Darker days ahead from the long deleveraging process that just got started in Europe.
Just because ZIRP is so 2009 (and will be until the end of central planning as the Fed can not afford to hike rates ever again), the ECB is now contemplating something far more drastic: charging depositors for the privilege of holding money. Enter NIRP, aka Negative Interest Rate Policy.
The dollar exclusion list is becoming bigger and bigger with every passing day as China gets ready.
In light of the zombification that now exists in Japan and also America (and coming soon to every single QE and bailout-heavy Western economy) — zombie companies, poorly managed, making all the same mistakes as before, rudderless, and yet still in business thanks to government intervention — it is clear that the liquidationists grasped something that Keynesians are still missing. Markets are largely no longer trading fundamentals; they are just trading state intervention and money printing. Why debate earnings when instead you can debate the prospects of QE3? Why invest in profitable companies and ventures when instead you can pay yourself a fat bonus cheque out of monetary stimulus? Why exercise caution and consideration when you can just gamble and get a bailout? Unfortunately, Mellon and his counterparts at the 30s Fed were the wrong kind of liquidationists — they could not heed their own advice and leave the market be. Ironically, the 30s Fed in raising interest rates and failing to act as lender-of-last resort drove the market into a deeper depression than was necessary (and certainly a deeper one than happened in 1907) and crushed any incipient recovery.
Liquidation is not merely some abstract policy directive, or government function. It is an organic function of the market.
Forty five years after the War on Poverty began, there are 49 million Americans living in poverty. That’s a solid good return on the $16 trillion spent so far. It’s on par with the 16 year zero percent real return in the stock market. We have produced a vast underclass of ignorant, uneducated, illiterate, dependent people who have become a huge voting block for the Democratic Party. Politicians, on the left, promise more entitlements to these people in order to get elected. Politicians on the right will not cut the entitlements for fear of being branded as uncaring. The Republicans agree to keep the welfare state growing and the Democrats agree to keep the warfare state growing -bipartisanship in all its glory. And the middle class has been caught in a pincer movement between the free shit entitlement army and the free shit corporate army. The oligarchs have been incredibly effective at using their control of the media, academia and ideological think tanks to keep the middle class ire focused upon the lower classes. While the middle class is fixated on people making $13,400 per year, the ultra-wealthy are bribing politicians to pass laws and create tax loopholes, netting them billions of ill-gotten loot. These specialists at Edward Bernays propaganda techniques were actually able to gain overwhelming support from the middle class for the repeal of estate taxes by rebranding them “death taxes”, even though the estate tax only impacts 15,000 households out of 117 million households in the U.S. The .01% won again.
- On the continuing fraud that is Liebor: Libor Guardians Said to Resist Changes to Broken Rate (Bloomberg)
- Bank bailout to spark firesale of corporate Spain (Reuters) with Goldman and China just waiting
- EU Could Rewrite Eurozone Budgets (FT) but it won't because Germany will just say Nein again
- Congress Said to Delay Automatic Budget Cuts Until March (Bloomberg)
- China Says June Trade Improving in Sign Slowdown Stabilizing (Bloomberg)
- Biggest U.S. Banks Curb Loans as Regional Firms Fill Gap (Bloomberg)
- New York Fed Sells $4bn in Mortgage Debt (FT)
- Julian Assange’s fall from the heavens (Reuters)
- Wheeler to Lead N.Z. Central Bank as Kiwi Hits Exports: Economy (Bloomberg)
- Japan Lower House Passes Sales Tax Bill as Vote Divides DPJ (Bloomberg)
Radioactive "Dirt" Hits Tokyo
With so much economic doom and gloom out there, it’s easy to forget that there are actually some bright spots in the world. I’ve spent the last few days in one of them– Georgia. Perhaps most famous for being continually stomped on by Russia, this place has suffered severe hardship practically since independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. In 2005, Georgia was shut out of the Russian market, it’s largest trading partner. It happened again in 2006. Then, of course, you may remember the Russian military invading Georgia (do you see the theme here?) in August 2008 in support of the breakaway republic of Abkhazia in northwest Georgia. Russian forces rolled across the border, occupied several key areas in the country, and bombed the hell out of Tbilisi just for good measure. The damage is still visible to this day. Yet despite so many challenges, Georgia has finally turned the corner and become one seriously exciting economy with some seriously compelling opportunities.
Goldman recaps the past tumultuous week, and looks at events in the next 7 days, of which the key feature will be the next "latest and greatest" and most disappointing European summit on Thursday and Friday, where not even Greece is going any longer, and which not even the most resolute Europhiles expect to resolve anything: "The key event of next week is the EU summit. The latest European Economics Analyst details our expectations. In brief we expect to see finalization of the much-anticipated growth compact, involving financing for infrastructure investment and a restatement of the agenda for structural reform. We also expect announcement of a plan for ‘banking union’ in the Euro area, even if, owing to unresolved political differences, details are likely to remain sketchy on key issues—notably on how the implicit cost of providing fiscal backing for the Euro area banking system will be shared across countries."
The Fed is now causing more pain than gain.
Due to International Pressure (Or Typhoon Damage?), Tepco Agrees to Start Removing Radioactive Fuel from Fukushima a Year EarlySubmitted by George Washington on 06/23/2012 13:14 -0400
Good News for a Change?
If we pursue the line of inquiry established by Chris Martenson’s recent call to Buckle Up -- Market Breakdown in Progress, we come to these basic questions: When will the market reflect the fundamental weakness of the global economy? And when will the market finally hit bottom? Clearly, the correlation between market action and the underlying economy is weak. While many would declare the stock market to be a “lagging indicator” of recession, even that may be overstating the connection. If we have learned anything in the past three years, it’s that weakening the dollar to foster the illusion of rising corporate profits, central bank monetary easing (QE), and central state borrow-and-spend stimulus can goose the market higher even as the underlying economy remains weak or recessionary. Will the Fed continue to support the U.S. market with QE programs every time it sags? Will QE always work as well as it did in 2010 and 2011? If the history of the deflationary-era Nikkei is any guide (and the BoJ's unprecedented monetary easing while the central government has borrowed and spent unprecedented sums on fiscal stimulus), the bottom could be a year away.
The XLE closed yesterday at 63 - only a buck above the June 1 lows. For the year, XLE is now down a whopping 8 bucks. And of course oil, which started the year at 103 and peaked at 110, has dropped to 78. Jefferies' David Zervos offers some critical insight into the energy sector bloodbath in the last few months, which of course begs the question - what in the world is going on? Shouldn't all this accomodative policy by the Fed, ECB, SNB, BoE and BOJ be sending commodities to the moon? The answer, he believes, is straightforward - central banks are NOT being accomodative enough. These downward trends in the energy and commodity complex should be a warning sign to anyone with a "price stability" mandate. For now we should look at this energy cliff as an early warning sign for stress in the system. And as such we should expect the usual central bank backstopping to come out in force if this trend picks up material steam! Its the same old story, reflation or bust - and Zervos is still betting the central bankers deliver the former!
The USD Trap Is Closing: Dollar Exclusion Zone Crosses The Pacific As Brazil Signs China Currency SwapSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/22/2012 08:23 -0400
When the US Dollar is ultimately dethroned as the world's reserve currency (and finally gets rid of all those ridiculous three letter post-Keynesian economic "theories") nobody will have seen it coming. Well, nobody except for the following headlines: ""World's Second (China) And Third Largest (Japan) Economies To Bypass Dollar, Engage In Direct Currency Trade", "China, Russia Drop Dollar In Bilateral Trade", "China And Iran To Bypass Dollar, Plan Oil Barter System", "India and Japan sign new $15bn currency swap agreement", "Iran, Russia Replace Dollar With Rial, Ruble in Trade, Fars Says", "India Joins Asian Dollar Exclusion Zone, Will Transact With Iran In Rupees." And while the expansion of the "dollar exclusion zone" was actually quite glaring to anyone who dared to look, one thing was obvious: it was confined to Asia. No more courtesy of the following FT headline: "Brazil and China agree currency swap." More: "Brazil has provided a vote of confidence in China’s efforts to promote the renminbi as a reserve currency by becoming the biggest economy yet to agree a swap deal with Beijing. Brazil and China announced the R$60bn (US$29bn) local currency swap after a bilateral meeting between Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, and Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, on the sidelines of the Rio+20 environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro."
Despite already being engaged in drone wars in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and still occupying Afghanistan, the U.S. is being duped into yet another war based on shaky evidence and at the behest of deep-pocketed special interests. This is coming even while a secretive cyber war already being waged to damage Iran’s nuclear capability. According to the Pentagon, “computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war.” Not only that, but the draconian sanctions thus far placed on Iran are doing enormous harm to the citizens who hardly have a say in what their government does. The Belgium-based SWIFT payment system that facilitates most international payments has already denied service to many Iranian banks. With the imposing of an oil embargo from the European Union just around the corner (July 1st) that will all but make it impossible for oil tankers to be insured by Lloyd’s of London, an actual naval blockade is being floated by U.S. lawmakers. Much like the Antebellum South and Japan, Iran too is being pushed into a corner.... Then and now, wealthy special interests are a driving force behind American imperialism. Lies will be spun till they are seen as facts. When the truth comes out, the irreparable damage will already be done. Like anything the state lays its filthy hands on, war is a racket. The beneficiaries of the ruling class’s gleeful foray into mass murder are few in number. The masses, still brainwashed into feverish nationalism, end up paying the costs with their pilfered income, eroded liberty, and, ultimately, their own lives.