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Doug Noland: Central Banks Are “Hostages Of Market Bubbles”

Doug Noland: Central Banks Are “Hostages Of Market Bubbles”

Doug Noland’s weekly Credit Bubble Bulletin is always required reading. The latest – befitting the amazing things that have happened lately – is more necessary than usual. But at 10,000 words it’s also a lot longer than usual. So while everyone should definitely read the whole thing, here are some excerpts to get you started:

I wonder if the Fed is comfortable seeing the markets dash skyward – the small caps up 16.4% y-t-d, the Banks 15.9%, the Transports 15.2%, Biotechs 18.5% and Semiconductors 17.0%. Or, perhaps, they’re quickly coming to recognize that they are now fully held hostage by market Bubbles.

Similarly, I ponder how Beijing feels about January’s booming Credit data – Aggregate Financing up $685 billion in the month of January. Do officials appreciate that they are completely held captive by history’s greatest Credit Bubble? 

Bubbles have become a fundamental geopolitical device – a stratagem. Things have regressed to a veritable global Financial Arms Race. As China/U.S. trade negotiations seemingly head down the homestretch, each side must believe that rallying domestic markets beget negotiating power. Meanwhile, emboldened global markets behave as if they have attained power surpassing mighty militaries and even nuclear arsenals.

China’s banks made the most new loans on record in January – totaling 3.23 trillion yuan ($477bn) – as policymakers try to jumpstart sluggish investment and prevent a sharper slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

January’s record China new bank loans were 11.4% higher than the previous record from January 2018 – and 15% above estimates. Total Bank Loans expanded 13.4% over the past year; 28% in two years; 45% in three years; 91% in five years; and an incredible 323% over the past decade.

“The San Francisco Fed put out a white paper about the benefits of negative interest rates. I hope that’s not where we’re going, but we can only cut rates about 225/250 bps to be at zero” — Kyle Bass, Hayman Capital Management.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We’re Overdue for a Sell-Everything/No-Fed-Rescue Recession

We’re Overdue for a Sell-Everything/No-Fed-Rescue Recession

We’re way overdue for a sell-everything recession, one that the Fed will only make worse by pursuing its usual policies of lowering interest rates and goosing easy money.

As I noted last week, central banks, like generals, always fight the last war–until the war is lost. The global economy is careening into recession (call it a “slowdown” if you are employed by the Corporate-State Media), and while we don’t yet know just how deep and wide this recession will be, we can make an educated guess that it won’t be a repeat of any of the previous five recessions: 1973-74, 1981-82, 1990-91, 2001-02 or 2008-09.

Recessions triggered by energy or financial crises tend to be short and shallow as the crisis soon eases; recessions caused by structural imbalances tend to be enduringly brutal. Many recessions are structural, but the triggering event is a short-term crisis.Some recessions savage specific sectors but leave most of the economy relatively unscathed. Others disrupt virtually everything, even the generally impervious-to-recession government sector.

Let’s run down the general outlines of the previous five recessions. If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve experienced the suffering firsthand. Younger readers will have difficulty relating firsthand, but understanding the dynamics is the goal here, and so direct experience is a bonus, not an essential.

1973-74: the Oil Shock to the U.S. economy as OPEC raised prices and punished the U.S. for supporting Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur war created havoc–long lines at gas stations and a sharp downturn (a.k.a. recession). Though the economy supposedly recovered statistically in 1975, the structural issues that were laid bare by the recession continued eroding the economy for the next six years.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Technically Speaking: Stuck In The Middle With You

Technically Speaking: Stuck In The Middle With You

In this past weekend’s missive, we discussed the market stalling at the 200-dma. To wit:

“We said then the most likely target for the rally was the 200-dma. It was essentially the level at which the ‘irresistible force would meet the immovable object.’”

“What will be critically important now is for the markets to retest and hold support at the Oct-Nov lows which will coincide with the 50-dma. A failure of that level will likely see a retest of the 2018 lows.” 

“A retest of those lows, by the way, is not an “outside chance.” It is actually a fairly high possibility.  A look back at the 2015-2016 correction makes the case for that fairly clearly.”

“But even if a retest of lows doesn’t happen, you should be aware that sharp market rallies are not uncommon, but almost always have a subsequent retracement.”

Importantly, as I expanded to our RIA PRO subscribers:

We are likely going to have another couple of attempts next week as the bulls aren’t ready to give up the chase just yet. We are continuing to watch the risk carefully and have been working on repositioning portfolios over the last couple of weeks. 

As noted, we lifted profits at the 200-dma and added hedges to the Equity and Equity Long/Short portfolios.”

On Monday, the markets rallied a bit out of the gate over continuing hopes of a “trade deal” between the U.S. and China but fell back to even by the end of the day. With earnings season now largely behind us, the “bulls”are going to need improving economic data and relief from Washington to provide continued support for the rally.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Rant Alert

Rant Alert

Warning. Rant Alert: The global central bank easy money experiment has failed and it is past time that central bankers stopped bullshitting us and just admitted it. Europe is about to enter a recession and rates are still negative, the US Fed just tried to reduce its balance sheet with the greatest economic backwind in years (tax cuts, record buybacks, 3% GDP growth) and still they failed miserably, forced once again to halt all rate hike efforts. After 10 years of being non stop “accommodative” the Fed tried for 3 months to not be accommodative and it blew up in their face as the bottom dropped out of markets.

Only emergency liquidity calls from Cabo by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and a complete 180 degree reversal by the Fed stopped the bleeding. Again.

And so once again the Fed is asking us to play chase the dot plot. Always dangling higher rate forecast targets that never come to fruition:

Not playing anymore. For 10 years we’ve watched the dot plot being moved further and further into the future only to see it all flat line again now with a renewed halt in rate hikes and an end to reducing the balance sheet. The conclusion is pretty clear:

The Fed is trapped, the ECB is trapped, the BOJ is trapped all doomed to intervene forever and ever amen always afraid to see markets go through a process of repricing and squeezing out the artificial asset inflation that 10 years of permanent intervention have wrought.

All are too afraid of the next recession and aim to avoid it at all costs. And who can blame them? The prospect of entering a global recession without enough ammunition to deal with it is a frightening prospect.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

For the First Time Since 2007, Central Banks Are Net DRAINING Liquidity

For the First Time Since 2007, Central Banks Are Net DRAINING Liquidity

Yesterday was a wake up call for the bulls.

Unfortunately it’s only going to get worse. The fact is that no matter what verbal interventions Central Banks or the political elite issue, liquidity is now rapidly leaving the financial system.

The Fed continues to drain $50 billion in liquidity via its QT program every month. The ECB is no longer engaged in QE, which means it too is now draining liquidity as bonds on its balance sheet come due.

This leaves the Bank of Japan, which is running out of assets to buy, resulting in it not being able to expand its QE program (the one that has been running since 2013). Finally, China is attempting to launch its own version of a QE program, though given the insane leverage in its financial system (the country is issuing $25 in new debt for every $1 in GDP growth) this will have little effect.

Bottomline: for the first time since 2007, Central Banks are NET draining liquidity rather than adding it.

No matter how you spin this, it means stocks are on borrowed time.

And the markets KNOW it.

Indeed, we’ve broken the bull market trendline from the 2009 lows. The ultimate downside for this collapse is at best 2,000, and more likely than not we’ll go to the high 1,000s (think 1,750-1,800).

A Crash is coming…

Gold is money, everything else is credit

Gold is money, everything else is credit

People have been obsessed with gold since the beginning of civilization. Both the Egyptians and ancient Greeks valued the precious metal as a status symbol. The more gold you had, the higher you ranked in the natural order of things. In more recent times, gold rushes in Alaska and South Africa have caused major frenzies while changing lives.

People have a natural affinity for shiny things, which makes them desire gold and silver for its beauty. Especially gold, which is a simple, fairly boring metal that can be melted and formed into any desirable form. In many struggling countries, such as India, even the poorest citizens crave gold jewelry.

Prior to paper currency, the actual precious metal was used in trade. A certain amount of gold was assigned a certain value and used in exchange for some other commodity. Since gold and silver were easy to carry, the system worked well, involving the trade of equal commodities.

When governments began to mint currencies, gold and silver became natural choices. Their very rarity, especially gold, gave them an inherent value. People could trust the value of gold and silver. Slowly, however, beginning in the 1930s, world governments were no longer linking their currency to gold. The US dollar stopped being backed by gold in the 1970s. Instead of being backed by true value, word currencies became pieces of paper.

The role of gold changed from a trusted trading currency to a safe investment haven. Investors rely on the fact that while the value of paper currency will fluctuate, gold and silver will hold their value. Precious metals require no guarantees. As currencies lost their gold-backing, global central banks began purchasing and hoarding gold as a reserve currency whose value has been recognized throughout history.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

he Coming Global Financial Crisis: Debt Exhaustion

The Coming Global Financial Crisis: Debt Exhaustion

The global economy is way past the point of maximum debt saturation, and so the next stop is debt exhaustion.Just as generals fight the last war, central banks always fight the last financial crisis. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008-09 was primarily one of liquidity as markets froze up as a result of the collapse of the highly leveraged subprime mortgage sector that had commoditized fraud (hat tip to Manoj S.) via liar loans and designed-to-implode mortgage backed securities.

The central bank “solution” to institutionalized, commoditized fraud was to lower interest rates to zero and enable tens of trillions in new debt. As a result, total debt in the U.S. has soared to $70 trillion, roughly 3.5 times GDP, and global debt has skyrocketed from $84 trillion to $250 trillion. Debt in China has blasted from $7 trillion 2008 to $40 trillion in 2018.

A funny thing happens when you depend on borrowing from the future (debt) to fund growth today: the new debt no longer boosts growth, as the returns on additional debt are increasingly marginal. This leads to what I term debt exhaustion: lenders can no longer find creditworthy borrowers, borrowers either don’t want more debt or can’t afford more debt, and the cost and risk of the additional debt far outweigh the meager gains. Whatever credit is issued is gambled in speculations that the current bubble du jour will continue indefinitely.

Unfortunately, all central banks know how to do is goose liquidity to inflate asset bubbles and juice the issuance of more debt. If asset bubbles start to deflate, then central banks start buying mortgages, empty flats, stocks and bonds to prop up markets that would otherwise implode.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Sorry State of the World Economy

shanghai skyline dark sky

The Sorry State of the World Economy

Data released in January paint a bleak picture of advanced-economy prospects. Even if some emerging economies – which face serious challenges of their own – manage to pick up some of the slack, the world economy will remain encumbered by the combination of economic interconnectedness and political balkanization.

NEW YORK – January is traditionally a time for assessing the developments of the previous year, in order to anticipate what the new one has in store. Unfortunately, even though we may be at a turning point for the better politically, the data that have emerged in the last month do not paint a promising picture of the global economy’s short-term prospects.

The tone was set early in the month by the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects, along with the accompanying articles. The report paints a picture as bleak as its subtitle – “Darkening Skies” – and cuts the growth forecast for the advanced economies in 2020 to 1.6% (down from 2.2% in 2018).

Moreover, last week, the European Central Bank sounded the alarm over the eurozone economy. Between the prospect of a disorderly Brexit and rising protectionism, exemplified by the trade war between the United States and China, Europe is subject to increasing uncertainty.

Making matters worse, Germany is facing a growth slowdown. According to its own official data, the economy contracted by 0.2% in the third quarter of 2018, while the Purchasing Managers Index for manufacturing sank to 49.9 – a four-year low. Given Germany’s role as the backbone of the eurozone economy, its economic struggles are likely to cascade beyond its borders.

This is particularly problematic, because, after more than a decade of fighting crisis and recession, the advanced economies have depleted their ammunition for countering a slowdown. With the ECB’s benchmark interest rate at zero, there is little room for a cut.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Collapse Accelerating Buy Gold Now – Chris Martenson

Global Collapse Accelerating Buy Gold Now – Chris Martenson

By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com

Futurist and economic researcher Chris Martenson says a collapse is “a process, not an event.” Martenson contends the long awaited global collapse, on many fronts, has not only started, but is picking up speed. Martenson says, “Our prediction at PeakProsperity.com is these collapse trends, we have been following for 10 years now, are accelerating and continuing. None of them are reversing at this point in time. These will impact people’s future in a huge way. Environmentally, we see these signs, but we also have $245 trillion of debt in the global economy. We have been accelerating that debt cycle as if we could just keep that trend going forever—we can’t. So, what we see are all these unsustainable trends converging. They are going to happen . . . and people need to be ready.”

Martenson lays out the case to blame central banks for much of the geopolitical and economic friction in the world today. Martenson says, “The economic pie is not expanding anymore. It’s kind of stagnant. So, if you have one tiny group taking their fair share and the pie isn’t growing, it means they are taking from somebody else. This is the essence of central banking. They don’t create wealth, they redistribute wealth. When the Federal Reserve crams rates to zero, the savers lose out, but lose to who? The winners and losers are being picked by the central banks, and they have decided that the .01% should be the winners in this story and everybody else should be the losers. . . . Central bank policies have really benefited the elites at the expense of everybody else. This brings up the most important point and that is central banks are not our friends. They are redistributive organizations.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Dangers of Negative Interest Rates and a Cashless Economy

THE DANGERS OF NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES AND A CASHLESS ECONOMY

The recent gyrations in the stock market and the uncertainties surrounding American trade policies with China and other parts of the world have raised the question of when the next recession will inevitably follow the current economic recovery from the 2008-9 financial crisis. In the face of a future economic downturn, some economic policy analysts are already making the case for central banks to use negative interest rates to dampen and shorten the impact of any economy-wide decline in output and employment that may be ahead.

Not surprisingly, much of the speculation concerning the power of government to mitigate, if not prevent, an economic downturn surrounds the usual debates over the potentials of monetary and fiscal policy. Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff, in a recent article, “Central Bankers’ Fiscal Constraints” (January 4, 2019), downplays the efficacy of taxing and spending tools, and highlights, instead, the continuing crucial role of monetary policy and interest rate manipulation.

The Limits on Implementing Fiscal Policy

With nominal interest rates in the United States and some other places around the world still at historical lows (even in the face of recent Federal Reserve rate increases), Rogoff points out that many central bankers hope that more direct fiscal policy will carry the weight of countercyclical activities in the face of any serious recession that may come.

But he points out that in the American system of government, there is little immediate flexibility to enable agreement upon and introduction of tax cuts or spending increases that might be effective in holding back the recessionary trends in a timely fashion. Fiscal changes must work their way through and be passed by Congress, then signed by the president, and finally implemented by various government agencies. The entire process normally can take a long time, during which a recession could get increasingly worse.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will Globalists Sacrifice The Dollar To Get Their ‘New World Order’?

Will Globalists Sacrifice The Dollar To Get Their ‘New World Order’?

Trade is a fundamental element of human survival. No one person can produce every single product or service necessary for a comfortable life, no matter how Spartan their attitude. Unless your goal is to desperately scratch an existence from your local terrain with no chance of progress in the future, you are going to need a network of other producers. For most of the history of human civilization, production was the basis for economy. All other elements were secondary.

At some point, as trade grows and thrives, a society is going to start looking for a store of value; something that represents the man-hours and effort and ingenuity a person put into their day. Something that is universally accepted within barter networks, something highly prized, that is tangible, that can be held in our hands and is impossible to replicate artificially. Enter precious metals.

Thus, the concept of “money” was born, and for the most part it functioned quite well for thousands of years. Unfortunately, there are people in our world that see economy as a tool for control rather than a vital process that should be left alone to develop naturally.

The idea of “fiat money”, money which has no tangibility and that can be created on a whim by a central source or authority, is rather new in the grand scheme of things. It is a bastardization of the original and much more stable money system that existed before that was anchored in hard commodities. While it claims to offer a more “liquid” store of value, the truth is that it is no store of value at all.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

DEBT is the Achilles Heel of the globalist establishment… and pulling your money out of the banking system is the way to deal a DEATH BLOW to tyranny

Image: DEBT is the Achilles Heel of the globalist establishment… and pulling your money out of the banking system is the way to deal a DEATH BLOW to tyranny

(Natural News) After U.S. markets peaked in September nearly two years after Donald Trump’s victory came with the promise (and delivery) of pro-growth policies, investors got a scare in December when several factors combined with interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to drive down indexes.

The Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 all finished the year lower than they were in September. Worse, there are predictions that 2019 could hit markets harder. 

Bank of America just polled 234 panelists who manage more than $645 billion in investments where they think global growth is heading over the next 12 months, and 60 percent said it will be negative. 

On top of this potential nightmare scenario is the fact that governments around the world comprising the largest economies have nearly all become debtor nations that are one economic calamity away from global collapse.

As noted by Robert Gore at The Burning Platform blog, France’s Yellow Vest protesters may have inadvertently hit upon a way to bring about the collapse of the fiat money and debt system that is sustaining the very governments which increasingly suppress the people they are supposed to serve.

Gore notes that in recent days the French protesters — whom, you recall, took to the streets in response to a massive gasoline tax pushed by President Emmanuel Macron to fund France’s contributions to combat “global warming” agreed to at the Paris Accords in 2015 — have advocated a run on the country’s banks. Such a run, if it occurs, could actually start a chain reaction that would spread to other ostensibly wealthy countries including the United States.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Quantitative Brainwashing

Quantitative Brainwashing

We’re all familiar with the term, “quantitative easing.” It’s described as meaning, “A monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply.”

Well, that sounds reasonable… even beneficial. But, unfortunately, that’s not really the whole story.

When QE was implemented, the purchasing power was weak and both government and personal debt had become so great that further borrowing would not solve the problem; it would only postpone it and, in the end, exacerbate it. Effectively, QE is not a solution to an economic problem, it’s a bonus of epic proportions, given to banks by governments, at the expense of the taxpayer.

But, of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that governments have passed off a massive redistribution of wealth from the taxpayer to their pals in the banking sector with such clever terms. Governments of today have become extremely adept at creating euphemisms for their misdeeds in order to pull the wool over the eyes of the populace.

At this point, we cannot turn on the daily news without being fed a full meal of carefully- worded mumbo jumbo, designed to further overwhelm whatever small voices of truth may be out there.

Let’s put this in perspective for a moment.

For millennia, political leaders have been in the practice of altering, confusing and even obliterating the truth, when possible. And it’s probably safe to say that, for as long as there have been media, there have been political leaders doing their best to control them.

During times of war, political leaders have serially restricted the media from simply telling the truth. During the American civil war, President Lincoln shut down some 300 newspapers and arrested some 14,000 journalists who had the audacity to contradict his statements to the public.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Behind the Scenes at the Central Banks that Created our Modern Monetary System

Behind the Scenes at the Central Banks that Created our Modern Monetary System

money1_0.PNG

[From the Summer 2018 Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. A review of How Global Currencies Work: Past, Present, and Future by Barry Eichengreen, Arnaud Mehl, and Livia Chitu, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2018, 250 pp.]

The present volume is an engaging and intriguing account of how global currencies, such as British sterling and the U.S. dollar, have risen to global dominance in the international monetary arena, and how currencies such as the Chinese renminbi, for example, could follow in their footsteps. Divided into twelve chapters, the work focuses primarily on the international monetary history of the 20th century, complemented by a comparatively brief account of the 19th and 21st centuries. The narrower focus of the discussion in these chapters—and most of the data supplied in each chapter’s appendices—concerns the composition of foreign reserves, i.e. the balance between holdings of pounds and dollars, and later of yen, euro, and renminbi.

From this, the authors propose to tease out a few new factual discoveries and some implications for the future of the international monetary system. More precisely, they disavow the traditional theoretical view which argues that international currency status resembles a natural monopoly that arises organically from the benefits of using the currency of the most economically (commercially and financially) powerful country in international economic transactions, i.e. a monopoly due to network returns (p. 4), and winner-takes-all and lock-in effects.

Because, argue the authors, this ‘old’ model is not supported by much of the data from the 20th century, they propose a ‘new’ view arguing that multiple currencies can be used concomitantly on an international scale, such as the pound sterling and the dollar during the 1920s. These currencies played “consequential international roles” (p. 11) demonstrating that inertia and persistence due to network effects in international transactions are not as strong as previously thought.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

My Speech in the European Parliament on the Coming Economic Collapse

Zero percent interest rates have created the largest bubble in human history, when it bursts it will be worse than 1929.

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