Bill Gross has become quite the expert at explaining the Fed's flawed, ruinous and destructive "policies" in 140 characters or less. Today is no exception.
Gross: Fed merry-go-round: inflate stocks til 2000. Then inflate housing til 2007. Then inflate stocks til 2012. Now inflate housing again.
— PIMCO (@PIMCO) October 22, 2012
This past Friday, on the 25th anniversary of Black Monday, Bill Gross warned that in the current centrally-planned market "central bank puts" are the modern day equivalent of "portfolio insurance", and he is right. By sending complacency to record levels, and essentially forcing investors to no longer worry, hedge and generally ignore tail risk, the central planners, in their futile attempts to reflate stocks at all costs, are guaranteeing that the market will experience just the type of fat tail event they promise will never occur. As for the catalyst that will make sure of it is none other than our old friend: high frequency trading. Because while central planning is the mechanism by which investing is dragged away from mean reversion, price clearing and fair value discovery, it is HFT that is Bernanke's analogue in the millisecond trading world (as all those who had stop limit orders (that did not get DKed) on May 6, 2010 very well remember). Because when the next Black ___day does happen, it will be due to central planning, but it will be enacted courtesy of HFT (which will never go away until the next and probably final market crash: too much exchange revenue depends on the perpetuation of this parasitic liquidity drain). Which is why it is only appropriate to warn readers that when it comes to system market fragility, the frequency and magnitude of "wild price spike" events (to put it simply) are now both rising at an exponential rate, and fast approaching Flash Crash levels.
So far the Fed's 4 year old QEasing strategy has failed for the simple reason that the smart money instead of being "herded", has far more simply decided to just front-run the Fed thus generating risk-free returns, while the "dumb money", tired of the HFT and Fed-manipulated, and utterly broken casino market, has simply allocated residual capital either into deposits (M2 just hit a new all time record of $10.2 trillion) or into "return of capital" products such as taxable and non-taxable bonds. Alas none of the above means that the Fed will ever stop from the "strategy" it undertook nearly 4 years ago to the day with QE1. Instead, it will continue doing more of the same until the bitter end. But how much more is there? To answer this question, below we present the entire universe of marketable US debt, in one simple chart showing the average yield by product type on the Y-axis, and the total debt notional on the X.
What takes other Political Journalism majors (and CTRL-C/V minors) pages and pages of verbose essays full of acronyms and meaningless gibberish to refute, Bill Gross asserts in less than 140 characters.
Gross: The crash on Oct 19 1987 showed that portfolio insurance puts were dangerous. R central bank “puts” in the same category?Very likely
— PIMCO (@PIMCO) October 19, 2012
Needless to say, he is absolutely correct.
Imagine if in 2007, Ben Bernanke, Mervyn King, Jean Claude Trichet et al, had actually possessed the analytical foresight to see what was coming, organised a meeting with the world's media and explained how, using their collective wisdom, they would solve the problem.
"There's going to be a massive global crisis, but there's no need to worry. We're just going to print money."
"Is that it?"
How would most people have reacted then? We think they would have laughed out loud. Why are so many of us reacting differently now? The nature of markets is that they periodically forget the lessons of history. Confidence in the status quo seems as entrenched now as it was in 2007 but Gold appears to be exhibiting 'Giffen-like' behavior where, instead of falling, demand is rising as prices rise.
Economists, market analysts, journalists and investors alike are all talking about it quite openly, generally in a calm and reserved tone that suggests that - to borrow a phrase from Bill Gross – it represents the 'new normal'. Something that simply needs to be acknowledged and analyzed in the same way we e.g. analyze the supply/demand balance of the copper market. It is the new buzzword du jour: 'Financial Repression'. The term certainly sounds ominous, but it is always mentioned in an off-hand manner that seems to say: 'yes, it is bad, but what can you do? We've got to live with it.' But what does it actually mean? The simplest, most encompassing explanation is this: it describes various insidious and underhanded methods by which the State intends to rob its citizens of their wealth and income over the coming years (and perhaps even decades) above and beyond the already onerous burden of taxation and regulatory costs that is crushing them at present. One cannot possibly "print one's way to prosperity". The exact opposite is in fact true: the policy diminishes the economy's ability to generate true wealth. If anything, “we” are printing ourselves into the poorhouse.
At least he did not say Tungsten...
Gross: Stock and bond managers today must be alchemists: turn lead into gold. NOT likely. Too much lead (bubbled assets).
— PIMCO (@PIMCO) October 9, 2012
Quiero un iPhone para salvar el Mundo! Looks like Spain actually enjoys the sovereign-regions-banks negative loop with no wish to cut the Gordian knot.
No European data tomorrow: Mario D, the floor is all yours, after Mariano D’s bond sales.
In a post entitled 'Mugabenomics: Inflation in UK Higher than in Zimbabwe,' Guido Fawkes points out how the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable once warned that Quantitative Easing (QE) was “Mugabenomics.” This was prior to coming to power and a swift u-turn which would make even the most slippery politician proud. Remember when Vince Cable warned that Quantitative Easing (QE) was “Mugabenomics”? Vince flip-flopped on that even before he joined the coalition. Guido Fawkes then reminds its readers about the time when George Osborne said “Printing money is the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed.” Alas as the blog rightly warns, "In government Osborne has overseen the printing of more money than any other Chancellor in British history. A quarter of the national debt – all this government’s overspending – has been bought by the Bank of England via QE." “So it is not a shock that inflation in Zimbabwe (3.63%) is now lower than inflation in the UK (3.66%, August 2011-July 2012).” Those who have been warning about this monetary madness for some years are gradually being proved right
Our analysis of the physical gold market shows that central banks have most likely been a massive unreported supplier of physical gold, and strongly implies that their gold reserves are negligible today. If Frank Veneroso’s conclusions were even close to accurate back in 1998 (and we believe they were), when coupled with the 2,300 tonne net change in annual demand we can easily identify above, it can only lead to the conclusion that a large portion of the Western central banks’ stated 23,000 tonnes of gold reserves are merely a paper entry on their balance sheets – completely un-backed by anything tangible other than an IOU from whatever counterparty leased it from them in years past. At this stage of the game, we don’t believe these central banks will be able to get their gold back without extreme difficulty, especially if it turns out the gold has left their countries entirely. We can also only wonder how much gold within the central bank system has been ‘rehypothecated’ in the process, since the central banks in question seem so reluctant to divulge any meaningful details on their reserves in a way that would shed light on the various “swaps” and “loans” they imply to be participating in. We might also suggest that if a proper audit of Western central bank gold reserves was ever launched, as per Ron Paul’s recent proposal to audit the US Federal Reserve, the proverbial cat would be let out of the bag – with explosive implications for the gold price.... We realize that some readers may scoff at any analysis of the gold market that hints at “conspiracy”. We’re not talking about conspiracy here however, we’re talking about stupidity. After all, Western central banks are probably under the impression that the gold they’ve swapped and/or lent out is still legally theirs, which technically it may be. But if what we are proposing turns out to be true, and those reserves are not physically theirs; not physically in their possession… then all bets are off regarding the future of our monetary system.
Bill Gross: The US Is A Debt Meth Addict - Unless The Fiscal Gap Is Closed Soon "The Damage Will Be Beyond Repair"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/02/2012 06:37 -0500
The highlights from Bill Gross' latest monthly piece:
- Armageddon is not around the corner. I don’t believe in the imminent demise of the U.S. economy and its financial markets. But I’m afraid for them.
- Unless we begin to close this gap, then the inevitable result will be that our debt/GDP ratio will continue to rise, the Fed would print money to pay for the deficiency, inflation would follow and the dollar would inevitably decline. Bonds would be burned to a crisp and stocks would certainly be singed; only gold and real assets would thrive within the “Ring of Fire.”
- If the fiscal gap isn’t closed even ever so gradually over the next few years, then rating services, dollar reserve holding nations and bond managers embarrassed into being reborn as vigilantes may together force a resolution that ends in tears. The damage would likely be beyond repair.
- The U.S. and its fellow serial abusers have been inhaling debt’s methamphetamine crystals for some time now, and kicking the habit looks incredibly difficult.
We discussed the unintended consequence of QEternity previously as we noted the massive front-running of the Fed's MBS buying program that was occurring as 30Y current coupon mortgage bond yields were tumbling. While the last week or so has seen Treasury yields reverse their rising trend, the trend of front-running the Fed has not abated. In what, quite frankly, stunned us more than Sofia Vergara's wardrobe malfunction this weekend, we note that today the spread between the 30Y FNMA CurCpn mortgage bond (at 1.66%) and 10Y US Treasuries has smashed to incredible all-time lows of around 3bps. The day before QEternity, this spread was 60bps - having been over 100bps at the start of June 2012. The previous low from July 2010 of 54bps has been obliterated as Bernanke has managed to remove one more market from the lexicon of risk (and in the meantime, PIMCO's Bill Gross has earned back his 'bond guru' title by making a killing). Can we see Mortgage yields trade inside of Treasury yields?
The old 'new normal' bond guru succinctly sums up Bernanke's failed logic with QEternity in 80 characters...
Gross: Fed buys Mtges but banks fail to pass through lower yields to future home buyers.
— PIMCO (@PIMCO) September 21, 2012
What Do the Experts Say? Are People Actually ACCEPTING Gold As Money?
Gross: #Fed to buy mortgages ‘til the cows come home. Think 7% unemployment, 2.5% inflation targets. Buy real assets…gold…a house!
— PIMCO (@PIMCO) September 14, 2012