Passport's John Burbank: "The Next Crisis May Look Like A 1987 Crash"
John Burbank, whose Passport Capital has grown from $800K to $3.9 billion in 14 years (not your typical basement-dwelling, tinfoil blogger) was interviewed by Bloomberg TV on Friday, discussing his outlook on the US economy (bullish on San Francisco, bearish on the rest) which he defines as an "anomalous high change, low GDP" environment: "a lot of the change that is happening is degrading the GDP."
And while he is generally bullish on US companies, he is "very bearish" about liquidity, driven by what he calls a "tightening environment" (even with the Fed and BOJ still injecting billions under ZIRP and the ECB expanding its LTRO for the second time in 3 years, having pushed ZIRP into NIRP) and bad liquidity in the market.
Where it gets interesting: asked what could happen during the next crisis, Burbank's response: "it could fall fast"... "there is the possibility of a 1987 dislocation that does not reflect long-term economic stress but could reflect illiquidity in the market."
Furthermore it is good to see that unlike a legion of clairvoyants who "know" with pinpoint accuracy just where the S&P will close the year, Burbank does not fall for the usual predictive BS: "It's impossible to easily say: here what's going to happen because we're in a situation that nobody predicted and we've never confronted before.... The Fed's Fisher will be leading a tightening effort that Yellen may not have wanted." Asked if that could be the catalyst for a 1987-style correction, Burbank is laconic: "Could be. Illiquidity is a primary driver; it works both ways: can drive prices up and drive prices down."
His conclusion: "When there is a signal to sell, there won't be a lot of buying." That is assuming selling hasn't been made illegal by then or, as the recent bankruptcy of Banco Espirito Santo showed, if and when the time to sell comes, all sellable stocks are suddenly halted indefinitely while a committee of conflicted banks decides behind the scenes that no event of default has actually occurred.
Full interview below:
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