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."
The world is in the waning days of a historic multi-decade experiment in unfettered finance. International finance has for too long been effectively operating without constraints on either the quantity or the quality of Credit issued. From the perspective of unsound finance on a globalized basis, this period has been unique. History, however, is replete with isolated episodes of booms fueled by bouts of unsound money and Credit – monetary fiascos inevitably ending in disaster. We see discomforting confirmation that the current historic global monetary fiasco’s disaster phase is now unfolding.
Banks in the US and Europe are trying to develop a cashless transactions system. The concept is to establish a comprehensive ledger for a business or a person that records everything received and spent, and all of the assets held – mortgages, investment portfolios, debts, contractual financial obligations, and anything else of market value. There would be no need for cash because the ledger would tell you and anyone you were considering a transaction with how much is available and would be transactable at any specific moment. This is not a dreamy idea. Blythe Masters is leading a new business effort to develop a universal cashless system. Not only is she gathering significant investor interest, but the Federal Reserve and various US Government agencies have become keenly interested in the potential usefulness and efficiencies of a universal cashless system
There is no better way to describe the international monetary system today than through the statement made in 1971 by U.S. Treasury Secretary, John Connally. He said to his counterparts during a Rome G-10 meeting in November 1971, shortly after the Nixon administration ended the dollar’s convertibility into gold and shifted the international monetary system into a global floating exchange rate regime that, "The dollar is our currency, but your problem.” This remains the U.S. policy towards the international community even today. On several occasions both the past and present chairpersons of the Fed, Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, have indicated it still is the U.S. policy as it concerns the dollar. Is China saying to the world, but more particularly to the U.S., “The yuan is our currency but your problem”?
We live in a Fiat economy where growth is fuelled by debt, and less and less from productivity and demographics. This takes place in a closed circuit with the US dollar as the reserve currency. The problem now is that the economy can not get restarted without changes to one or several parameters. Simply put, this fiat economy is unsustainable and must change, and we must adjust to slower growth and start actually producing.
The risk-off tide is rising, and sand castles of QE will only hold the tide back for a brief period of apparent calm.
Something is afoot as de-dollarization escalates around the world. With CNY/RUB trading volumes up a stunning 400% year-over-year to record highs, and hot on the heels of China's (and much of EM Asia) dumping dollar assets, Russian President Vladimir Putin has just unleashed a new bill aiming to completely eliminate the US dollar from the trade of goods.