Having now tripled since August, Bitcoin's break above $300 ($324 highs) raises an important thought experiment - can a digital currency act as a global reserve currency?
When it comes to US equities today, the picture below summarizes it all... the only question is whether the NYSE breaks to celebrate the year's overhyped social media IPO.Aside from the non-event that is the going public of a company that will likely not generate profits for years, if ever, the overnight market has been quiet with all major stock indices in Asia trading modestly lower on the back of a modestly stronger dollar, although the main currency to watch will be the Euro (German Industrial production of -0.9% today was a miss of 0.0% expectations and down from 1.6% previously), when the ECB releases its monthly statement at 7:45 am Eastern when it is largely expected to do nothing but may hint at more easing in the future. On the US docket we have the weekly initial claims (expected at 335k) which now that they are again in a rising phase, have been the latest data item to be ignored in the Bizarro market, as well as the latest Q3 GDP estimate, pegged by consensus at 2.0%.
The financial markets continue higher, and the excesses of the status quo continue expanding with little ill effect (so far). Why is it so difficult to predict the timing of crisis/collapse? The question is equally valid for both bears and bulls; how could all the boosters of housing be so wrong in 2008 when they asserted that "housing is not a bubble"? Here are ten possible factors in why it's so difficult to predict crisis/reset.
The Fed will have to increase QE (not taper it) because systemic debt is compounding faster than production and interest rates are already zero-bound. Lee Quaintance noted many years ago that the Fed was holding a burning match. This remains true today (only it is a bomb with a short fuse). Thirteen years after the over-levered US equity market collapsed, eleven years following Bernanke’s speech, five years after the over-levered housing bubble burst, and four years into the necessary onset of global Zero Interest Rate Policies and Long-Term Refinancing Operations, global monetary authorities seem to have run out of new outlets for credit. In real economic terms, central bank policies have become ineffective. In other words, the US is now producing as much new debt as goods and services.
"The motivation behind America's extensive eavesdropping is unclear. The explanations the White House has been forced to offer are far from explanatory, and the diorthosis President Barack Obama has promised seems all but skin-deep. The apparent application of a double standard only reinforces the image of a Janus-faced America. In the sunlight, it preaches; in the dark, it pries. On the offensive, it orates; on the defensive, it equivocates. The wayward practice has now backfired, and the damage is increasing... Trust is the first and foremost casualty. Common sense dictates that trust is a two-way street: One has to trust in order to be trusted. It is particularly true in friendships and alliances. America obviously failed to follow the simple rule. If Washington did not knit the worldwide wiretapping web just because it could, then its pillage for information unveils an Uncle Sam too deeply entrenched in suspicion and isolation to treat anyone as a real friend. Ironically enough, the bugging undermines the very thing it is supposed to protect -- national security. As America pins its security on alliances, the tapping tale would sour its relationship with allies -- and thus erode its security bedrock -- more than any terrorist would be capable of."
If you believe that there is high inflation in the United States, you are just imagining things. That is the message that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve would have us to believe. Of course anyone that shops for groceries or that pays bills regularly knows what a load of nonsense the official inflation rate is. The U.S. government has changed the way that inflation is calculated numerous times since 1978, and each time it has been changed the goal has been to make inflation appear to be even lower. But if the mainstream news actually reported 'the real' number, everyone would be screaming and yelling about getting inflation under control. Instead, the super low number that gets put out to the public makes it look like the Federal Reserve has plenty of room to do even more reckless money printing. It is a giant scam, but most Americans are falling for it.
When will the U.S. labor market start to accelerate? That is the single most critical question for global capital markets, for it speaks directly to both economic growth and Federal Reserve monetary policy. But, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, just as important, however, is the question "Where do people actually want to work?" Nick's key conclusions: there is no evidence of any faster pace of hiring, and the trend of hiring part time labor over full time is both strong (a 3:1 ratio) and accelerating.
While the pile of debt keeps growing and monetary intrusion becomes more drastic by the day, there’s almost no talk of inflation. A growing number of investors ask themselves this question.
Why China DOESN'T WANT the Yuan to Become the Reserve Currency
Russell Brand's excited exchange with stoic Brit Jeremy Paxman this week is a must-see "exchange of new ideas vs old." Among Brand's clearer moments were "stop voting, stop pretending, wake up. Be in reality now, time to be in reality now. Why vote, we know it's not going to make any difference, we know that already." The excellent discourse has prompted this open letter supporting the comedian.. concluding so legitimately nowadays, with Upton Sinclair's infamous quote "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
Already, the Chinese have stopped accumulating dollars - preferring safer currencies, infrastructure, hard assets and commodities and of course gold. Even a small amount of Chinese selling could lead to substantial dollar weakness and much higher bond yields plummeting the U.S. into another recession.
The number one American export is U.S. dollars. It is paper currency that is backed up by absolutely nothing, but the rest of the world has been using it to trade with one another and so there is tremendous global demand for our dollars. The linchpin of this system is the petrodollar. For decades, if you have wanted to buy oil virtually anywhere in the world you have had to do so with U.S. dollars. But if one of the biggest oil exporters on the planet, such as Saudi Arabia, decided to start accepting other currencies as payment for oil, the petrodollar monopoly would disintegrate very rapidly. For years, everyone assumed that nothing like that would happen any time soon, but now Saudi officials are warning of a "major shift" in relations with the United States. In fact, the Saudis are so upset at the Obama administration that "all options" are reportedly "on the table".
"We see upside surprise risks on gold and silver in the years ahead," is how UBS commodity strategy team begins a deep dive into a multi-factor valuation perspective of the precious metals. The key to their expectation, intriguingly, that new regulation will put substantial pressure on banks to deleverage – raising the onus on the Fed to reflate much harder in 2014 than markets are pricing in. In this view UBS commodity team is also more cautious on US macro...
America, as a nation and a culture, is now being held hostage and tortured into submission on a grand scale using economic terror by the elitist establishment which dominates BOTH major political parties. The goal? To push our society to conform completely with the concepts of globalization, bureaucratic micro-management, and greatly reduced living standards. We are being conditioned to accept defeat and failure, and like children, to cry out for a parental authority to save us in our state of helplessness and fear, even if that authority was the cause of our fear from the very beginning. With so many near misses culminating so close together, it may be wise to consider what could happen in the the next three months while we wait for debt debate theater part deux. Like a prisoner in Abu Ghraib, America is trapped, waiting for the next humiliation, the next degradation, or the next session of pain. Are we merely being acclimated to the idea of incessant crisis? Are we learning to become apathetic at the edge of the chasm? Or, are we being driven to madness, mass-madness, by a concert of elitist interrogators seeking our acquiescence? Again, the central purpose of torture is to acquire consent. Not just extorted consent, but voluntary consent. The globalist establishment wants us to beg them to save us from the tortures they create. If we never give them this, they will never win.
Just one day after the deal in Congress was reached, the U.S. national debt rose by an astounding 328 billion dollars. In the blink of an eye we shattered the 17 trillion dollar mark with no end in sight. We are stealing about $100,000,000 from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day. This goes on 24 hours a day, month after month, year after year without any interruption. The U.S. national debt is now 37 times larger than it was 40 years ago, and we are on pace to accumulate more new debt under the 8 years of the Obama administration than we did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined. So what will happen when the rest of the world decides that they don't need to use our dollars or buy our debt any longer? At that point the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions will result in an avalanche of economic pain that the American people are not prepared for.