ECB secretly trade marks the name “Digital Euro”. DE for short…
One of the true highlights on the July online MineProphets shares conference was, in my view, my interview with David Scott of Andrews Gwynne. When we did that interview, David said he would let me know when he went negative on bonds and called an end to the 35 year bull market. This is that call.
We all know that price has lost connection with reality, and so every speculator and algo is one second away from hitting "sell" and locking in the gains from the greatest manipulated bubble known to mankind...
Experience is an expensive commodity to acquire... which is why it is always cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others...
The Bank of England alerts investors that changes are on the way to some “instant access” funds...
The most deceitful time in a cycle is the end of a cycle...
Bull markets often end with a euphoric rally called a "blow top". We may just have seen one...
The South Sea bubble promised access to the untapped riches of the vast Asian sub-continent...
Who owns the World's Central Banks? (not who you think)...
The only way central banks can keep markets from selling off is blow an even bigger bubble which will make the eventual bust worse and by artificially extending the cycle they exacerbate zombie companies & junk rated debt & promote further financial imbalances. The Federal Reserve makes it easy for the politicians because they don't have to make any of the hard political choices because the Fed is keeping rates artificially low...
Today, we have the ability to choose our battles, make tough choices, and restore the economic balance for future growth. However, 800-years of history tells us that we will fail to make those choices, and at some point, those choices will be forced upon us...
The world’s financial system is more stretched, unstable, and dangerous than it was on the eve of the Lehman crisis, says the IMF...
Every cycle begins and ends in excess...
If you are going to “ride this bull,” make sure you do it with a strategy in place... for when, not if, you get thrown...
Why family offices around the world are building cash? Maybe because the twilight period of global equities is coming to an end, and a growth scare could be imminent...
This is very significant and cause for concern. Fed injects liquidity for 4th Day...
Britain’s constitutional crisis has hit before the next great spasm of Europe’s intractable monetary crisis. But they are in close competition. The eurozone faces a category five economic storm. It is structurally defenceless as the world slides into recession. This will not be an ordinary downturn because central banks no longer have the instruments to fight it. If there is an October election in the UK - and if it delivers a bigger Tory majority as polls suggest - EU leaders will have to decide whether to risk adding the shock of a no-deal Brexit to all the other shocks hitting their industries...
Trump and Brexit are evidence of a decaying economic system, where money has been over gamed by politicians with very short term interests. Change is coming in a substantial way and being prepared will present great money making opportunities. Those who choose to ignore the current siren calls will be left severely impaired, both financially and probably mentally. It is not an understatement to say the world will not be the same again after the next global monetary reset; historically this occurs every 80 years or so...
We have a bond market in which a quarter of the universe trades at a negative yield. The long bond yield has gone negative in Germany. More than half of the world’s bond market is trading below the Fed funds rate. Investment grade yields, on average, are below zero in the euro area. This is completely abnormal because it reflects an abnormal economic, financial and political backdrop...
The longer the signals in capital markets go haywire under the influence of 'monetary stimulus', the bigger is the cumulative economic cost. That is one big reason why this fourth Fed stimulus - in the present already-longest (but lowest-growth)of super-long business cycles - is so dangerous...
Netflix shook markets in the week in what can only be described as a wake up and smell the coffee moment...
A number of seasoned professional (as detailed here over the many past weeks) feel markets are ripe for a sudden and painful rollover in bonds and stocks. My assessment is that the likely trigger for a market shock will be a “no-see-em”, something so obviously hidden in plain sight it catches us completely and painfully...
The job of the US Federal Reserve is not to placate the short-term greed of markets or ensure the incumbent President's electoral prospects. The Stock Market is just a market, it is not the economy and is not what the Fed should be watching...
Billionaire Stan Druckenmiller said last week that he could see the Fed funds rate going to zero in the next 18 months if the economy softens and that he recently piled into Treasuries as the U.S. trade war with China escalated. “When the Trump tweet went out, I went from 93% invested to net flat, and bought a bunch of Treasuries,” Druckenmiller said Monday evening, referring to the May 5 tweet from President Donald Trump threatening an increase in tariffs on China...
Fund managers hedge against sharp stock market fall, Break up Facebook? & more...
The good news is that we know what is coming next... The bad news is that we know what is coming next...
“A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank.” – Ron Paul…
Keynes is dead - this is the long run. Confusing money creation with wealth creation is the road to ruin...
Centralisation works until it becomes the problem. The start of EU disintegration - Expansion, maturation, stagnation and collapse...
Made-in-China diamonds poised to rock global diamond market, WTO warns of global trade slowdown as indicator hits nine-year low, visualising the 7 major flaws of the global financial system...
After two decades, the euro’s decision making elite look set to drive the Eurozone into deep trouble. December was the last month of the ECB’s monthly purchases of government debt. A softening global economy will increase government deficits unexpectedly. The consequence will be a new cycle of sharply rising bond yields for the weakest Eurozone members, and systemically destabilising losses in the bond portfolios owned by Eurozone banks...
Apple stock has dropped 38% in 3 months. Reinforcing the old axiom that a fancy new corporate HQ precedes a corporate decline...
The shift to tighter monetary policies in the West is weakening credit markets and over-indebted emerging markets face headwinds from rising borrowing costs and dollar shortages, therefore investors need to focus on their response to financial stresses in an era in which policymakers will be constrained. This means that the “everything bubble” is deflating and the fact that it is happening relatively slowly should not blind investors to the threat. The world is dangerously underestimating how hard it’ll be to deal with the fallout once reality, which has been suspended for ten years, reasserts itself...
Markets are being roiled by politics, soiling themselves on trade war panics, scared witless by mounting populism and it's pay-off time for massive policy mistakes and the waking up to the horrendous unintended consequences of the last 10-years of monetary experimentation and over-regulation and the working out that every single financial asset (by which I mean listed stocks and bonds) is price-distorted, will be painful for the unprepared. In fact; every aspect of modern finance is distorted. Sentiment is bruised which means the global economy is vulnerable to being pushed over the edge as the current fears of recession in 2019 become a self-fulfilling prophesy...
One of the questions I am asked most frequently is what will be the cause of the next financial crisis. This question is asked by those who understand that this crisis is coming but want to pin down the date or a specific turn of events that will help them know when to react. My answer is always the same...
The EU has had a lot of trouble on its hands, as its members, such as Poland and Hungary, are openly challenging the established order. This time it’s a very serious situation, because Brussels is facing defiance from Italy, the 3rd largest national economy in the eurozone and the 8th largest global economy in terms of nominal GDP. It has a population of over 60 million. It is also a Europhile country and the bloc’s founding member...
Much like the laws of physics, there are certain laws of economics that remain constant no matter how much manipulation exists in the markets. Expansion inevitably leads to contraction, and that which goes up must eventually come down. Central banks understand this reality very well; they have spent over a century trying to exploit those laws to their own advantage...
Tops are a process and bottoms are an event, at least most of the time in the stock market. If you looked at an ice cream cone’s profile, the top is generally rounded and the bottom V-shaped. That is how tops and bottoms often look in the stock market, and I believe that the market is forming such a top now. Bubbles have been blown and they will pop. The whole global economy is teetering. Bubbles always burst from ‘the outside in’, starting at the weaker places at the periphery before progressing to the center...
From military exercises to trade wars, the fury is intensifying. At the same time, global liquidity is compressing while rates are rising. Growing uncertainty, contracting liquidity & rising cost of capital will continue to place non-US assets (and in particular EMs) in the crosshairs.
Ten years after the Great Recession’s onset, another long, deep downturn may soon roil the U.S. economy. The high level of asset prices today mirrors the earlier trend in house prices that preceded the 2008 crash; both mispricings reflect long periods of very low real interest rates caused by Federal Reserve policy. Now that interest rates are rising, equity prices will fall, dragging down household wealth, consumer spending and economic activity.
In the early 1990s, Marvel comics introduced a world 100 years in the future with new stories for its popular heroes and villains. Doctor Doom's story was called "The Doom of Tomorrow". The tomorrow I want to imagine is not 100 years away, but the years potentially just ahead of us.
Blame it on a stronger dollar, escalating tensions since President Donald Trump came to power, worries over a full-fledged trade war with China or rising interest rates in the U.S., this time around the crisis seems to have entered a new phase.
Impeachment is freighted with anxious connotations for many Americans, who remember the tumultuous end of the Nixon administration in August 1974 and the national mood at the time. From a capital markets perspective, it was also a grim period. The S&P 500 fell 26% in 1974, tagging on to a 14% drop the prior year. 2018 is not 1974 as the US entered a deep recession in 1973 on the back of much higher oil prices (caused by a shooting war in the Middle East and Saudi embargo) and a weaker dollar (which ended a global system of fixed exchange rates). Now, we have 20% earnings growth in 2018, a good economy, low/stable interest rates and a rising dollar. From a macroeconomic standpoint, things are very different indeed. But I have little doubt that a political event on the scale of a presidential impeachment would roil markets until the issue was resolved.
Prior to the financial crisis in 2008, the yield curve was inverted for short periods of time during 2007. The most simple explanation for why inversion occurs is that performance-driven capital flows from riskier investments into the longer end of the Treasury curve, driving the yield on the long end below the short end. The expectation is that the Fed will be forced to cut short term rates drastically – thereby driving the short-end lower, which in turn pulls the entire yield curve lower (the yield curve “shifts” down). This gives investors in the long-end a better rate-of-return performance on their capital than holding short term Treasuries for safety...
The current US bull market started its life on March 9, 2009, one of the darkest moments of the financial crisis, when the S&P 500 touched 666. Since then it climbed to a high of 2,872, in January of this year, and still holds above 2,850, for a gain of more than 320 percent. On August 22, the current US bull market turns 3,453 days old— putting it one day more than the longest bull market, which ran from October 1990 and ended with the bursting of the tech bubble in March 2000.
China has the world’s most overleveraged, fragile financial system. In 2008, China’s total debt-to-GDP was 140%. It is now roughly 300%, while GDP is slowing. The economy is held together by capital controls. If those fail, the whole system fails. The capital flight in 2015/16 cost the government $1trln in reserves, and that was with ultra-dove Yellen in charge. Imagine what would have happened with Volcker at the helm.
For a decade, investors around the world have ridden a rising tide of more than $12 trillion - the extra cash pumped into the global system by key central banks to counter the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression and its aftermath. Now that flow of so-called quantitative easing is turning to the ebb of quantitative tightening, and markets are - perhaps not coincidentally - showing increasing volatility.
With government, corporate and consumer debt levels at all-time highs, a financial collapse is inevitable. Hundreds of billions of student loan, auto loan, mortgage loans, and credit card debt are unpayable, especially in a rising rate environment. The “everything bubble” has put the previous two bubbles to shame. The thing about bubbles is they always pop. An unsustainable dynamic will not be sustained. The reversion to the mean will leave millions around the globe enraged, and looking for someone to blame other than themselves.
You would never know it listening to the market cheerleaders but asset prices, both real and financial, are, once again, at extreme valuation levels relative to the trend economy. The valuation reality coupled with the prevailing, but false, “don’t worry” market narrative sets us up for another major financial crisis. A third major crisis in 20 years, but these are only supposed to happen once in every 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 years, so say the Central Bank models.
Stock market selloffs, volatility blow-ups, collapsing crypto currencies. They’re all the symptoms of an unfolding global credit squeeze, according to famed HSBC Holdings Plc bond guru Steven Major. It just happens to be developing at a snail’s pace. Major and his team see what they call a “long list” of selloffs in risk market across the world as evidence of the disruption wrought by tighter dollar liquidity.
It looks like we are entering the end of Merkel-ism in Europe, as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel is approaching her final days as head of Germany and Europe. Be it next week or the end of this year, we are looking at unprecedented change in European politics thanks to Merkel’s insistence on taking in millions of Syrian and North African refugees. Merkel’s current plight politically stems from her intractability in accepting the chain of events that led to this point. All of the problems of Europe now stem from the collision of these foreign policy disasters and the economic degradation of the euro-zone from the flawed structure of the euro itself.
Every time the US mainstream media talks about some new “wonderful new economic numbers” one needs to be very careful. Whilst it is true that the economic numbers have gotten slightly better since Donald Trump entered the White House, the rosy economic picture that the mainstream media is constantly painting is not completely true. If older methods were used for many of the reported headline numbers then all of the major US economic numbers would be absolutely terrible.
Stock market investors are now in an environment where the benign, bullish conditions of the past 35 years are highly unlikely to be repeated and investment strategies that have worked so well like passive indexing via index ETF’s are unlikely to prove robust enough for the coming reset and sizable amounts of capital is set to be lost for a very long time.
The early stages of a housing bubble are fun for pretty much everyone. Homeowners see their equity start to rise and feel very clever for having bought, those looking to become homeowners pay a good sum, but not too much, and fully expect their new home to keep appreciating. People with modest incomes feel a bit of pinch but can still afford to jump on board. But soon the bad starts to outweigh the good.
Current Italian politicians are well schooled in The Italian drama of 2011. Then the ECB used the bond market as a political tool. The EU even tried to recruit Washington. The US refused to help. “We can’t have blood on our hands,” said the US Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner. The ECB switched purchases on and off to pressure and ultimately overthrew the elected Government of Silvio Berlusconi.
If Italy’s neo-anarchist "Grillini" had combined with anti-euro Lega nationalists two or three years ago to form an insurgent government, it would have set off panic in the bond markets. Yet now that this is upon investors, risk spreads have barely moved as Bond purchases by the European Central Bank and negative rates have enveloped Italy with an enormous comfort blanket as most investors think there is no chance that the ECB will let Italy go down, because it is the end of the European project if that happens.
The populist policy agenda of the new coalition government in Italy would in any normal circumstances be enough to send markets into meltdown as the Five Star/League combo is planning a flat rate tax, a citizen’s allowance for the impoverished south, a general rolling back of pension reform, restoring the retirement age to 60, and the establishment of a parallel currency as a precursor to leaving the euro. Yet there has been no panic, last week yields on Government bonds barely changed, and the stock market actually went up. Markets are underestimating the risks, both to Italy and the continued integrity of the euro. Complacency in the face of all of this is a classic, late bull market condition.
Whilst a number of big investors see warning signs ahead for markets but are holding their positions, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is taking action: He’s put half of his $5.7 billion net worth into gold. He said in an interview last Monday that he believes gold prices will rally further, reaching $1,800 per ounce from just above $1,300 now, while “overvalued” stock markets crash. “In the end you have China and they will not stop consuming. And people also tend to go to gold during crises and we are full of crises right now,” Sawiris said at his office in Cairo overlooking the Nile. “Look at the Middle East and the rest of the world and Mr. Trump doesn’t help.”
Back in the 1500s, a financial agent of Queen Elizabeth Thomas Gresham observed that that “bad money drives out good.” That is, if two kinds of coinage are circulating of the same legal value, people will spend the lower-quality money and save the better.
The theory of the happy union of capitalism and democracy rests on capitalism creating secure middle-class employment for millions of citizens. Once capitalism only creates a permanent-debt-serf class and a technocrat / financier / entrepreneur / speculator class that harvests over 70% of the wealth and income, then democracy dies by the slow poison of rising inequality and the ever greater collusion of wealth and political power.
Do you might remember the late 80s, all the movies, the songs and books about the inevitable Japanese economic invasion and global dominance which never happened? This is because the Japanese growth miracle was built on a massive debt bubble and, once it burst, the country fell into stagnation for the better part of two decades, which it is still in. Similarly, China presents many of these characteristics in its current economic model. Massive debt, overcapacity and central planned growth targets.
Given how ancient some members of the ShareProphets editorial team are (mentioning no names), this handy guide from David Scott of wealth manager Andrews Gwynne should be of interest to at least one person connected with this site....
Shareholders saw fit to reward Musk the largest CEO pay package in the history of the world. This is precisely the type of behaviour that is only seen during periods of extreme irrationality when financial markets are at their peak… and poised for a serious correction.
The pretend trade war of the last year is over. President Donald Trump has signed into law tariffs on Chinese goods. These are “The first of many,” he said with defiant satisfaction as he signed off on the most dramatic trade sanctions since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. The dispute centres as much on who will control the technology life-blood of the 21st century as it does on China’s $375bn (£265bn) trade surplus with the US.
Citing the law of diminishing returns, Dr Lacy Hunt has demonstrated how more and more debt is being required to boost global output and stop economies shuddering to a halt due to all the strains tearing then in two. In 2007, global debt was 276% of global GDP. Today, global debt is 327% of global GDP. In 2007, a dollar in debt generated 37 cents in GDP growth. In 2017, a dollar in debt created only 31 cents in GDP. The reason is clearly, every increasing amount of debt is not sustainable in the long term, but 2008 appears to have been forgotten in the hedonistic rush of money for free printing, which enables the party to continue and for the ever-ballooning consequences to be kicked down the road, for now.
There are many ways of assessing the value of the stock market. The Shiller PE (price relative to the past decade’s worth of real, average earnings) and Tobin’s Q (the value of companies’ outstanding stock and debt relative to their replacement cost) are possibly the two best. That doesn’t mean those metrics are accurate crash indicators, or that one can use them profitably as trading signals. Expensive stocks can stay expensive or get more expensive, and cheap stocks can stay cheap or get cheaper for inconveniently and expensively long periods of time. But those metrics do have a good record of forecasting future long-term (one decade or more) returns.
The world is on the brink of the most dramatic trade confrontation of modern times after President Donald Trump openly threatened “trade wars” as a tool of US policy, prompting warnings of full retaliation by major powers across the world. The world powers have been at cyber war for years, but this new chapter opens up a new front, who’s impact on you will be much worse than a slow internet connection to your favorite social media feed.
Global central bankers are focusing on tightening monetary policy rather than pacifying nervous financial markets. That was the message for investors this week from the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of England. Officials in the Philippines and India also sent hawkish signals.
Okay so you may up paying for some Guardian reader to use under-age hookers in the third world but some charities really are the good guys and those tend to be the ones starved of resources. At UK Investor Show this year we will again be flagging up the excellent work of the charity I support, Woodlarks, which is very much worthy of your support. So if he are going to back a charity, how to do it in a tax efficient manner. Over to David Scott of Andrews Gwynne for this handy guide.
Global bond markets have declared that inflation is now on the rise but the data does not yet point firmly to this conclusion, if anything it is suggesting that the low trend in place since the financial crisis may linger for a while longer yet. But what the U.S. bond market is reacting to is a different kind of worry, notably trillions of dollars worth of extra debt supply to digest from a U.S. administration that has cast aside fiscal restraint with tax cuts and new spending, just as Quantitative Tapering kicks in as the Federal Reserve sells debt back to the markets at an ever increasing pace. For all the optimism about a global economic upturn in which an exceptionally long list of countries are expanding at the same time, the two biggest central banks are due to be operating completely opposing policies this year.
Despite the current correction, the market is still in a tremendous bubble that is nowhere close to being fully unwound. Your Pension portfolio and therefore your retirement remains at risk.
If history is any guide, the good times are about to end for the U.S. stock market and it’s been one of the longest-running bull markets ever. Over nearly nine years, or 105 months, the S&P 500 has returned 368 percent (including dividends). That’s the second-longest bull market the U.S. has ever seen… just behind the nearly 9.5 year-long, or 113 months, bull market that started in 1990. You can see the S&P 500’s past bull markets in the table below… it shows the date they began, their overall return and how long each lasted. On average since 1926, bull markets have lasted for 54 months, and resulted in returns of 160 percent.
US Equity valuations of 1999, as proven after the fact, were grossly elevated. However, when considered against a backdrop of economic factors, those valuations seem relatively tame versus today. Some will argue that Donald Trump’s pro-growth agenda will invigorate the outlook for the economy and corporate earnings. While that is a possibility, that argument is highly speculative as such policies face numerous headwinds along the path to implementation. Economic, demographic and productivity trends all point to stagnation.
Looking at all bull markets in the S&P since the year 1900, and then examined what happened in the very first year after each of those bull markets ended is interesting. In the first year of the bear market after the last full year of the bull market the numbers were striking and could be useful if 2017 ends up being the peak of the bull market.
To understand why 2018 will be a catastrophe, imagine a magnificent mansion built with the finest materials and craftsmanship and furnished with the most expensive furniture, carpets and decorated with finest art. Now imagine this mansion is built on quicksand. It will have a brief shining moment and then sink slowly before finally collapsing under its own weight.
This time last year I was worried about stock markets. Most had been going up for too long and were too expensive and I thought that this great bull market must be near an end. I was worried about politics: the QE-driven rise in wealth inequality was having consequences – most obviously Corbynism and Trumpism. I expected to see growing state interference in the economy as governments tried to shift profits from managers and shareholders to workers and I was especially concerned that the monopolistic US tech stocks would end up at the centre of that storm. As usual I was a bit early. Last year offered a fair amount of political turmoil but not that much drama.
I however look to Sir John Templeton’s warning that “this time it’s different” which are the "four most costly words in the annals of investing" according to him. But by simply ignore the slowdown signals emanating from the fixed-income markets that is what you must believe.
Investors are ignoring warning signs that financial markets could be overheating and consumer debts are rising to unsustainable levels, the global body for central banks has warned in its quarterly financial health check. The Bank for International Settlements said over the weekend that the situation in the global economy was similar to the pre-2008 crash era when investors, seeking high returns, borrowed heavily to invest in risky assets, despite moves by central banks to tighten access to credit.
At the moment no matter what level of debt America carries, other countries need dollars. Dollars to pay for oil, since global oil is traded in dollars and dollars for their financial system so their banks can settle contracts for goods and services traded in dollars. But over the last few years China has been systematically putting in place everything it needs to launch the Yuan not only as a rival to the dollar in trading and settling oil contracts but also as a rival to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. At the moment the only rival to the dollar is the Euro and that is failing.
In the later stages of Unbridled Exuberance, nothing infuriates an investor more than the sight of other people making more money than them. Now ten years on from the Great Financial Crash things are just as extraordinary now and nearly a decade on we remain evermore firmly in the crisis that over financialisation has created. The main sign of this is interest rates.
Investors are riding a wave of “irrational exuberance” as they extend bullish positions even as they fret over valuations, according to the latest fund-manager survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. While a record net 48 percent of investors say stocks are overvalued, a net 16 percent say they are taking on above-normal levels of risk, another all-time high. Investors are also taking out less downside protection and holding less cash, the survey shows. “Icarus is flying ever closer to the sun,” said Michael Hartnett, the bank’s chief investment strategist.
Governments will not warn investors or consumers. They never do. Banks won’t warn consumers because they need consumers to spend and take up loans and invest money in markets. Institutions won’t warn people for precisely the same reason. And certainly central banks won’t warn consumers. They are all in the confidence game.
In the third quarter of 2017, one in which the global economy was supposedly undergoing an unprecedented "coordinated growth spurt", and in which central banks were preparing to unveil their QE tapering intentions, in the case of the ECB, or raising rates outright, at the Fed, what was really taking place was another central bank buying spree meant to boost confidence that things are now back to normal, using "money" freshly printed out of thin air, and spent to prop up risk assets around the world by recklessly buying stocks with no regard for price or cost.
The World Gold Council has recently reported that the Central Bank of Russia has more than doubled the speed of its gold purchases, bringing its reserves to the highest level since Putin took power 17 years ago. Russia’s desire to break away from the dominance of the U.S. dollar and the dollar payment system is well-known. Over 60% of global reserves and 80% of global payments are in dollars. Importantly also the U.S. is the only country with veto power at the International Monetary Fund, the global lender of last resort. Russia’s most aggressive weapon in its war on dollars is gold.
Last week Chinese leader Xi Jinping became the third ruler in the communist country’s history to have his named enshrined in its constitution and the first to receive this honour while still alive. In 1947 the US announced the Marshall plan to help to rebuild the devastated economies of Western Europe. America was much more generous with its aid 70 years ago, but the plan was not just about charity. American companies needed consumers overseas to have enough money to buy their products, and Harry Truman wanted to tie the recipient countries in Western Europe into a military alliance to counter the threat from the Soviet Union. The modern version of the Marshall Plan is Xi’s Belt and Road initiative...
Presently stock valuations don’t matter, profits don’t matter and most of all, deficits don’t matter. The issue is an eight-year run of rising stock market indices has suspended, if not eradicated, the natural laws of the investing worlds. What was once considered rash or ridiculous is now shrewd and savvy. Conversely, tried and true investment principles, including evaluating business fundamentals, are for losers who lack imagination. An endearing quality of a late stage bull market is that it expands the universe of what’s possible. Somehow, rising stock prices make the impossible, possible. They also push the limits of the normal into the paranormal. Bubbles don’t grow out of thin air, they have a solid basis in reality. But, reality is distorted by misconception.
Investors face a big difficulty as the world is experiencing a record synchronous growth phase, but an increasing number of assets are becoming overvalued just as fundamental risks grow in the background. Should investors continue to dance to the tune of central bank stimulus and low volatility, or prepare to exit?
Germany's outgoing Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has warned that spiralling levels of debt, as well as the growth of liquidity across the world, risk creating a new financial crisis. Speaking to the Financial Times as he leaves his long-held post at Germany's finance ministry and becomes the Speaker of the Bundestag, Schaeuble said that his view is shared by economists around the world.
It’s the start of the fourth quarter and October, always the most volatile month of the year, has started with shock and surprise. Just a few years ago it would have been inconceivable Spain’s vibrant democracy might stumble towards the verge of dismemberment as it is now. With the S&P 500 recently breaking above 2500, there seems to be nothing to dampen the bullish exuberance. The recent run, which has largely been focused on areas in the market with the most sensitivity to tax cuts, has exploded over the last two weeks to record highs. That explosion has also lead to a surge in the Market Greed/Fear Gauge which comprises different measures of market complacency and bullishness and whilst the “Dumb Money” is continuing to pile into markets the “Smart Money” is willing to sell positions to them.
Europe's politically dangerous year has ended after the Germans went to the polls last Sunday. It was a stark reminder that the populist threat is a real one, as the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party entered parliament with 12.6 percent of the vote, making it the first far-right party to enter the German Bundestag since 1960. The strong showing sent shockwaves through Germany's political and business elite and was widely seen as a backlash against Chancellor Angela Merkel's "open door" refugee policy. While Merkel will continue to govern for a fourth term, her party's support fell to its lowest level since 1949, making the task of forming a coalition a much tougher one this time around.
Jim Rogers on Friday gave a sweeping interview with Real Vision TV, the hugely successful veteran investor warned that another bear market is coming, and that it will be “horrendous, the worst.” It’s the level of debt across global economies that will be to blame, he says. And retail investors who have been piling into exchange-traded funds will be particularly vulnerable to that next big mauling.
Nobody rings a bell at the top or bottom of the notoriously cyclical UK housing market, but one operator who has shown impeccable timing over decades was busy selling stock last week. Famously near the top of the last cycle he sold out and left his company only to re-join when it was in the doldrums. This is why it is very important to take note of his actions. Last week Berkeley (BKG) founder Tony Pidgley, sold 750,000 shares to make £26.8m as bosses at Berkeley cashed in more than £40 million of shares as they reached record highs. As the stock hit 3575p, the luxury housing developer’s founder Tony Pidgley, who left school at 15, sold 750,000 to make £26.8 million, while chief executive Rob Perrins sold 500,000 to make £17.8 million.
In ways conscious and subconscious, we're becoming aware of the signs of growing instability around us. Like a flock of sheep catching the scent of an unseen predator, right now we’re collectively becoming increasingly nervous and stressed. People’s tempers are short with each other, criticisms fly easily, and stances are becoming hardened to ludicrous levels. Many don’t know why they're unhappy because they're unable to identify the source. Monetary printing experiments like those currently being run by the world’s central banks are the ultimate form of self-delusion. Money is the most potent form of social communication, underlying all contracts and agreements. Violate those sacred natural laws and eventually social cohesion and commercialism falls apart, as we are seeing happen in real-time in Venezuela right now.
Passive investment is always at its most seductive and most popular at the top of the market and usually after a long bull run.
In a world in which "we do these things because they're easy", the outcome will eventually be very difficult and painful. On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave a famous speech announcing the national goal of going to the moon by the end of the decade. In a memorable line, Kennedy said we would pursue the many elements of the space program "not because they are easy, but because they are hard." Both nationally and internationally the overriding economic philosophy is currently "we do these things because they're easy" and relying on debt to pay today's expenses is at the top of the list. What's easier than using a line of credit to buy whatever you want or need? Nothing's easier than borrowing money, especially at super-low rates of interest.
Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the start of the Great Financial Crisis, the banking implosion that changed the world as it did the way we think about economics, finance and money. Have we learned the right lessons from this earthquake, such that we can prevent variant forms of it happening again, and if we can’t prevent them, are we at least better equipped to mitigate their crippling costs? On both counts, I sadly say a resounding no.
Mid last week the odds of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg running for President in 2020 surged to 65% before decline at the end of the week. While Donald Trump is still favourite at 5/2, Paddy Power has just reduced the odds of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg winning the 2020 US presidential election from 25-1 to 16-1. Trump's deputy Mike Pence is tied second with Senator Elizabeth Warren with odds of 15-2. Other interesting inclusions to the betting odds list are wrestling super star and actor Dwayne Johnson (popularly known as the Rock, 16-1) and Michelle Obama (14-1). Zuckerberg is now ahead of Hillary Clinton whose dismal betting odds are dwindling even more, now going from 25-1 to 50-1.
Bubbles and Busts are both created by the US Federal Reserve and US Presidents are merely along for the ride. Presidents like to credit themselves for the bubble feel good upswing and then they look for scapegoats, usually the free market during the painful busts. Early on President Trump made a big mistake as he tried to portray himself as the cause of the current rise in the stock market...
The reset is now seven days closer than it was last week. There are times when normality moves out of reach and I believe we are rapidly approaching such a time. I have lived through a number of recessions and bear markets and they don’t come out of nowhere; there are always warning signs. Many investors may choose to ignore those signs; I choose not to. I hope you make the same choice.
There are a number of things you don’t want to hear a central banker say. One of these was recently spoken by Janet Yellen when she said “I don’t believe we will see another financial crisis in our lifetime.” That has to be up there with Irving Fisher’s seminal observation of 17 October 1929 when he said "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau" or John Maynard Keynes’ equally adept forecast from 1927 that "We will not have any more crashes in our time." We are in the Mother of all bubbles and in relation to equity and bond markets we can define these bubbles by longevity (how long has the Bull Run lasted), or valuation (how expensive is the market now).
Markets are starting to adjust to the idea that interest rates are going up and they are now questioning exactly what this means. This generally means less risk-taking, which means lower asset prices. We are at a point where small shifts in absolute terms have an outsize relative impact. If interest rates rise from 5% to 5.25%, that’s not a big move. But if they rise from 0.25% to 0.5%, they’ve doubled.
In the week the world's top central bankers delivered what appears seems to have be a collective message that quantitative easing is being put back in its box and interest rates are going up. Until now stock and bonds have being trading higher on the premise that the total pot of global liquidity was still swelling despite rising Federal Reserve rates - courtesy of ongoing European Central Bank and Bank of Japan bond buying programmes, most of all. Mario Draghi's change of tack on Tuesday had the most impact, far more than any of the recent Fed utterances. All of a sudden the usual central bank noises have suddenly harmonised over what the Bank for International Settlements calls the "great unwinding" of easy money.
The question of a soft or hard Brexit does not lie within UK politics but with the priorities of the EU. The EU’s number one priority is to avoid setting a precedent of successful exits – the UK election result does not change this. What is clear, however, is that Mrs May is no longer in control of the outcome; parliament will decide on whatever deal emerges.
In the late 1760's and early 1770's, the government of France was in a deep panic. They had recently suffered a disastrous and costly defeat in the Seven Years War, and the national budget was a complete mess. France had spent most of the previous century as the world’s dominant superpower, and the government budget reflected that status. From public hospitals to shiny monuments and museums, social programs and public works projects, overseas colonies and a huge military, France had created an enormous cost structure for itself. Eventually the costs of maintaining the empire vastly exceeded their tax revenue and by the late 1760s, France hadn’t had a balanced budget in decades. Debt was ballooning, interest payments were rising, and the government of Louis XV was desperate to do something about it.
Over recent years Warren Buffett has been hoarding dollars at a colossal rate. This was first really noticeable in August 2014. At that time, Buffett was holding about $50 billion and he was already 83 years old. Even then his hoard of dollars was already the largest of his entire career. But over the last three years this sum has swelled to $100 billion in size.
All investors wish that they had a crystal ball to predict when a recession is coming in the US. But there’s one thing, says David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff that has predicted imminent recessions...
"A credit crunch is brewing and when it happens, the UK is going to get hurt." These are not my words but the start of the Editorial in this weekend’s Guardian. The article then went on to say "That is the message emerging from senior executives in the financial services industry, who do not think Britain has changed that much since the 2008 credit disaster and the devastating crash that followed. Three developments lie at the heart of this disturbing analysis: spectacular growth in the sale of second mortgages, car loans and credit cards." I would heartily agree with these comments as this is my experience too. But what the article fails to say is that the UK is not alone in this debt bubble - once more it is a Global issue.
The most important central bank-created bubble is in housing, because it makes owners of it feel wealthier (so Politicians love it too) and it facilitates bubbles in stocks and bonds. Home prices in many places in the world have grown much higher than either economic growth or homebuyers’ wages can justify or even maintain longer term.
The United States has a President that made his fortune on the back of debt, but somehow the market thinks Trump will govern in a tea-party-hard-money fashion. Nothing could be further from the truth. All investors would be wise to forget anything (and everything) Trump has said, and instead just ask themselves what his most likely course of action will be once he gets to that inevitable fork in the road.
Artificial political constructs never last. The EU is great for the “elites” in Brussels; not so much for the average citizen and the tragedy of monetary union is that Europe's political class has gone to extreme lengths to hold the euro together regardless of underlying economic logic. But this has only perpetuated and exacerbated the coming political crisis. "Monetary union has created a conflict between a centralised elite on the one hand, and the forces of democracy at the national level on the other. This is extraordinarily dangerous,” Mervyn King wrote in his recent book 'The End of Alchemy'.
The U.S. government is poised to shut down on Day 100 of Donald Trump’s presidency, unless Congress can pass a new spending bill or a continuing resolution before the current one expires on April 28... Whilst the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, any bill to fund the government is going to require 60 votes in the Senate. The “nuclear option” that the Republicans just used to push the Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination through is not available in this case under current Senate rules because a spending bill of this nature would not qualify. So the Democrats have significant leverage, and they plan to use it to the maximum.
A prolonged period of low interest rates will tempt banks to take greater risks and sound the death knell for final salary pensions, the International Monetary Fund has warned. A new study from the IMF said a continuation of the cheap borrowing environment seen since the global financial crisis a decade ago would pose a “significant challenge” to financial institutions and force them to make fundamental changes to their business models. Although interest rates have recently started to rise in the US, the IMF said Japan’s experience suggested an imminent and permanent end to the current low interest rate environment could not be guaranteed.
Is this the Tax Year in which you are going to sort your pension out? If we are correct and both Equity and Bond markets are in bubbles, which are set to burst, then a large amount of the wealth build up in a pension(s) could evaporate without the right Investment Strategy.
High market prices are currently being supported by OPEC cutbacks, and these higher profits are funding the growth of American drilling. American oil explorers who survived the worst of the 2014-2016 market sell off are dismissive of the 14 percent slide in prices this year from a high of $55.24 to around $48 a barrel. The price would have to drop to the $30s or lower to dent the bottom line of many drillers now working U.S. shale fields, according to Katherine Richard, the CEO of Warwick Energy Investment Group, which own stakes in more than 5,000 oil and natural gas wells.
The US President is expected to speak to the Greek prime minister in the coming days. The substance of the call, according to well-placed sources, will be Greece’s ongoing negotiations with creditors and the role the International Monetary Fund may or may not play in the country’s current rescue programme. Donald Trump has publicly tweeted that he thinks the Greeks are “wasting their time” staying in the Eurozone.
Snap, the parent company of Snapchat Inc, floated yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange giving the company a closing valuation of just over $28 billion, after the shares surged 44% from the IPO price. It will also made its two founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, worth more than $5 billion each. The stock closed at $24.48, giving the company a market value of $28.3 billion. At one point it reached $26.05 and a market value of $29.1 billion. The company raised $3.4 billion at $17 a share after pricing its initial public offering making it the biggest tech float since 2014, when Alibaba shattered all records. It is almost three times the size of Twitter, bigger than both HP and CBS, and almost as big as EBay.
We are now living through the mother of all financial bubbles and we’ve been living with it for so for so long now that it feels the norm, but it is not. A bubble exists when asset prices rise beyond what incomes can sustain. UK property prices in 2007 and tech stocks in the late 1990s are fine examples of this. History is littered with such examples. Western governments and the banking cartel of the Central Banks of the major economies in cahoots with a very compliant mainstream media, are doing everything in their vast and considerable power toconvince us that we are living in a golden era of risk-free prosperity and that tomorrow will be even better.
In the past, the Americans have vigorously supported a compromise over Greece because, along with the rest of the political establishment, it views preserving the euro and the European Union as a strategic imperative of over-riding importance. But Trump doesn’t like the EU. Trump has made it very clear that he is very hostile to the EU. He backed Brexit, appointed an ambassador who believes the euro is destined to fall apart, and started a rhetorical trade war with Germany. In response, EU leaders, from Germany’s Angela Merkel to France’s François Hollande, have been fiercely critical of Trump. Relations between Washington and Brussels have probably never been worse.
An unexpectedly bearish BlackRock CEO Larry Fink in the week joined the likes of Bill Gross, Jeffrey Gundlach and Ray Dalio who have all similarly turned downbeat in recent weeks. All have cautioned that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a slowdown and financial markets could see a significant setback, for the same reason, that the Trumpflation trade has burnt out in recent months due to uncertainty over global trade and the Trump administration's plan to cut taxes. "I see a lot of dark shadows," Fink said adding that. "The markets are probably ahead of themselves."
John my colleague had dinner in the week with the old Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. We will issue a more detailed note on the conversation in the week. At AG we are now even surer that before that the Euro WILL implode, only the timing is debatable –but the next six months though is looking very problematic as Trump enters the fray.
The Bank of England is keeping a close watch on consumer spending amid signs households are dipping into their savings and amassing debts to keep spending in the face of rising inflation. Mark Carney, the Bank governor, said consumer spending had held up since last summer’s vote to leave the EU but he reiterated a warning that living costs were likely to rise on the back of a weak pound and squeeze households’ real incomes. In a speech setting out the trade-off the Bank faces between keeping inflation in check and supporting growth and jobs, Carney noted signs that consumers continued to power the UK economy. “At present, households appear to be entirely looking through Brexit-related uncertainties. The saving rate has fallen towards its pre-crisis lows, and consumer borrowing has accelerated notably,” Carney said in a speech to the London School of Economics last Monday.
Reforming the very nature of capitalism will be needed to combat the growing appeal of populist political movements around the world, the World Economic Forum said on Wednesday. Getting higher economic growth, it added, is necessary but insufficient to heal the fractures in society that were evident in the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
The US government has worked tirelessly to manipulate statistics to falsely reflect an overall recovery. The stock market is much easier to manipulate than the fundamentals, so, the fundamentals must be misrepresented. While some numbers slipping through issues of true supply and demand continue, the vast majority of the populace has little clue that the collapse of 2008 never actually stopped, it was just shifted into a state of slow motion which is peaking again.
The impact of record-keeping on the course of history cannot be overstated. For example, the act of preserving Judaism and Christianity in written form enabled both to outlive numerous other contemporary religions, which were preserved only orally. William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book, compiled in 1086, and it was still being used to settle land disputes as late as the 1960s. Now there is a new system of digital record-keeping, emerging and it will speed up the de dollarisation of the world, which has serious implications for us all, not just the West. It is called the blockchain and it is not going away and it will change the way the world interacts.
The EU and the euro project have been an economic disaster for all participants, including Germany, which will eventually be forced to write off the hard-earned savings she has lent to other Eurozone members. We know, with absolute certainty that the euro will self-destruct and the Eurozone will disintegrate, only the timing is debatable. We know this for one reason above all, the political class and the ECB are guided by economic beliefs mascarading as theory which will guarantee this outcome. Furthermore, they insist on using bogus statistics that are used to reinforce inappropriate and illegal policies.
Speaking in the week Mark Carney said that People are angry, as they face “The first lost decade since the 1860s” and he recognised that the benefits of economic progress have been unevenly felt. Worryingly he sees that the stagnation in wages, with no precedent for a century and a half, is set to continue. Younger people have been disproportionately hit, he also conceded.
The majority of people are sick of the status quo and feel they have been "abandoned by their leaders," wrote renowned physicist Stephen Hawking in a Guardian op-ed warning on Thursday that the rise of Donald Trump and Britain's Brexit vote come at "the most dangerous time in the history of the human race."
The surprise paper currency money-grab by the Indian authorities has intensified the Indians public’s perception of a corrupt, overly-bureaucratic, and ineffective government and the suspicion that government paper money is ultimately worthless (which of course it is) will have gained immeasurable credence. An accelerating decline in the purchasing power of the rupee is the most likely economic consequence for Mr Modi, ultimately destabilising for both the country and his government. Globally, not just in India, Our entire monetary system depends on trust.
Mark Carney isn’t willing to take the blame for the state of the global economy any longer. After months of criticism directed at him and his fellow central banking colleagues across the world for low interest rates and the sluggish pace of growth, the Bank of England governor told U.K. lawmakers in the week that it’s time for them to face up to their role.
In the US the Left has a lot of soul searching to do, as does the Right. Trump wasn’t the Republican’s preferred choice and they fought him tooth and nail all the way. In terms of the traditional Left vs Right rivalry, both sides lost this election.
Governments have a tiger by the tail, and as debt continues to soar around the world that tiger will grow more and more frenzied, whatever the US election outcome. Eventually it will turn around and eat those who presumed they had it under control. a debt-driven crisis of epic proportions becomes more likely with every passing day And when the bust comes, panicked capital will behave the way it did in 2009, pouring into assets like gold that can’t be created in infinite quantities by out-of-control governments and eager to please central bankers.
These times are getting interesting and disjointed times. The FTSE 100 share index is now up 30% over five years, yet earnings have fallen by 80% over the same period and with U.S. unemployment at 5% and the core CPI rising 2.2% over the last year, it is difficult for the “data dependent” Fed to further rationalise emergency rates based on its official dual mandate. In addition we are living in an age when a CEO of two US public companies can give a talk about colonising Mars and shareholders don’t see it as a warning signal.
History will judge the world’s current major central banks very badly and not only for their responsibility in setting the stage for the next global economic and financial crisis. These very same central banks will also be demonised for the social tensions that they have created between the haves and have nots and the subsequent rise in extreme politics. Since the Great Global Economic Recession in 2008-2009, highly unorthodox and untried and untested monetary policies have been pursued by the world’s major central banks in an effort to promote economic recovery.
“When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.” – Napoléon Bonaparte
The stage is set for the possible collapse of the world’s largest economy, the European Union and the trigger will be Italy’s exit from the euro currency. The Financial Times recently put it this way: "An Italian exit from the single currency would trigger the total collapse of the Eurozone within a very short period. It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash."
The UK's economic growth for the second quarter has been revised upwards by the Office for National Statistics to 0.7%, from a previous estimate of 0.6% as the ONS said service sector growth and consumer spending had come in stronger than previously thought. Brexit?
Zero Rate Interest Policy is the desperate response of economists in the US Federal Reserve, and central banks / elite Universities around the globe which have hopelessly failed. But rather than acknowledge their collective failure, like all past Emperors of failed Empires toward the end, they have doubled up on failed policies. Negative interest rate policy demands that banks and depositors must pay for the privilege of holding cash. Instead of fixing what's broken, ZIRP and NIRP have pushed a broken system further along the path of self-destruction. A few "professional" economists do understand this, largely the same ones who foretold of 2007/8, but they are being ignored now as then.
Switzerland's central bank now owns more publicly-traded shares in Facebook than Mark Zuckerberg. The tech giant's founder and CEO has other non-publically traded share classes that he controls the company through, but this example illustrates just how the Swiss National Bank has become a multi-billion-dollar equity investor due to its campaign to hold down the Swiss franc and all bought by its ability to print money from nothing and then use it to buy everyday real companies. It is now the world's eighth-biggest public investor, data from the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum show.
2014 was a watershed moment in global banking when the Obama administration fined French bank BNP Paribas $9 billion for doing business with countries that the US did not at the time like, namely Cuba and Iran even though the bank did not violate any French laws. Nor did it matter that only months later the President of the United States inked a sweetheart nuclear deal with Iran and flew down to Cuba to attend a baseball game with his new best friends. BNP had to pay up because if they did not the US government threatened to kick them out of the US banking system. Whilst B$9 billion hurt being kicked out of the US banking system would have stopped the back playing on the global stage. Big international banks in particular cannot function if they don’t have access to the US banking system.
The current world monetary order, particularly as seen in the eyes of the baby boomers, was established in 1945 and has muddled along ever since. It has had near death experiences several times, especially in August 1971when the world almost lost faith in the global reserve currency, as it ditched its gold anchor and again in 2008 when the fractional reserve (money created out of nothing) monetary system came within hours of self consumption and systemic failure. If the current monetary system were a computer operating system we would have ditched it and got a new one, rather than doubling up and putting it under more extreme pressure, in a last ditch and dangerous experiment that has never been tried before. Too big to fail banks, are now bigger and debt has exploded since our near death experience, only a few years ago.
The IMF is getting nervous, and what it appears to be most concerned about, is a collapse of the status quo. Recently in a speech in Washington, IMF head Christine Lagarde said that "The greatest challenge we face today is the risk of the world turning its back on global cooperation—the cooperation which has served us all well. We know that globalization - and increased integration - over the past generation has yielded many economic benefits for many people."
With the USA recording a higher than expected number of new entrants into the workforce last month, the markets are hopeful that there will be a rate hike in September and that US dollar’s weakness might be over and the optimists are now forecasting a 3.8% third quarter rise in real GNP but recent services data out of the USA has pointed to a weaker number. The second quarter GNP figure which had widely been expected to come in at +2.8% turned out to be only +1.2%. With capital spending following profits downwards and the world economy continuing to be weak, only consumer spending and bank consumer credit lending has kept the US economy rolling along.
On Friday during an interview on Wharton Business Radio, St. Louis Fed president James Bullard, who has recently moved from the Fed's biggest hawk to one of its more vocal doves, said that he sees just one rate interest in the next few years. He also confirmed that the Fed will never hike rates at a time when even one recent economic data point has printed negative, saying "the right time to move rates is after good economic news." More troubling?
Bloomberg reported late last year that China had founded a working group to explore the use and possible partial adaption of the supranational Special Drawing Rights currency, in a clear sign that it wants a new global currency and that it wants the dollar removed and replaced in its role as facilitating global commerce and it now looks that we are very close to the first SDR issuance in the private sector since the 1980s. The International Monetary Fund itself published a paper discussing the use of private sector SDRs in July and noises out of China’s central bank imply that an international development organisation will soon issue SDR bonds in China, according to Chinese media group Caixin.
The 2008 bailout was all about rescuing the gamblers from the Greenspan/Bernanke housing and global credit bubble again ( in started in 1971), and then to gift the huge windfalls on the 1% as the central banks reflated an even more monumental bubble with new experimental regimes of QE, ZIRP and NIRP. But after these failed experiments the world’s financial rulers are going to reap the ill-gotten rewards, as they are increasingly on the receiving end of an even more powerful and nasty force that of political contagion.
We are used to a world of distortion by politicians, but when it feeds into a financial system via central bankers we are right to proceed with extreme caution. Even the central banks themselves get confused by their own actions as the old models don’t work; currencies don’t react the way they are expected to; corporates don’t behave as they want them to. Central Bankers and interventionist governments have knowingly distorted financial markets. They have stopped markets functioning as free markets.
The head of the world’s largest asset manager has warned that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union will trigger a recession. Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, said UK gross domestic product (GDP) will face a “short-term” recession despite the Bank of England’s decision to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.5%.
You have to admit it is really quite amazing. Two weeks ago, Central Bankers and leading politicians were exclaiming that if Britain left the E.U. it would be a catastrophic economic event on the magnitude of a “Lehman “moment. However, despite all of the talk of gloom if you had been asleep over the last month you wouldn’t know something had happened, other than sterling collapsing.
The real drive for Brexit had little to do with economics, but a great deal to do with immigration and against this backdrop the EU’s economy has been crawling along in the slow lane since 2008. Since then The EU has been unable to create a plan that would fix dire unemployment in southern Europe, where in some parts youth unemployment is over 50%, and revive a stagnant economy. The EU’s founding treaty promised prosperity and this is what was sold to the citizens of Europe and so its leaders have failed quite spectacularly on this front.
I have said for a long time that accommodative monetary policy completely removes the burden from politicians that would require them to actually make difficult decisions around fiscal reforms, and now Standard & Poor's is saying the same thing.
Football fans who want to bet on Euro 2016 should put their money on France to win the tournament on their own turf, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street bank reckons
Friday's U.S. jobs numbers on close inspection are a hot bed of contradiction and to some a sign that even the US (just as the Chinese do with their GDP numbers) will manipulate official numbers if the stakes are high enough. Officially this month the unemployment rate plunged from 5.0% to 4.7%, the lowest since August 2007- on the surface very attractive. But only 38,000 new jobs were created, as the working age population rose by 205,000 and as the two previous month’s numbers were revised significantly downward, giving evidence that 484,000 people who were unemployed last month are no longer unemployed this month.
We got an indication of what the Chinese may do on Monday morning on the Yuan's morning fix, after Yellans bullish comments sent the markets rushing to update there forecasts on the date of the next US interest rate rise-I think July. Because on Saturday, unprecedented volume of bitcoin buying out of China, sent the digital currency soaring to the highest level since 2014, as insiders fled the Chinese currency and so to script on Monday the official exchange rate of the onshore Yuan was lower by nearly 0.5%, from 6.5490 to 6.5794, the lowest fixing in more than 5 years, or February 2011.
There is a growing fear in financial and monetary circles that there is something deeply wrong with the global economy. Publicly, officials and professional investors alike have become confused by policy failures, and privately, occasionally even downright pessimistic, at a loss to see an easy solution.It is hardly exaggerating to say there is a growing feeling of impending doom. The reason this has happened is due to today’s Central Bankers and their very failure on the one subject about which they profess to be experts: economics.
The U.S. dollar's overwhelming position of dominance in the global financial system poses risks to world financial stability, but it's not clear that a more diversified arrangement would be any safer, the Bank for International Settlements said on Tuesday. The global system's biggest weakness is its inability to prevent the boom and bust build-up and unwinding of hugely damaging financial imbalances, said Claudio Borio, Head of the BIS Monetary and Economic Department in a speech in Zurich.
This s why so many of us on this website are so bearish at a macro level. David Scott of Andrews Gwynne articulates the bear economics case very clearly. Enjoy!
In Rome on Thursday, in the very same room where the famous treaty was signed in 1957, Martin Schultz, president of the European Parliament, complained that ‘we have a lot of salesmen in the European Council and only a few statesmen’. The problem with the idea of one EU state and one vision was and is an illusion. The 28 nation block lacks leadership and is descending into petty, nationalistic political trends being exacerbated by mass immigration and poor fiscal disciplines.
Economic bubbles are sustained only so long as sufficient monetary fuel is being laydaled out. Over time, such economies are characterised by deep structural maladjustment, the consequence of years of underlying monetary excess. Rampant issuance of money and Credit is always at the root of these distortions in investment and spending patterns. Asset inflation and price Bubbles invariably play central roles in fragility hidden just under the surface.
"Clumsy interventions" by some of the world's central banker will "destroy" the economy and usher in political chaos, a notoriously bearish Societe Generale strategist has claimed. In a note published Friday, Edwards once again slammed loose monetary policy, pointing fingers at central bankers for failing to recognize the consequences of low interest rates and quantitative easing. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi attends a news conference at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, March 10, 2016."When in the last few weeks I have heard that Janet Yellen sees no bubbles in the U.S., when Ben Bernanke hones and restates his helicopter money speech, and when Mario Draghi says that the ECB's policy of printing money and negative interest rates was working,
Economic bubbles are sustained only so long as sufficient monetary fuel is being laydaled out. Over time, such economies are characterised by deep structural maladjustment, the consequence of years of underlying monetary excess. Rampant issuance of money and Credit is always at the root of these distortions in investment and spending patterns. Asset inflation and price Bubbles invariably play central roles in fragility hidden just under the surface.
The main lesson to be learned from market history and particularly from yield-seeking bubbles is not that valuations are irrelevant, nor that central bank intervention is capable of sustaining bubbles permanently, but that Investors fall prey to the delusion that easy money can support stocks once risk-aversion sets in (recall 2000-2002 and 2007-2009). Investors must not make the same mistake of discarding the essential lessons that valuations have taught in complete market cycles across a century of history.
After the stock market crash of 1987, The US Federal Reserve sowed the seeds of the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world and this is now starting to unravel. Protecting wealth is now the order of the day and those who are not positioned for the unfolding events will see their net worth fall sharply and substantially, with very little prospect of a sharp bounce back.
The Brexit vote is a distraction and we are in danger of the distraction of reorganising the pebbles on the beach whilst a great tsunami bears down behind us. Rather than focusing on whether or not we should remain in Europe, the decision should be more about how we participate and ultimately shape the economic grouping that will come after the Euro single currency breaks up and the European community has to become more accountable and economically functional.
A new global financial crisis is certain to occur and without reform, it is likely to happen sooner rather than later, according to former Bank of England governor Mervyn King. He is right.
Back in the 1970’s as recession gripped the world for a decade, stocks stagnated and commodities crashed, investor Jim Rogers made a fortune and his understanding of markets, capital flows and timing is legendary. As crisis struck in late 2008, he did it again, often recommending gold and silver to those looking for wealth preservation strategies and warned that the crash would lead to massive job losses, dependence on government bailouts, and unprecedented central bank printing on a global scale. Now, Rogers says that investors around the world are realizing that the party is over and Stocks are over bloated and central banks will have little choice but to take action again.
No longer able to convince the world it’s got China’s economy under control, the government in Beijing is now using ever do more desperate measures. China’s economic weaknesses have been well documented. Among other things, there are significant amounts of bad debt, a rapidly ageing population, fanciful “official” statistics, growing labour unrest, and a host of inefficient, bloated state-owned enterprises. Of course much of this has been known for years,
There’s was no shortage of excellent commentary from market heavyweights last week thanks to the World Economic Forum in Davos, but the most revealing probably came from George Soros who gave a sweeping interview to Bloomberg TV, on Thursday, touching on everything from China to Fed policy to Vladimir Putin to Europe’s worsening refugee crisis. As for China, Soros says he “expects a hard landing,” saying that "A hard landing is practically unavoidable," and adding. "I’m not expecting it, I’m observing it.
House prices in central London dropped sharply in the latter part of 2015 because of George Osborne's stamp duty hikes for high-value property, according to research by LSL Property Services
The end of the Fed’s free ride is that it transported us back out of Wonderland where bad news was good news, which has lasted nearly seven years. For years we’ve seen the market go up when economic news was bad. That Mad-Hatter reaction happened because bad economic news meant the Fed would prolong its stimulus, and stimulus was, by far, the biggest game in town. That dynamic ended on December 16. Now we’re back in economic reality where bad news is simply bad news.