For Lord Rothschild, preserving wealth has "become increasingly difficult," recently, as he warns, rather ominously, "we are faced with a geopolitical situation as dangerous as any we have faced since World War II." Furthermore Lord Rothschild summarizes his thoughts briefly, eloquently, and ominously... as he touches on the global debasement of fiat currencies, disappointing growth (in light of massive monetary stimulus), and extreme stock market valuations. As Rothschild Wealth Management noted last year, equities are not well supported by current valuations, while monetary policy is limited by high debt levels and interest rates that are already close to zero... exposing equities to a potentially sharp correction.
Echoing former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers’ quip, “There is surely something odd about the world’s greatest power being the world’s greatest debtor,” it appears that economic reality is finally beginning to set in for Americans... Only hours ago, Gallup released a new poll showing that only a small minority (just 17%) of Americans still view the US as the world’s economic superpower.
When do you know that Wall Street has officially succeeded in turning back the clock 5 years? When the market’s collective mind state has been reconditioned to the point where analysts feel comfortable creating research notes with titles like this one: “Keep Calm and Lever Up.”
The world has begun to devolve into two distinct factions. The imperialist actions of the American Empire in the Middle East and Ukraine have pushed Russia, China, India, Brazil, and Iran closer together regarding trade deals; transacting commerce without using the USD; oil and gas pipelines; and military cooperation. Totalitarian regimes are known for using foreign threats to distract the populace from domestic suffering. As a matter of fact, all regimes use this tactic. When the global economy rips apart at the seams due to the debt saturation, world leaders will attempt to blame other countries for their dire circumstances. Foreign enemies are good for business. Ask our Nobel Peace Prize winning President. War is inevitable.
It seems like everyone and his brother today are wringing their hands about AI and some impending “Singularity”, a moment of future doom where non-human intelligence achieves some human-esque sentience and decides in Matrix-like fashion to turn us into batteries or some such. Please. The Singularity is already here. Its name is Big Data. Big Data is magic, in exactly the sense that Arthur C. Clarke wrote of sufficiently advanced technology. But here’s the magic trick that we're worried about for investors...
Two days ago, Zero Hedge first, and shortly thereafter everyone else, pointed out something stunning: the biggest surprise to emerge so far out of the new anti-Troika/austerity Greek government was not so much its intention to proceed with the first test of "Odious Debt" - this was largely known in advance - but its dramatic pivot away from Germany and Europe, and toward Russia: The most important message that Tsipras is sending to Europe is that (after meeting the Russian ambassador first upon his election) Greece is now effectively a veto power when it comes to future Russian sanctions!
Who could have seen that coming? It appears that for all the bluster that the US economy could somehow decouple from the rest of the world's demise (when as always it is simply and timing issue - lagged response), America's manufacturing renaissance is dying. Markit's US Manufacturing PMI printed 53.7 in January, missed expectations of 54.0 falling for the 5th month in a row to the lowest in 12 months. While day after day, investors are told that low oil prices are unambiguously good for America, Manufacturing PMI was last lower than this in October 2013 as survey respondents note clients operating in the oil and gas sector have weighed on new order volumes in January.
Our question is this: if indeed the shale boom is now turning to bust, and if indeed the vast majority of jobs created were thanks to the shale revolution (which is about to go in reverse), what happens to the primary source of high-paying jobs: the energy sector? Before you answer, take a look at the following chart, courtesy of the Dallas Fed.
"Some Folks Are Buying Cars..." President Obama Explains Why Subprime Auto Loans Are Great For America - Live FeedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/07/2015 16:27 -0500
This should be good... On the same day as the administration pushes through 3% down FHA loans for some insane reason, President Obama is in Michigan to discuss the renaissance of the US Autoo industry (or more correctly described- the rebirth of the subprime lending bubble)...
“Don’t look back - something might be gaining on you,” Satchel Paige famously warned. For connoisseurs of civilizational collapse, 2014 was merely annoying, a continued pile-up of over-investments in complexity with mounting diminishing returns, metastasizing fragility, and no satisfying resolution. So we enter 2015 with greater tensions than ever before and therefore the likelihood that the inevitable breakdown will release more destructive energy and be that much harder to recover from.
Reading headlines and social media commentary in last night's thin trading, one could have been excused for thinking the collapse of global crude oil prices was over and a new renaissance had begun as 'watchers' proclaimed WTI's spurt above $55 (for a nanosecond) as indicative of the lows being in. However, just hours later, following weak European data (and a recognition of massively offside speculative positioning), WTI has collapsed over $3 from the highs and is testing towards a $51 handle.
For all those who think the upcoming carnage to the shale industry will be "contained" we refer to the following research report from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. For the impatient ones, here is the punchline: "The $300–$400 billion overall annual economic gain from the oil & gas boom has been greater than the average annual GDP growth of $200–$300 billion in recent years—in other words, the economy would have continued in recession if it were not for the unplanned expansion of the oil & gas sector."
Moments ago we learned that for all talk of a commodity "bottom", the "energetic" dead cat has resumed its inverse bounce. To wit:
- BLOOMBERG COMMODITY INDEX EXTENDS DROP TO LOWEST SINCE 2009
So what does that mean? The answer: it all depends on whose narrative one chooses to believe and/or which narrative the US Ministry of truth is promoting at any given day in order to boost confidence.
Fast forward to today when we are about to learn that Newton's third law of Keynesian economics states that every boom, has an equal and opposite bust. Which brings us to Texas, the one state that more than any other, has benefited over the past 5 years from the Shale miracle. And now with crude sinking by the day, it is time to unwind all those gains, and give back all those jobs. Did we mention: highly compensated, very well-paying jobs, not the restaurant, clerical, waiter, retail, part-time minimum-wage jobs the "recovery" has been flooded with. Here is JPM's Michael Feroli explaining why Houston suddenly has a very big problem.
The attention being brought to bear upon Greece highlights once again the hollow nature of the “recovery” in Greece, Europe and the western world. The crisis is far from resolved - merely to use the very true cliche - kicked down the road. Well we appear to be coming towards the end of the road in Greece and this could set the stage for the next stage of the Eurozone debt crisis.