The week just ended laid bare any pretensions that there is not something wrong (seriously wrong) within the natural world of both the macro underpinnings of business as well as finance. Unimaginable just a short 6 years ago, the U.S. equity markets closed at a height once again never before seen in human history highs, (it has more than tripled from the 2008 bottom!) but has done so solely on Keynesian fairy tales. The issue now is: does the fairytale end in a nightmare?
With the global economy sinking, and worries about it beginning to resound beyond just inconvenient bears, Paul Krugman has been leading the critique against what he sees is a disastrous and ignorant deformation against debt. Krugman is trying to argue that because government debt did not hinder private wealth creation we should use government debt to create private wealth. The cart is not even before the horse using this “logic”, as the cart and horse aren’t even on the same road. Paper wealth isn’t wealth, and government debt isn’t “free money.” There are consequences to both which their proponents never include in the “prospectus.”
The monetary politburo has every reason to fear Rand Paul’s demand for a “policy audit” of the Fed. An honest one would show that its so-called “independence” has been monumentally abused in a manner which is deeply threatening to both political democracy and capitalist prosperity. Needless to say, we can’t have that audit soon enough. In short, what the nation really needs is not an “independent” Fed, but one that is shackled to a narrow and market-driven liquidity function. The rest of its current remit is nothing more than the self-serving aggrandizement of the apparatchiks who run it; and who have now managed to turn the nation’s vital money and capital markets into dangerous, unstable casinos, and the nations savers into indentured servants of a bloated and wasteful banking system.
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...
Switzerland`s 10-Year Bond Yield is now negative 15 basis points. Yes even neutral Switzerland`s bond market has been broken...
The Greek Elites and kleptocrats are terrified of the discipline that leaving the euro will impose, but the general public should welcome the transition to an economy and society that has been freed from the shackles of Imperial debt and the kleptocracy that has bled the nation dry.
Having fallen 4 months in a row in December to its lowest since last January, one could have been forgiuven for expecting the ubiquitous hope-driven bounce we so often see in soft-survey-based data and sure enough, Markit's US Manufacturing PMI eked out a very small (53.9 vs 53.7 previous) rise in January - hovering at practically one-year lows. On the heels of China's disappointment, it appears the cleanest dirty short of America is not decoupling too much (if at all). This is not the "crisis has passed", "economy is strong" narrative-confirming data that Obama and The Fed would have everyone believe and as markit notes, “Manufacturing remains in a lower gear compared to that seen last summer... adding to the suspicion that the pace of economic expansion in the first quarter could even fall below the 2.6% rate seen in the final quarter of last year."
Until now, central banks have restricted monetary policy to domestic economic management; this is now evolving into the more dangerous stage of internationalisation through competitive devaluations. The gold price is an early warning of future monetary and currency troubles, and it is now becoming apparent how they may transpire. The ECB move to give easy money to profligate Eurozone politicians is likely to have important ramifications well beyond Europe, and together with parallel actions by the Bank of Japan, can now be expected to increase demand for physical gold in the advanced economies once more.
You've probably seen articles and adverts discussing how much money you'll need to "retire comfortably." The trick of course is the definition of comfortable. The general idea of comfortable (as I understand it) appears to be an income which enables the retiree to enjoy leisurely vacations on cruise ships, own a well-appointed RV for tooling around the countryside, and spend as much time on the golf links as he/she might want. Needless to say, Social Security isn't going to fund a comfortable retirement, unless the definition is watching TV with an box of kibble to snack on. By this definition of retiring comfortably, I reckon I should be able to retire at age 91--assuming I can work another 30 years and the creek don't rise.
Shortly after yesterday’s open, the S&P 500 was down nearly 2% and off its recent all-time high by 3.5%. But soon the robo-machines and day traders were buying the “dip” having apparently once again gotten the “all-clear” signal. Don’t believe it for a second! The global financial system is literally booby-trapped with accidents waiting to happen owing to six consecutive years of massive money printing by nearly every central bank in the world.
There is no reason to assume that this time will be different. These boom-bust sequences will continue until the economy is structurally undermined to such an extent that monetary intervention cannot even create the illusory prosperity of a capital-consuming boom anymore. The bankers applauding Draghi’s actions today will come to rue them tomorrow.
Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory debate. Regardless of whether you argue for it, or against, there are times when suddenly the ramifications for plausible truth are realized that overshadow the conspiracy. This is where the plot of truth can get far more sinister than the imagined conspiracy ever could.
My conclusion is that the SNB deliberately screwed the market, and in the process shot itself in the foot for 30-50 billion dollars. What were they thinking?
The 30 Year U.S. Treasury bond yield hit 2.35% yesterday. Long term interest rates are not controlled by Yellen. They reflect the economic prospects of the country. When they are rising it means the economy is doing well. When they are plummeting to all time lows, the economy is either in recession or headed into recession. Take your pick. No amount of government data manipulation, feel good propaganda spewed by the captured mainstream media, or Ivy League educated Wall Street economist doublespeak, can change the fact this economy is in the dumper and headed much lower. The Greater Depression is resuming its downward march toward inevitable war.
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi has asked why he should be responsible for cutting output while U.A.E. Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said non-OPEC producers should reduce "irresponsible" production. How can that be? How can American production be 'irresponsible' in the land of the free (money). Well, as the following chart from Bloomberg shows, perhaps OPEC members have a point...