Markets are subject to a giant con game. The game of CONfidence. Confidence must be maintained under all circumstances or we’re heading into a global recession first and then a US recession to follow.
Consider the macro context here: Nine major economiesare either in recession or on the verge of it. This includes Germany, UK, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore, South Korea, Russia. Everything else is slowing down hard. Yields are plummeting for a reason and once again the world is looking to central banks to bail everyone out and for stimulus programs to be launched to rescue a global economy that hasn’t been able to do without in 10 years. US consumers are holding the US economy up is the consensus as they keep spending for now, but already we saw a dip in confidence. Why? Trade tensions, political tensions, and yes, concerns that the longest business cycle may come to an end. Add scary stock market headlines and before you know it the consumer is holding back.
And hence confidence must be maintained under all circumstances. This has been the game for 10 years and hence any market drops that would add pressure to confidence must be averted. You really think it’s an accident we see intervention always at the point of serious trouble?
Retail sales dropped hard in December as markets plummeted. It’s no coincidence. Hence any prolonged malaise must averted.
As Mohamed El-Erian pointed out so clearly this week:
“We may end up in a situation where people read these alarmist headlines, they get concerned, they stop spending. As they stop spending, companies stop investing. And then we get a major slowdown:”
Alarmist headlines? How about headlines that point out reality? But the larger point is clear: Lose the consumer and a recession is unfolding perhaps more quickly than anyone can imagine. After all nobody on the planet called for a 1.5% US 10 year yield in 2019 or a German 10 year bund at -0.72%.
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