As Moscow and Seoul throw their support behind China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the question is no longer about the end of dollar hegemony but rather about the extent to which the new venture will be used to institute a global shift towards the yuan.
A five sigma event signifies extreme conditions, or an extremely rare occurrence. To bring this discussion from sports and weather to the financial world, we can relate a 5 sigma event to the stock market. Since 1975 the largest annual S&P 500 gain and loss were 34% and -38% respectively. A 5 sigma move would equate to an annual gain or loss of 91%. With a grasp of the rarity of a 5 sigma occurrence, let us now consider the yield spread, or difference, in bond yields between Germany and The United States. As shown in graph #1 below German ten year bunds yield 0.19% (19 one-hundredths of one percent) and the U.S. ten year note yields 1.92%, resulting in a 1.73% yield spread. This is the widest that spread has been in 30 years.
In a few minutes, Janet Yellen will address a lunch session in her native SF Fed (the same place that last week finally figured out what debt is) during a conference whose topic is The New Normal for Monetary Policy (the typo from "Paranormal" is easy to make). The informal agenda will be Yellen's explanation of how she plans on achieving the yield curve which we predicted back in 2010 is just a matter of time.
If normalisation is the result of economic recovery we will be familiar with the playbook. However, The Fed has to face the possibility that, for whatever reason, highly suppressed interest rates are not working, and an escape from the zero interest rate bound without economic recovery may have to be contemplated. If interest rates cannot rise, then the dollar itself is ultimately exposed to loss of confidence in the foreign exchanges. The dawning realisation that after recent strength, the dollar is vulnerable after all can be expected to be reflected in a positive sentiment towards gold, which once under way could drive the price up dramatically due to the lack of available bullion.
There is a risk that Japan, China, and the US will not sit on their hands while the euro loses value, with the world possibly even sliding into a currency war. Moreover, the southern EU countries, instead of leaving prices unchanged, could abandon austerity and issue an ever greater volume of new bonds to stimulate the economy. Competitiveness gains and rebalancing would fail to materialize, and, after an initial flash in the pan, the eurozone would return to permanent crisis. The euro, finally and fully discredited, would then meet a very messy end. One can only hope that this scenario does not come to pass, and that the southern countries stay the course of austerity. This is their last chance.
It's a day of ‘master of the universe,’ central bank speeches as both Bank of England governor Mark Carney and Fed chief Janet Yellen preach their ultra loose policies and certain market participants lap up the Gospel according to Mark … and Janet ...
- Google's new CFO to make $70 million (WSJ)
- Senate passes Republican budget with deep safety net cuts (Reuters)
- With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S. (Reuters)
- Banks Slash Dividends as Loans Sour From Beijing To Pearl River (BBG)
- North American Railroads Caught by Speed of Crude-Oil Collapse (BBG)
- Japan’s Zero Inflation a Setback for Abenomics (WSJ)
- Cooperman Says U.S. Seeks Information About Omega Trades (BBG)
After a few days of dollar weakness due to concerns that the Fed's rate hike intentions have been derailed following some undisputedly ugly economic data (perhaps the Fed should just make it clear there will never be rate hikes during the winter ever again) the USD has resumed its rise, and as a result risk assets, after surging early in the overnight session driven by the Nikkei225 and the Emini, the "strong dollar is bad for risk" trade has re-emerged, with the Nikkei dropping almost 500 points off its intraday highs, with US equity futures poised to open lower once more, sliding nearly 20 points in the overnight session, and surprising the BTFDers who have not seen five consecutive days of "risk-off" in a long time.
China’s economy is slowing, and the debate is raging over whether the country is headed for an abrupt hard landing or whether the slowdown will stabilize into a soft landing that may already be underway. However it plays out, Schwab's Jeff Kleintop notes, one thing is clear: A return to the double-digit growth rates of years past seems unlikely. Demographics are destiny.. and China faces two unstoppable trajectories.
While fear still lingers of a nuclear catastrophe on a similar scale as Fukushima, or earlier accidents such as Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, that hasn’t stopped a slew of countries from moving forward on plans to develop nuclear plants as an adjunct to existing power sources like hydro, coal, natural gas and good ol’ oil. Especially in developing countries that lack access to fossil fuels, nuclear is seen as a viable and cost-effective form of baseload power.
Further proof that the disparity between America's bosses and the country's non-supervisory workforce is widening at an alarming rate...
Oil prices bounced back on March 24 on a sliding U.S. Dollar, and then again overnight on Middle East turmoil, but the pain may not be over yet.
Did you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States? Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury? Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans? Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television? There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great. Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone.
“The market isn’t going to continue going up in a straight line,” said Ayako Sera, a Tokyo-based market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank speaking to Bloomberg. Amid a central bank fueled furious rally, some investors see a replay of the May 2013 correction in store for Japanese equities.
"The central bank's portfolio has a book value of around 5.7 trillion yen. But soaring share prices have lifted its market value past the 10 trillion yen mark -- nearly 2% of the tally for all Tokyo Stock Exchange shares," Nikkei notes. While this may seem like a lot, Haruhiko Kuroda begs to differ.