John Taylor, CIO of FX-Concepts, the world's biggest FX fund, is now officially the new Dr. Doom. We we gladly pay $29.95 to watch him live on a CNBC octobox that features him, Liesman, Cramer, Pisani, Burnett, A. Joseph Cohen, David Bianco and the guy who said AIG was going to $1,000, with occasional eye-rolling from the Fast Money brigade.
We’re Still Dancing – Round II
By John R. Taylor, Jr.
Chief Investment Officer
US employment numbers turned up last month with the help of some temporary $20 per hour jobs in the decennial census, at the same time retail sales jumped 1.6%, way outpacing any plausible rise in personal income. “Hooray!” cried the markets, the US consumer is alive and spending again. American trade figures deteriorated sharply as well, even though the oil import bill was down, as other imports grew rapidly while exports languished, making it very clear that the US had reclaimed its old position as the world’s consumer of last resort. The US recovery is now looking more like one of the standard post-World War II exercises with a distinct resemblance to the two “jobless” ones that started in 1992 and 2002. As a result of the very low interest rates, non-existent inflation, and rather weak dollar, the economy is in a sweet spot, a Goldilocks situation for corporations and wealthy families. Unfortunately this positive spell does not cover a significant portion of the country’s economic actors. The losers are the middle and lower-middle classes as well as the state and local governments and those who depend on them for jobs or their largesse. They are the first to lose as a result of the shrinking availability of debt financing – the de-leveraging of America. This economic recovery is different because these groups are already struggling even though liquidity is super-plentiful and riskfree rates are near zero. They are too leveraged to borrow more. Usually those who are going to be the victims don’t begin getting into trouble until Fed tightening starts, but this time they are in bad shape already.
The global risk markets are taking advantage of this excess liquidity and the Goldilocks situation. As the market players, whether in corporate or individual form, are among the blessed, they can and are rebuilding their leverage and playing the game. It’s like 2008 never happened, just a one in a thousand perfect wave, and the market participants have forgotten, just like they did in 1998 and 2003. As there is incredible liquidity available, those who can get their hands on it will use it. The authorities who saved the economy from destruction in 2008 are either busy patting themselves on the back or fighting for their own national interest. The Eurozone countries are blaming the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ hedge funds and free market philosophy, while, in many cases, the US authorities are in the forefront of the ‘perfect storm’ crowd – just a nip or a tuck here or there and everything will be fine. China has its own view of things and the other Asians are acting as though they were on a different planet – “what happens in Europe and North America stays there and has no impact on us.” This serious reluctance to replace parochial issues with a genuine desire to restructure world finance assures us that the next crisis will be far worse than the one in 2008. Although it seemed that the world was terrified by that collapse, it is now clear that the authorities and the players were not so bothered that they changed their stripes. The cycles and very simple fundamentals are enough to predict that 2011 will be worse than 2008. The medium-term cycles tell us that there is a very high probability of a serious bout of risk aversion beginning in the next five trading days and continuing into the week of May 3. This is likely to be most apparent in Europe, but it should also impact the equity and commodity markets around the world. The stream of strong economic and corporate news, plus continued benign inflation outside of Asia should assure us of a further risk rally, starting in May and running through July and possibly into early August. This decline after the August peak should be far more serious and we believe it will be the start of a major market rout continuing into the middle of 2011, at a minimum. The deflationary recession that will accompany this market collapse, at least in the developed world, will put extreme pressure on the Eurozone and the EMU structure. The second half of this decade will witness a very different world.
ht/ Teddy KGB