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.
Just a few short months ago, investors were "buy buy buy"-ing the fact that The Baltic Dry Index had resurged off multi-year lows 'proving' China's renaissance and that world economic growth will re-approach Nirvana. Simply put, with collapsing commodity prices (iron ore for instance) and massive fleets of credit-driven mal-investment-based vessels, it should surprise no one that the shipping index just plunged back below 1000, now at its lowest for this time of year since 2008. Furthermore, the seasonal bounce always seen in Q3 was among the weakest ever. But apart from that, buy stocks...
In the 16th century, Spain was, in fact, the greatest power in Europe during a significant chunk of the renaissance, and she had her overseas dominions to prove it. How times have changed. Today Spain is in financial straits, and most of her former colonies are in far better economic shape. And as the gloomy economic landscape in Europe has dried up opportunities for young Spaniards, many have started to look to South America to start new careers.
The precipitous decline in the price of oil is perhaps one of the most bearish macro developments this year. We believe we are entering a “new oil normal,” where oil prices stay lower for longer. While we highlighted the risk of a near-term decline in the oil price in our July newsletter, we failed to adjust our portfolio sufficiently to reflect such a scenario. This month we identify the major implications of our revised energy thesis. The reason oil prices started sliding in June can be explained by record growth in US production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, and an unwind of the Middle East geopolitical risk premium. The world oil market, which consumes 92 million barrels a day, currently has one million barrels more than it needs.... Large energy companies are sitting on a great deal of cash which cushions the blow from a weak pricing environment in the short-term. It is still important to keep in mind, however, that most big oil projects have been planned around the notion that oil would stay above $100, which no longer seems likely.
While the media continue to just about exclusively paint a picture of recovery and an improving economy, certainly in the US – Europe and Japan it’s harder to get away with that rosy image -, in ordinary people’s reality a completely different picture is being painted in sweat, blood, agony and despair. Whatever part of the recovery mirage may have a grain of reality in it, it is paid for by something being taken away from people leading real lives.
The Mystery Of America's "Schrodinger" Middle Class, Which Is Either Thriving Or About To Go ExtinctSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/24/2014 10:05 -0400
On one hand, the US middle class has rarely if ever had it worse. At least, if one actually dares to venture into this thing called the real world, and/or believes the NYT's report: "Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class." In short, it says that America's manufacturing sector, and thus middle class, is being obliterated: "A new study by the National Employment Law Project, to be released on Friday, reveals that many factory jobs nowadays pay far less than what workers in almost identical positions earned in the past. And then, paradoxically, at almost the same time, there's this from Bloomberg: "Lower-wage workers saw bigger pay gains over the past year than the highest earners, reversing the trend from earlier stages of the recovery." In short: the state of the US middle class is truly in the eyes of the beholder.
"Even if economic conditions continue improving, equity prices are bound to fall sharply at some point, inflicting painful losses on investors. This is what happened in 1987, roughly five years into the last structural bull market. Boom-bust cycles are inevitable because improving economic conditions encourage speculative excesses, which are then blown away as greed gives way to fear."
Brace yourselves, the zero sum game is on like Donkey Kong.
In October the US economy added the most waiters and bartenders in over a year. In fact at 42K, one in every five jobs "created" in the US economy went to a bartender, or a waiter.
Just three months ago, Mario Draghi embarked on his own Quixotic folly by taking certain interest rates into negative territory (convincing himself that he was saving Europe from disaster). On November 1st, the first European bank has passed along these negative interest rates to its retail customers. So if you maintain a balance of more than 500,000 euros at Deutsche Skatbank of Germany, you now have the privilege of paying 0.25% per year... to the bank.
"The dove dissenting says it all," trader quips. "Fed comes in with a bit of a Hawkish tilt as it rids of key policy line around labor market..." If they are only fighting inflation now, they have less ability to enact more dovish policy. I think this should be a "risk off" trade.
It was just 2 months ago when the one-off Boeing order-related idiocy distorted the entire time series and was thus extrapolated into escape velocity dreams by prognosticators everywhere. Excused by the cognoscenti as a "volatile time series," Durable Goods new orders dropped 1.3% MoM, missing expectations by the most since Dec 2013 and negative for the 2nd month in a row. Lats month's drop was revised lower also. Even more concerning is the 1.7% drop MoM in Core Capex, the biggest miss in over a year and biggest drop since January. Did it snow in September?
Back on January 26, a 58-year-old former senior executive at German investment bank behemoth Deutsche Bank, William Broeksmit, was found dead after hanging himself at his London home, and with that, set off an unprecedented series of banker suicides throughout the year which included former Fed officials and numerous JPMorgan traders. Following a brief late summer spell in which there was little if any news of bankers taking their lives, as reported previously, the banker suicides returned with a bang when none other than the hedge fund partner of infamous former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Khan, Thierry Leyne, a French-Israeli entrepreneur, was found dead after jumping off the 23rd floor of one of the Yoo towers, a prestigious residential complex in Tel Aviv. Just a few brief hours later the WSJ reported that yet another Deutsche Bank veteran has committed suicide, and not just anyone but the bank's associate general counsel, 41 year old Calogero "Charlie" Gambino, who was found on the morning of Oct. 20, having also hung himself by the neck from a stairway banister,
Having previously shown just who did (and did not) benefit from the resurgence of household net worth, we thought it time to provide the context for why The Fed's stunningly obvious policy of juicing asset inflation in the hopes of engorging animal spirits among the general population and a renaissance in public spending is a total and utter wealth-inequality-driving farce. As Evergreen Gavekal indicates so obviously, the consumer isn't fooled by Fed policy; despite a major uptick in household net worth, spending remains anemic.