$13,903,107,629,266. Can the nation afford this much debt? This much we have learned about debt after 40 years of writing and study: It is better not to incur it. Once it is incurred, it is better to pay it off. America, we have a problem.
"I Am Not Sure You Can Call It A Freeze" - OPEC Deal In Jeopardy As Saudi-Iran Tensions Spike: All The LatestSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/17/2016 10:40 -0400
A spike in tensions between arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran appeared on Sunday to ruin prospects of the first binding oil output deal in 15 years between OPEC and non-OPEC nations, and looked set to prompt another fall in the price of crude. "I am not sure you can call it a freeze," one OPEC source said. A senior oil industry source said: "The problem now is to come up with something that excludes Iran, makes the Saudis happy and doesn't upset Russia."
A new survey of the best and worst jobs in the country has declared that being a newspaper reporter (blogger may or may not fall under this umbrella definition) is the worst career you could be pursuing.
The massive magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck Japan this afternoon, the strongest since the devastating quake of 2011, took place at night local time, and as such there was little available media coverage. As Japan wakes up, much of the destruction becomes apparent.
Sunday’s producer meeting is all about nothing no matter what agreement might be forged. At best, the agreement will be, as Russia’s energy minister has stated, a gentlemen’s affair, with no binding commitments, no concrete next steps beyond having a review meeting, and no procedure for moving to production cuts.
The Winter of 2015-2016, which came to an end a few weeks ago, has been officially designated as the mildest in the U.S. in 121 years according to NOAA. While this fact will certainly add a major talking point in the global warming debate, it should also be front and center in the current economic discussion. The fact that it isn’t is testament to the blatantly self-serving manner in which economic cheerleaders blame the weather when it’s convenient, but ignore it when it’s not.
What is clear is that the Federal Reserve has gained control of asset markets by gaining control over investor behavior. “Are you afraid of a market crash? Yes. Are you doing anything about it? No.” Again, it’s back to fundamentals versus expectations. Someone is going to be very wrong.
Bernanke has been a charlatan and intellectual lightweight all along but the gist is that the US economy is wanting for some non-existent ether called “aggregate demand”. And that this ether is something the Fed can easily create by handing an open-ended spending account to politicians, and one that would never have to be repaid or even serviced with interest! It puts you in mind of the medieval theologians who endlessly debated as to the number of angels which could fit on the head of a pin. The trouble is, there is not such thing as angels. Nor is there any such thing as economic growth or wealth that can be conjured by politicians spending Bernanke’s utterly counterfeit money.
A key index of oil stocks has moved back above its (temporarily broken) 30-year up trendline... for now.
“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” – Ron Paul
In an oddly-timed-release, just a day after her 'unusual' meeting with President Obama (and sandwiched between two "emergency Fed meetings"), Janet Yellen's seemingly legacy-protecting narrative-confirming interview with TIME magazine proclaiming once again that "we are focused on Main Street, on supporting economic conditions - plentiful jobs and stable prices - that help all Americans." So now you know - it's all for you America - the bank bailouts, the deflationary-glut-creating ZIRP, the money-printing, and the "confusing and confounding" messaging. Now stop your complaining and Vote Hillary!
In another quiet overnight session, the biggest - and unexpected - macro news was the surprise monetary easing by Singapore which as previously reported moved to a 2008 crisis policy response when it adopted a "zero currency appreciation" stance as a result of its trade-based economy grinding to a halt. As Richard Breslow accurately put it, "If you need yet another stark example of the fantasy storytelling we amuse ourselves with, juxtapose today’s Monetary Authority of Singapore policy statement with the storyline that the Asian stock market rally intensified on renewed optimism over the global economy. Singapore is a proxy for trade and economic growth ground to a halt last quarter." The Singapore announcement led to a sharp round of regional currency weakness just as the dollar appears to have bottomed and is rapidly rising.
Markets have stopped focusing on what central banks are doing and are "positioning for what they believe central banks may or may not do," according to BofA's Athanasios Vamvakidis as he tells FX traders to "prepare to fight the central banks," as the market reaction to central bank policies this year reflects transition to a new regime, in which investors start speculating which central bank will have to give up easing policies first.
In Greek mythology there was a monster called Cerberus, the hound of Hades, a monstrous multi-headed dog who guarded the gates of the underworld, preventing the dead from leaving. Today central banks have taken on the role of feeding our own modern version of Cerberus to keep all the troubles away. This hound of Hades has 3 heads that are named debt, deflation and demographics. Together they make a deadly combination that will result in a massive reset of asset prices...and central bankers are running out of food to feed the monster.
The stock market is still viewed as if it were a discounting mechanism, a system where information is processed and priced to deliver insight about the fundamental state of liquidity, markets, and the economy. That view has always been debatable, but never more so than the whole of this century so far. What were share prices suggesting, fundamentally, in March 2000? Or October 2007?