Norway is heading straight into stagflation and at some point Norges Bank will be forced to tighten monetary policy into a weakening economy. The world should take note, because the real end game for central banks will come when they are constrained by rising inflation in a weakening economy. We all know what happened after the 1970s stagflation; and hiking rates to 20 per cent in an overleveraged world is a lot harder than it was back then.
If the cost of money is high, people think carefully about where they want to put their money. They select only the best investments. This helps everyone. When money is cheap, they throw darts against a wall. This is not the best use of societies' scarce resources. Is it any wonder productivity is down?
"... it's very difficult to see where the next step is except what I'm concerned about mostly, is stag-flation, meaning I think we're seeing the very early signs of inflation beginning finally to pick up as the issue of deflation fades.... we're in a situation now where looking at the interest rate levels that we're looking at and the inflation rates we're looking at, it's very clear that we're going to be moving reasonably shortly into a wholly different phase."
The earliest signs are developing of hyperinflation, more correctly described as a collapse of the purchasing power of all the major government currencies. Extreme one-way bets aside, the overriding reason for valuation disparities is becoming more consistent with the downgrading of cash, rather than a revaluation of assets
"In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight-way was lost" Dante Alighieri "There is a fifth dimension beyond which is known to man...is the middle ground between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge", Twilight Zone
Norges Bank continues to hold rates at .5%, signaling an upward bias but willing to cut if needed, depending on unforeseen external shocks like BREXIT. In my opinion, they really don’t know what to do while the country heads for stagflation (simultaneous rising unemployment and inflation). They are in a “damned if they do and damned if they don’t situation.”
The "In Gold We Trust" Annual Report by fund managers, Ronald-Peter Stöferle and Mark Valek has just been published and is as ever essential reading for all seeking to better understand the gold market.
Populism, nationalism, and xenophobia all contributed to the victory of the “Leave” campaign in the United Kingdom’s recent referendum on membership in the European Union. But these forces float on the surface of a larger sea change: a fundamental shift worldwide in the relationship between the state and the market.
Global stocks, U.S. index futures are sharply lower pressured by fears of another day of record low bond yields, as investors start to worry about numerous risk catalysts in the coming weeks, from the Brexit vote to Fed meeting. The Dollar spot index rose for the second day in a row, pushing commodities lower for their first two-day decline since May 24, while WTI has dipped back under $50.
The Federal Reserve continues discussing the timing for a cycle of rate hikes and a return to "normal"... but there is more than ample evidence which points to exactly the opposite. Seems the adage "watch what they do...not what they say" is appropriate as ever. So where's the evidence?
"I don’t want to alarm anyone but the facts are the facts, and the facts here is simply that this is precisely the sort of rundown we saw in November 1969, May 1974, December 1979, October 1989, November 2000 and May 2007. Each one of these periods presaged a recession just a few months later — the average being five months." - David Rosenberg
One does not have to be financial wizard to to know that a firm which has to borrow more than it can generate from core operations is not a sustainable business model, and yet today's CFOs, pundits and central bankers do not. But more are starting to pay attention as the corporate debt pile hits epic proportions. As Bloomberg writes this morning, when it also issued a stark warning about the next source of credit contagion, while "consumers were the Achilles’ heel of the U.S. economy in the run-up to the last recession. This time, companies may play that role."