Perspectives on the global economic changes

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Austin
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Austin » 04 Sep 2018 17:48

David Stockman: When Next Recession Hits, ‘We’ll Be Borrowing $2 Trillion a Year’


Austin
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Austin » 07 Sep 2018 09:23

How the U.S. Has Weaponized the Dollar - Satyajit Das
Convinced of an existential threat from competitors, America is weaponizing the dollar to preserve its global economic and geopolitical position.

While the U.S. accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s economic output, more than half of all global currency reserves and trade is in dollars. This is the result of the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement, the effect of which was enhanced when the link between the dollar and gold ended in the 1971 Nixon shock, allowing America to control the supply of the currency.


The dollar’s pivotal role — an “exorbitant privilege,” in the term coined by then French Finance Minister Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1965 — allows the U.S. easily to finance its trade and budget deficits. The nation is protected against balance-of-payments crises, because it imports and services borrowing in its own currency. American monetary policies, such as quantitative easing, can influence the value of the dollar to gain a competitive advantage.

But the real power of the dollar is its relationship with sanctions programs. Legislation such as the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Trading With the Enemy Act and the Patriot Act allow Washington to weaponize payment flows. The proposed Defending Elections From Threats by Establishing Redlines Act and the Defending American Security From Kremlin Aggression Act would extend that armory.

When combined with access it gained to data from Swift, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication’s global messaging system, the U.S. exerts unprecedented control over global economic activity.

Sanctions target persons, entities, organizations, a regime or an entire country. Secondary curbs restrict foreign corporations, financial institutions and individuals from doing business with sanctioned entities. Any dollar payment flowing through a U.S. bank or the American payments system provides the necessary nexus for the U.S. to prosecute the offender or act against its American assets.

This gives the nation extraterritorial reach over non-Americans trading with or financing a sanctioned party. The mere threat of prosecution can destabilize finances, trade and currency markets, effectively disrupting the activities of non-Americans.

The risk is real. BNP Paribas SA paid $9 billion in fines and was suspended from dollar clearing for one year for violating sanctions against Iran, Cuba and Sudan. HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc, Commerzbank AG and Clearstream Banking SA have paid large fines for similar breaches.

Secondary sanctions made it difficult for United Co. Rusal to refinance dollar borrowings when global businesses, banks and exchanges were forced to stop dealing with the Russian company. Its bonds and shares plunged, even though the company sells only 14 percent of its products in the U.S., does not use American banks, and is listed in Moscow and Hong Kong. ZTE Corp., a Chinese electronics company, was hit hard by the inability to buy essential components from suppliers because of sanctions for trading with North Korea and Iran. In these cases, the entity was not in violation of laws where it was domiciled or operated, and the proscribed acts took place outside the U.S.

China, Russia and increasingly Europe want an alternative reserve currency system. The problem is that immediate replacement of the dollar is difficult.

First, the euro, the yen, the yuan and the ruble are not realistic options. The euro’s long-term future and stability isn’t assured, while Japan’s economy remains trapped in two decades of torpor. The Chinese and Russian political and economic systems lack transparency, and the yuan isn’t fully convertible.

Second, the required change in infrastructure is daunting. Foreign-exchange markets where the dollar is the currency of reference would have to be fundamentally restructured. Deep and liquid money markets to support a reserve currency can’t be conjured up overnight.


Third, most candidates are reluctant to take on the role of a global reserve currency because of tensions between national and global economy policy. The economist Robert Triffin pointed out that the country whose medium of exchange is the global reserve currency must meet external demand for foreign exchange. This necessitates running large trade deficits, requiring fundamental changes in the mercantilist policies of Germany, Japan and China.

This means that the U.S. can continue to use the dollar to help further its trade, financial and geopolitical aims, largely outside the strictures of international laws and institutions and without the need for messy, unpredictable military campaigns. As John Connally Jr., Richard Nixon’s Treasury secretary, put it in 1971: The dollar is “our currency, but your problem.”

Austin
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Austin » 13 Sep 2018 11:06

Gundlach: U.S. Economy and Stocks Could Be “Burnt Out”
Stimulative measures drive growth, and the U.S. economy and stock market have benefited from quantitative easing, lower rates, less regulation and tax cuts. But Jeffrey Gundlach admonished investors that too much stimulus can backfire.

Gundlach is the founder and chief investment officer of Los Angeles-based DoubleLine Capital. He spoke via a webcast with investors on September 11. His talk was titled, “Miracle Grow,” and the focus was on his firm’s flagship mutual fund, the DoubleLine Total Return Fund (DBLTX). The slides from his presentation are available here.

Gundlach, an amateur gardener, said that he often uses Miracle Grow fertilizer to help his plants.

“But if you dump Miracle Grow on plants long enough it burns them out,” he said.

The growth of the deficit has been disconcerting. The deficit growth has been at levels that have historically been used to counter recessions, even though we have been in a nine-year-long period of growth.

The U.S. total debt outstanding and the total S&P return have moved up in tandem.

That has been “miracle growth,” he said.

What’s going to happen when the next recession happens? The deficit could “explode,” Gundlach said.

Let’s look at what Gundlach said the future holds for the U.S. economy and stock and bond markets.

A recession ahead?

Tax cuts, deficits and debt have been responsible for the surges in U.S. growth – as are the threats of tariffs, which accelerated growth forward, according to Gundlach. Real GDP growth, he said, is at 2.9% and may be as high as 3.8% for Q3. Nominal GDP has accelerated as a result of higher inflation.

The last time nominal GDP grew at this rate was in 2004, which led to Fed rate hikes.

Is there trouble ahead? The year-over-year leading economic indicators (LEIs) are growing at 6.9%, matching the level at their peak in 2012-2013. “It’s very likely they will turn negatives,” and there is “no sign of a recession,” he said.

Sentiment surveys are “off the charts” and “have never been higher,” he said. This is the result of decreased regulation, according to Gundlach.

The PMI surveys are extremely strong (manufacturing is at 61.3 and at its highest level in 20 years). This, he said, is the result of “extraordinary” dovish central bank policies from the Fed and other central banks.

But the Fed is now in quantitative tightening (QT) mode. “We’ll see what happens as $60 billion/month of debt is retired, starting in October.”

There are also trillions of corporate maturities in the next five years, both in the U.S. and globally, according to Gundlach. Along with QT, that will lead to a lot of “interesting things” as all that debt needs to be re-floated, he said.

As debt has grown, it hasn’t been reinvested smartly, he said. Net government investment hasn’t grown. One of the positive things is that government capital spending has grown faster than consumption when compared to prior years, according to Gundlach.

Among households, student and auto loan debt has grown at alarming rates, he said. Millennials have been trapped into “lifelong debt problems” as aresult of tuition increases, he said, which have been fueled by debt accessibility.

Home prices are up and home affordability is down, he said, so there has been a slump in housing growth. More than two-thirds of sentiment-survey respondents have said that it is not a good time to buy a home.

[b]Countering Trump’s rhetoric[/b]

Gundlach generally stays out of politics in his webcasts. But this time he refuted some of President Trump’s claims.

This is not the “greatest jobs economy of all time,” Gundlach said, contrary to Trump’s claims. Wages growth has not kept up with inflation, except briefly in 2017, according to Gundlach. Wage growth is slowing down, according to data from the Atlantic Fed. Real average earnings growth is negative, with the CPI at 2.95%.

“It’s inflation that’s growing,” Gundlach said.

For the first 20 months of the Trump presidency, there have been 190,000 of new jobs per month. But under the last 20 months of Obama’s tenure, there were 211,000. Not only is this not the greatest jobs economy of all time, it is actually slightly worse than Obama’s presidency, and both periods were late-cycle in the economy, Gundlach said.

Since 1939, despite the huge increase in the population, there were “many, many” times when job growth was vastly higher than under Trump’s presidency, Gundlach said. But, Gundlach acknowledged, a lot of that historical growth happened when demographics were much more favorable than it is now.

The response to the next recession will be some form of universal basic income (UBI), he said. Gundlach cited a program like this in Sweden and noted the recent calls for UBI among socialist Democrats.

The miracle growth markets

Miracle Growth has been thrown at the markets, Gundlach said. As global central banks have pursued aggressively dovish policies, foreign stock market returns have responded in a similar way to those in the U.S.

But global stock markets are down this year, with some real “disasters” in the emerging markets, he said, due to the trade war.

“One of the things we will remember most about 2018 is that incredible divergence between the U.S. and global stock market returns,” Gundlach said.

Inflation has been picking up in the U.S. and internationally. Across the globe, 80% of countries have had rising inflation during the last three months. “We can clearly see that inflation has bottomed out and is heading higher,” Gundlach said. Both goods and services prices have been rising over that period.

We are not having problems getting inflation to the 2% level, according to Gundlach. There is good reason to believe the core CPI will go higher, according to DoubleLine’s proprietary models, the New York Fed’s Underlying Inflation Gauge (UIG) and the ISM PMI (which also is a leading indicator of inflation). Money growth (M2) supply also suggests a move above 3% for inflation, according to Gundlach.

A suicide mission

“It’s bad enough that deficits are increasing this late in the cycle, but we are increasing taxes and raising interest rates,” Gundlach lamented. It is a “suicide mission,” as Gundlach had called it in a previous webcast. If rates are hundred basis points higher, with $7 trillion of debt, there will be $140 billion of additional interest costs, according to Gundlach.

“This will put further pressure on the deficit and create a self-reinforcing cycle of higher debt and higher rates,” he said.

The Treasury could get overwhelmed by a “supply fear” that could lead to much higher inflation, with a tough economy and rising rates, Gundlach warned. “That would be the gateway to universal basic income. Americans would think they were getting something, but it would really be a devaluation of the dollar.”

The dollar’s next big move will be down and it will be lower than it is now by year end, he said. It has recently weakened versus the euro. That will help non-U.S. stock markets. But the dollar has strengthened relative to emerging markets, which has hurt those stock markets.

“The market is telling us the trade war is very bad for emerging markets, especially those with dollar-denominated debt,” Gundlach said.

But, he said, President Trump wants the dollar to be weaker and wants the Fed’s help to make this happen.

U.S. valuations, according to the CAPE ratio, are near 1929-levels. Emerging markets are at half the levels of the U.S., based on the CAPE ratio. It’s really hard to believe that equity markets will hold up. If it gets worse in the emerging markets, then it “has to be a global situation.”

That will happen if the dollar weakens.

Advice to investors


Since May, global markets are down 10% and the U.S. is up 7%. Emerging markets are down 20% over that period, which “looks like a bear market,” Gundlach said. But he does not expect this divergence to continue.

Commodities are at historically cheap levels, but are not going lower, according to Gundlach. “They are a late-cycle play and highly volatile” and they should “stay in the portfolio,” he said.

Gold, at approximately $1,200 per ounce, will increase in price as the dollar weakens. It is a “really good buy” at its current price and has “exhausted its downside,” Gundlach said.

The U.S. 10-year yield (at 2.97%) has been remarkably stable over the last several months. But if nominal GDP growth or the German 10-year yield moves higher – the two have historically been closely tied to U.S. 10-year rates – then it would lead to higher rates. But Gundlach said he does not have high conviction about the future direction of rates.

There is an extremely large speculative position against the Treasury market. Gundlach said that if rates head down, even a little, it could lead to a “stampede” and possibly to a 10-year rate as low as 2.25%. He called this scenario “conjectural” but not impossible.

The 30-year yield (at 3.12%) is nearing the 3.22% level, which Gundlach has previously cited as a threshold that would lead to higher rates, provided there are two consecutive closes above that rate.

Across sectors of the bond market, Gundlach said he is not a big fan of corporate bonds, which are two standard deviations rich, according to the DoubleLine models. Junk bonds are “very highly valued,” he said, but not in imminent danger. Corporate-debt-to-GDP is “horrifically” high, he said, and is inconsistent with tight option-adjusted spreads. Corporate bond yields are also suffering from historically high levels of supply.

With convertible bonds, investors are “basically owning stocks” he said. They are more of an equity investment.

Non-agency mortgage-backed (MBS) securities and floating rate bonds are his favored bond sectors.

Don’t buy Chinese stocks, he said. The financial problems there are “scary” and investors are better off in other Asian markets.

The S&P 500 will end the year modestly lower, he said.

“You want to be globally diversified,” Gundlach said. The U.S. market is sensitive to “just a few stocks.” If you want to increase beta, invest outside the U.S.

“I would not invest in e-commerce stocks,” Gundlach said.

“I would rather sleep at night.”

Austin
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Austin » 15 Sep 2018 13:32

David Stockman | $20 Trillion Elephant in the Room


Austin
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Austin » 23 Sep 2018 11:13

The Spectator Index
‏ @spectatorindex
11m11 minutes ago

Foreign exchange reserves. ($ billion)

China: 3,109
Japan: 1,256
Switzerland: 800
Saudi Arabia: 488
Russia: 460
Taiwan: 459
Hong Kong: 431
South Korea: 402
India: 400
Brazil: 379
Singapore: 288
Thailand: 249
Germany: 200
France: 175
Mexico: 173
UK 164
Italy: 143
US: 120

Austin
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Austin » 23 Sep 2018 20:50

James Grant | Orphaned Gold Will Benefit When Fed Reverses Course


Raja Ram
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Raja Ram » 08 Oct 2018 12:32

Preparing for Dollar Wars and Shifting Sands of a New Economic Order!

The trajectory of geo-political trends with regards to tariff wars, renegotiation of multilateral trade deals unilaterally by the US, the EU -US geo strategic equation with US demands to fund more of the Security, moving of manufacturing back to the US and its focus on reducing trade deficits are impacting the dollar.


In the short term, Dollar is likely to have a surge and that is being seen now. However, Putin's latest remarks in the Energy Conclave in Russia give a strong indication that there is a counter reaction that is forming through convergence of diverse interest amongst other players.

The EU economies, notably Germany and France, despite their misgivings about Russia are being forced to reconsider their positions and their dependence on the interlinked economic system with US and its Dollar.


China is facing a tariff war with the US and as the largest owner of the US Dollar reserves and US debt (US Treasury bonds) it is in an unfamiliar territory. With slowing down of its economy and raising internal debt, it cannot afford to lose access to the US market, but a stronger dollar can also be beneficial in the short term given the reserves and debts it has. It is also facing a huge energy problem with increasing oil prices and strengthening dollar.


Which leads us to the next international pole in terms of energy, OPEC and Oil producing countries. Sustained pressure on them by the US to increase production and bring down prices on one hand while it is cutting down the overall availability with sanctions on Iran and impending sanctions on Russian Oil. This is being further compounded by increasing internal economic pressures and economic crisis in almost all Gulf states including Saudi Arabia which is recording massive budget deficits.


India is headed for an election year and one cannot ignore the impact of price surge due to fuel price rise. Huge programmes are being funded with tax revenues from Oil and this leaves very little room to keep petrol prices down. India too is facing a problem of an orchestrated attack on its capital markets as well as on Rupee. It is in fact under an economic attack while it is undergoing a transformation and clean up of the financial systems internally at the same time. That is a huge challenge. On the positive side economic growth is good; monsoon is good, but the increasing dollar and increasing fuel prices can undo or at the minimum cramp Indian economic management flexibility.

Over the last 4 years, thankfully the government has been working consistently on 4 fronts


1. Building up of energy security through - building strategic reserves, forward negotiating contracts, diversifying sourcing, non dollar denominated contracts, increasing alternatives to POL internally, consumption management through redirected subsidies & keeping price high to moderate demand

2. Long term alternative building - Push on renewables, International Solar Alliance, creating non fossil fuel based alternative grids, etc


3. Securing Growth through Investments to create national demand instead of depending on exports thereby insulating from both currency pressures as well as trade related pressures


4. Working on creating alternative energy (ISA) and financial systems (BRICS) that can withstand American pressures using the Dollar or the financial system that is controlled by them on the basis that the Dollar is the de facto universal reserve currency. This is being done under the auspices of BRICS and a plethora of bilateral arrangements and regional arrangements where the trade and investments will not be in dollar.


The convergence of interests in protecting themselves against American unilateral exceptionalism across these otherwise diverse group is forcing a turn of events that may see the first steps in the coming together of an international coalition of powers, motivated purely by their own national interests, to formulate together a strategy to move the global financial order away from the omnipotent dollar basis to a new basis of perhaps a basket of other currencies that will include Chinese Yuan, Russian Rouble and Indian Rupee besides the Euro.


The American isolationism and unilateral withdrawal being carried out by Trump Administration is likely to have an enormous impact on American economy too. In the short time, it looks like the benefits of a strong dollar and a high performing stock market coupled with increased manufacturing is going to work for America. It may even ensure that Trump second term is achieved.

At the same time, it is also likely to have an impact on the global arrangements that has held the US led western dominance in place post WWII. The renaissance of China and India and the revival of Russia as an energy power will accelerate the shift from Europe and American dominance to Asia. Technology trends and new energy ideas will reduce the prominence and wealth of the Middle East.


In the medium term if the US persists with its inward looking policies and unilateralism in using the status of the Dollar to exert its geo-strategic muscle, then the others will respond in a manner that removes the vital cog that is the Dollar's status as the world's most acceptable reserve currency and replace it with several currencies.

When that happens, the US Debt will come home to roost as the World's appetite to underwrite US spending will start to ease off.
The current trajectory of events seems to suggest this. Hence Putin's warning in the recently held Energy conclave where he alluded to the US actions being akin to cutting the branch one is sitting on is a crucial signal of how things are likely to take shape.

There is a lot of ground to be covered before such a thing like the replacement of the Dollar as the universal reserve currency can happen. but it is now more likely to happen than not. It a more question of when and how that shift and change in the global financial system will happen and not whether it will.


Just a ramble! Take it for what it is worth!

Suraj
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Suraj » 14 Oct 2018 13:33

Nigeria is set to stay the world’s poverty capital for at least a generation
Nigeria is making little progress in eliminating poverty.

New reports by global development institutions show that human capital spending in Nigeria—the poverty capital of the world after recently overtaking India—is among the worst in the world.

Image


Neshant
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Neshant » 11 Nov 2018 10:39


Neshant
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Re: Perspectives on the global economic changes

Postby Neshant » 14 Nov 2018 10:27

Seriously how dumb must a country be to entrust Goldman Sachs with their national funds?

From Libya to Malaysia, all funds handed over to Goldman Sachs for investment have ended up being stolen - billions literally turning into $0.

Rent seeking & con artistry 101.

----

Malaysian Prime Minister Fumes "Obviously We Have Been Cheated By Goldman Sachs"

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11- ... dman-sachs


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