For the past 15 years, since the Global Financial Crisis, central banks have claimed they could generate demand and economic growth via stimulus. Some $73tn of spending later, it is finally becoming clear to some of them, at least, that they can’t.
Now, we all have to start picking up the pieces of the problems they have created.
investors are hoping Fed Chairman Jay Powell will soon signal a dramatic interest rate cut. And so they are positioning for a ‘Santa Claus’ rally. But most adults know that Santa Claus doesn’t really exist.
Essentially, the central banks thought that unlimited amounts of free money could reverse the impact of ageing populations. WeWork’s bankruptcy suggests that the bills for this mistake are now coming due, after 20 years of what the Wall Street Journal called “The most reckless monetary and fiscal experiment in history”
Last week, the Japanese yen fell through the US$ : ¥150 level for the first time since 1990. It has now fallen by nearly 50% against the US$ in the past two years. The currency is behaving as if Japan were a 3rd world country – whereas it is actually the 3rd largest economy in the world. Clearly, something is very wrong.
US 10-year interest rates are the world’s benchmark “risk-free” market. And as the chart shows, their yield has risen from 3.25% on 4 June to peak at 4.88% on Friday. Prices move inversely to yield. So that means prices have fallen 50% in 4 months.
300+ years of Bank of England data shows that interest rates are typically inflation plus 2.5%. At today’s level, this would imply – US rates would be 3.7% + 2.5% = 6.2%: Japan would be 3.2% + 2.5% = 5.7%: Eurozone rates would be 5.3% + 2.5% = 7.8%; UK rates would be 6.7% + 2.5% = 9.2%
Bubbles are great fun while they last. But they are much less fun when they burst. For the past 20 years, central bank stimulus has created some of the largest bubbles ever seen. But now, led by developments in Japan and China, they are bursting
A celebrity, with money to burn, might buy an NFT to use as an avatar. But it seems “really, really weird” that NFT trading reached billions of dollars at the peak of the mania. One wonders what will happen when reality starts to return to the valuations of the 10 FAANMG+ stocks currently boosting the S&P 500.
Central banks have spent 15 years telling us that debt and demographics “don’t matter”. They claimed they could always create demand via stimulus. But now the policy has run out of road. Homeowners and stock traders who thought rates would stay low forever, will be the ones to suffer
The Presidential Cycle is now over. Instead, worries about the recession and the US debt ceiling talks are moving centre-stage. But Asian currency markets are sending a warning signal. A rising US dollar and US interest rates, and a falling yen and yuan, could soon raise the risks of a major Asian debt crisis.