While the Arab countries floated themselves on oceans of petro-dollars forty years ago, they have little need for them now. So we must now turn our attention to China, which is well positioned to act as white knight to Saudi Arabia. China’s SAFE sovereign wealth fund could easily swallow the Aramco stake, and there are good strategic reasons why it should. A quick deal would help stabilise a desperate financial and political situation on the edges of China’s rapidly growing Asian interests, and keep Saudi Arabia onside as an energy supplier. China has dollars to dispose, and a mutual arrangement would herald a new era of tangible cooperation. The US can only stand and stare as China teases Saudi Arabia away from America’s sphere of influence.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have been (relatively) quietly fighting for market share in China ever since oil prices started their downward spiral in mid-2014 - now the battle is heating up, and teapot refineries are what could tip the balance.
A new generation of revolutionary central bankers must be called to arms for all of our sake. Their battle cry: We commit to never returning rates to zero or below again, to never let be money be free and forever ensure there is a true cost associated with borrowing. Release the markets to set interest rates now and forever! Will it work? Stranger things have been known to succeed in capitalistic economies with competitive and freely functioning markets.
The recovery was always hollow or shallow, for a short time in 2014 it just came in a more appealing package; so appealing, the mainstream never looked beyond that cover. With 2015 a wreck and 2016 looking at best more of the same, they just keep right on reciting all the past cliches because to admit the actual circumstances is just too traumatic.
An economic and financial system premised on perpetual growth was bound to run into trouble. What happens as population growth turns to population decline is honestly and literally a complete and total game changer. A flat to declining number of buyers and consumers opposite ramping elderly sellers plus their unfunded liabilities is a problem with no happy resolutions. Currencies (what will constitute "money"), "free-markets", and perhaps the basis of civilization hang in the balance of the transition from high population growth to potential outright depopulation.
Fear of starvation is fundamentally different from other fears of shortages.
A story of sinking moral, economic hazard, ballooning debt debt, runaway inflation and scandals!
There must be some dark corner of Hell warming up for modern, mainstream economists. They helped bring on the worst bubble ever... with their theories of efficient markets and modern portfolio management. They failed to see it for what it was. Then, when trouble came, they made it worse. But instead of atoning in a dank cell, these same economists strut onto the stage to congratulate themselves.
Fear of starvation is fundamentally different from other fears of shortages. Even good people panic.
First the AtlantaFed (with occasional shoulder-tapping exceptions) created a mini revolution in the way GDP was tracked on a day to day basis with its GDP Nowcast, one which spawned the NYFed to create its own version (influenced by Goldman's own economic models as the Atlanta Fed's number were seen as too pessimistic), and now the same Atlanta Fed is casting serious doubt over the government's official inflation numbers, with its own "sticky-price" CPI tracker.
The rules of the game are changing. Those stuck within the old paradigm of mainstream finance face huge threats to their retirement....and quite possibly even their current standard of living.
...the market has created exactly $0 of additional purchasing power for investors over the past 15 years. That’s right, none, zilch, nada.
While all eyes on fixated on global stock markets as the measure of "prosperity" and "growth" (or is it hubris?), the larger force at work beneath the dovish cooing of central bankers is foreign exchange. The reality is that we're one panic away from foreign-exchange markets ripping free of central bank manipulation.
The reason is that banks understand their core reason to exist is threatened by peer-to-peer, decentralized payment platforms and currencies. If payments no longer need to be routed through a centralized trusted institution, then one core function of banks disappears. If peer-to-peer lending and securitization becomes easier and cheaper due to the blockchain, then banks' function of allocating capital also vanishes.
"I think stagflation is starting to show - that idea of stronger nominal growth but weaker real growth is starting to show up across the economy. It certainly is showing up with real personal consumption slowing; it's showing with slower job creation growth as the wage rate rises, and it's showing up in weaker profits as the share of labor income rises reducing profit margins for corporations."