Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Here’s Why the Next Recession Will Spiral Into a Depression

Here's the difference between a recession and a depression: you can't get blood from a stone, or make an insolvent entity solvent with more debt. There are two basic differences between a recession and a depression: 1. Duration: a recession typically lasts between 6 and 18 months, while a depression drags on for years or even decades, often masked by official propaganda as "slow growth" or "stagnation."

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How Many Households Qualify as Middle Class?

By the standards of previous generations, the middle class has been stripmined of income, assets and purchasing power. What does it take to be middle class nowadays? Defining the middle class is a parlor game, with most of the punditry referring to income brackets as the defining factor.

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The Distortions of Doom Part 2: The Fatal Flaws of Reserve Currencies

The way forward is to replace the entire system of reserve currencies with a transparent free-for-all of all kinds of currencies. Over the years, I've endeavored to illuminate the arcane dynamics of global currencies by discussing Triffin's Paradox, which explains the conflicting dual roles of national currencies that also act as global reserve currencies, i.e. currencies that other nations use for global payments, loans and foreign exchange...

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The Global Distortions of Doom Part 1: Hyper-Indebted Zombie Corporations

The defaults and currency crises in the periphery will then move into the core. It's funny how unintended consequences so rarely turn out to be good. The intended consequences of central banks' unprecedented tsunami of stimulus (quantitative easing, super-low interest rates and easy credit / abundant liquidity) over the past decade were: 1.

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A Few Questions From Today’s BOND ROUT!!!!

On April 2, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield traded below 2.75%. It had been as high as 2.94% in later February at the tail end of last year’s inflation hysteria. But after the shock of global liquidations in late January and early February, liquidity concerns would override again at least for a short while. After April 2, the BOND ROUT!!!! was re-energized and away went interest rates.

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Pensions Now Depend on Bubbles Never Popping (But All Bubbles Pop)

We're living in a fantasy, folks. Bubbles pop, period. The nice thing about the "wealth" generated by bubbles is it's so easy: no need to earn wealth the hard way, by scrimping and saving capital and investing it wisely. Just sit back and let central bank stimulus push assets higher.

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China’s Industrial Dollar

In December 2006, just weeks before the outbreak of “unforeseen” crisis, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke discussed the breathtaking advance of China’s economy. He was in Beijing for a monetary conference, and the unofficial theme of his speech, as I read it, was “you can do better.” While economic gains were substantial, he said, they were uneven.

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Fixing Infrastructure Isn’t as Simple as Spending Another Trillion Dollars

It isn't easy to add new subway lines or new highways, and so "solutions" don't really exist. If there's one thing Americans can still agree on, it's that America needs to spend more on infrastructure which is visibly falling apart in many places. This capital investment creates jobs and satisfies everyone's ideological requirements: investment in public infrastructure helps enterprises, local governments and residents.

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The Labor Shortage Is Real

Few conventional-media commentators are willing or able to discuss these factors in the labor shortage / declining participation trends. Is there a labor shortage in the U.S.? Employers are shouting "yes." Economists keep looking for wage increases as evidence of a labor shortage, and since wage increases are still relatively modest, the argument that there are severe labor shortages in parts of the U.S. is unpersuasive to many conventional...

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Make Your Case, Jay

June 13 sticks out for both eurodollar futures as well as IOER. On the surface, there should be no bearing on the former from the latter. They are technically unrelated; IOER being a current rate applied as an intended money alternative. Eurodollar futures are, as the term implies, about where all those money rates might fall in the future. Still, the eurodollar curve inverted conspicuously starting June 13. That was the day of the prior “rate...

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Droit du Seigneur and the Neofeudal Privileges of Class in America

Want to understand the full scope of neofeudalism in America? Follow the money and the power and privilege it buys. The repugnant reality of class privilege in America is captured by the phrase date rape: the violence of forced, non-consensual sex is abhorrent rape when committed by commoner criminals, but implicitly excusable date rape when committed by a member of America's privileged elite.

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Monthly Macro Monitor – September 2018

Alhambra Investments CEO Joe Calhoun shares his opinions of the economy and market based on the most recent economic reports.

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The Four Disastrous Presidential Policies That Are Destroying the Nation

It's admittedly a tough task to select the four most disastrous presidential policies of the past 60 years, given the great multitude to choose from. Here are my top choices and the reasons why I selected these from a wealth of policy disasters.

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When Does This Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham Finally End?

Credit bubbles are not engines of sustainable employment, they are only engines of malinvestment and wealth destruction on a grand scale. We all know the Status Quo's response to the global financial meltdown of 2008 has been a travesty of a mockery of a sham--smoke and mirrors, flimsy facades of "recovery," simulacrum "reforms," serial bubble-blowing and politically expedient can-kicking, all based on borrowing and printing trillions of dollars,...

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Monthly Macro Monitor – September

This has already been one of the longest economic expansions on record for the US and there is little in the data or markets to indicate that is about to come to an end. Current levels of the yield curve are comparable to late 2005 in the last cycle. It was almost two years later before we even had an inkling of a problem and even in the summer of 2008 – nearly three years later – there was still a robust debate about whether the US could avoid...

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We’re All Speculators Now

When the herd thunders off the cliff, most participants are trapped in the stampede.. One of the most perverse consequences of the central banks "saving the world" (i.e. saving banks and the super-wealthy) is the destruction of low-risk investments: we're all speculators now, whether we know it or acknowledge it.

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Massive Deficit Spending Greenlights Waste, Fraud, Profiteering and Dysfunction

The nice thing about free to me money from any source is the recipients don't have to change anything. Free money is the ultimate free-pass from consequence and adaptation: instead of having to make difficult trade-offs or suffer the consequences of profligacy, the recipients of free money are saved: they can continue on their merry way, ignoring the monumental dysfunction of their lifestyle.

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Emerging Markets: Preview of the Week Ahead

EM FX ended mixed in Friday, capping off an up and down week. RUB and TRY initially firmed on their respective rate hikes but gave back some of those gains heading into the weekend. Trade tensions are likely to remain high, as press reports suggest President Trump is pushing ahead with tariffs on $200 bln of Chinese imports even as high-level talks are planned.

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Downslope CPI

Cushing, OK, delivered what it could for the CPI. The contribution to the inflation rate from oil prices was again substantial in August 2018. The energy component of the index gained 10.3% year-over-year, compared to 11.9% in July. It was the fourth straight month of double digit gains.

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ECB (Data) Independence

Mario Draghi doesn’t have a whole lot going for him, but he is at least consistent – at times (yes, inconsistent consistency). Bloomberg helpfully reported yesterday how the ECB’s staff committee that produces the econometric projections has recommended the central bank’s Governing Council change the official outlook. Since last year, risks have been “balanced” in their collective opinion.

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