This year’s recovery in precious metals prices – and the sudden spike in gold/silver mining stocks – convinced a lot of people that a new bull market had begun. Last week’s brutal smack-down scared the hell out of many of the same folks. The latest commitment of traders (COT) report implies that we should all […]
Amid all the epic financial bubbles that have emerged in the past few years, real estate has been a bit of an afterthought. Still, the action in hot market trophy properties has been pretty bubbly. And now the run may be ending. London penthouses are sitting empty due to Brexit uncertainty. Vancouver condos aren’t selling […]
You read that right. Not only is Italy selling 50-year bonds, but people are lining up buy them. Italy’s first 50-year bond sale had huge demand (Reuters) – Italy sold its first 50-year bond on Tuesday as some investors bet the European Central Bank may soon add ultra-long debt to its asset-purchase stimulus scheme. About […]
I know it’s bad form to express sympathy for the people running the world’s central banks. But come on, they’re human beings in an impossible spot with no idea how to escape. The pain they feel is both intense and legitimate, and we should respond with at least a bit of empathy. Just kidding. It’s […]
Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, the Italian banks…it’s getting ugly across the pond, and the worst is yet to come. Here’s a brief look at the reasons why, including derivatives, ridiculous capital rules, dumb lending practices and, of course, negative interest rates. If you’re looking for short sale candidates, Europe’s banks should be on the list.
These are great times for financial assets — and by implication for finance companies that make and sell them, right? Alas, no. Just the opposite. Each part of the FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) economy is imploding as “modern” finance hits the wall. Interest rates, for instance, have fallen for three decades… Stock prices are […]
Calling Wall Street’s banks stupid and dangerous is like calling the sun “big and warm.” It’s a clear understatement of an obvious fact. The same goes for calling Japan and China economically clueless. Their actions pretty much guarantee that they’ll ultimately enter some sort of death spiral. Germany, meanwhile, is many things, but clueless and […]
One of the jarring things about visiting less-well-off countries is the seemingly inexhaustible supply of girls and boys available for anyone with hard currency. These are someone’s kids. But apparently there’s not enough food in the rural village or urban slum to sustain them, so they end up living lives that are absolutely inconceivable for […]
Last week the Fed found out what will happen if it raises rates: The global financial markets will melt down. So this morning a new member of the central bank’s seemingly endless army of talking heads said some soothing words, which stabilized the US stock prices. Now the question is when the Fed will finally […]
The “whatever it takes” economy is progressing nicely around the world, with governments and central banks doing things that no 20th century economist would have viewed as possible, let alone wise. Now the question becomes, where does this process hit the wall first? Based on recent events, Europe is looking like the best bet. Consider […]
One of the big advantages of being a Latin American or Asian country used to be — somewhat counter-intuitively — the lack of credit available to most citizens. The banking system in, say, Brazil or Thailand simply wasn’t “advanced” enough to offer credit card, auto, or mortgage loans on a scale sufficient to turn the […]
The most obvious difference between “rich” and “poor” countries is that the former provide health care for most or all of their lucky citizens. At least they used to: Obese patients and smokers banned from routine surgery in ‘most severe ever’ rationing in the UK (Telegraph) – Obese people will be routinely refused operations across […]
The world’s central banks clearly have no idea what they’re doing. Yet they keep on making threats, promises and predictions, most either nonsensical or contradictory, while acting in ways that make their countries’ problems worse rather than better. The end of their credibility is in sight.
For most of the world, the past decade’s monetary and fiscal experiments are viewed as failures. See, for instance, French support for the EU project crumbling on both left and right and Why were smart people suckered by Abenomics? So what do the best and brightest now running global economic policy do when their experiments […]
Citizens of the developed world are watching Venezuela’s descent into financial and political chaos mostly, it seems, with amused detachment, safe in the assumption that we’ll never end up hunting our cats and dogs for food. But – since Europe, Japan and the US are making essentially the same mistakes as Venezuela’s past and present […]