We have argued that it is a perilous myth that central bankers these days control a general price level. They instead incentivize massive financial flows into securities markets and fashionable sectors. Over time, ramifications and consequences reach the profound. For one, excess liquidity promotes over/mal-investment. It’s only the scope and nature that remain in question. If major Bubble flows inundate new technology investment, the resulting surge in the supply of high-margin products engenders disinflationary pressures elsewhere. Policy responses to perceived heightened “deflation” risks then only work to exacerbate Bubbles, mounting imbalances and structural fragilities. This was a critical facet of “Roaring Twenties” analysis that was lost in time.
Having exposed the reality that the world's capital markets are a manipulated shell game, Janus' Bill Gross has a message for the perpetual bulls in his latest letter to investors - "say a little prayer." Gross continues, "low interest rates are not the cure – they are part of the problem," warning that ZIRP has enabled, "a host of zombie and future zombie corporations now roam the real economy. Schumpeter’s 'creative destruction' – the supposed heart of capitalistic progress – has been neutered. The old remains in place, and new investment is stifled." As he previously warned, when the central bank manipulation is removed the likely trajectory of prices is downward...
"Free" markets for all, but the real joke is that this comes from the Beijing Review
Having looked surprisingly at Ed Lazear's comment that "the market is still the best predictor of the economy," Rick Santelli unleashes his latest bout of truthiness when he explains to the former Bush economic adviser that "investors are blindfolded," by central bank intervention (such as BoJ buying e-minis). "We used to think plunge protection was heresy," he exclaims, "but now, if your nation doesn't have a plunge protection team, that's heresy!"
Rick Santelli recently unleashed his own brand of truthiness on an unsuspecting CNBC audience, that, just like in China, "the central planners are in control" in Japan, Europe, and most of all America. As part of the 3 minutes of lack-of-free-market despair, Santelli drew what we called "the chart of the year." By popular request, it is reproduced below...
"China is not doing anything that the US has not already tried," exclaims Rick Santelli as he derides the 'entitlement' society that has reached the investor class. Whether it's US, Japan, Europe, or China, "the idea of trying to prop up returns in the equity market - admitted or not - is going on," Santelli notes, asking - after forcing every mom and pop out of savings and into investment, "if it doesn't turn out well... do they have a moral obligation to help out?" Simply put, he rages - drawing the chart of the year - "the central planners are in control... and I don't suspect they will give up the reins any time soon."
We warned previously that when (not if) the market crashes next, The Fed is going to need a scapegoat (other than British traders living at home with their parents) and judging by The Fed's Lael Brainard's comments today, high-frequency-traders (HFT) are in the crosshairs. Crucially, Brainard warns that HFT "may amplify market shocks," and The Fed is "studying possible changes in liquidity resilience."
First it was Jim Bullard in October, after US equity markets had fallen almost 10%, dropping the only word that matters to headline scanning algos, i.e., "QE4" and suggesting that asset purchases will make a comeback if the market drop continues. And now, with stocks fractions-of-a-percent off record highs, Minneapolis Fed president Narayana Kocherlakota spouts this idiocy: KOCHERLAKOTA: THERE IS EVEN A THEORETICAL ARGUMENT TO BE MADE FOR MAKING ASSET PURCHASES NOW IF ECONOMY FALTERED.
Stocks, rather stunningly, appear to have finally given up responding to this utter farce, and are falling.
As Goldman notes, the driver behind the recent modest rise in real weekly earnings: lowflation - is the wrong recipe for wage growth...
Intended warning or unintended slip? After Alan Greenspan's confessional admission that "Gold is a currency. It is still, by all evidence, a premier currency. No fiat currency, including the dollar, can match it," we found it remarkable that during the Q&A after her speech today that Janet Yellen, when asked about negative rates, admitted that "cash in not a very convenient store of value," seemingly hinting at Bernanke's helicopter and that there will be no deflation in The US ever... Rick Santelli then sums it all up perfectly... "deflation is clearly the boogeyman... and the only thing that will save the middle class."
In response to questions posed by Santelli, former Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher made two points which were both salient if not downright prophetic. The first: “Well, what worries me is how totally lazy investors have gotten, totally dependent on the Federal Reserve and I find this to be a precarious situation.” The second: “Are we vulnerable in my opinion to a significant equity market correction? I believe we are. Not only has the Fed painted themselves into an even tighter corner – they’ve left no clear path as to now kick the empty can.
"Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe fell 12.4 percent," for the week Reuters notes. This is seventh consecutive week of declines and puts us squarely back at levels last seen in 2013.
Recently retired Dallas Fed chief Richard Fisher tells CNBC that "lazy" retail investors have become completely dependent on the Fed and shouldn't expect a "diminutive" Janet Yellen to be able to save the day in the event of a significant correction.
The epic voyage of USD Longs and Treasury Shorts continues...