Presented with no comment...
Just when we thought that the Fed is pulling an Obama and has "no strategy" to deal with what not some fringe blog but Deutsche Bank itself proclaimed was the bubble to end, or rather extend, all bubbles, when it said that "the bubble probably needs to continue in order to sustain the current global financial system" they surprise us once again when they report that, drumroll, the Fed has formed a committee led by the former head of the Bank of Israel - best known for using de novo created fiat money to buy AAPL stock as part of "prudent monetary policy" - Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, to monitor financial stability, which according to Bloomberg is "reinforcing the Fed's efforts to avoid the emergence of asset-price bubbles."
China may need to expand its goalseek template to include the other far more important measure of Chinese economic activity, such as Industrial production, retail sales, fixed investment, and even more importantly - such key output indicators as Cement, Steel and Electricity, because based on numbers released overnight, the Q2 Chinese recovery is now history (as the credit impulse of the most recent PBOC generosity has faded, something we have discussed in the past), and the economy has ground to the biggest crawl it has experienced since the Lehman crash. What's worse, and what we predicted would happen when we observed the collapse in Chinese commodity prices ten days ago, capex, i.e. fixed investment, grew at the slowest pace in the 21st century: the number of 16.5% was the lowest since 2001, and suggests that the commodity deflation problem is only going to get worse from here.
About a month ago, when Russia sent a humanitarian convoy to aid ethnic Russians in east Ukraine, the Western world, and of course media, screamed bloody murder, with everyone from NATO to the Kiev government declaring it, without a shadow of a doubt, an invasion, a Trojan Horse, and a convoy of arms deliveries for the rebels caught in the Ukraine civil war, not necessarily in that order. Nobody thought it could possibly be just that: a convoy of humanitarian aid delivering provisions to hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the middle of a war. Then finally, after weeks of delays, the convoy was allowed in and after unloading its cargo, promptly returned to Russia without a single incident.
History did not end with the Cold War and, as Mark Twain put it, whilst history doesn’t repeat it often rhymes. As Alexander, Rome and Britain fell from their positions of absolute global dominance, so too has the US begun to slip. America’s global economic dominance has been declining since 1998, well before the Global Financial Crisis. A large part of this decline has actually had little to do with the actions of the US but rather with the unraveling of a century’s long economic anomaly. China has begun to return to the position in the global economy it occupied for millenia before the industrial revolution. Just as the dollar emerged to global reserve currency status as its economic might grew, so the chart below suggests the increasing push for de-dollarization across the 'rest of the isolated world' may be a smart bet...
The decline in the price of oil - in the face of surging geopolitical pandemonium - has been lauded as indicative of both US' awesomeness in energy independence and a tax cut for Americans... but, as the following chart suggests, there may be another - much more realistic - explanation for why oil is plunging... demand!
"Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing." While critics have been questioning the legality of U.S. military campaigns consistently since the end of World War II, one trend has become increasingly clear. With each new President and each new war, we have witnessed those who hold the office act more and more like dictators, and less and less like constitutional executives. One very important, and up until recently, overlooked point about Obama’s latest “war on ISIS” is that this is not at all just more of the same. This crosses yet another very important line of shadiness, and if we as as American public allow him to do so, we will suffer grave long-term consequences to our economic future as well as our liberties. This is very serious stuff.
Credit Suisse warns of a self-fuelling feedback loop of rising risks and costs to the Scottish financial and sovereign sectors, and a steady migration of capital, activity, jobs and taxes if the Scots vote "Yes". However, if the vote is a close "no", they warn "the cat is out of the bag," and risk remains.
Getting out of a Liquidity Trap with monetary policy playing the lead role necessarily involves a Dornbuschian sequence of rational overshooting: The Fed must drive up Wall Street prices, which move quickly, so as to get to Main Street prices that move up slowly, most importantly, wages. This sequencing implies that Wall Street prices must become very rich relative to Main Street prices in order to achieve so-called escape velocity from the Liquidity Trap. At the transition point, Wall Street prices will be rationally “overvalued” relative to their long-term “fair value.” The dominant risk for Wall Street is not bursting bubbles, but rather a long slow grind down in profit’s share of GDP/national income. And you can stick that into a Gordon Model, too! Bonds and stocks may at present be rationally valued, but borrowing from the lyrics of Procol Harum’s Keith Reid: Expected long-term returns are turning a more ghostly whiter shade of pale.
"We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions."
- Rex Tillerson, CEO Exxon Mobil
As Scotland goes to the polls to decide on its own separation from the United Kingdom, the tone of the campaign is high on passion and secessionists are inching toward the magical 50 percent line. One core debate is whether Scotland is too small and too insignificant to go it alone... The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is resoundingly “Yes!” Scotland’s big enough to “survive” on its own, and indeed is very likely to become richer out of the secession. Nearer to the small-is-rich Ireland than the big-but-poor Britain left behind.
While a misnomer, if President Obama is to be believed, The Islamic State, according to The Institute for the Study of War, poses a grave danger to the United States and its allies in the Middle East and around the world. As they exclaim, reports that it is not currently planning an attack against the American homeland are little comfort. Its location, the resources it controls, the skill and determination of its leaders and fighters, and its demonstrated lethality distinguish it from other al-Qaeda-like groups..."It must be defeated," they conclude... and here's how.
While the world was poring through the details of the latest round of preannounced western sanctions against Russia - a round which Russia commented would have little actual impact - and just as excitedly awaiting the Kremlin's retaliation, which Putin warned is coming shortly, far from the glare of the center stage Europe quietly folded to a bigger Russian demand namely to delay the implementation of a Ukraine free trade deal by more than one year until the end of 2015 and likely beyond.
The entire US Treasury complex surged higher in yield this week, rising 12-16bps (2Y +5bps) as the last 2 weeks are the worst for 10Y since last June's Taper Tantrum. Despite all the 'bonds-go-down-so-stocks-will-see-inflows' rotation buffoonery, stocks slipped to their worst week in the last six, as hawkish Fed concerns spread through markets. High-yield credit notably underperformed and VIX pushed back above 14 (its highest in a month). The USDollar rose 0.5% - 9th week in a row (despite EUR unch on the week) led by a 3% collapse in AUD and 2% in JPY & CAD. Gold and Silver dropped 3% on the week (worst in over 3 months, lowest in 8 months to $1230). WTI prices whipped around but ended -1% at $92. Of course, because it's Friday, the last hour saw manic VIX-selling, S&P futures buying (in 1 lots) to lift it magically off the lows to VWAP, but the S&P ended being the worst of the major US equity indices on the week (S&P <2,000; Dow <17,000).
"It is a bad sign for the market when all the bears give up. If no-one is left to be converted, it usually means no-one is left to buy.” The extraordinarily low level of "bearish" outlooks combined with extreme levels of complacency within the financial markets has historically been a "poor cocktail" for future investment success.