• Tag Archives Debt
  • While Markets Get Pricey, Cracks Starting to Appear

    Financial Sense recently spoke with Caroline Miller, Senior Vice President and Global Strategist at BCA Research, one of the world’s leading providers of investment analysis and forecasts, to discuss the details of her recent webcast, Global Reflation: Where Next for Policy, Profits, and Prices?
    As Caroline explained to FS Insider last week, given the current trends underway, BCA believes that the US business cycle has another year left before a possible recession around the 2019 timeframe, preceded by a potential market peak next year, as monetary conditions edge into ‘overly restrictive’ territory from their presently accommodative levels. Caroline also outlined their current investment strategy and weightings on global equities, bonds, and other asset classes, while also commenting on signs of froth in commercial real estate and the dangerous levels of corporate debt.
    Here are some key sections and charts from that conversation.
    Ultra-Easy Money No Longer Required

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 07/26/2017.


  • Markets Relax Merrily on a Powerful Time Bomb

    Magnitude unknown but huge. Brokerages push it to new heights.
    Stock and bond market leverage is everywhere. Some of it is transparent, such as NYSE margin debt which was $539 billion as of the June report. But the hottest form of stock and bond market leverage is opaque, offered by financial firms that usually don’t disclose the totals: securities-based loans (SBLs) – or ‘shadow margin’ because no one knows how much of it there is. But it’s a lot. And it’s booming.
    These loans can be used for anything – pay for tuition, fix up that kitchen, or fund a vacation. The money is spent, the loan remains. When security prices fall, the problems begin.
    Finra, the regulator for brokerages, doesn’t track this shadow margin, nor does the SEC. Both, however, have been warning about the risks. No one knows the overall amount of this shadow margin, but some details have been reported:
    Morgan Stanley had $36 billion of these loans on its balance sheet as of the end of 2016, up 26% from 2016, and more than twice the amount in 2013. Bank of America Merrill Lynch had $40 billion in SBLs on the balance sheet at the end of 2016, up 140% from 2010;

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Jul 27, 2017.


  • Are We There Yet? Here Is Howard Marks’ “Bubble Checklist”

    As first reported yesterday, in his latest nearly-30 page memo, a distinctly less optimistic Howard Marks – hardly known for his extreme positions – “sounded the alarm” on markets by laying out a plethora of reasons why investors should be turning far more cautious on the risk, and summarizing his current view on the investing environment with the following 4 bullet points:
    The uncertainties are unusual in terms of number, scale and insolubility in areas including secular economic growth; the impact of central banks; interest rates and inflation; political dysfunction; geopolitical trouble spots; and the long-term impact of technology. In the vast majority of asset classes, prospective returns are just about the lowest they’ve ever been. Asset prices are high across the board. Almost nothing can be bought below its intrinsic value, and there are few bargains. In general the best we can do is look for things that are less over-priced than others. Pro-risk behavior is commonplace, as the majority of investors embrace increased risk as the route to the returns they want or need. Among the items on Marks’ of the items, the one we focused on yesterday, had to do with Marks recurring warnings on ETFs and passive investing. To be sure, he also covered pretty much everything else from equities, to the record low VIX, to FAANG stocks, to record tight credit spreads, to EM debt, to PE and even Bitcoin.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 27, 2017.


  • Gold A Good Store Of Value – Protect From $217 Trillion Global Debt Bubble

    – ‘Mother of all debt bubbles’ keeps gold in focus
    – Global debt alert: At all time high of astronomical $217 T
    – India imports ‘phenomenal’ 525 tons in first half of 2017
    – Record investment demand – ETPs record $245B in H1, 17
    – Investors, savers should diversify into ‘safe haven’ gold
    – Gold good ‘store of value’ in coming economic contraction
    by Frank Holmes, U. S. Global Investors

    Gold’s medium- to long-term investment case, I believe, looks even brighter. Many unsettling risks loom on the horizon – not least of which is a record amount of global debt – that could potentially spell trouble for the investor who hasn’t adequately prepared with some allocation in a ‘safe haven.’
    According to the highly-respected Institute of International Finance (IIF), global debt levels reached an astronomical $217 trillion in the first quarter of 2017 – that’s 327 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP). Notice that before the financial crisis, global debt was ‘only’ around $150 trillion, meaning we’ve added close to $120 trillion in as little as a decade. Much of the leveraging occurred in emerging markets, specifically China, which is spending big on international infrastructure projects.

    This post was published at Gold Core on July 27, 2017.


  • 26/7/17: Credit booms, busts and the real costs of debt bubbles

    A new BIS Working Paper (No 645) titled ‘Accounting for debt service: the painful legacy of credit booms’ by Mathias Drehmann, Mikael Juselius and Anton Korinek (June 2017 provides a very detailed analysis of the impact of new borrowing by households on future debt service costs and, via the latter, on the economy at large, including the probability of future debt crises.
    According to the top level findings: ‘When taking on new debt, borrowers increase their spending power in the present but commit to a pre-specified future path of debt service, consisting of interest payments and amortizations. In the presence of long-term debt, keeping track of debt service explains why credit-related expansions are systematically followed by downturns several years later.’ In other words, quite naturally, taking on debt today triggers repayments that peak with some time in the future. The growth, peaking and subsequent decline in debt service costs (repayments) triggers a real economic response (reducing future savings, consumption, investment, etc). In other words, with a lag of a few years, current debt take up leads to real economic consequences.
    The authors proceed to describe the ‘lead-lag relationship between new borrowing and debt service’ to establish ’empirically that it provides a systematic transmission channel whereby credit expansions lead to future output losses and higher probability of financial crisis.’

    This post was published at True Economics on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.


  • The Toxic Fruit of Financialization: Risk Is for Those at the Bottom

    Those who have pushed the risk down the wealth-power pyramid are confident the Federal Reserve will continue to limit the risks of speculative financialization.
    One of the most pernicious consequences of financialization is the shifting of risk from the top of the wealth-power pyramid to the bottom: those who benefit the most from financialization’s leveraged, speculative credit bubbles protect themselves from losses while those at the bottom of the pyramid (the bottom 99.5%) face the full fury of financialization’s formidable risk. Longtime correspondent Chad D. and I recently exchanged emails exploring how the higher debt loads and higher interest payments of financialization inhibits people at the bottom of the wealth-power pyramid (i.e. debt-serfs) from taking risks such as starting a small business.
    But this is only one serving of financialization’s toxic banquet of risk-related consequences. Chad summarized how those at the apex of the wealth-power pyramid protect themselves from risk and losses.
    At the top levels of the pyramid, members in those groups collect way more interest than they pay out and at the very top, they get a ton of interest and pay little to none. The people at the top can take all sorts of risk, because of this dynamic and further, they also usually have a heavy influence on the financial/political machinery, so they get bailed out by taxpayers when their investments go bad. In addition, because their influence extends to the criminal justice system, they are able to commit fraud and at the same time neutralize regulators and prosecutors, thereby escaping any ramifications from their excessive risk taking and in many cases massive fraud.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 2017.


  • Total Government And Personal Debt In The U.S. Has Hit 41 Trillion Dollars ($329,961.34 Per Household)

    We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world. In 1980, total government and personal debt in the United States was just over the 3 trillion dollar mark, but today it has surpassed 41 trillion dollars. That means that it has increased by almost 14 times since Ronald Reagan was first elected president. I am searching for words to describe how completely and utterly insane this is, but I am coming up empty. We are slowly but surely committing national suicide, and yet most Americans don’t even understand what is happening.
    According to 720 Global, total government debt plus total personal debt in the United States was just over 3 trillion dollars in 1980. That broke down to $38,552 per household, and that figure represented 79 percent of median household income at the time.
    Today, total government debt plus total personal debt in the United States has blown past the 41 trillion dollar mark. When you break that down, it comes to $329,961.34 per household, and that figure represents 584 percent of median household income.
    If anyone can make a good argument that we are not in very serious debt trouble, I would love to hear it.
    And remember, the figures above don’t even include corporate debt. They only include government debt on the federal, state and local levels, and all forms of personal debt.
    So do you have $329,961.34 ready to pay your share of the debt that we have accumulated?

    This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on July 26th, 2017.


  • Outside the Box Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook, Second Quarter 2017

    I have often written about the Fed’s abysmal track record in managing the economy. In today’s Outside the Box, Lacy Hunt and Van Hoisington of Hoisington Investment Management give us an in-depth tutorial on the reasons for the Fed’s consistently poor record.
    They start by considering the Fed’s ‘dual mandate,’ which sets ‘the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates.’ (And yes, that is actually three goals, not two.) But a problem arises, the authors note, ‘because considerable time elapses between the implementation of the monetary actions designed to follow the mandate and when the impact of those actions take effect on broader business conditions.’ The time lag can easily be three years or longer, with the result that policy changes often end up being pro- rather than countercyclical. To make matters even worse, ‘the economic risks from adherence to this dual mandate are now much greater than historically due to the economy’s extreme over-indebtedness, poor demographics and a fragile global economy.’
    In the real world, the dual mandate can break down. Now, the Fed is tightening over concerns about wage pressure from a low level of unemployment, yet inflation has run consistently below the Fed’s 2% target for the past year or more. Enter the Phillips curve.

    This post was published at Mauldin Economics on JULY 26, 2017.


  • Bank Deregulation Back in Vogue: It’s time to dance the last fandango!

    The Great Recession was so great for the only people who matter that it is time to do it all again. Time to shed those bulky new regulations that are like clod-hoppers on our heals and dance the light fantastic with your friendly bankster. Shed the encumbrances and get ready for the new roaring twenties.
    The banks need to be able to entice more people into debt because potential borrowers with good credit and easy access to financing are showing no interest in taking the banks’ current enticements toward greater debt. That could indicate the average person is smarter than the banks and apparently recognizes they are at their peak comfort levels with debt. The banks, on the other hand, want to reduce capital-reserve requirements in order to leverage up more.
    Thus, President Trump, blessed be he, is working (in consort with the Federal Reserve) on cutting bank stress tests in half to once every two years and working to significantly reduce the amount of reserve capital banks are required to keep. He also wants to make the stress tests a little easier to pass. Such are the plans of his Goldman Sachs economic overseers to whom Trump has given first chair in various illustrious White House departments.
    READ MORE

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 26 July 2017.


  • The Mother of All Bubbles

    We live in a world full of bubbles just waiting to pop.
    We have reported extensively on the stock market bubble, the student loan bubble, and the auto bubble. We even told you about a shoe bubble. But there is one bubble that is bigger and potentially more threatening than any of these.
    The massive debt bubble.
    In a recent piece published by Business Insider, US Global Investors CEO Frank Holmes calls it ‘the mother of all bubbles.’
    According to the Institute of International Finance (IIF), global debt levels reached a staggering $217 trillion in the first quarter of 2017. That represents 327% of global GDP. To put that into perspective, before the 2008 meltdown, global debt was a mere $150 trillion.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on JULY 26, 2017.


  • What If The Debt Ceiling Turns Ugly: How To Trade A Fall Spike In Volatility

    As we first showed last week, while the equity market has remained completely oblivious to what the upcoming debt ceiling fight, which Morgan Stanley admitted over the weekend “worries us most” of all upcoming catalysts, the same can not be said of the T-Bill market, where 3M-6M yields have inverted the most on record on concerns about a potential selloff (or worse) in 3M bills which mature just after the time the US Tsy is expected to run out of cash, should the debt ceiling debate fail to result in a satisfactory outcome.

    And while it is a gamble to suggest that stocks will ever again respond to any negative news or still have any capacity to discount any future event or outcome, Bank of America dares to go there, and advises clients that between seasonality, and the already record low VIX, the debt ceiling is a sufficiently risky event to expect that equity volatility will finally wake up, and that “seasonality + catalysts suggest record low vol likely unsustainable through the fall.” Here’s the big picture from Nitin Saksena and team:
    While VIX has been making headlines for the most consecutive closes in history below 10 (now 8 days), medium-term VIX futures have quietly fallen to ~10-year lows, breaking the previous record from summer 2014. However, we think volatility is unlikely to sustain these extreme lows in the fall and like selling Oct VIX puts as (i) seasonal patterns suggest the VIX troughs in Jul and peaks in Sep/Oct, (ii) the VIX has ‘settled’ below 12 in only two of the past 27 Octobers, and (iii) fundamentally, the threat of debt ceiling brinkmanship in Sep/Oct, which has already spooked the T-bill market, should help support equity volatility. For example, we like selling the VIX Oct 12 put vs. the 14/19 call spread for zero-cost upfront (Oct futures ref 13.35).

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 25, 2017.


  • Why Surging UK Household Debt Will Cause The Next Crisis

    – Easy credit offered by UK banks is endangering ‘everyone else in the economy’
    – UK banks are ‘dicing with the spiral of complacency’ again
    – Bank of England official believes household debt is good in moderation
    – Household debt now equals 135% of household income
    – Now costs half of average income to raise a child
    – Real incomes not keeping up with real inflation
    – 41% of those in debt are in full-time work
    – 1.537 trillion owed by the end of May 2017
    ***
    Editor: Mark O’Byrne
    Why UK household debt will cause the next crisis
    ‘Household debt is good in moderation,’ Alex Brazier, executive director of financial stability at the Bank of England (BoE), told financial risk specialists earlier this week. But, it ‘can be dangerous in excess.’
    The problem with ‘in moderation’ is that no-one knows what a moderate measure of something is until they have had too much of it. Sub prime borrowers in the U. S. and property buyers in Ireland and the UK did not know they would contribute to a global debt crisis. Central bankers in Germany in the early 1920s and more recently in Zimbabwe never thought they were doing something that would be as detrimental as it ultimately was.

    This post was published at Gold Core on July 26, 2017.


  • Greece Approved for $1.8 Billion Conditional Loan From IMF

    The International Monetary Fund agreed to a new conditional bailout for Greece, ending two years of speculation on whether it would join in another rescue and giving the seal of approval demanded by many of the country’s euro-area creditors.
    The Washington-based fund said Thursday its executive board approved ‘in principle’ a new loan worth as much as $1.8 billion. The disbursement of funds is contingent on euro-zone countries providing debt relief to Greece.
    ‘As we have said many times, even with full program implementation, Greece will not be able to restore debt sustainability and needs further debt relief from its European partners,’ IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement. ‘A debt strategy anchored in more realistic assumptions needs to be agreed. I expect a plan to restore debt sustainability to be agreed soon between Greece and its European partners.’
    IMF officials estimate that, even if Greece carries out promised reforms, the nation’s debt will reach about 150 percent of gross domestic product by 2030, and become ‘explosive’ beyond that point. European creditors could bring the debt under control by extending grace periods, lengthening the maturity of the debt or deferring interest payments, the IMF said in a report accompanying the announcement.

    This post was published at bloomberg


  • The Two Charts That Dictate the Future of the Economy

    If you study these charts closely, you can only conclude that the US economy is doomed to secular stagnation and never-ending recession.
    The stock market, bond yields and statistical measures of the economy can be gamed, manipulated and massaged by authorities, but the real economy cannot. This is espcially true for the core drivers of the economy, real (adjusted for inflation) household income and real disposable household income, i.e. the real income remaining after debt service (interest and principal), rent, healthcare co-payments and insurance and other essential living expenses.
    If you want to predict the future of the U. S. economy, look at real household income. If real income is stagnant or declining, households cannot afford to take on more debt or pay for additional consumption.
    The Masters of the Economy have replaced the income lost to inflation and economic stagnation with debt for the past 17 years. They’ve managed to do so by lowering interest rates (and thus lowering interest payments), enabling households to borrow more (and thus buy more) with the same monthly debt payments.
    But this financial shuck and jive eventually runs out of rope: eventually, the rising cost of living soaks up so much of the household income that the household can not legitimately afford additional debt, even at near-zero interest rates.
    For this reason, real household income will dictate the future of the economy. If household incomes continue stagnating or declining, widespread advances in prosperity are impossible.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.


  • Money Is Money, Wherever It Comes From

    One of the crucial things to understand about today’s world is that money is fungible. Whether it’s created in Japan, Europe, China or the US, once it’s tossed by a central bank into one or another part of the global economy, it eventually finds its way to a common pool of liquidity.
    So the modest US tightening of the past year (100 basis point increase in the Fed Funds rate, slight decrease in Fed balance sheet) has to be seen in a global context. And that context is still insanely easy. Here, for instance, is China’s ‘social financing’ – their term for total new debt:

    This post was published at DollarCollapse on JULY 25, 2017.


  • Greece Sells 3 Billion In Bonds In 2x Oversubscribed Offering

    So it can either come cheap with the new issue, which adds to existing debt service problems, or it can….structure around that.
    — Owen Sanderson (@OwenPSanderson) July 25, 2017

    Just over three years after Greece “triumphantly returned” to capital markets in April 2014, when it issued 3 billion in 5 year bonds at a yield of 4.95%, and a cash coupon of 4.75% – an offering which was 8x oversubcribed – and which crashed and nearly defaulted one year later when only the 3rd Greek bailout prevented the country from going bankrupt, only to get taken out at 102, moments ago Greece once again returned to the bond market, if far less triumphantly, by selling another 3 billion in 5 year paper which however was “only” 2x oversubscribed, with indications from Bloomberg that there was only 6.5 billion in demand for the “high yielding” paper. And speaking of yield, it came in lower than 3 years ago, pricing at 4.625% with a coupon of 4.375%.
    For those who did not get their desired allottment in today’s offering, fear not there will be more:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 25, 2017.


  • Against Irredeemable Paper – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

    The Antidote
    Something needs to be said. We are against the existence of irredeemable paper currency, central banking and central planning, cronyism, socialized losses and privatized gains, counterfeit credit, wealth transfers and bailouts, and welfare both corporate and personal.
    When we write to debunk the conspiracy theories that say manipulation is keeping gold from hitting $5,000 (one speaker here at Freedom Fest claimed gold will go to $65,000), we are not trying to defend the Fed. When we discuss the flaws in predicting that kind of price, and the error in expecting to profit from it, we are not expressing a pro irredeemable dollar view.
    We are saying there are good arguments against the regime of irredeemable paper currency – but this is not one of them. Irredeemable currency has two fatal flaws. One is the interest rate is unhinged.
    It can skyrocket as it did from the end of WWII through 1980, or collapse as it has been doing since then. Two is there is no extinguisher of debt. Debt grows – must necessarily grow – exponentially. As it has been doing for many decades.

    This post was published at Acting-Man on July 25, 2017.


  • Peak Shale: Anadarko Just Became The First US Oil Producer To Slash CapEx

    It appears that Horseman Global’s Russell Clark may have been spot on with his bearish take on the US shale sector.
    As a reminder, in his latest letter to investors, Clark said that “the rising decline rates of major US shale basins, and the increasing incidents of frac hits (also a cause of rising decline rates) have convinced me that US shale producers are not only losing competitiveness against other oil drillers, but they will find it hard to make money…. at some point debt investors start to worry that they will not get their capital back and cut lending to the industry. Even a small reduction in capital, would likely lead to a steep fall in US oil production. If new drilling stopped today, daily US oil production would fall by 350 thousand barrels a day over the next month.”
    What I also find extraordinary, is that it seems to me shale drilling is a very unprofitable industry, and becoming more so. And yet, many businesses in the US have expended large amounts of capital on the basis that US oil will always be cheap and plentiful. I am thinking of pipelines, refineries, LNG exporters, chemical plants to name the most obvious. Even more amazing is that other oil sources have become more cost competitive but have been starved of resources. If US oil production declines, the rest of the world will struggle to increase output. An oil squeeze looks more likely to me.
    While the bearish thesis has yet to play out, moments ago Anadarko poured cold water on US energy investors after it missed earnings badly, reporting a Q2 EPS loss of 77c, more than double the 33 cent loss expected. However, what was far more concerning to shale bulls (and perhaps oil bears), is that the company admitted that it can no longer support its capital spending budget, and it would cut its 2017 capital budget by $300 million, becoming the first major U. S. oil producer to do so, as a result of depressed oil prices. In March, Anadarko had forecast total 2017 capex of $4.5 billion to $4.7 billion, a continuation of the recent CapEx rebound which troughed in Q3 2016.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 24, 2017.


  • Something Big, Bad And Ugly Is Taking Place In The U.S. Retirement Market

    While the highly inflated value of the U. S. Retirement Market reached a new high this year, something is seriously wrong when we look behind the scenes. Of course, Americans have no idea that the U. S. Retirement Market is only a few steps from falling off the cliff, because their eyes are focused on the shiny spinning roulette wheel called the Wall Street Stock Market.
    Yes, everyone continues to place their bets, hoping and praying that they will win it big, so they can retire in style. Unfortunately, American gamblers at the casino have no idea that the HOUSE is out of money. The only thing remaining in their backroom vaults is a small stash of cash and a bunch of IOU’s and debts.

    This post was published at SRSrocco Report on JULY 24, 2017.