When we arrived to Bangkok the other day, coming down the motorway from the airport we saw a huge billboard - and it floored us. The billboard was from the Bank of China. It said: “RMB: New Choice; The World Currency”
Following the approval of the government, Kazakhstan's Central Bank has announced it plans to de-dollarize its economy by the end of 2016. The goal is to avoid the macroeconomic instability that the USD creates and to give priority to Tenge in trade agreements (banning price designations in foreign exchange). Coming just 2 weeks after the ratification of the $100 billion BRICS bank, and Russia's creation of a SWIFT-alternative, one wonders - as one by one foreign nations agree non-dollar trade and swap agreements - who is becoming 'isolated' now?
Financial collapse is already baked in, and it's only a matter of time before it happens, and precipitates commercial collapse when global supply chains stop functioning. Political collapse will be resisted, and the way it will be resisted is by starting as many wars as possible, to produce a vast backdrop of failure to serve as a rationale for all sorts of “emergency measures,” all of which will have just one aim: to suppress rebellion and to keep the oligarchy in power.
Echoing former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers’ quip, “There is surely something odd about the world’s greatest power being the world’s greatest debtor,” it appears that economic reality is finally beginning to set in for Americans... Only hours ago, Gallup released a new poll showing that only a small minority (just 17%) of Americans still view the US as the world’s economic superpower.
Never has our nation, corporations and wealthy top 1% faced so many new threats to their efforts to grow their power and wealth around the world. But a real war would provide the crisis excuse to confiscate your gold and "excess" retirement plan and IRA assets, reduce or curtail your social security benefits, dramatically raise taxes and institute total exchange controls while curtailing your remaining freedoms and ability to resist for the duration of the crisis.
Financial markets are upside down. Financial repression and belief in the “Fed put” pushed investors further and further out the risk curve over the past six years. Too many asset managers have remained fearful of underperforming peers and benchmarks; a powerful incentive to stay ‘risked-up’. The psychology of bullish, and faith in Fed abilities, have been too firmly embedded in the investor class. Given that markets don’t seem to want to believe that a June hike looks probable, we expect an outsized market reaction to a hike, lower long yields to accompany it, a flatter curve, wider credit spreads, higher market volatility, and materially lower equity markets.
Overnight we learned from Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, who testified before the House Armed Services Committee's seapower subcommittee that China "is building some fairly amazing submarines and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States," “They may not be the same quality, but their submarine forces are growing at a tremendous rate. They now have more diesel and nuclear attack submarines than we have,” the admiral told the lawmakers. “They are producing some fairly amazing submarines and they are actually deploying them.”
Welcome to the second arms race.
The one chart which, both literally and metaphorically, will determine how much longer the USD will reign as the world's reserve, is the following.
As a frequent contributor to Bloomberg, I would welcome the opportunity to debate this with Barry.
What say you @ritholtz ? : )
Financial repression "is going on on several fronts conducted by different people for their own agendas, though they all seem to be mutually supporting... There is a lot of collusion - the cancer which started in the US Financial System has spread globally... You now have two parties with the same head and reporting to the same masters. There is no longer any countervailing power."
A BRICS Bank - as an IMF alternative and to enable nations to become less dependent on the global reserve currency - was originally discussed at The BRICS Summit in 2012. Then at the 2014 BRICS Summit, the framework for The BRICS Bank was approved as "a system of measures that would help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States and their allies." Headquartered in Shanghai and chaired by Russia, this week saw what appears to be the final step in the creation of BRICS New Deverlopment Bank as RT reports, The Russian State Duma has ratified the $100 billion BRICS bank that’ll serve as a pool of money for infrastructure projects in Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa. It is expected to start fully functioning by the end of 2015. Isolated?
With the world's oldest central bank - Sweden's Riksbank - taking the plunge into negative rates, there have been 19 'eases' by central banks this year, Morgan Stanley warns of "ghosts of the 1930s." With competitive 'easing' stoking fears of international currency wars, The Telegraph notes however that looser monetary policy is not the order of the day everywhere in the world, and herein lies potential danger for the world economy.
Bell Curves have become fatter and flatter. They may even be inverted. The term “bell curve” comes from the shape of the curve that depicts all occurrences distributed around the most-probable event. Data points in the ‘tails’ are now more frequent. Hyper-active central banks might be ensuring both a melt-up bubble and a market crash: larger ‘right-tail’ and ‘left-tail’ outcomes.
Feel like trading FX has become next to impossible, with massive, gaping bid-ask spreads, strange "tractor beams", completely unexpected stop loss runs, and - of course - central banks behind every corner? Don't worry you are not alone. According to Bloomberg, that's precisely the case as "it hasn’t been this difficult to trade currencies since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. shook markets worldwide."As for the reason why, well: take a guess.
The chart below, which presents not only the total amount of sovereign gold holdings, but indicates the percentage of the monetary base backed by gold reserves, shows something rather stunning.