The economy was supposed to fire on all cylinders in 2015. Sufficient time had passed for the often-mentioned lags in monetary and fiscal policy to finally work their way through the system according to many pundits inside and outside the Fed. Surely the economy would be kick-started by: three rounds of QE and forward guidance; a record Fed balance sheet; and an unprecedented increase in federal debt to $18.63 trillion in 2015, a jump of 86%. Further, stock prices had gained sufficiently over the past several years, thus the so-called wealth effect would boost consumer spending. But the economic facts of 2015 displayed no impact from these massive government experiments.
Today’s dilemma – for financial markets and central bankers – is that pushing back against nascent “risk off” unleashes another forceful bout of “risk on.” At this point, it’s either Bubble on or off – destabilizing either way. The global Bubble has grown too distended and the market backdrop too dysfunctional. Central bankers over the past 25 years have created excessive “money,” while incentivizing too much finance into financial speculation. There is now way too much “money” crowded into the securities and derivative markets, and the upshot is an increasingly hostile backdrop for leverage and speculation.
“It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.”
Goldman Mocks "Constitutionally Dovish" Fed, Sees December Rate Hike Odds At 60% To Offset "Credibility Problem"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/18/2015 13:52 -0500
Q: Why do you still expect the FOMC to hike rates in December?
A: Because the FOMC leadership has said that a rate hike by the end of the year is likely if the economy and markets evolve broadly as expected. Our near-term forecast is similar to theirs, so our baseline is also that they hike.
China stocks have fallen by as much as -30% over the past three weeks. What would Janet Yellen do if the S&P 500 Index was falling by -30% in similarly short order?
Stanley Druckenmiller, the man who achieved the impossible 30%+ annualized returns during more than 30-years period active trading career just gave an interview and shared his market views.
Stan Druckenmiller's "Horrific Sense" Of Deja Vu: "I Know It's Tempting To Invest, But This Will End Very Badly"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/12/2015 18:45 -0500
“I just have the same horrific sense I had" before, Druckenmiller said to an audience at the Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, Florida (according to a transcript obtained by Bloomberg). "Our monetary policy is so much more reckless and so much more aggressively pushing the people in this room and everybody else out the risk curve that we’re doubling down on the same policy that really put us there."
Following yesterday's proof-positive that "everything is awesome," today (and overnight) we find, everything is not so awesome. Following the unleashing of The Warsh on CNBC, markets are starting to turmoil. Crude has erased all its late-day ramp and then some dropping back to a low $47 handle. German Bund yields just hit a new record low (2Y at -25.7bps!). US equity markets have erased all of yesterday's post-open gains, and US Treasury yields are dumping as the Euro surges...
The constant changes to Fed policy targets and enslavement to the ticker must change, according to former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh. "The markets think they have Yellen's number," that she will never allow markets to go down, Warsh warns "that is a very dangerous development." What worries Warsh the most, however, is "The Fed's policies changing based on what happens on the ticker... The Fed should be thinking 3 to 4 years ahead." Investors "think good times can last forever," he notes ominously, "we tried negative real rates in the mid 70s and the early 2000s and both ended badly." Someone is not getting invited back on CNBC...
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
In 2008, various liquidity facilities, designed by the Fed, unclogged broken capital markets and helped avert economic and financial disaster. The Fed’s (subsequent) QE and ZIRP policies have enabled fiscal stalemate, turbo-charged wealth inequality, and arguably led to financial asset bubbles. For these reasons, we believe they have become counter-productive. New tactics, should they be needed, would therefore be welcomed. The Fed claims it will turn to “macro-prudential” polices, but as Kevin Warch told The IMF, "macro-prudential policies are vital, but we have no idea what they are." We have a theory for what the Fed does next... and holders of capital (who have been so richly rewarded) will be badly hurt.
First a secret "Doomsday book", and now this?
Isn't it odd that when 'officials' are no longer part of the status-quo-sustainers, how the truthiness flows... As former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh explained this morning, "on the fairness point - if you have access to credit, if you've got a big balance sheet, the Fed has made you richer," concluding rather too honestly for some people's liking, "I would say [Fed policy] has been in some sense Reverse Robin Hood." The bottom line, he chides, "this is a way to make the well to do more well to do because that's all the Federal Reserve can do."
For over 5 years we have been explaining the hole that the fed has been digging (most ironically here). This morning's op-ed by Warsh and Druckenmiller highlights many of the problems but we leave it to Marc Faber to succinctly sum up the dilemma that the Fed faces (and by dilemma we mean, the plan) - "The more they print, the more inequality there is, the weaker the economy will become." Simply put, "it's a catastrophe," Faber told CNBC, "what the Fed has done is to lift asset prices, and the cost of living. In the meantime, the cost of living increases are higher than the wage increases. The typical American household income is going down in real terms." Recovery?
"Balance-sheet wealth is sustainable only when it comes from earned success, not government fiat," is the ugly truth that former Fed governor Kevin Warsh (amazing what truths come out after their terms are up) and hedge fund billionaire Stan Druckenmiller deliver in the following WSJ Op-Ed. The aggregate wealth of U.S. households, including stocks and real-estate holdings, just hit a new high of $81.8 trillion. No wonder most on Wall Street applaud the Fed's unrelenting balance-sheet recovery strategy.The Fed's extraordinary tools are far more potent in goosing balance-sheet wealth than spurring real income growth. Corporate chieftains rationally choose financial engineering - debt-financed share buybacks, for example - over capital investment in property, plants and equipment. The country needs an exit from the 2% growth trap. There are no short-cuts through Fed-engineered balance-sheet wealth creation. The sooner and more predictably the Fed exits its extraordinary monetary accommodation, the sooner businesses can get back to business and labor can get back to work.