• ilene
    01/28/2015 - 19:33
    Suppose you could print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Fun, you think? Here's how it plays out. 

United Kingdom

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Remembering The Currency Wars Of The 1920s & 1930s (And Central Banks' "Overused Bag Of Tricks")





“No stock-market crash announced bad times. The depression rather made its presence felt with the serial crashes of dozens of commodity markets. To the affected producers and consumers, the declines were immediate and newsworthy, but they failed to seize the national attention. Certainly, they made no deep impression at the Federal Reserve.” - 1921 or 2015?

 
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Frontrunning: January 21





  • Obama Targets Income Gap in Address That Shapes 2016 Election (BBG)
  • Republicans Reject Obama’s Main Economic Proposals (WSJ)
  • Senate’s Shelby Says White House Bank Tax Is Dead on Arrival (BBG)
  • Is Dollar Next? Investors Reassess After Swiss Shock: Currencies (BBG)
  • Bank of Japan Cuts Price Forecast, Maintains Record Stimulus (BBG)
  • Pound Weakens After BOE Policy Makers Drop Call to Raise Rates (BBG)
  • Putin not flinching on Ukraine despite economic crisis (Reuters)
  • Indonesia will not make public full preliminary AirAsia crash report (Reuters)
  • Party Hasn't Stopped for Russians at Davos Even With Ukraine Sanctions (BBG)
 
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Ken Rogoff Warns Economic Sanctions Don't Work; Fears Violence, Not Bargaining





With Western economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and Cuba in the news, Ken Rogoff thought it was a good time to take stock of the debate on just how well such measures work. The short answer is that economic sanctions usually have only modest effects at best. In a world where nuclear proliferation has rendered global conventional war unthinkable, economic sanctions and sabotage are likely to play a large role in twenty-first-century geopolitics. Rather than preventing conflict, Pericles’s sanctions in ancient Greece ultimately helped to trigger the Peloponnesian War. One can only hope that in this century, wiser heads will prevail, and that economic sanctions lead to bargaining, not violence.

 
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Conrad Black: The Saudis Fear Western Alliance With Iran; Crashing Oil Is Their Retaliation





"The oil-price weapon, in the face of the terminal enfeeblement of the Obama administration, is the last recourse before the Saudis and Turks, whatever their autocues of racist rhetoric, invite Israel to smash the Iranian nuclear program from the air."

 
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Howard Marks On "The Lessons Of Oil"





"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

 
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Are We Reliving The 1930s?





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...

 
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Frontrunning: December 3





  • 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)
 
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Frontrunning: December 2





  • 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)
 
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Key Events In The Coming Week





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.

 
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Gold Repatriation Stunner: Dutch Central Bank Secretly Withdrew 122 Tons Of Gold From The New York Fed





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.

 
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Frontrunning: November 13





  • 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)
 
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There Is No Stable Monetary Policy "Risk Channel"





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.

 
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Chart Of The Day: US Decouples From The Rest Of The World... And From The US Itself





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.

 
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Shadow Banking Assets Increase By $5 Trillion To Record $75 Trillion, 120% Of Global GDP





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).

 
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QE, Parallel Universes And The Problem With Economic Growth





"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."

 
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