Despite Bernanke's previous protestations that "gold is not money... it is tradition," in an effort to mobilise 20,000 tonnes of unproductive gold owned by Indian households into cash, Reuters reports that - after unveiling the gold monetisation scheme on Feb 28th, India's FinMin Arun Jaitley released bank guidelines overnight on interest rates, reserve and liquidity ratios. The scheme "allows gold to become a dynamic, fungible asset in the hands of gold savers," offering incentives (interest payable in gold) to convince households, who sometimes have little faith in financial institutions, to break the tradition and hand over gold passed down the generations.
Stanley Kubrick's highly-disturbing film-version of A Clockwork Orange takes place in a dystopian futuristic London and exposes the extreme battle of good versus evil. Extracting out the violence, we can’t help but notice the symbolic similarities of the motif-ridden story with the 2008 financial market fallout and subsequent attempts at economic rehabilitation. The film forces us to consider how much liberty we are willing to give up for order, and how much order we are willing to give up for liberty. The central idea of the film has to do with the freedom of the individual to make free choices, but free choice becomes problematic when it undermines the safety and stability of society. It reminds us of the markets price discovery mechanisms (or lack thereof).
"Coins and bills are obsolete and only reduce the influence of central banks," German economist and sole Keynesian member of the German Council Of Economic Experts Peter Bofinger tells Spiegel, becoming the latest central planning proponent to suggest that a cashless society would solve the world's economic problems by allowing the government to control who spends what and when in a futile effort to control the business cycle.
The Economist is a quintessential establishment publication. Keynesian shibboleths about “market failure” and the need to prevent it, as well as the alleged need for governments to provide “public goods” and to steer the economy in directions desired by the ruling elite with a variety of taxation and spending schemes as well as monetary interventionism, are dripping from its pages in generous dollops. The magazine has one of the very best records as a contrary indicator whenever it comments on markets. While gold hasn’t yet made it to the front page, but the Economist has sacrificed some ink in order to declare it “dead” (or rather, “buried”).
Was that it for the "reflation" aka Bund-rout trade? One look at German bonds this morning and the sharp, panic selloffs seen in recent days are completely gone making one wonder if the ECB is done selling Bunds the CTAs who were riding the momentum train have all been squeezed out of their long positions and now the trend back to -0.20% can resume only to be followed by another abrupt 6-sigma move as the ECB once again sells inventory to buy itself more monetization runway. As a reminder, the ECB has to buy debt until September 2016 and it won't be able to if the 30-Year Bund is at -0.20% in a few months (or weeks).
It's worthwhile recalling that mainstream economists, the Federal Reserve, government agencies and the mainstream financial media all deny the economy is in recession until it falls off a cliff.
"when I say that, I’m not saying that because I dislike hedge fund managers, or I think they are evil, I’m saying that you’re paying a lower [tax] rate than a lot of folks who are making $300,000 a year... There’s a fairness issue involved here. And by the way, if we were able to close that loophole, I could now invest in early childhood education to make a difference. That’s where the rubber hits the road. That’s … where the question of compassion and ‘I’m my brother’s keeper’ comes into play. And if we can’t ask from society’s lottery winners to just make that modest investment, then really this conversation is for show."
"What most traders have said though is that liquidity is awful. Big moves are possible on relatively low or average volumes. What has become increasingly clear over the last couple of years is that the combination of high money liquidity (ZIRP and QE) and low trading liquidity (regulation and bank capital constraints) creates air pockets. The former encourages investors to move in a similar (positive) direction until overheating occurs with the latter then creating problems when they want to collectively lighten up. However that this is increasingly spreading up the top of the capital structure is a worry. It’s also a worry that these events are occurring in relatively upbeat markets. "
One year ago China was well on its way to marking its territory in southern Africa, with a core military presence near the all important for global trade Cape of Good Hope which is the transit point for about 10% of global seaborne-traded oil. Fast forward to today when AFP reports that after securing Southen Africa, China is now in process of securing the second critical geopolitical area in Africa: the horn, which just happens to be right next to the infamous Bab el-Mandeb Strait located by the recently infamous country of Yemen, which in recent months has been overrun by US-armed Houthi Rebels. According to AFP, China is negotiating a military base in the strategic port of Djibouti, the president said, raising the prospect of US and Chinese bases side-by-side in the tiny Horn of Africa nation.
No one earned it. No one saved it. But here’s our prediction: Someone will miss it when it is gone! If the US money supply were a deck of cards, Uncle Sam has been slipping in extra aces for the last 44 years. In the third quarter, net liquidity is likely to turn negative. And the stock market is likely to correct. What then? The Fed will panic and announce QE4… and other measures.
Honest price discovery is essential to capitalist prosperity since it is the miraculous mechanism by which capital is raised from savers and investors and efficiently allocated among producers, entrepreneurs and genuine market-rate borrowers. What the central banks have generated, instead, is a casino that is blindly impelled to churn the secondary capital markets and inflate the price of existing assets to higher and higher levels - until they ultimately roll-over under their own weight. The Easy Button addiction of our central bankers is thus not just another large public policy problem. It is the very economic and social scourge of our times.
We are paying a high price for too many elites and their ‘frivolous cravings’. Nowadays many countries’ social and political structure relies on debt-driven consumption and increasing levels of entitlements. Blame the policy-makers as the “permanent lie [has become] the only safe form of existence.”
Nearly two months ago we explained "How Beijing Is Responding To A Soaring Dollar, And Why QE In China Is Now Inevitable" in which we said that "once China, that final quasi-Western nation, proceeds to engage in outright monetization of its debt, then and only then will the terminal phase of the global currency wars start." We may not have long to wait because just hours ago, MarketNews first among the wire services hinted at what we suggested was the endgame: PBOC DISCUSSING DIRECT PURCHASES OF LOCAL GOVT BONDS: MNI
Goldman Gets Cold Feet:"It Is Difficult To Predict How Negative The Market Reaction To Grexit Would Be"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/26/2015 13:18 -0500
"We think that, at the 10-year tenor, the spread between Spanish and Italian bonds yield versus Bunds yield could still widen to around 350-400bp before a policy response is enacted. We stress that the departure of a country from the ‘irrevocable’ monetary arrangements of the EMU would take us into unchartered waters and it is difficult to predict how negative the market reaction could be."
"An alternate, more sophisticated approach to explaining why QE may not work to stimulate aggregate consumption is, perhaps, because the demographic mix of the U.S. (and most parts of the developed world) has shifted toward older people. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, the enormous baby boomer generation, and even retirees, are much wealthier (including human capital) than in the past, and they are wealthier than current generations earlier in their life cycle. So the wealth effect does not lead to an increase in consumption and, potentially, has the opposite outcome."
- Robert Merton