"People [are] saying that we can't make a go of it and mail the keys to the bank. In the big cities, not so much because the average sale prices haven't really dropped much, we haven't seen the pain yet. But Calgary is getting pretty tight."
We already suspected in mid 2013 (worrying about the market far too early as it has turned out in hindsight) that there were parallels to what happened in the late 1990s bull market, specifically near its end in the year 2000. However, in the meantime, even more such parallels have become noticeable.
Simply put, either large cap Financials are cheap, or the entire U.S. equity market is still overpriced. Their precipitous decline year to date means markets fear they are both the transmission mechanism for a global slowdown/recession to come and a primary victim of that event.
The rise in rents and home prices is adding additional pressure to the bottom line of most California families. In most of the US buying a home may make some sense. In California, the massive drop in the homeownership rate shows a different story. And that story is the middle class is disappearing...
The political class has completely disrupted the American structure of production, made American workers uncompetitive, snuffed the life out of entrepreneurs, and burdened the entire nation with a debt obligation the size of Jupiter. The US economy is not the strongest and most durable in the world — it is an unskilled thirty-two-year-old waiter crashing at his parent’s place and trying to pay down an $80,000 international relations degree.
Everything went from bad to worse once Europe opened, and things started going "bump in the morning" across the European banking sector, where not only has it been more of the same with CDS spreads for major banks - most notably Deutsche Bank - continuing their surge wider, but also EM spreads to Bunds all following, with the Portugal-Germany Yield spread blowing out above 300 bps for the first time since 2014, and other peripheral nations following.
Who really needs a gold standard? We all do, immediately.
While 'our' President was out this week patting himself on the back and taking victory laps over the "supposed" 4.9% unemployment rate, he forgot to mention a few important tidbits about what is really going on.
It seems monetary policy is exhausted and the next exogenous lever to pull would be political fiscal initiatives. If/when they fail to stimulate demand, there would be only one avenue left – currency devaluation. If/when confidence in the mightiest currency wanes, we would expect the US dollar to be devalued too - not against other fiat currencies, but against a relatively scarce Fed asset.
What is the role of government in society? The answer determines the nature of the social order and how people are expected and allowed to interact with one another – on the basis of either force or freedom. The alternatives are really rather simple. Government may be narrowly limited to perform the essential task of protecting each individual’s right to his life, liberty, and honestly acquired property. Or it may be used to try to modify, influence, or dictate the conduct of the citizenry.
At a printing factory in the western city of Chongqing, a Reuters reporter was present when a local official visited last week to make sure the boss paid his workers before the Year of the Monkey begins. The official declined to speak with Reuters, although the boss later said it was an attempt to prevent unrest. "That's what the government is most fearful of," said the factory owner, who did not want to be named.
“...parts of the U.S. jobs report for January seem fishy...”
The Great Depression was the most severe economic depression ever experienced by the Western world. It was during this troubled time that the world’s most famous case of deflation also happened. The resulting aftermath was so bad that economic policy since has been chiefly designed to prevent deflation at all costs.
Gold is 3.6% higher this week and is now over 9% higher year to date. The dollar saw sharp falls this week on growing doubts that the Federal Reserve will be able to raise interest rates. The gains this week were due to increasing concerns about the U.S. and global economy.