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 […]
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 […]
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?
So it seems that China’s economy, caught in the grip of a credit crisis just a few months ago, is all better. And so, by extension, is everyone else. As the Wall Street Journal explains it: China Calms Anxiety With Economic Fixes WASHINGTON—The world’s financial leaders started the year worried about China’s decelerating economy dragging […]
For years now, the easiest way to finesse a debate over whether precious metals markets are manipulated has been to say, “well, if they’re not manipulated they’re the only market that isn’t.” That was unsatisfying, though, because as the big banks got caught scamming their customers on interest rates, mortgage bonds, forex and commodities trades, those […]
After three decades of epic deficit spending and three years of extraordinary money creation, Japan’s economy is enjoying a rollicking inflationary boom. Just kidding. Exactly the opposite is happening: Japan households’ inflation expectations hit three-year low – BOJ (Reuters) – Japanese households’ sentiment worsened in the three months to March and their expectations of inflation fell […]
It’s the same story pretty much everywhere: Cities and states promised ridiculously generous (by today’s standards) pensions to teachers, cops and firefighters, failed to sufficiently fund the plans and invested the money they did have very badly. And now the weight of the resulting unfunded obligations are crushing not just plan recipients but entire communities. […]
In that deservedly-famous 2006 CNBC debate between Peter Schiff and economist Arthur Laffer (in which the latter manages to be both arrogant and wrong about literally everything), Laffer celebrates the fact that “we are outsourcing our monetary policy to China” (minute 5:17). Alert listeners probably wondered what he meant by that, and also probably found […]
It’s just about official: With corporate sales and profits shrinking and consumer spending flatlining, the US economy will grow hardly at all this year while the rest of the world will probably drop back into recession. The result: Massive policy changes here and abroad, with major implications for stocks, bonds, precious metals and real estate.
Europe is the birthplace of Western civilization and the source of most of the trends and bodies of knowledge that define modernity. The average European speaks several languages versus sometimes less than one for Americans. They are, in short, a well-schooled people with vast accumulated wisdom. So how do we explain this: After World War […]
If easy money has stopped working, then what’s left? Massive deficits, of course. Pressure is building on governments around the world to increase spending and pay for it with borrowed funds. Sound familiar? It should, since it’s what they’ve been doing on and off for decades. But this time, “fiscal stimulus” will, like QE and […]
Savers are the obvious victims of the past few years’ plunge in interest rates. But there are other casualties, including money market funds, which have no reason for existing if their yield is negative, and insurance companies, which price their policies on the assumption that they’ll earn good returns on their bond portfolios. As bond […]
The Bank of Japan and European Central Bank eased recently, which is to say they stepped up their bond buying and/or pushed interest rates further into negative territory. These kinds of things are proxies for currency devaluation in the sense that money printing and lower interest rates generally cause the offending country’s currency to be […]
Not so long ago the financial world viewed certain numbers as limits beyond which lay trouble. Interest rates near zero, for instance, were thought to risk destabilizing the banking system. And government fiscal deficits above 3% were considered so dangerous that exceeding this level was prohibited by the Maastricht treaty that all eurozone members were […]
Anyone who doubts that the global financial system has run out of (good new) ideas has only to track the recent words and deeds of central bankers and mainstream economists: Slightly-negative interest rates didn’t lead people to borrow more? We’ll go more negative! Buying up all the government bonds didn’t prevent deflation? We’ll start buying […]