On Politics

     

 

 

End of the Road

The confluence of factors that influence market prices are vast and variable.  One moment patterns and relationships are so pronounced you can set a cornerstone by them.  The next moment they vanish like smoke in the wind. One thing that makes trading stocks so confounding is that the buy and sell points appear so obvious in hindsight.  When examining a stock’s price chart over a multi-year duration the wave movements appear to be almost predictable.

 

The fascinating obviousness of hindsight – it is now perfectly clear when one should have bought AMZN. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite as clear in real time. [PT]

 

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Glitches on the Road to MAGA

While the farcical Kavanaugh confirmation hearings dominated the news cycle for the past couple of weeks, little mention was made of a disturbing economic headline – the August US trade deficit. Despite all the bluster from the Trump Administration about “winning trade wars” and “trade wars are easy”, America’s trade imbalances for August were the highest ever and its deficit with its most contentious partner – China – reached an all-time high.

 

Bi-directional trade bazooka [PT]

 

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Exciting Visions of a Bright Future

Fund Managers, economists and politicians agree on the exciting future they see in the Third World. According to them, the engine of the world’s economic growth has moved from the West to what were once the poverty-stricken societies of the Third World. They feel mushy about the rapid increase in the size of the Middle Class in the Third World, and how poverty is becoming history.

 

GDP of India vs. UK in 2016 – crossing over.

 

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Sarah Westall Interviews Claudio Grass

Last month our friend Claudio Grass, roving Mises Institute Ambassador and a Switzerland-based investment advisor specializing in precious metals, was interviewed by Sarah Westall for her Business Game Changers channel.

 

Sarah Westall and Claudio Grass

 

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Happy Destiny

There’s great elation flowing from the various economic bureaus down through President Trump. They bring us good tidings. If you haven’t heard, here in the USA, we live, work, and play in the dazzle and delight of an economy in which GDP growth exceeds the unemployment rate.

 

The president has clearly had a hand in job creation. :) Seriously, there can be no doubt that aggregate economic activity has increased as a result of the measures the government has implemented, including deregulation, tax cuts and increased deficit spending. Note that the latter is offsetting the salutary effects of the other measures in the long run, even though government spending is added to GDP and therefore provides a near term boost to official “growth”. It is just difficult to tell how much of this growth consists of genuine wealth creation and how much of it is simply masking capital consumption. [PT]

 

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Misadventures and Mishaps

Over the past decade, in the wake of the 2008-09 debt crisis, the impossible has happened.  The sickness of too much debt has been seemingly cured with massive dosages of even more debt.  This, no doubt, is evidence that there are wonders and miracles above and beyond 24-hour home deliveries of Taco Bell via Door Dash.

 

The global debtberg: at the end of 2017, it had grown to USD 237 trillion. Obviously this is by now a slightly dated figure, as debt issuance has continued with gay abandon this year. [PT]

 

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Shifts in Credit-Land: Repatriation Hurts Small Corporate Borrowers

A recent Bloomberg article informs us that US companies with large cash hoards (such as AAPL and ORCL) were sizable players in corporate debt markets, supplying plenty of funds to borrowers in need of US dollars. Ever since US tax cuts have prompted repatriation flows, a “$300 billion-per-year hole” has been left in the market, as Bloomberg puts it. The chart below depicts the situation as of the end of August (not much has changed since then).

 

Short term (1-3 year) yields have risen strongly as a handful of cash-rich tech companies have begun to repatriate funds to the US.

 

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A Fake Money World

The NASDAQ slipped below 8,000 this week. But you can table your reservations.  The record bull market in U.S. stocks is still on. With a little imagination, and the assistance of crude chart projections, DOW 40,000 could be eclipsed by the end of the decade.  Remember, anything and everything’s possible with enough fake money.

 

Driven by a handful of big cap tech companies, the Nasdaq Composite has made new highs – but the broad market (here shown in the form of the NYSE Index) has not even made it back to the January blow-off peak. It is a good bet the return of the average investor’s portfolio mirrors that of the latter. Such divergences are typically a sign of steadily weakening market internals which are seen near major trend changes.  When such a glaring divergence in performance persistently fails to be invalidated and keeps dragging on for many months, it tends to be particularly concerning for the longer term outlook, Note that even more glaring divergences exist now between US stocks vs. European and EM stocks. Despite the fact that US economic indicators remain strong and no obvious recession warnings are evident, we have yet to see such large divergences resolve without a hiccup. Usually the hiccup turns out to be quite a doozy. [PT]

 

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Maurice Jackson Speaks with Jayant Bhandari About Emerging Market Currencies, the Trade War, US Foreign Policy and More

Maurice Jackson of Proven & Probable has recently conducted a new interview with our friend and occasional contributor to this site, Jayant Bhandari, who is inter alia the host of the annual Capitalism and Morality seminar.

 

Maurice Jackson (left) and Jayant Bhandari (right)

 

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Squishy Fact Finding Mission

Today we begin with the facts.  But not just the facts; the facts of the facts.  We want to better understand just what it is that is provoking today’s ludicrous world. To clarify, we are not after the cold hard facts; those with no opinions, like the commutative property of addition. Rather, we are after the warm squishy facts; the type of facts that depend on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

 

Fact-related pleas… [PT]

 

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The Final Stage of a Crack-Up Boom

For economists the dire downward spiral of Venezuela’s economy holds the same fascination black holes hold for physicists. Both illustrate what happens amid the most extreme conditions imaginable. It is thought that this may potentially provide clues of a more general nature. The remnants of massive imploded stars are inanimate and many light years distant; regardless of how violent conditions in their vicinity are, they cannot touch us. Unfortunately, extreme economic conditions definitely involve a great deal of human suffering.

 

“We are the humanist socialism that will save the world”, from Venezuelan cartoonist Weil (he always draws the dear leaders with big wads of dollars sticking out of their pockets, making them look like otherworldly birds – look for his work on the intertubes).

 

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Introductory Remarks: The “Anti-Politician” Godfrey Bloom, by PT

Most of our readers will probably remember former UKIP chief whip and European Parliament representative Godfrey Bloom. As far as we know, he is the only politician who ever raised the issue of the workings of the fractionally reserved central bank-directed monetary system in the EU parliament. This system is of course central to the phenomenon of the recurring boom-bust sequences plaguing the global economy.

 

Godfrey Bloom (left) and interviewer Claudio Grass

 

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