“… it is hard to avoid the sense of a puzzling disconnect between the markets’ buoyancy and underlying economic developments globally…. Despite the euphoria in financial markets, investment remains weak. Instead of adding to productive capacity, large firms prefer to buy back shares or engage in mergers and acquisitions.
As history reminds us, there is little appetite for taking the long-term view. Few are ready to curb financial booms that make everyone feel illusively richer. Or to hold back on quick fixes for output slowdowns, even if such measures threaten to add fuel to unsustainable financial booms. Or to address balance sheet problems head-on during a bust when seemingly easier policies are on offer. The temptation to go for shortcuts is simply too strong, even if these shortcuts lead nowhere in the end.
– Bank of International Settlements, 84th Annual Report
It was a year ago when the general manager of the Bank of International Settlements (the central banks’ central bank), Jamie Caruana warned that the “Monetary Kool-Aid Party Is Over.” Since then central banks have proven their own supervisor wrong in their ability to kick the can, because even as the Fed has commenced tapering its own QE (due to the same bond market liquidity issues we warned about last summer) the ECB has more than offset the Fed’s brief attempt at policy normalization by escalating, for the first time in history, from ZIRP to NIRP. In other words, the Kool-Aid keeps flowing.
Which brings us to the BIS’ just released annual report. There are many reason to read the full report cover to cover, but perhaps the most prominent one is that, once again, the Bank of International Settlements has merely compiled a book report of all Zero Hedge posts not only over the past year, but since our inception.
A quick summary of the report comes from FT: