"It’s hard to say what the right price is for a commodity like oil . . . and thus when the price is too high or too low. Was it too high at $100-plus, an unsustainable blip? History says no: it was there for 43 consecutive months through this past August. And if it wasn’t too high then, isn’t it laughably low today? The answer is that you just can’t say. Ditto for whether the response of the price of oil to the changes in fundamentals has been appropriate, excessive or insufficient. And if you can’t be confident about what the right price is, then you can’t be definite about financial decisions regarding oil." - Howard Marks
Seeing the two “depressions” as historically and generationally comparable, makes it easier to recognize other similarities between the 1930s and the 2010s. Many are economic, as we have seen. But others are demographic (falling fertility, migration, and mobility). Still others are social (growing localism, income inequality, and distrust of elites; stronger families; and declines in personal risk-taking). And still others, ominously, are geopolitical (rising isolationism, nationalism, and authoritarianism, and the unraveling of any “world order” consensus). The confluence of all these trends is not accidental...
- Fall of the Bond King: How Gross Lost Empire as Pimco Cracked (BBG)
- Hong Kong 'Occupy' leaders surrender as pro-democracy protests appear to wither (Reuters)
- Ashton Carter, Ex-Pentagon No. 2, Emerges as Obama Favorite for Defense Secretary (WSJ)
- Oil, the Ruble and Putin Are All Headed for 63. A Russian Joke -- for the Moment (BBG)
- New U.S. oil and gas well November permits tumble nearly 40 percent (Reuters)
- Swedish government on brink of collapse (AJ)
- China says Britain has no moral responsibility for Hong Kong (Reuters)
- Indian Labs Deleted Test Results for U.S. Drugs, Documents Show (BBG)
- DAX’s ‘Brilliant’ Run Sends Red Flag as German Index Tops Record (BBG)
- U.S. military warned of possible Islamic State attacks at home: report (Reuters)
- Russia Faces First Recession Since 2009 as Banks Add to Oil Pain (BBG)
- Dodgy Home Appraisals Are Making a Comeback (WSJ)
- U.S. Corporate Bond Sales Pass $1.5 Trillion for Annual Record (BBG)
- Basic Costs Squeeze Families (WSJ)
- China Orders Stricter Checks on Local Debt as Sales Surge (BBG)
- Draghi Powerless on ECB Path Toward QE Without Reforms (BBG)
Following last week's holiday-shortened week, which was supposed to be quiet and peaceful and was anything but thanks to OPEC's shocking announcement and a historic plunge in crude prices, we have yet another busy week of macroeconomic reports to look forward to.
Gold Repatriation Stunner: Dutch Central Bank Secretly Withdrew 122 Tons Of Gold From The New York FedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/21/2014 08:25 -0500
A week ago, we penned "The Real Reason Why Germany Halted Its Gold Repatriation From The NY Fed", in which we got, for the first time ever, an admission by an official source, namely the bank that knows everything that takes place in Germany - Deutsche Bank - what the real reason was for Germany's gold repatriation halt after procuring a meager 5 tons from the NY Fed. Some took offense with this pointing out, correctly, that the gold held at the NY Fed in deposit form for foreign institutions had continued to decline into 2014 even despite the alleged German halt. Well, today we finally know the answer: it wasn't Germany who was secretly withdrawing gold from the NYFed, contrary to what it had publicly disclosed. It was the Netherlands. Why did the DNB decided it was time to cut its gold held at the NY Fed by 122 tons? "It is no longer wise to keep half of our gold in one part of the world," a DNB spokesman said.
- Moar central banks! Asian Stocks Rise Amid Stimulus Speculation; Topix Jumps (BBG)
- Syria rebels in south emerge as West's last hope as moderates crushed elsewhere (Reuters)
- Bufett's Berkshire to Buy Duracell Business From Procter & Gamble in $3B Deal (AP)
- Weak Demand, Real-Estate Slump Signal Headwinds for China (WSJ)
- China Slowdown Deepens as Leaders Said to Mull Cutting Target (BBG)
- Saudis Reject Talk of OPEC Market Share War as Oil Slides (BBG)
- Oil Tankers Stream Toward China as Price Drop Sparks Boom (BBG)
When a central bank buys an asset directly (often government bonds), it drives up the price of this asset, the demand for which increases. But the prices of the other asset classes increase only if the economic agents that have sold the first assets to the central bank use the money received to buy these other asset classes. This transmission of increases in asset prices to all asset classes is therefore unstable, since it depends on the behaviour of investors and savers. There is therefore no stable monetary policy "risk channel"; the only asset prices that are controlled by central banks in the longer run are those of the assets that central banks buy directly... hence Japan has now resorted to buying Japanese stocks directly.
The global economy is like a jetliner that needs all of its engines operational to take off and steer clear of clouds and storms. Unfortunately, as Nouriel Roubini tells The Guardian, only one of its four engines is functioning properly: the Anglosphere (the United States and its close cousin, the United Kingdom). As Roubini continues, the question is whether and for how long the global economy can remain aloft on a single engine. Weakness in the rest of the world implies a stronger dollar, which will invariably weaken US growth. The deeper the slowdown in other countries and the higher the dollar rises, the less the US will be able to decouple from the funk everywhere else, even if domestic demand seems robust. But it's not just the rest of the world that is decoupling from US growth... as the following uncomfortable chart shows, so is a crucial pillar of monetary policy transmission, consumer wealth perception, and economic stability - the US housing market itself.
We are not exactly sure which is scarier: that total financial assets amount to about 500% of world GDP or that about $75 trillion in financial leverage is just sitting there, completely unregulated and designed with one purpose in mind: to make billionaires into trillionaires (with taxpayers footing the bill of their failure).
"While monetary weapons can be a good first step to remedying an economic crisis, they are clearly not enough on a standalone basis to return an economy to stability and growth. My concern is that there has been an almost total academic capture of the mechanism of the Fed and other central banks around the world by neo-Keynesian thinking and hence policymaking, while the executive and legislative branches of the government have turned a blind eye to the necessary reforms. So while the plan has thus far worked brilliantly for Wall Street, what central bankers have succeeded in doing is preventing, or at least postponing, the hard choices and legislative actions necessary by our politicians to fully implement a sustainable and prosperous future for our children—and theirs...Today I view the world as “risk-uncertain,” and in these instances I recommend the armored vehicle."
The market environment is turning sour...
The bell has rung for Pavlov’s dogs twice before, but the meat of higher inflation has not been delivered. Now the bell is ringing for the third time. With the key driver of inflation events well beyond US shores, the inability of the Fed to generate the meat of inflation will be much more apparent on this occasion. After five and a half years of QE there is still no meat for the dogs: real rates of interest are rising rapidly and almost all financial market instruments are overvalued. If you believe that the correct price for financial market instruments is the price decreed by the Federal Reserve, you need to look at the chart above and ask yourself a simple question, ‘With inflation expectations back at 4Q 2009 levels, what evidence is there that QE works?’
There's something we 'regular' citizens wrestle with that the elites never seem to: a sense of moral duty.
Today US activity will be very light given the Columbus Day holiday. As DB summarizes, we have a relatively quiet day for data watchers today but the calendar will pick up tomorrow and beyond with a big focus on inflation numbers amongst other things. Indeed tomorrow will see the release of Germany’s ZEW survey alongside CPI prints from the UK, France and Spain. Wednesday’s data highlights will include the US retail sales for September, the Fed’s Beige Book, CPI readings from China and Germany, US PPI, and the NY Fed Empire State survey. Draghi will speak twice on Wednesday which could also be a source for headlines. On Thursday, we will get Industrial Production stats and the Philly Fed Survey from the US on top of the usual weekly jobless claims. European CPI will also be released on Wednesday. We have the first reading of October’s UofM Consumer Sentiment on Friday along with US building permits/housing starts. Yellen’s speech at the Boston Fed Conference on Friday (entitled “Inequality of Economic Opportunity”) will also be closely followed.