The US and world economies are drifting inexorably into the next recession owing to the deflationary collapse of commodities, capital spending and world trade. These are the inevitable “morning after” consequence of the 20-year global credit binge which has now reached its apogee. The apparent global boom during that period was actually a central bank driven excursion into the false economics of household borrowing to inflate consumption in the DM economies; and frenzied, uneconomic investing to inflate GDP in China and the EM. The common denominator was falsification of financial prices. By destroying honest price discovery in the financial markets, the world’s convoy of money-printing central banks led by the Fed elicited a huge excess of financialization relative to economic output.
"The strong stock market rally during the last few days has pushed the S&P 500 near its highest closing level since the correction began in late August. This has boosted optimism that the recent selloff may be ending. While this could certainly prove to be the case, we remain less sanguine that the vulnerabilities, which initially produced this correction, have yet to be resolved. Ultimately, we expect a more fearful investment culture suggesting a final capitulation and more importantly, a lower stock market valuation level able to withstand a less hospitable recovery as the economy nears full employment."
"There’s a lack of faith in monetary policy -- you’ve thrown the kitchen sink at it, you’ve cut rates to zero, you’re printing money -- and still inflation is lower. I think this is a dangerous situation if people perceive that it has the responsibility and it doesn’t have the tools."
With Japan's economy already sliding into its 5th recession of the past decade, once pensioners open their retirement statements in a few weeks and find a 15% plunge in their purchasing power, Japan can skip recession and proceed straight to a consumer-driven recession. But wait, there's more: because if pensioners are angry now, wait until they learn that they have lost everything, after buying all those junk bonds that Carl Icahn is now actively selling with both hands and feet, because: JAPAN PENSION FUND TO INVEST IN JUNK BONDS, NIKKEI SAYS. And just like that, with or without Krugman's active economic advice, Japan's fate is sealed because much to Japan's dismay, "junk" bonds are called that for a reason.
Asian markets are bouncing modestly off a weak US session, buoyed by more unbelievable propaganda from Japan. Abe's proclamations that "deflationary mindset" has been shrugged off was met with calls for more stimulus, more debt monetization, and an admission by Etsuro Honda (Abe's closest adviser) that Japan "is not growing positively" and more QE is required despite trillions of Yen in money-printing having failed miserably, warning that raising taxes to pay for extra budget "would be suicidal." Japanese data was a disaster with factory output unexpectedly dropping 0.5% and retail trade missing. Markets are relatively stable at the open as China margin debt drop sto a 9-month low. PBOC strengthened the Yuan fix for the 3rd day in a row to its strongest in 3 weeks.
We call on central banks to abolish their zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) framework before more harm is done. In our assessment, ZIRP is bad for all stakeholders and may even lead to war.
Somehow everything in the following statement from David Petraeus is wrong: "There is no shortage of customers for the purchase of U.S. Treasuries," said Petraeus.... "Given the relative strength of the U.S. economy and the prospect of the Fed raising interest rates at some point in the months ahead, I suspect there will continue to be very keen interest in U.S. Treasuries."
And just like that Weimar 2.0 is born.
Quantitative easing, as this policy is known, has bailed out bonus-happy banks and made the rich richer. Banks have been the biggest beneficiaries, with their 20- or 30-times leveraged balance sheets. Asset managers and hedge funds have benefited, too. Owners of property have made out like bandits. In fact, anyone with assets has grown much richer. All of us who work in financial markets owe a debt to QE.
After sliding early in Sunday pre-market trade, overnight US equity futures managed to rebound on the now traditional low-volume levitation from a low of 1938 to just over 1950 at last check, ignoring the biggest single-name blowup story this morning which is the 23% collapse in Volkswagen shares, and instead have piggybacked on what we said was the last Hail Mary for the market: the hope of more QE from either the ECB or the BOJ. Tonight, it was the latter and while Japan's market are closed until Thursday for public holidays, its currency which is the world's preferred carry trade and the primary driver alongside VIX manipulation of the S&P500, has jumped from a low of just over 119 on Friday morning to a high of 120.4, pushing the entire US stock market with it.
Who would have thought that decades of ZIRP, an aborted attempt to hike rates over a decade ago, and the annual monetization of well over 10% of sovereign debt would lead to a toxic debt spiral, regardless of how many "Abenomics" arrows one throws at it? Apparently Standard and Poors just had its a-ha subprime flashbulb moment and moments ago, a little over 4 years after it downgraded the US from its legendary AAA-rating which led to angry phone calls from Tim Geithner and a painful US government lawsuit, downgraded Japan from AA- to A+. The reason: rising doubt Abenomics is working.
Almost two weeks after we explained why any hope for a QQE boost by the BOJ is a myth, and that any increase in monetization will simply lead to a faster tapering and ultimately halt of Kuroda's bond purchases the market finally grasped this, when overnight the BOJ not only did not easy further as some - certainly the USDJPY - had expected, but kept its QE at the JPY80 trillion level and failed to offer any hints of further easing that many had hoped for, pushing the Nikkei down from up almost 400 point intraday to virtually unchanged and sending the USDJPY back under 120. JGBs also traded lower on concerns there may not be much more QE to frontrun.
On April 5, 1933, FDR signed Executive order 6102 which made illegal "the Hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States" in the process criminalizing the possession of monetary gold by any individual or corporation. Fast forward 82 years to a time when the barbarous relic continues to be seen as the safest store of value among India's vast population (roughly 20% of the world's total), not to mention the main source of financial headaches for local authorities, one of the biggest importers of gold due to its "traditional" values , that the Indian government may be preparing to pull a page right out of the FDR playbook.
This development is an important one for the gold market and is bullish for gold. It shows, once again, that gold is slowly but surely becoming a cash equivalent and as money again.