Sunday, February 16, 2014

Financial game of Chicken

From Doug Noland at

"There was a crucial policy debate from the late-twenties that has become increasingly pertinent, especially for Beijing and Washington. In the “Roaring Twenties” there was recognition within policy circles that heightened speculation was fostering financial excess including Credit financing speculative trading and other ventures. At the same time, heightened economic vulnerability and downward pricing pressures had policymakers searching for ways to direct Credit into productive investment and away from speculation. Yet, at the end of the day, the intensity of 1927-1929 “terminal phase” speculative excess ensured that liquidity and Credit flowed disproportionately to inflating market Bubbles. Thoughts, efforts and hopes that policy measures could redirect finance away from market Bubbles and to the real economy ended in complete and utter failure. "

There is much talk about how Fed policies and QE have not created Bubbles in assets, and how inflation is barely visible . Since 2011 wages have increased at a stagnant 1% a year! but health care has soared! meat prices and other food costs have also rose close to 20%. It is harder for the middle class to stretch their budgets, they are falling behind and lucky if they are running in place.

Monetary policy , as it did in 1929 era, has fallen short of influencing the real economy , but instead the flows have gone directly into risky asset classes. Without this flow, prices would be nowhere close to where they are now. Artificial sweetness are just that, and come with side effects.

After a week or two of correction , the VIX fear index has fallen back like nothing happened. The momo stocks didn't even correct much during this time. It is hard to predict the ultimate top of any market, but there are enough signs now to warrant caution.

As excessive as the stimulus has been, when it does reverse course, it might suddenly and viscously.

I am watching the transports, for now laggards , and gold prices are on rise, usually seen as a safe haven. Core mining such as copper which always rise in a recovery are in a downtrend.

China's runaway freight train bubble is on its last legs, a bursting there to the worlds second largest economy would have serious ripple effects across the world.

Not time to fall asleep in this game of musical chairs.


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