In his Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, Lords of Finance, the economist Liaquat Ahamad tells the story of how four central bankers, driven by staunch adherence to the gold standard, “broke the world” and triggered the Great Depression. Today’s central bankers largely share a new conventional wisdom – about the benefits of loose monetary policy. Are monetary policymakers poised to break the world again?
Gold bugs weren’t wrong - just super early. If central banks ever got religion and pulled a Volcker and hiked rates to the moon, it would be a remarkably bad time to hold gold. However, throughout history, there have been times where people were very sad that they didn’t own gold. We talk about one of them here. It’s very real, and the history of fiat currencies is also quite sad.
Nothing is ever permanent with the QE’s because they were doomed from the start. The “dollar” system can never be refined and remade to its prior station because it was irrevocably broken on August 9, 2007. All that QE’s have done is to create reverberation within the downward channel which may, in the end, only exacerbate the degree of imbalance that weighs on the inevitable shift.
Just as we warned previously (here, here, and here), the knife-catching, contango-crushed, BTFDers that piled over $6bn into Oil ETFs have severely underperformed this year. The USO ETF has fallen by more than 9% since the start of the year, whereas front-month U.S. oil futures have dipped by less than 3% on account of roll costs, and as of last week, investors have started to exit this massive position en masse. As Reuters reports, outflows from four of the largest oil-specific exchange traded funds reached $338 million in two weeks to April 8 - the first since September and largest since Jan 2014. It seems Goldman was right about "misguided retail investors."
"In some instances, malfunctioning algorithms have interfered with market functioning, inundating trading venues with message traffic or creating sharp, short-lived spikes in prices as a result of other algorithms responding to the initial erroneous order flow."... "If liquidity is as bad as it is now, what’s going to happen when things really get adverse?” said Richard Schlanger, who co-manages about $30 billion in bonds as vice president at Pioneer Investments in Boston.
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- Foreign Takeovers See U.S. Losing Tax Revenue (WSJ)
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- Europe Stocks Headed for 31% Surge This Year Amid QE, Citi Says (BBG)
- Dollar revs up for jobs data, euro bonds rally on ECB (Reuters)
- Goldman Employees Reaped $2 Billion From 2008 Options Last Year (BBG)
- On Bush turf, Obama blames immigration woes on Republicans (Reuters)
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- Russia's Gazprom says can exempt rebel-held areas from Ukraine gas contract (Reuters)
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- Greece readies reform plans to first sign of leftist unrest (Reuters)
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- Alexis Tsipras: the Syriza leader about to take charge in Greece (Guardian)
- Tsipras to form anti-bailout Greek government after big victory (Reuters)
- Tsipras Forges Anti-Austerity Coalition in EU Challenge (BBG)
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- Oil prices fall on market relief over Saudi policy (Reuters)
- Saudi Arabia’s New King Probably Will Not Change Current Oil Policy (BBG)
- Saudi King’s Death Clouds Already Tense Relationship With U.S. (WSJ)
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"most investors take a relatively short-term view and assume that what has happened most recently will continue. They fail to recognize that economic and market forces are always working to press companies (and whole industries) back toward their respective grooves... companies rarely perform way above the industry average or way below it indefinitely. There is a constant tendency to regress toward the mean..."
If China just suffered its biggest market selloff in years, when the plug was pulled on just $200 billion in "shadow banking" assets, let's all hope that Bank of New York and State Street, who among just the two of them control some $55 trillion in custodial, repoable assets, never get any ideas from Beijing...
Earlier today, just after the market open, the one company that everyone had once again piled into, and which as of September 30 was the most held company by the hedge fund community with at least 175 "smart money" institutional fans based on expectations that with every other stock and asset becoming increasingly illiquid, at least this one would preserve its liquidity come hell or high water, flash crashed. The company is Apple, So what happend? Between 9:49:54 and 9:50:43 Eastern, AAPL plunged from nearly 6%, from $117.69 to $111.27, a moved which wiped out one Transcanada (or one Travelers, or one Lukoil, or one Carnival, or one Christian Dior, or one Hyundai Motor Company, or one Takeda, or one State Street) in market cap.
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- Bufett's Berkshire to Buy Duracell Business From Procter & Gamble in $3B Deal (AP)
- Weak Demand, Real-Estate Slump Signal Headwinds for China (WSJ)
- China Slowdown Deepens as Leaders Said to Mull Cutting Target (BBG)
- Saudis Reject Talk of OPEC Market Share War as Oil Slides (BBG)
- Oil Tankers Stream Toward China as Price Drop Sparks Boom (BBG)
Our political-financial system has gone from the dysfunctional to the failed to the surreal. Speculation, once left to individuals and investors, is now federally sponsored, subsidized and institutionalized. When this sham finally buckles and the next shoe falls and rates do eventually rise, the stock market will tank, liquidity will die, and the broader economy will plunge into a worse Depression than before. We are not there yet because of these coordinated moves and the political force behind them. But we are on a precarious path to that inevitability.