The Japanese economy may well be getting crushed under the weight of Abenomics (courtesy of an unprecedented in history quadruple-dip recession and a record number of Japanese corporate bankruptcies due to the plunging Yen), but as we wrote previously, Abe has effectively hijacked the nation to his (and Paul Krugman's) stock-market levitating policies and has given Japan a simple choice: either you let us see this disastrous experiment in trickle-down monetarism to its tragic end, or all your pensions are toast. Not much of a choice for a population which has more retirees than any developed nation. And it's not like Japan has much a chance anyway. Which is why the outcome of tomorrow's vote for Abenomics is completely irrelevant, and which the local press says will "unquestionably" be won by Abe in an absolute majority.
The 2% target is low enough that the household frogs in the kettle of hot water never realize they're being boiled alive because the increase is so gradual. The central banks assume their 2% plan to impoverish us all escaped our notice. Apparently it has.
The game has been lost, but central bankers are still on the field, wandering around in disbelief that their unspeakable powers to issue money and credit have failed. You can print all the money you want, but it will never boost wages to keep up with prices.
At the latest ECB press conference Draghi said that. “The monetary policy team had this week discussed buying all assets except gold”; qualifying a claim by fellow member Yves Mersch two weeks ago that gold bullion could be included.” If central bankers truly believed in sound monetary policy the headline would have said “We’ll buy all your gold”. That would have propelled both gold and the European equity markets upwards. As it is markets on the continent get cheaper as the good doctor fiddles.
If there's one absolute truism we hear again and again, it's that central banks are desperately trying to create inflation. Perversely, their easy-money policies actually generation the exact opposite: deflation. Financial and risk bubbles don't pop in a vacuum--all the phantom collateral constructed with mal-invested free money for financiers will also implode.
Precious metals investors (and even precious metals commentators) have a tendency to put the cart before the horse. We familiarize ourselves with the dramatic economic fundamentals which have an enormous impact on the value of precious metals (and the prices for all hard assets). We study the parameters of supply and demand for gold and silver. But we frequently omit learning about the intrinsic properties of these amazing metals.
It seems rather appropriate that just seven days after the US government hit a whopping $18 trillion in debt, mainstream financial media has picked up the IMF’s recent World Economic Outlook report, which puts the US economy as #2 in the world. China obviously has its own substantial problems, but over the last several decades one thing is for certain - China (and Asia in general) is a place where production and savings are valued. The universal law of wealth is to produce more than you consume. The West has completely broken that.
When no lesser establishmentarian than Obama's former chief economist Jared Bernstein called for an end to the US Dollar's reserve status, it raised a few eyebrows, but as the WSJ recently noted, the voices discussing how the burden of being the world's reserve currency harms America, more than just Vladimir Putin is paying attention. While some argue that “no other global currency is ready to replace the U.S. dollar.” That is true of other paper and credit currencies, but the world’s monetary authorities still hold nearly 900 million ounces of gold, which is enough to restore, at the appropriate parity, the classical gold standard: the least imperfect monetary system of history.
A story has been echoing around the financial news for a few weeks: the Chinese economy is now larger than the economy in the US. Not so fast...
It has been centuries since the Portuguese last dominated the world's seaways, but in glancing over recent headlines one would be forgiven for thinking that their pirates are still running around. With the economy still reeling from the effects of the devastating financial crisis in 2010-11, Portugal has been rocked by a series of corruption scandals which go to the very core of the political and financial establishments. Portugal's economic divergence relative to Europe’s core is striking; it has even been overtaken by an average of the newcomers that joined the European Union in 2004, many of which are former communist countries. This in spite of Portugal receiving billions in structural reform funds from Brussels for almost three decades now – a process which is still ongoing. So how did this significant underperformance come about?
Back in March the ECB predicted 2014 inflation would be 1.0%, with prices rising to 1.3% in 2015. Since then one can say that deflation has once again taken hold, and following two consecutive cuts to 2014 inflation expectations, moments ago Draghi just released the ECB's latest set of inflation expectations. In a nutshell: in just 9 short months, the ECB's current year inflation forecast has been cut in half, with 2015 inflation also down nearly 50%, from 1.3% to 0.7%.
Nobel Prize Winning Economists, Federal Reserve Chair and Other Top Experts: War Is BAD for the Economy
Can there be a currency war without victims? Why hasn't any official accused Japan of a currency war?
“... I am a hard working taxpayer who is getting pretty fed up with having my savings earning no interest and possibly being devalued (see Japan) and of not being able to find any sensible place to invest my hard earned due to central bank policies making it impossible to make any return anywhere without taking crazy risks.”
"When a social construct (gold as money) survives for 6,000 years I would expect curious people to inquire as to whether it is tied to some immutable underlying law... [instead], our court economists prefer to write this off as a 6,000 year old delusion. That says a lot about the sorry state of the economics discipline today.”
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.