Ten days ago, using Bank of America data, we summarized what it means to live in the New Normal: "In the 110 months [since the last Fed hike] global central banks have cut interest rates 697 times, central banks have bought $15 trillion of financial assets, zero [or negative] interest rates policies have been adopted in the US, Europe & Japan. And, following the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, both stocks and corporate bonds have soared to all-time highs thanks in great part to this extraordinary monetary regime."
Indeed, what has happened in the past 7 years is nothing short of the greatest attempt ro reflate asset prices (if not so much the economy - that will come when the helicopters start paradropping bags of cash) the world has ever seen, driven entirely by the central banks and China. In fact, it is now so obvious even JPM finally figured it out.
However, while the desperate attempt to monetize a quarter of global GDP in tradable assets just to boost the confidence (and wealth) of the "1%" is no longer lost on anyone, the reality is that some banks did try to tighten monetary conditions and hike rates.
This is how they fared. According to the WSJ: "In the seven years since the world’s central banks responded to the financial crisis by slashing interest rates, more than a dozen banks in the advanced world have tried to raise them again. All have been forced to retreat."
So the question then becomes: if the Fed does hike on Thursday as two-thirds of economists predict (we doubt it: Goldman said no rate hike until December, and more likely, not until 2015... in fact Goldman said "the Fed should think about easing" and what Goldman wants Goldman gets), will it be the first bank that avoids having to promptly "unhike", which is unlikely or far more realistically - how long until the Fed is forced to admit "policy defeat" and go right back to ZIRP, or perhaps even NIRP, ultimately sliding right into QE4.
Alas, by now the script of hiking just to have an alibi to ease has become so trite even Deutsche Bank last weekend had the temerity to ask "Is The Fed Preparing For A "Controlled Demolition" Of The Market"?
We'll know in 4 days.