You know the old drill – China and Asia produce, the US consumes. They cycle their greenbacks back over this way, finance our debt, we buy more of their stuff, and the beat goes on. This model officially stopped with the launch of QE2, Hendry says, as the US officially started rejecting the globalization that had made the global economy hum (perhaps largely at the expense of US employment and manufacturing). With QE2, dollars were printed and exported – along with inflation – to Asia. This led to the countries in Asia – and Europe, too – raising rates to combat inflation. The result, he says, is that global economic growth has essentially ground to a halt. So what’s next? A crash, of course. All this and much more, but probably most notably, we learn that Hendry's has made bets that he says will deliver a 40-to-1 return if the ECB cuts rates below 1% next year. More inside.
After today's ridiculous move in the market, which brings back memories of either August 2007, March 2008, the reaction after the Tarp vote (the successful one), August 2011, when the market gyrated by 400 points on a daily basis, and many more bear market rallies, we hope to restores some semblance of normalcy by presenting the following series of clips all from Hugh Hendry speechs at the LSE's Alternative Investments Conference earlier this year. Must watch, because when everyone loses their mind, listening to some common sense is the best remedy.
The man who singlehandedly took "I would recommend you panic" and made it into one of the catch phrases of the year (if not decade), and who has recently been in a self-imposed media blackout, had a rare media appearance when late last week he appeared on the BBC show The Bottom Line Evan together with Guy Berruyer, chief executive of global business software supplier Sage Group; and internet entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, founder of online interior decoration business mydeco.com. Obviously we were mostly interested in what Hugh would say, and luckily he did say quite a lot, if nothing too shocking for those familiar with his generally cheery outlook on the world. Among the snazzy soundbites was his explanation that the UK is not in a recession, but a depression, something Zero Hedge has been saying about the entire, never mind England, for the past 2.5 years, and the proceeds to give the rational breakdown of the Greek situation, which as everyone knows is that it is purely due to political power grabbing and banker greed and financial innovation allowing the masking of reality. As for the outcome, we all know it: Greece defaults, creditors take major haircuts, speculators get blamed, etc.
It has been a while since we heard anything about everyone's favorite contrarian and most outspoken hedge fund manager, Hugh Hendry, and probably for a good reason. As everyone else was complaining about their performance (and P&L) collapsing, blaming it on everything from the weather, to Bernanke's diet, to fundmanetals and technicals, Hugh Hendry was raking it in and is now up 38.65% YTD, with a stunning +22.5% in August alone (or pretty much mirroring the collapse at Paulson & Co) and another 11% in September! As the FT reports, Hugh Hendry's Eclectica fund has "has soared in value over the past two months as global markets have plummeted and industry peers have suffered damaging losses." Hendry's opinion on China is no secret, with an indicative snippet being that he anticipates a 1920's Japan-like crash in China. And as was reported previously, based on his recent trade of buying up lost of Japan CDS of companies exposed to China, his outperformance is no suprise. Expect to hear much more about Hendry as the media gets tired of paraphrasing sob stories and actually focuses on the (very few) winners from the most recent market blow out, confirming that contrarian, non-lemming approaches to investing still do pay off.
Hugh Hendry proposes a very simple thought experiment to all those (apparently the Fed) who believe that QE2 can end: who will drive global growth if the suddenly marginal economy, that would be the US for some ungodly reason, contracts, which it already is, and will do so even more once rates start rising. Sorry, but unlike last time China is not here to pick up the slack. And it appears that China will not be stepping in to fill the growth void, read inflation, (read Jasmine revolution) which can only lead to more social unrest.
The markets are already pricing in the near certainty of a quarter-point rise from the Bank of England by May with another increase expected before October. But perhaps not wanting to be left out, the zealous guardians of Europe’s monetary system, who measure inflation rates across the 17-country bloc to the second decimal point, have recently raised their rhetoric to such an extent that investors are openly speculating that in spite of the continent’s tight fiscal policy European rates are now likely to rise before the end of summer. As they say in the land of macro investing, the cycle isn’t over until the Europeans lift rates. Just don’t bet on money staying tight for long. - Hugh Hendry
It seems that it was just yesterday that everyone's favorite outspoken Eclectica manager, Hugh Hendry, was advising that the best course of action is panicking. It appears his message was not lost on one Ashton Kutcher. Per the HuffPo: "Ashton Kutcher is in hard training for the apocalypse, but this no big screen role: he's afraid that armageddon is coming.....Kutcher is stocking up on guns and spending hours and hours running the canyons near his home, pushed on by visions of being chased by wild boar. He's also taking daily bikram yoga sessions, and learning Krav Maga, a deadly Israeli combat technique taught to high-powered special ops. All of my physical fitness regimen is completely tailored around the end of day. I stay fit for no other reason than to save the people I care about." And so survivalism has just gone mainstream...and copycat cool. Good luck trying to find stockpiles of MRE rations, freeze dried beans, and ammo going forward.
This evening's must read report comes from Hugh Hendry, arguably the most creative and free-thinking money manager in the world, of The Eclectica Fund.
Hugh Hendry Interview With King World News: "If Inflation Is A Monetary Phenomenon, Hyperinflation Is A Political Phenomenon"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/28/2010 14:27 -0500
In which we learn that that outspoken iconoclast has now taken on a $2 billion short position in Japanese credit, although presumably not cash-based as Ecclectica is well under that in AUM. For those who wish to recreate this position synthetically, we refer you to Dylan Grice's ATM swaption in the 10Y10Y forward which is the cheapest way to follow in Hugh's footsteps, and, ahem, may we remind you of Takefuji's recent bankruptcy...). His bet is in essence a gamble against the "China will never fail" bandwagon: "I am just intrigued as to the optionality, as to the profits that could be made, should that revert. And because it's deemed to be impossible, the trade is actually asymmetric. By golly if I am right, I can make a lot of money." Another topic is the already much discussed malinvestment in China, which was the centerpiece of the argument between Hendry and Faber from some time ago (link for clip). But back to what actual things Hugh is doing, he gives the following specifics: "I am shorting 10 year industrial corporate debt with 1% yield. Should this ricochet, which began in America, should the west be grappling with fears of recession, it goes to Asia, it goes to China, and I do not believe they have the vitality and consumption to pull the global economy out." And just in case there is any doubt how Hendry view the endgame, here it is:"At these immense levels of yen strength, Japan is bankrupt. And when it's bankrupt it has given up hope, and there is huge political legitimacy to then do quantitative easing, which leads to the debauchery of the system." In other words: the nuclear response of monetary debasement is certainly coming. We won't spoil what Hendry says on gold (suffice to add the following quote: "We will see a joint meltup in US Treasrys and gold") - for his insights on where the metal will go, for a shoutout to all Zero Hedge Hugh Hendry fans, and for much more, listen to the whole interview.
It is no longer fun being a hedge fund manager - first, up until the recent POMO-based rally in stocks, HFs were down for the year, and what is far worse, they were underperforming the broader market - a death sentence for pretty much every hedge fund, as this is proof a fund can not extract alpha and thus has no reason to collect 2 and 20. While the recent ramp in the market is welcome by all bulls, the question remains just how leveraged into the latest beta rally hedge funds have been. If after the nearly 10% rise in the past 2 weeks any individual HFs are still underperforming the market, it is a near certain "lights out." To everyone else: congratulations - you just bought yourself another 3 months of breathing room. Better hope the Fed makes good on its QE promises one day soon. In the meantime, Bloomberg Matthew Lynn and Ecclectica's Hugh Hendry both confirm that in these days of instantaneous liquidity demands, and cheap strategy replicators in the form of ETFs which provide the same beta capture as hedge funds, at a fraction of the price, it is only going to get worse and worse for the once high flying community. In fact, Hugh Hendry goes as far as suggesting that 10 years from now 80% of all hedge funds will be gone. Our personal view is that the target will be reached in a far shorter time frame.
With concerns about surging food prices recently inflamed courtesy of the series of fires in Russia and the halt of grains exports out of the country, several heavy hitters have come out recently to discuss their views. One among them is the man with the best YTD performing macro hedge fund according to Bloomberg, Hugh Hendry, who appeared on BBC's ever-informative Newsnight to discuss potash, food prices, and other scarce resources.
Being right pays off. Being an outspoken, funny, irreverent, non-sycophant, who has achieved the best 2010 YTD return according to Bloomberg's scoring of macro hedge funds, without holding a gun to the head of the American people and telling the president that the latest 100,000 sq. foot expansion wing in the third island palace is really for the common good, is priceless.
In his traditionally curt and to the point way, Hugh Hendry proclaims his "love" for the president, in this rare profile piece on the Scottish fund manager by the NYT. While none of his opinions will come as a surprise to Zero Hedge regulars ("The euro? It’s finished, Mr. Hendry proclaims. China? Headed for a fall."), we do recommend the article to those still unfamiliar with one of the truly iconoclastic fund manager still left in the open. While Hendry does not run a fund nearly as large as some behemoths out there (his Ecletica is less than $1 billion, John Paulson is $30), it does afford him a nimbleness that JP (whose recent rumored liquidations in the gold market are destined to create feedback loops that further accelerate liquidations) or, much more blatantly, Pimco (with its $1 trillion + in Treasuries, Corporates, Sovereigns and Mortgages) which is the market in all its verticals, can only dream about. It also affords him the opportunity to say what is on his mind, and on those of many others, who however dread the political consequences for being a little too honest. It is this forthrightness and honesty that has reserved Hendry a sterling place within the Zero Hedge community, his candor regularly scoring posts receiving well over 20k reads (and at 60k hits, his "I recommend you panic" is among the Top 20 most popular Zero Hedge posts of all time.
In this interview by Bloomberg's Erik Shatzker (we have added the full interview, not the abbreviated version), Hugh Hendry tries hard not to dance on the euro's grave... and fails. He compares the European currency to the gold standard in the 1920's: "We are now seeing a conflict between domestic stability, prosperity and the need for external balance, and that typically rings the bell on such a system." He further discusses George Soros' recent media appearances and his recent Op-Ed in which as was noted, the Hungarian is very concerned about the eurozone courtesy of Germany's non-Keynesian actions. In tried and true fashion, Hendry doesn't mince his words: "George is someone we all aspire to match his brilliance. But remember the richest people in the planet become socialists. Socialism is a great thing for George. I want to bring George down. I want George's reputation. But George is now embracing socialism. Socialism is where you build a moat around the castle. I am spending all of my time trying to decide where I'm gonna live, because taxes country in this are so high, and less of my time trying to work out how do I surpass Soros and his reputation." And his take home message: "The noose is getting tighter and tighter... not in Europe, but in Asia."
The endlessly entertaining Hugh Hendry, who gave Jeffrey Sachs a royal beatdown yesterday and pretty much discredited the Columbia professor for life, is back in this interview with Money Week's Merryn Webb, in which he once again is not afraid to make "bold" statements. Such as that hyperinflation is pretty much inevitable, that China is the functional equivalent of the Next fashion chain in the 1980s, that instead of listening to idiots on TV who just talk their high beta books, investors should buy the largest and safest stocks. Interestingly, Hendry actually suggests a viable way to fix America's problems, which would require China to write off its US debt, thus "securing the health and vitality of China's biggest customer." Alas, we don't think it would be sufficient, as China holds about $1 trillion of US debt (at least officially). For the Hendry plan to work, debt repudiation would have to go viral, with all banks, US and European, writing down foreign debts as well. Of course, this would bring about the crash of the financial system overnight which is why it won't happen. And yes, it still will crash, as the financed assets are bled of all their cash flows, but at least the grind into systemic bankruptcy will be slow, painful (for the middle class) and very drawn out. As for hyperinflation, Hendry's view coincides with that of Zero Hedge: "the current deflationary shock will deepen and then create "political legitimacy to go nuclear with hyperinflation" via the printing press."