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.
Of course, what sucks for the American worker is great for our Multi-National Corporate Masters and we all love a good puppet show, so they bought out the President to say "U.S. companies shouldn't worry about inflation if they're planning on expanding their business."
Last year's Russia Forum was one of the must see events of the year, pitting such high powered independent thinkers as Marc Faber, Hugh Hendry, Nassim Taleb in a free for all. While the cliffhanger back then was the suggestion by Hendry that he had recreated the Paulson ABX trade with "1.5% downside and 75% upside" (which has since not been fully revealed aside from some occasional snippets in the periodic letters that it is a synthetic China short trade), the true brilliance was in the debate between the Treasury skeptics and the fan (Hendry). That said, with the entire curve surging wider, we hope Hendry took profits on his short as we are now virtually exactly where we were a year ago. This year's forum was just as entertaining, and while it didn't have quite a distinguished audience, it did feature Marc Faber and Nassim Taleb in a discussion of whether Russia is the best or worst BRIC. That said, trust both Faber and Taleb not to stick to the script and go off on wild tangents. Sure enough, the line of the night as usual belonged to Faber: "We have a big debate in the world whether we will have a deflationary collapse or an inflationary boom...usually after a period of very heavy money printing war follows." That is the philosophical gist of it. As for Faber's recommendation, it is precisely the asset which has become a short-seller's nightmare in the current geopolitically fragile environment: oil. "Whether you are very bullish or very bearish you should invest in oil."
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
Hendry is now focusing his rhetoric -- and investing strategy -- on the bigger target: China. He’s betting that growth in the world’s No. 2 economy will collapse because of rampant real-estate speculation, sending shock waves through Asia and beyond.
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.
What major macro themes will impact financial markets and the global economy as we head into 2011 and beyond?
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.
While CNBC (well, Erin Burnett) is looking at the Kospi and is amazed how the index did not move after it had closed before the military exchange last night, the latest from Yonhap is that the tension in Korea is far from diffused: "North Korea threatened to continue "merciless" strikes on South Korea on Tuesday after the communist state launched a deadly artillery attack across their western sea border. In a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, the North's top military command accused the South Korean military of initiating the exchange by shooting toward its side." Of course, South Korea refuses to demonstrate that it continues to be utterly toothless and issues the following statement: "President Lee Myung-bak ordered his military Tuesday to strike North
Korea's missile base around its coastline artillery positions if it
shows signs of additional provocation, his spokeswoman said." Luckily, Jim Cramer is now expecting both Koreas to sit down for a friendly turkey dinner in a few days in the mine field in the middle of the DMZ, and diffuse the situation.
Former BIS Advisor And Central Banker Warns Entire World Is On Verge Of Another Bubble That "Could Burst With Disastrous Consequences"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/03/2010 13:34 -0400
In an interview with Dow Jones, William White, who previously was an economic adviser to the Bank of International Settlements, and prior to that spent 22 years at the Bank of Canada, warned that the "massive infusion of credit" accompanying the sudden and dramatic ramp up in the printing of new money as a policy response to all problems, both within the developed and developing worlds, is now "manifesting itself in the sharp rise of asset prices in large developing economies, which could potentially become another bubble that will burst with disastrous consequences for the global economy." He added that the global economy is in a 'particularly dangerous' position that can only be corrected if the currencies of developing countries strengthen relative to those of developed countries, according to William White, one of the few policy makers to correctly predict the onset of the financial crisis. Of course for that to happen, the much fabled decoupling needs to finally manifest itself, and for Jim O'Neill to be finally proven right. Of course, that won't happen. Which is why we ask, the next time there is a systemic wipe out, in addition to naturally eliminating the Fed, can the terms BRIC, N-11, and all other such ridiculous acronyms, please be banned from usage in perpetuity?
Everything is proceeding exactly as I have foreseen - Emperor Palpatine
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 15:27 -0400
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.
In his latest must read letter, Oaktree's Howard Marks focuses on the age old self delusion pattern formation and mean reversion which so often is the cause of ruin of so many investors: "Investors consistently fail to recognize that past above average returns don’t imply future above average returns; rather they’ve probably borrowed from the future and thus imply below average returns ahead, or even losses. The tendency on the part of investors toward gullibility rather than skepticism is an important reason why styles go to extremes." Yet the High Yield bond manager, is oddly enough, bullish on stocks and bearish on bonds. However, even Marks can't fully bash fixed income - he has now joined those drinking the "HY will outperform IG" kool aid, in no small part dictated by the portfolio allocation of his funds... Just as Pimco will tout Treasurys... Paulson will pimp MGM and "recovery" names...Hugh Hendry will bash China, etc. Buyer beware... Especially when the one true end-buyer is that 1913 Frankenstein creation - the US central bank.
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.