According to the popular way of thinking, bubbles are an important cause of economic recessions. The main question posed by experts is how one knows when a bubble is forming. It is held that if the central bankers knew the answer to this question they might be able to prevent bubble formations and thus prevent recessions. Contrary to Shiller, in order to establish that a bubble is forming we don’t need to apply the same methodology employed by psychologists. What we require is the establishment of a correct definition of what bubbles are all about. Once it is done, one discovers that bubbles have nothing to do with some kind psychological malfunction of individuals – they are the result of loose monetary policies of the central bank.
- China to Ease One-Child Policy (WSJ), China announces major economic and social reforms (Reuters)
- Consumers line up for launch of PlayStation 4 (USAToday)
- Trust frays between Obama, Democrats (Politico)
- Yellen Stands by Fed Strategy (Hilsenrath)
- Hero to zero? Philippine president feels typhoon backlash (Reuters)
- Brussels warns Spain and Italy on budgets (FT)
- Moody’s Downgrades Four U.S. Banks on Federal Support Review (BBG)
- CIA's Financial Spying Bags Data on Americans (WSJ)
- Germany Digs In Against Risk Sharing in EU Bank-Failure Plan (BBG)
- Bill Gates wants Norway's $800 billion fund to spend more in Africa, Asia (RTRS)
The EU may have many worries and woes that are slapping it around its face right now (and it could be said for a number of years), but there is one thing that is worrying economists more than the sovereign-debt crisis and that’s the fact that prices are not increasing enough.
With global financial company stock prices soaring, analysts proclaiming holding bank shares is a win-win on rates, NIM, growth, and "fortress balance sheets", and a European stress-test forthcoming that will 'prove' how great banks really are; the question one is forced to ask, given the ruling below, is "Why is ISDA so worried about derivatives-based systemic risk?"
When the US federal government was shutdown, China jumped in on the financial bandwagon and suggested that we build ‘a de-Americanized world’, which boils down to getting rid of the dollar as the international reserve currency.
While today's big event is the October Non-farm payrolls print, which consensus has at 120K and unemployment rising from 7.2% to 7.3%, there was a spate of events overnight worth noting, starting with Chinese exports and imports both rising more than expected (5.6% and 7.6% vs expectations of 1.9% and 7.4% respectively), leading to an October trade surplus of $31.1 billion double the $15.2 billion reported in August. This led to a brief jump in Asian regional market which however was promptly faded. Germany also reported a greater trade surplus than expected at €20.4bn vs €15.4 bn expected, which begs the question just where are all these excess exports going to? Perhaps France, whose trade deficit rose from €5.1 billion to €5.8 billion, more than the €4.8 billion expected. Of note also was the French downgrade from AA+ to AA by S&P, citing weak economic prospects, with fiscal constraints throughout 2014. The agency added that the country has limited room to maneuver and sees an inability to significantly cut government spending. The downgrade, however, was largely a buy the EURUSD dip event as rating agencies' opinions fade into irrelevance.
Endo Health Solutions just announced a big acquisition. The company’s rationale is to take advantage of a stunning tax loop hole. There are a couple of implications to highlight: 1. Endo’s shareholders are the clear winners; and 2. The USA is the big loser. Extrapolating beyond Endo, if one accepts the premise that companies are obligated to use legal means to minimize tax costs, and if one then takes this precedent to the logical conclusion, this transaction could/should be a road map for other companies to follow. Is Congress paying attention?
And so another conspiracy theory, that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with Polonium, becomes non-conspiracy fact.
Money doesn’t smell of anything except money and wherever it comes from it gives off the same whiff of intoxicating magnetic attraction.
It’s no secret by now that governments in Europe, Japan and America have spent and borrowed beyond their means. As IceCap's Keith Dicker notes, including both current debt and future unfunded liabilities, it is estimated America owes over $87 trillion dollars, while the Eurozone countries are on the hook for over $89 trillion. That’s a fistful of dollars. From a tax perspective, the incapacity of these super economic powers, becomes all the more clear. America’s annual tax revenue is only $2.5 trillion, while in Europe, they manage to squeak out roughly $5 trillion. From this view, America is leveraged 34.8x their tax revenues, while the Eurozone is leveraged at 17.8x their tax revenue. As Keith points out in his excellent letter, for the US, Japan, and Europe, Elvis has very much left the building on getting back to 'normal'.
The US and the National Security Agency may well have just dug their own grave where the internet is concerned.
President Obama, the US federal government shutdown, the omnipotence of the National Security Agency and the anger of the world at just how much the USA flouts the laws that we thought we might have lived by.
Looking ahead, Thursday will be a busy day with the ECB (plus Draghi’s press conference) and BoE meetings. Some are expecting the ECB to cut rates as early at this week although most believe the rate cut will not happen until December. Draghi will likely deflect the exchange rate’s relevance via its impact on inflation forecasts. This could strengthen the credibility of the forward guidance message, but this is just rhetoric — a rate cut would require a rejection of the current recovery hypothesis. They expect more focus on low inflation at this press conference, albeit without pre-empting the ECB staff new macroeconomic forecasts that will be published in December.
Westerners aren't used to the kind of inflation levels, government confiscation, and currency volatility so common in places like India; and so the need to own gold as protection isn't fully appreciated in the West. Westerners pay lip service to gold's being "an inflation hedge" or "a currency" or "a safe asset", but these terms are used in an extremely abstract way by the vast majority of the investing public, who see gold as mostly just another trading vehicle. India's love affair with gold is well-understood in Asia but completely misunderstood in the West — a phenomenon we have always found fascinating — but recently it has become abundantly clear that this disconnect is widening almost daily as the Western fixation with 'The Gold Price' and the Eastern obsession with 'The Price of Gold' take ever more divergent paths... In short, Asians like their gold to be heavy, shiny, and made of ... well, gold.
While some harp on about the growing dangers of yet another housing bubble in the western world, there are other more important things perhaps that are going on in other countries in the world.