The last time the Fed tried to exit a period of massive balance sheet expansion coupled with ZIRP - back in 1937 - its strategy completely failed. The Fed tightening in H1’37 was followed in H2’37 by a severe recession and a 49% collapse in the Dow Jones. This is the ghost of 1937 and it is about to make a repeat appearance.
After Bridgewater, and Goldman Sachs, today it is SocGen's turn, which overnight advised clients that with "US set to unwind QE", now is the time to "increase cash" and "reduce risk." This is how SocGen advises its clients to be positioned ahead of the end of QE...
"we're beyond the point of being able to successfully manage this... and I worry about another leg down in the economy causing social disruption."
"Gold should be a part of everybody's portfolio to some degree because... it is the alternative money. Warren Buffett is making a big mistake."
With each passing year the currency fell in value to ever more absurd depths until by November 1923 an ounce of gold - which had cost 170 Marks only five years previously - was trading at 87,000,000,000,000 Marks per ounce. Silver saw similar price gains (see chart) - or rather to put it more accurately silver too remained a store of value and maintained purchasing power as the currency collapsed.
The Economist is a quintessential establishment publication. Keynesian shibboleths about “market failure” and the need to prevent it, as well as the alleged need for governments to provide “public goods” and to steer the economy in directions desired by the ruling elite with a variety of taxation and spending schemes as well as monetary interventionism, are dripping from its pages in generous dollops. The magazine has one of the very best records as a contrary indicator whenever it comments on markets. While gold hasn’t yet made it to the front page, but the Economist has sacrificed some ink in order to declare it “dead” (or rather, “buried”).
"If you dont own gold... there is no sensible reason other than you dont know history or you dont know the economics of it"
“When does our credit based financial system sputter / break down? When investable assets pose too much risk for too little return. Not immediately, but at the margin, credit and stocks begin to be exchanged for figurative and sometimes literal money in a mattress.” We are approaching that point now as bond yields, credit spreads and stock prices have brought financial wealth forward to the point of exhaustion. A rational investor must indeed have a sense of an ending, not another Lehman crash, but a crush of perpetual bull market enthusiasm.
"Bridgewater’s assets under management increased from $150 billion as of 12/31/13 to approximately $154 billion as of 12/31/14."... "Bridgewater generally requires that its Clients have a minimum of $5 billion of investable assets."... "For new client relationships, Bridgewater’s standard minimum fee is expected to be $500,000 for its All Weather strategy, $1,000,000 for its Pure Alpha and Pure Alpha Major Markets strategies, and $4,750,000 for Optimal Portfolio."
With the Fed supposedly steeling itself at last to remove a little of its emergency ‘accommodation’, it has suddenly become fashionable to warn of the awful parallels with 1937 as an excuse The Fed must not act today. We strongly refute the analogy. Instead, the real Ghost of ’37 takes the form of mean-spirited and, counter-productive 'pitchfork populism' politics and the spectre should not be conjured up to excuse the central bank from further delaying its overdue embarkation on the long road back to normality and policy minimalism.
Now we can see the real tragedy of negative interest rates: they not only have the perverse effect of reversing the flow of time, but they demonstrate that borrowers are not acting with the good faith incentives normally associated with someone who needs money. Rather than paying forward, borrowers are paying backwards because they are effectively trying to return something they don’t want. Such an arrangement renders it impossible for an economy to grow. By destroying the temporal and moral structure of money, negative interest rates destroy the economy. When tomorrow cannot be paid, the current regime must fail. The only question to be determined is the form that failure will assume. This may sound like philosophy but it is cold, hard reality.
In all the annals of investing, few seemingly innocuous phrases incorporate as much by way of grave implication as those four words, “a shift to banknotes”. 2008 was bad. With central bank policy now at the outer reaches of the possible and even of the theoretical, the outlook is certainly uncertain. Not wishing to participate in the terminal stages of a momentum-driven bubble is not bearish so much as simply sane.
"I was having lunch with a very dear friend of mine yesterday, who is also a very successful financial planner and advisor, who stunned me with an obvious question: 'Has the dumb money become the smart money?'"
"Some highly respected market commentators, most recently Ray Dalio from Bridgewater, have raised the possibility that Fed rate hikes risk a 1937-like slump. It is indeed a dilemma but likely already too late to avert another crisis.... In that respect it is probably too late already. We believe that the die is now cast, the cake is baked and coming out of the oven, and the financially fattened goose is well and truly cooked!"
There is a much larger structural risk for markets and investors than HFT and the whole Flash Boys brouhaha, it’s just totally under the radar and hasn’t surfaced yet. Investors may not know better yet, but they will soon, one way or another. Tomorrow a handful of governments will influence aggregate political behaviors by triggering small communications that Big Data tells them will be voluntarily magnified by individual citizens, snowballing into outsized, long-lasting, and untraceable “popular” actions. Tomorrow a handful of hedge funds will influence aggregate market behaviors by triggering small trades that Big Data tells them will be voluntarily magnified by individual traders, snowballing into outsized, long-lasting, and untraceable “market” actions. Tomorrow Big Data will be primarily an instrument of social control, with a powerful and ubiquitous impact on all citizens and all investors.
While Bridgewater's Ray Dalio "hopes that The Fed will be very cautious about tightening," Saxobank CIO Steen Jakobsen explains in this brief clip that The Fed "is wrong, always wrong," and will likely raise rates in June no matter what. The Fed is boxed in, Jakobsen notes, and despite the weak macro data, changing direction now is unlikely - leaving the market surprised as it recognizes that "this is a margin call on assets," seemingly confirming Dalio's conclusion that, "inadequate attention is being paid to the risks of a downturn in which central bankers' abilities to ease are significantly impaired."