AUD exploded higher. However, since then AUD has collapsed back to fresh 6-month lows plunging over 300 pips in 4 days. The reason - "the market's skeptical," says one trader, as Aussie's miracle jobs recovery was thanks to a 121,000 surge in part-time employees (equivalent to 1.3 million added in one month in the US).
It's not just Scotland... or Catalan. As The Guardian reports, polls out in the past few days in France have shown far-right Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen topping a presidential poll for the first time. Alongside this surge in support for FN is the utter collapse in the French people's faith in Hollande. Less than 20% of voters now approve of the French president and stunningly more than half the nation's card-holding-socialists have given up on him. An unprecedented 85% of French voters don't think Hollande should seek a second term. One word - guillotine?