US inflation was last at 8.3% in January 1982. And then, the 10-year yield was 14.6. History may not be a perfect guide, but it is the best we have. So it might be worth planning for rates to go much higher than most “experts” expect, now that they have broken out of their downtrend.
Chemicals and the Economy
The history of the 1929 and 2000 downturns suggests the real pain is yet to come. Housing markets look terribly over-valued around the world, as I noted last month. And US consumer sentiment is at all-time lows. So most company earnings seem set to fall, with more than 60% of US CEOs now expecting to see a recession.
The Fed might change its mind and rush to support asset markets again. But that seems unlikely today. If it doesn’t, then debt, divorce and death will force an increasing number of people to sell their home. And if buyers continue to disappear, then sellers will have to continue cutting prices in order to try and achieve a sale, as the bubble finally bursts.
Markets have returned to the 1970s. They have to cope with “Putinflation”, recession, rising interest rates and energy prices – as well as geopolitical and nuclear risk. Unfortunately, today’s traders do not even have the experience of the 1960s as a guide, having lived in a different world for 20 years.
Problems in the housing market aren’t just confined to the US, UK, Germany and China. The average house price/income ratio is now back to the highest level since records began. And the problem for homeowners is that potential buyers are already starting to disappear as mortgage rates rise – and affordability reduces.
The central banks are now abandoning the ‘Bernanke Doctrine’ set out in November 2010 – that what was good for markets, was good for the economy.
Our pH Report Sentiment Index has been a very reliable guide to the S&P 500 in recent years. Now it is suggesting a major downturn may be underway as the US and Chinese stimulus programmes come to an end.
Exponential rapidly rising or falling markets usually go further than you think, but they do not correct by going sideways.
“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.” These lines from Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel “Fiesta” (USA title ‘The Sun also Rises’), summarise where we now are with Evergrande’s likely default in China. It did indeed begin “gradually” at first – starting in February 2016. As I noted here […]
China’s economy has been ‘subprime on steroids’ since the financial crisis in 2008. And essentially, this has morphed into a giant Ponzi scheme, where some property developers used deposits paid by new buyers to finance the construction of apartments they’d already sold. Now the world’s most indebted property developer, Evergrande, has warned it may default […]