Last week we posted a chart from Deutsche Bank, showing that with a "global recovery" supposedly taking hold again, central banks are injecting a record amount of liquidity in the form of $2.5+ trillion in annual asset purchases by all central banks (more than $200 billion per month). And while this once again confirms that the "recovery" is once again on artificial foundations, built up entirely from the money created by central bankers, it has at least managed to push the US stock market back to all time highs.
Today, we show this global domination by central banks from the perspective of Citi, whose Hans Lorenzen has put together a fantastic, Matt King-inspired presentation, asking simply "Where is the utility in marginal QE." A broad criticism of monetary policy, the presentation carries an amusing footnote: "This presentation does not change any of Citi’s existing, published views on the actual future path of monetary policy. It is merely intended as a contribution to the ongoing debate about the efficacy of available policy tools." After all, the last thing the market wants is to get a sense that even banks no longer have faith in the central planners.
We will present some of the key highlights from the presentation in a subsequent post, but here is the punchline: as of this moment, the 6 big central banks have a balance sheet that is equivalent to nearly 40% of global GDP, a number which if extrapolated will hit 50% just after 2018.
Those wondering if this means that central banks are engaged in a creeping, stealthy, indrect LBO of the world's assets on behalf of third parties, the answer is perilously close to a resounding "yes."
And while everyone was delighted in the early days of Fed (and then global QE) when central banks were the buyer of first and last resort, helping push asset prices up, if doing little for the actual economy, the only real question asked in the dark, tinfoil-covered corners of the "smart money" universe is whether the cost of QE has now outweighed the benefits...
... or as Lorzenzen puts it...
Shortly, we will lay out his reasons why that is indeed the case.