Feb 27


Just like binge drinking destroys the human body, so does Keynesian binge drinking (deliberately) destroy the entire financial system.


Keynesian Skeptics Ask “Can Binge Drinking Really Cure Alcoholism?”:


Have you ever wondered who these people are? The people who decide how much capital should cost, how much credit and cash should be issued. You know, the twits who dream up QE, ZIRP and NIRP.

Where do they come from? Who pays their wages? Where do they get these hair-brained ideas? Are they on medication?

Sadly we probably know most of the answers… Continue reading »

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Apr 11

None Dare Call It Fraud—–Its Just A “Savings Glut” (David Stockman’s Contra Corner, April 10, 2015):

They were jawing again this morning about the low “natural rate” of interest on bubble vision, implying that the workers of the world have succumbed to an atavistic fit of wild-eyed thrift. Gosh, the world is so inundated in a savings glut, averred Wall Street economist Ed McKeon, that the interest rate would be near zero—–even without the concerted action of the central banks.

Hogwash! Since the turn of the century the major central banks have purchased upwards of $15 trillion worth of government bonds and other fixed income assets. Yes, these reckless money printers have suspended common sense, but they have not repealed the law of supply and demand, nor even suspended its relentless operation for a nanosecond.

So in adding massively to “demand” for something that sells at a price (the interest rate), the big fat bid of the central banks has caused fixed income markets to clear at much higher prices (lower yields) than would otherwise be the case. That’s just economics 101.

By contrast, were the market dependent solely upon the savings of America’s hand-to-mouth middle class, Europe’s legions of socialist pensioners, Japan’s mushrooming retirement colony or the millions of former peasant girls who labor for comparatively meager in Foxcon’s sweatshops, one thing would be certain: There would not be trillions of government bonds trading at negative nominal interest rates this very moment, or tens of trillions trading close to the zero bound and therefore at negative rates after inflation and taxes.

In a word, there is a $100 trillion bond market out there that has been priced by a handful of central bankers, not a planet teeming with exhuberant savers. The mad descent of the former into the whacky world of QE and ZIRP has caused a double whammy distortion in the bond markets of the world. Continue reading »

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Aug 06

Three Chart Alarm: The Fed Has Set-Up The Corporate Bond Market For A Big Fall (David Stockman’s Contra Corner, Aug 5, 2014):

The three charts below, which appeared in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, are still another reminder that the Fed’s heedless fueling of the third financial bubble this century has done enormous damage to the internals of financial markets.  In this case, investors and savers being brutally punished by ZIRP were herded into bonds funds in a desperate scramble for yield. Accordingly, bond fund assets soared from $1.6 trillion at the time of the financial crisis to $4.1 trillion today.

Yet the market’s structural liquidity condition has gone in the opposite direction. Dealer inventories of corporate bonds have plummeted by nearly 75% from pre-crash levels, meaning that the ratio of dealer inventories to bond fund assets has virtually been vaporized. In 2008 that ratio stood at 15%, but presently it is only 1.5%.  Likewise, daily trading volumes have been cut in half since the crisis.

The implication is no mystery. When the financial markets eventually succumb to a “risk-off” selling panic, the corporate bond market will gap down violently. As one astute analyst put it:

“Everyone is hoping to be first through the exit,” said Matt King, global head of credit strategy at Citigroup in London. “By definition, that’s not possible.”

Stated differently, the Fed’s explicit campaign to force grandpa out of CDs and into corporate bond funds has caused a vast mis-pricing of liquidity. In a healthy free market, bond fund yields would carry a significant discount for illiquidity, and issuers of riskier corporate credits would face far higher yield spreads vs. the 10-year treasury benchmark.

So once again, the serial bubble machine in the Eccles Building has generated a huge unnatural market deformation that is inherently unstable and increasingly fragile. When the break comes, years worth of “extra” yield will be wiped-out in a traumatic drop in bond prices caused by a panic at the exit ramp.

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Jan 07

Forecast 2014 — Burning Down the House (By James Howard Kunstler, Jan 6, 2014):

Many of us in the Long Emergency crowd and like-minded brother-and-sisterhoods remain perplexed by the amazing stasis in our national life, despite the gathering tsunami of forces arrayed to rock our economy, our culture, and our politics. Nothing has yielded to these forces already in motion, so far. Nothing changes, nothing gives, yet. It’s like being buried alive in Jell-O. It’s embarrassing to appear so out-of-tune with the consensus, but we persevere like good soldiers in a just war.

Paper and digital markets levitate, central banks pull out all the stops of their magical reality-tweaking machine to manipulate everything, accounting fraud pervades public and private enterprise, everything is mis-priced, all official statistics are lies of one kind or another, the regulating authorities sit on their hands, lost in raptures of online pornography (or dreams of future employment at Goldman Sachs), the news media sprinkles wishful-thinking propaganda about a mythical “recovery” and the “shale gas miracle” on a credulous public desperate to believe, the routine swindles of medicine get more cruel and blatant each month, a tiny cohort of financial vampire squids suck in all the nominal wealth of society, and everybody else is left whirling down the drain of posterity in a vortex of diminishing returns and scuttled expectations.

Continue reading »

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Jun 27

Former Goldman Sachs managing director & ‘European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is contemplating taking interest rates into a twilight zone shunned by the Federal Reserve’

What could possibly go wrong?

Europe’s “Monetary Twilight Zone” Neutron Bomb: NIRP (ZeroHedge, June 27, 2012):

Just because ZIRP is so 2009 (and will be until the end of central planning as the Fed can not afford to hike rates ever again), the ECB is now contemplating something far more drastic: charging depositors for the privilege of holding money. Enter NIRP, aka Negative Interest Rate Policy.

Bloomberg reports that “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is contemplating taking interest rates into a twilight zone shunned by the Federal Reserve. while cutting ECB rates may boost confidence, stimulate lending and foster growth, it could also involve reducing the bank’s deposit rate to zero or even lower. Once an obstacle for policy makers because it risks hurting the money markets they’re trying to revive, cutting the deposit rate from 0.25 percent is no longer a taboo, two euro-area central bank officials said on June 15… “The European recession is worsening, the ECB has to do more,” said Julian Callow, chief European economist at Barclays Capital in London, who forecasts rates will be cut at the ECB’s next policy meeting on July 5. “A negative deposit rate is something they need to consider but taking it to zero as a first step is more likely.” Should Draghi elect to cut the deposit rate to zero or lower, he’ll be entering territory few policy makers have dared to venture. Sweden’s Riksbank in July 2009 became the world’s first central bank to charge financial institutions for the money they deposited with it overnight.

There is only one problem when comparing the Riksbank with the ECB: at €747 billion in deposits parked at the ECB as of yesterday, the ECB is currently paying out 0.25% on this balance, a move which may or may not be a reason for the depositor banks, primarily of North European extraction, to keep their money parked in Frankfurt. However, once this money has to pay to stay, it is certain that nearly $1 trillion in deposit cash, currently in electronic format, would flood the market. What happens next is unknown: the ECB hopes that this liquidity flood will be contained. The reality will be vastly different. One thing is certain: inflating the debt is the only way out for the status quo. The only question is what format it will take.

More from Bloomberg:

“It won’t help the prospect of a functioning money market because banks won’t be compensated for the risk they’re taking,” said Orlando Green, a fixed-income strategist at Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank in London. It would make more sense to lower the benchmark rate, thus reducing the interest banks pay on ECB loans, and keep the deposit rate where it is, Green said. Continue reading »

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