The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has stuck for more than 2,000 years, signifying a risky and dangerous point of no return. This week, the United States government crossed the Rubicon. In a fit of complete arrogance, a federal judge ruled that he has ‘jurisdiction’ over one of the biggest banks in mainland China, Bank of China (BOC), and demands that the bank turn over financial records to his court.
Forget Norway. Japan. Iceland. Switzerland. Or any of the other places around the world that are notorious for being painful on the wallet. Venezuela is now the most expensive country in the world, hands down. To give you an idea, the cost of a 15-minute taxi ride to the beach yesterday afternoon totaled an eye-popping $158.
"The data are positive for the probability of the yuan getting into the SDR basket. It shows that the so-called devaluation in August, which wasn’t massive in value, hasn’t driven people away from using the yuan."
"This is a monetary moment... we are looking at the beginning of the world’s reappraisal of the words and deeds of central bankers like Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi. You see monetary disorder manifested in super low interest rates, in the mispricing of credit broadly and you see it in the escalation of radical monetary nastrums that are floating out of the various central banks and established temples of thought: Negative real rates, negative nominal rates and the idea of helicopter money. So you need some hedge against things not going according to the script and that makes gold and gold mining equities terrifically interesting now."
"... this time we would see deeply negative interest rates in the US (and Europe). Sweden has led the way, dipping their toe below the water line with their current -0.35% policy rates but there will be more, much more along these lines. For if -0.35% is possible, why not - 3.5% or less? It goes without saying that deeply negative interest rates would be accompanied by a massively expanded QE4 in the US. The last seven years of exploding central bank balance sheets will seem like Bundesbank monetary austerity compared to what is to come."
And just like that Weimar 2.0 is born.
After 35 years of falling and now zero rates, the direction is only up for the cost of money, as is the cost to service debt, along with the burden to those who are most indebted (i.e. the U.S.). What should no longer be unthinkable is that the clock is ticking on America’s status as the holder of the reserve currency. If you still doubt this proposition, consider that China is in the process of setting up a third benchmark for oil, along with Brent and West Texas Intermediate, for trading oil futures contracts. And unlike the existing contracts, these will be traded in Renminbi. Who needs the dollar?
Most economists and financial analysts think that 'currency war' merely refers to the competitive devaluations that nations sometimes engage in to help boost their domestic economies, as they had done in the 1930's for example. This time the currency war is a much more profound confrontation of differing agendas revolving around the historically unusual role of the US dollar, based on nothing more than the will of the Federal Reserve and the 'full faith and credit' of the US, as the reserve currency for global central banks and international trade.
What can we expect to happen in our homeland when finally even the generally uninformed population also understands that governments they have elected for decades, and its Fed facilitator or controller, jointly have waged a century-long war on its citizens? The people of America cannot make a counter offensive similar to those of sovereign nations; however people are uniting in resistance to robber baron policies, as evidenced by the popularity of nonpoliticians currently in candidacy for the office of president. These troops will mass also, it just remains to be seen what form their eventual counter offensive will be. The established order will be challenged.
Perception is everything in contemporary economics and the Fed is the center of perception; the medium has become the message. The truth is more this: the Fed no longer reacts to the waxing and waning of animal spirit-led demand. In the current monetary regime it exists to create and maintain animal spirits with a secular policy centered on ever-expanding credit, but it is very aware that admitting it’s centrality would defeat its purpose.
We’re seeing a shift in the world’s dominant superpower at the exact same time there’s a shift in the global financial system, and reserve currency, and game-changing technology. And even more trends that we haven’t even discussed. The convergence of all of these trends at the same moment is the MEGA-trend. The last time this happened was... never.
Who would have thought that decades of ZIRP, an aborted attempt to hike rates over a decade ago, and the annual monetization of well over 10% of sovereign debt would lead to a toxic debt spiral, regardless of how many "Abenomics" arrows one throws at it? Apparently Standard and Poors just had its a-ha subprime flashbulb moment and moments ago, a little over 4 years after it downgraded the US from its legendary AAA-rating which led to angry phone calls from Tim Geithner and a painful US government lawsuit, downgraded Japan from AA- to A+. The reason: rising doubt Abenomics is working.
Reports that the official unemployment rate has fallen to 5.1 percent may appear to vindicate the policies of easy money, corporate bailouts, and increased government spending. However, even the mainstream media has acknowledged that the official numbers understate the true unemployment rate. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, few in Washington, DC acknowledge that America’s economic future is endangered by excessive spending, borrowing, taxing, and inflating. Instead, Congress continues to waste taxpayer money on futile attempts to run the economy, run our lives, and run the world.
"The 17-year river [of reserve currency buildup and QE around the world] is no longer flowing," warns Appaloosa's David Tepper, and "turbulence" is now the norm. VIX 22 is too low - "expect surging volatility", 18x PE is too high - "margins are set to drop - I have problems with earnings growth and problems with multiples"
Simply put - "Flat stocks is not a bad place to be...unless central banks are on our side again, then every rally should be sold."