Never have markets carried so much risk. And never have markets been as vulnerable to an abrupt change in perceptions with regard to central banker competence, effectiveness and capabilities. At the minimum, global markets will function poorly, but risk is now high for a disorderly – Party Crashing - "run" on financial markets, as faith in central banking begins to wane.
The results from Portugal's elections are beginning to trickle in and according to exit polls, Coelho's coalition has prevailed. According to Bloomberg, the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has won 38%-43% of vote and 108-116 seats.
The signs of deflation are now flashing all over the globe and the possibility of an associated financial crisis is now dangerously high over the next few months. Our preferred model for how things are going to unfold follows the Ka-Poom! Theory, which states that this epic debt bubble will ultimately burst first by deflation (the "Ka!") before then exploding (the "Poom!") in hyperinflation due to additional massive money printing efforts by frightened global central bankers acting in unison. First an inwards collapse, then an outwards explosion.
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CATALAN SEPARATISTS CLOSE TO 50% OF VOTES: EXIT POLL
Contrary to popular opinion, there are problems that are too big for the Central Banks to control.
Perhaps Volkswagen is the best most recent example of "lying when it's important" but as Martin Armstrong, the European Union's leadership (elected and unelected) are the kings of hiding the truth when it matters. As he warns, "if you do not know whom to trust, distrust everyone." The motto of the ECB is plain and simple: why reform when we still have some power? Governments will fight until the last drop of blood is spilled; they assume it will be your blood, not theirs.
The Fed is really caught between a rock and a very dark place. This is the worst possible mess and the longer they have waited to normalize interest rates, the worst the total crisis is becoming for they will have zero control over the economy and once that is seen, holy Hell will break loose.
Most just scoff at the notion that there has been a historic global Bubble, let alone that this Bubble has over recent months begun to burst. Talk of an EM and global crisis is viewed as wackoism. Except that the Federal Reserve clearly sees something pernicious in the world that requires shelving, after seven years, even the cutest little baby step move in the direction of policy normalization. The Fed and global central banks responded to the 2008 crisis with unprecedented measures. When the reflationary effects of these policies began to wane, the unfolding 2012 global crisis spurred desperate concerted do “whatever it takes” monetary stimulus. This phase has now largely run its course, and there is at this point little clarity as to what global central bankers might try next.
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.
Bank profitability will remain under pressure for some time to come in light of the new capital regulations currently in the works. This will make it more difficult for banks to generate new capital internally, so they will have to tap the capital markets and dilute their shareholders further. It is no wonder that bank stocks remain way below the valuations they once commanded (we actually wouldn’t touch these stocks with a ten-foot pole). From a wider economic perspective, the new capital regulations are rendering banks moderately safer for depositors (as long as the markets don’t lose faith in government debt that is), but they also contribute to their ongoing “zombification”. Bank lending is going to remain subdued. This wouldn’t represent a big problem, if not for the fact that it is likely to provoke even more government activism.
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
By monetizing more than the entire Japanese budget deficit, the BOJ is running of out willing sellers. Without those, Japan's QE, just like that of the ECB, will grind to a halt. Better yet, this creates a vicious loop, because with every passing month, the inevitable D-Day when the BOJ has no more TSYs on the offer gets closer, which in turn will force those who bought stocks to sell in anticipation of the end of QE, and to seek the safety of bonds themsleves, in effect precipitating the next inevitable Japanese stock market crash.
While many continue to debate if what with every passing day increasingly looks like a global recession, one from which the US will not decouple no matter how many "virtual portfolio" asset managers claim the contrary, there are those who without much fanfare are already taking proactive steps to avoid the kind of fallout that the markets have hinted in the past month of trading, is inevitable. Some such as Calstrs: the nation's second largest pension fund with $191 billion in assets (smaller only than Calpers), which as the WSJ reports is "considering a significant shift away from some stocks and bonds amid turbulent markets world-wide." According to the WSJ, it will move as much as $20 billion, or 12% of the fund’s stock portfolio, into other assets, including Treasurys.
If we could put the economics of Bernie Sanders into a nutshell, it would be this: Burden private enterprise with one directive after another, and then demonize it when it ultimately falls down under the awful weight of taxes, higher costs, and mandates. While many people believe that instituting the Sanders economic agenda would help turn the USA into another Sweden or Denmark, the more likely outcome would be turning this country into another Venezuela.