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...
The Swiss establishment has been reliant upon the public’s ignorance, but now they are up against a formidable opponent in Egon von Greyerz. Not only that, but they can clearly see that, as elsewhere around the world, the public is fast becoming disenchanted with the status quo; and that is potentially very dangerous for these people. What is important to understand here is that if the initiative passes it will be part of the Swiss constitution IMMEDIATELY - as some are suggesting. This means that the government and parliament cannot touch it. Only another referendum can change it. This is proper democracy for you. The closer we get to the vote on November 30, the bigger this story is going to become, and the bigger it becomes, the higher the chance that the yes vote wins. Should that happen, it will undoubtedly set off alarm bells throughout the gold market, as yet more physical gold will need to be repatriated and another sizeable, price-insensitive buyer will enter the marketplace.
"Markets are slowly coming to grips with reality is not going to be as easy as everybody thought," Peter Schiff tells CNBC's Rick Santelli, noting the pick up in volatility across asset classes recently. What The Fed clearly does not understand, Schiff blasts, is that "you cannot end quantitative easing without plunging the US into a severe recession." Because of the Fed's extreme monetary policy and the mal-investment that flows from it, Schiff says, "The US economy is more screwed up now than it's ever been in history." Most prophetically, we suspect, Santelli agrees that "a messy exit is a given," and Schiff believes they know that and that is why QE4 is coming simply "because it hasn't worked and they can't admit it's been a dismal failure."
"Central Bankers have moved from being 'nudgers' on monetary policy to basically managing fiscal policy," warns Rick Santelli, adding that "in the West, it's now basically the same." As Santelli points out so accurately, the central bankers have admitted as such, noting "they have to dabble in that direction because nothing can get done in 'politics'" in the US or Europe "for the people - the voters." What this has done, Santelli chides calmly is "take the voters out of the game." Simply put, he blasts, "if central banks hadn't had such a large foray into politics, politicians would have had to sink or swim on the merit - or lack therein - of their policies... that weren't creating the growth." He concludes ominously that the 'spread' between central-bank-inspired "stability" and real-world fiscal-policy-inspired "growth" has never been wider.
"You can't eat GDP, and you can't live in a rising stock market" is the striking phrase from NY Times' Neil Irwin as he offers the most damning chart of the decline of America's Economic Model (and dream). As we have explained vociferously, the most important thing to understand about today’s economy is: Around 1999, growth in the United States economy stopped translating to growth in middle-class incomes. The choice, by Greenspan and carried on by his followers, was to enable the financialization of the US economy for the benefit of the few, at the cost of the many. As Irwin concludes, and we explained previously, Americans feel disappointed by the economy; the new data show that they have good reason.
In American society, 'debt' and 'income' have become increasingly synonymous over the past 3 decades; but as Rick Santelli blasts (commonsensically), "they certainly shouldn't be." It appears the average joe has been led to this conclusion by the Central Banks. Rhetorically asking "where's the horsepower in the economy coming from?" Rick reflects on the auto-loan fears we discussed earlier, santelli notes that 55% of used cars (and 30% of new cars) are financed by subprime lenders... and rages, "if we continue as a country to fuel our consumerism with debt, there is no way the bond market's going to be wrong."
Forget international capital flows, forget central banks (even though the world's reaction to the ECB enacting such an extreme policy - QE- this far down the 'recovery' raises questions about the entire false state of the world), and forget positioning... Rick Santelli - stunned at the disconnect between stocks and bonds off the February lows... says there is only one number that matters for lower rates - Nasdaq 3996.
In his first major speech since The White House got their 'flexible' man in to manage the GSEs, Mel Watt outlined his strategic plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Predicated on the maintenance of liquidity, competition, and resilience of the national housing finance market, Watt's remarkably blind to the past proposal will, as CNBC's Rick Santelli warns, create Subprime 2.0. Easing lending standards, not lowering limits, and raising the possibility of principal reduction seems to do anything but reduce taxpayer risk and merely creates more perverse incentives. Santelli steams, as the orthodox monetary policy channel of the last 30 years continues to be pumped ever higher, "immense fiscal and monetary stimulus has gotten us nowhere." As we suspect Rich might have concluded... Watt the fuck!? "if you believe any of this, you have to be crazy after what we've been through."