Somewhere back in the depths of time the world got the idea that easy money — that is, low interest rates and high levels of government spending — would produce sustainable growth with modest but positive inflation. And for a while it seemed to work. But that was an illusion. What actually happened was textbook, […]
“Of course there are true copper bottomed mistakes, like spelling the word “rabbit” with three m’s, or wearing a black bra under a white blouse, or, to make a more masculine example, starting a land war in Asia.” — John Cleese We all make mistakes, but some are bigger than others. An example of a […]
Macy’s reports horrendous earnings and Italian banks finally reveal their non-performing loans. Share prices plunge accordingly. China, meanwhile, admits that it’s over-leveraged and promises to stop borrowing. In other words, wherever you look, a global slowdown is coming and a massive currency devaluation will soon be the only politically feasible solution.
This is a tale of changing environments and the organisms that are, as a result, dying off. First, consider the bricks and mortar retailers. Amazon, the dominant online seller of virtually everything, reports a spectacular quarter with soaring sales and (fairly new for them) strong profits. But in a world of flat consumer spending, where […]
Something interesting has happened. China earlier this year responded to falling stock prices by borrowing a trillion dollars and spending it on commodities, boosting the prices of iron ore, oil, copper, etc., and giving the global economy a patina of recovery. Nothing unusual so far. China did the same thing in response to 2008’s Great […]
For the past 50 or so years, the quickest way for a sharp young sociopath to get rich has been to join an investment bank or hedge fund. The former were riding a “regulatory capture” gravy train that became ever-more-lucrative as new government agencies morphed into subsidiaries of Wall Street. Hedge funds, meanwhile, were surfing […]
China’s most recent borrowing binge didn’t work, while Japanese and European negative interest rates sent their currencies up rather than down. The result: Global growth is slowing and governments are panicking. Look for fiscal stimulus to pick up the slack in the year ahead — that is, bigger deficits, more government borrowing and maybe even […]
The dollar is tanking lately. From a high of around 100 in December, the dollar index — which measures USD against a basket of foreign currencies — is down about 8%, and the decline is steepening. In counterintuitive currency war terms, that means the US is winning the latest battle. After three years of the […]
China’s historic post-2009 debt binge flew largely under the radar — fooling most observers into thinking the global economy was recovering rather than just re-leveraging. Now Beijing is back at it, borrowing over $1 trillion in this year’s first quarter, buying up commodities and creating the illusion of global growth. But this time the scam […]
These are shockingly bad times for big banks, especially when you consider that the overall economy is supposed to be fairly healthy. The latest example is Germany’s Deutsche Bank: Deutsche Bank Q1 ‘most challenging in several decades’: CFO (CNBC) – Deutsche Bank posted a 58 percent drop in net profit in the first quarter, to […]
Combine record-high stock prices with weak corporate earnings, a too-strong dollar and rising turmoil in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and the result is a dangerously vulnerable market. Time to go “risk-off”, in other words. But keep stacking gold and silver.
First it was the banks reporting horrendous numbers — largely, we were told, because of their exposure to recently-cratered energy companies. Now it’s Big Tech, which is a much harder thing to explain. The FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) own their niches and not so long ago were expected to generate strong growth […]
For as long as most gold and silver investors can remember, the paper markets — that is, banks and speculators placing bets with futures contracts — have set the price of those metals. And within the paper markets, “the commercials” — fabricators and big banks — have consistently fooled speculators like hedge funds into going […]
Coming into this corporate earnings season, everyone seemed to expect disappointment. But they thought it would come from the energy sector and the banks that had lent that sector way too much money (see Goldman Sachs is a flattened slug). Technology was, as always, thought to be immune to the vagaries of the Old Economy. […]
Goldman, Morgan Stanley and IBM release numbers that look, well, depression-like. Housing starts plunge, gold and silver spike, China’s bond market seizes up, and Deutsche Bank prepares to name names in its gold manipulation scandal. And US stocks keep rising…what’s wrong with this picture?