“It is just a matter of time,” says a friend writing from Switzerland, “before the feds own all our assets. They’re determined to keep prices high and they have unlimited resources.”Yes, stocks, bonds, old copies of Mad Magazine… everything will be owned by the government. Then our liberty will be complete. We will have nothing… and nothing to lose. We will have become what leading German post-war economist Wilhelm Röpke had anticipated: the “stable fed” animals that depend on their masters to keep them going.
But the destruction of price discovery in the sovereign debt market is not simply an academic curiosity to be jawed about by the few remaining fiscal scolds in the world. To the contrary, it is already having massive toxic consequences in the arenas of fiscal governance and capital markets alike.
Despite mainstream economists hopes that somehow “this time will be different,” the ongoing massaging of economic data through seasonal adjustments to obtain better headlines did not translate into actual prosperity. Of course, “reality” is a cruel mistress and despite ongoing hopes and overstatements, “fantasy” eventually gives way.
Day three of the post-Brexit rally continues, and after some initial weakness due to concerns about Chinese currency devaluation, both European stock and US equity futures were trading at session highs, facilitated by yesterday's stress test results which saw dozens of US banks unleash a tsunami of stock buyback announcement which in turn pushed S&P futures to new post-Brexit highs.
It was not even a month ago when we last looked at the total amount of negative yielding debt around the globe, and were shocked to find that according to Fitch, for the first time in history (obviously), there was over $10 trillion in negative yielding debt. Fast forward 4 weeks later, and the grand total is now $1.3 trillion higher, or $11.7 trillion.
While the BOJ is reportedly meeting with the government today, it’s going to be addressing a situation that just got more difficult with a poor menu of policy options. It can purchase more assets and lower interest rates, but it can’t change a world economy that’s running out of inflationary gas.
After a historic two-day selloff, which as shown yesterday slammed European banks by the most on record the wildly oversold conditions, coupled with hopes for yet another global, coordinated central bank intervention, coupled with modest hope that David Cameron's trip to Brussels today may resolve some of the Article 50 gridlock, have been sufficient to prompt a modest buying scramble among European stocks in early trading, with the pound and commodities all gaining for the first time since the shock Brexit vote.
Tuesday's overnight price action has been a continuation of yesterday's Brexit relief rally, as investors focused on the two latest polls favorable to Remain in Thursday's referendum (while ignoring the YouGov poll which gave Leave a small lead), and hoping the doom and gloom by George Soros will convince the undecideds to vote against Leaving. As a result, global stocks continued their advance while pound extending the biggest rally since 2008.
"...financial markets, far from accurately reflecting all the available knowledge, always provide a distorted view of reality. The degree of distortion may vary from time to time. Sometimes it’s quite insignificant, at other times, it is quite pronounced. When there is a significant divergence between market prices and the underlying reality, there is a lack of equilibrium conditions. I have developed a rudimentary theory of bubbles along these lines..."
Global equities rallied and the pound strengthened the most since 2008, soaring by 300 pips since the Friday close as polls signaled the campaign for the U.K to stay in the European Union was gaining momentum. Haven assets including the yen, U.S. Treasuries and gold slumped. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index surged by the most since February as the MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced with S&P 500 futures. Haven assets including the yen, U.S. Treasuries and gold slumped.
The approximate hour Janet Yellen spent wandering in circles and spewing double talk during her presser yesterday was time well spent. When the painful ordeal of her semi-coherent babbling was finally over, she had essentially proved that the Fed is attempting an impossible task. And better still, that the FOMC should be abolished. The alternative is real simple. It’s called price discovery on the free market; it’s the essence of capitalism.