Purchasing Power

2015 - Life In The Breakdown Lane

“Don’t look back - something might be gaining on you,” Satchel Paige famously warned. For connoisseurs of civilizational collapse, 2014 was merely annoying, a continued pile-up of over-investments in complexity with mounting diminishing returns, metastasizing fragility, and no satisfying resolution. So we enter 2015 with greater tensions than ever before and therefore the likelihood that the inevitable breakdown will release more destructive energy and be that much harder to recover from.

Hugh Hendry Embraces The Central-Planning Matrix: "I Am Taking The Blue Pills Now"

Hugh Hendry's Eclectica Fund has had a great Q4 (up 3.3%, 4.0%, and 5.0% in the last 3 months) despite portfolio risk being quadruple his 'old normal'. How did he achieve this? He begins... "There are times when an investor has no choice but to behave as though he believes in things that don't necessarily exist. For us, that means being willing to be long risk assets in the full knowledge of two things: that those assets may have no qualitative support; and second, that this is all going to end painfully. The good news is that mankind clearly has the ability to suspend rational judgment long and often... He who hangs on to truth has lost. The economic truth of today no longer offers me much solace; I am taking the blue pills now."

Japan Is Writing History As A Prime Boom And Bust Case

The fate of countries like Japan is really in the hands of central bankers. However, central planners are not able to manipulate markets infinitely. At a certain point, something has to give. That is when the markets will give up and disbelief will replace trust. In such a bust scenario, people flee down the Golden Pyramid of asset classes to their safe haven, being gold.

The Greater Abomination: Washington's Lies About TARP's "Success" Are Worse Than The Original Bailouts, Part I

The mainstream economics narrative is so far down the monetary rabbit hole that the blinding clarity of the chart below has no chance whatsoever of seeing the light of day. That’s because it dramatizes the real truth regarding all the Fed gibberish about “accommodation” and “stimulus”. Namely, that what lies beneath its “extraordinary measures”, such as ZIRP, QE, wealth effects and the rest of the litany, is a central banking regime that systematically destroy savers. Period. TARP wasn’t “repaid” with a profit. It was simply perpetuated and  morphed into a new form of destructive state subvention and malinvestment.

The Burning Questions For 2015

"Most investors go about their job trying to identify ‘winners’. But more often than not, investing is about avoiding losers. Like successful gamblers at the racing track, an investor’s starting point should be to eliminate the assets that do not stand a chance, and then spread the rest of one’s capital amongst the remainder." So as the year draws to a close, it may be helpful if we recap the main questions confronting investors and the themes we strongly believe in, region by region.

Central Banks Are Now Uncorking The Delirium Phase

Virtually every day there is an eruption of lunacy from one central bank or another somewhere in the world. In short, the central banks of the world are embroiled in a group-think mania so extreme and irrational that it puts one in mind of the spasm of witchcraft trials that erupted in the Massachusetts Bay Colony nearly four centuries ago.  As a practical matter, this mania amounts to a race to the currency bottom and the final extinguishment of the price discovery mechanism in every financial market on the planet. Flying blind, the financial markets are thus bubbling - in the delirium phase - like never before. That is, until they don’t.

Further Proof That Abenomics Is A Total Disaster: Japan Car Lobby Admits "Sense Of Panic"

"Abenomics is not having clear traction across the country," warned the head of Japan's auto lobby on Thursday as unexpectedly weak domestic sales revealed - yet again - what an utter disaster government policy is. "We feel a sense of crisis about the fact that cars are actually not selling," he exclaimed, saying that, as Reuters reports April sales tax hike was only partly to blame for the domestic sales weakness, citing the government's failure to boost consumption. But, but, but Japanese stocks are up 1000 points in the last 2 days so how can this be?

The Dummy's Guide To Tomorrow's Japanese Elections

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.

Central Banks' 2% Plan to Impoverish You

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.

Central Banks Have Failed Because They Can't Push Wages Higher

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.

No Time Like The Present

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.

Guest Post: Central Banks Create Deflation, Not Inflation

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.