This has been an unusual year for the global economy, characterized by a series of unanticipated economic, geopolitical, and market shifts – and the final quarter is likely to be no different. How these shifts ultimately play out will have a major impact on the effectiveness of government policies – and much more. In the next few months, the buoyant optimism pervading financial markets may prove to be justified. Unfortunately, it is more likely that investors’ outlook is excessively rosy.
With the Fed unleashing its bubble-watchers last week, on the heels of warnings from the Central Bankers' Central Bank (BIS), The IMF has decided it is time to chirp in. As Mises' David Howden notes, after promoting QE for years (see here and here), the IMF is finally coming to realize what has been apparent for years now to almost everyone who doesn’t work for the Fed or the IMF: that low interest rates encourage risky decisions.The IMF warns, "financial market indicators suggested investor bets funded with borrowed money looked 'excessive' and that markets could quickly deflate if there were surprises in U.S. monetary policy or the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East."
The long awaited moment finally arrived after Scots began voting at 7am BST on whether to break away from the U.K. and end the 307-year union, even as latest opinion polls show the campaign against independence maintaining a narrow lead over those favoring independence. And while the No's are said to have a slim lead into the vote, even if it is really the Undecideds whose vote will determine the final outcome, somewhat surprisingly, the Yes camp got an unexpected boost just hours before the polls opened when 27 year old tennis star, and Scot, Andy Murray declared his support for Scottish independence in an 11th hour intervention on Thursday morning, after years of keeping silent on the issue.
What's up with the Troika?
Since it is the NY Fed, headed by an ex-Goldmanite, which will ultimately be tasked with exiting 6 years of "unconventional monetary policy" - at some point during this "recovery" if not now or any time soon for that matter - it is probably best to listen to Goldman for its post-mortem on what the chairwoman did or did not say. Which is why we present a "Q&A" with Goldman's head economist, Jan Hatzius, known to occasionally exchange a sandwich and the occasional policy guidelene, with NY Fed's Bill Dudley at the Pound and Pence, in which he explains how Yellen managed to be both more dovish and more hawkish than the "market" expected.
As we discussed earlier in the week, Janet Yellen has released a speech this morning explaining why the poor need to get rich. In the speech below, she stresses, "how important it is to promote asset-building, including saving for a rainy day, as protection from the ups and downs of the economy," despite falling incomes, rising costs, and extending credit, we assume she means. The Fed Chairman has some words of encouragement for the tens of millions of Americans who live at or below the poverty level, including that threatened with extinction class, affectionately known as "the middle." Her message? It is important to build assets, or said otherwise... get rich and she promises to "continue to promote asset-building."
- House votes to arm Syrian rebels (Reuters).... aka ISIS
- Fed Plots Cautious Course on Rate Rises (Hilsenrath)
- Scots vote in independence referendum to seal the United Kingdom's fate (Reuters)
- Yes or No, the Winner of the Referendum Is Brand Scotland (BBG)
- Draghi Loan Plan Missing Estimates Hampers ECB Stimulus (BBG) - get with the spin, it simply means "Moar QE"
- Obama Plans to Tightly Control Strikes on Syria (WSJ)
- IMF warns of risks from 'excessive' financial market bets (Reuters)
- Russia Praises Ukraine's Autonomy Law for Rebel Areas (WSJ)
As the "Big Mac Index" is to global purchase price parity levels of inflation, so when it comes to the state of the "recovery" if not for everyone, then certainly for the 0.1%, there is no better metric than the "Porsche Indicator." Recall: "Porsche Reports Record Sales in 2013; 21 Percent Increase Over 2012" which certainly didn't come on the back of yet another year of declines in real incomes for the middle class (spoiler alert: it came on the back of some $10 trillion in liquidty injections by the world's central banks). Yet one place where the "Porsche" recovery forgot to make landfall, is none other than the biggest casualty of Europe's artificial monetary, political and wealth-transferring union: insolvent Greece.
It has been a story of central banks, as overnight Asian stocks reversed nearly two weeks of consecutive declines - the longest stretch since 2001 - and closed higher as the same catalysts that drove US equities higher buoyed the global tide: a combination of Chinese liquidity injection (for the paltry amount of just under $90 billion; "paltry" considering Chinese banks create over $1 trillion in inside money/loans every quarter) and Hilsenrath leaking that despite all the "recovery" rhetoric, the Fed will not be turning hawkish and there will be no change in the Fed language today (perhaps not on the redline but Yellen's news conference at 2:30pm will certainly be interesting), pushed risk higher, if not benefiting US equities much which remains largely unchanged.
During the FOMC pregame show, they punctually trotted out Johnny Waterboy Hilsenrath via SpreeCast, the sparkling new-media darling interactive webcast platform, to serve up another fresh jug of spiked reinvigorating Gatorade to his favorite NY Stock Market team.
This is where our economies are perverted. It’s the final excesses and steps of a broke society. It’s madness to the power of infinity. The only thing that’s certain is that in the end, your money will all be gone. That’s how Mario Draghi ‘saves’ the EU for a few more weeks, and that’s how the big boys of finance squeeze more from what little you have left (which is already much less than you think). A world headed for nowhere.
The starting point in comprehending the dynamics of modern "markets' is to recognize that once they gain a head of steam, financial bubbles tend to envelope virtually every nook and cranny of the economy, creating terrible distortions and destructive excesses as they rumble forward. In this instance, Wolf Richter explains how Silicon Valley has once again (like 1999-2000) been transformed into a rollicking capital “burn rate” machine that has spawned a whole economy based on striving for bigger losses, not better profits. Even the leading venture capitalists now recognize that the insanity of the dotcom era has re-emerged. One of these days, even the monetary politburo may notice. But by then it will be too late. Again.
If over the weekend we got some terrible economic news out of China, then overnight it was turn for a major disappointment in capital flows, when Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in August crashed by 14%, far below the 0.8% increase expected, attracting just $7.2 billion in FDI, and the lowest in four years. This once again sparked fears of a Chinese hard landing and sent the Shanghai Composite tumbling 1.82%, the biggest drop in six months. In addition to China, there was the German ZEW Survey, which while beating expectations of a 5.0 print, dropped from 8.6 to 6.9 in August, the lowest since 2012. In fact, the gauge has decreased every month since December when it reached a seven-year high. And while there is not much other news today ahead of the blitz assault of data later in the week, including the Fed tomorrow, the TLTRO announcement on Thursday and the Scottish referendum results and the BABA IPO on Friday, we are stunned futures aren't as usual, soaring.
"The West is done, it's over! We screwed it all up. Do you want your great-grandchildren speaking Chinese?"
"...we anticipate that the start of US rate hikes will do damage to markets in the short term, but that there will be greater differentiation over a more medium term between liquid and less liquid assets. In the short term, investors sell what they can, making liquid assets more vulnerable." - JPMorgan