• Tag Archives Inequality
  • $1 Trillion In Liquidity Is Leaving: “This Will Be The Market’s First Crash-Test In 10 Years”

    In his latest presentation, Francesco Filia of Fasanara Capital discusses how years of monumental liquidity injections by major Central Banks ($15 trillion since 2009) successfully avoided a circuit break after the Global Financial Crisis, but failed to deliver on the core promise of economic growth through the ‘wealth effect’, which instead became an ‘inequality effect’, exacerbating populism and representing a constant threat to the status quo.
    Fasanara discusses how elusive, over-fitting economic narratives are used ex-post to legitimize the “fake markets” – as defined previously by the hedge fund – induced by artificial flows. Meanwhile, as an unintended consequence, such money flows produced a dangerous market structure, dominated by both passive-aggressive investment vehicles and a high-beta long-only momentum community ($8 trn and rising rapidly), oftentimes under the commercial disguise of brands such as behavioral Alternative Risk Premia, factor investing, risk parity funds, low vol / short vol vehicles, trend-chasing algos, machine learning.
    However as Filia, and many others before him, writes, only when the tide goes out, will we discover who has been swimming naked, and how big of a momentum/crowding trap was built up in the process. The undoing of loose monetary policies (NIRP, ZIRP), and the transitioning from ‘Peak Quantitative Easing’ to Quantitative Tightening, will create a liquidity withdrawal of over $1 trillion in 2018 alone. The reaction of the passive community will determine the speed of the adjustment in the pricing for both safe and risk assets.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.


  • Andy Xie Warns “The Bubble Economy Is Set To Burst” As Political Tension Soars

    Central banks continue to focus on consumption inflation, not asset inflation, in their decisions. Their attitude has supported one bubble after another. These bubbles have led to rising inequality and made mass consumer inflation less likely.
    ***
    Since the 2008 financial crisis, asset inflation has fully recovered, and then some. The US household net worth is 34 per cent above the peak in 2007, versus 30 per cent for nominal GDP. China’s property value may have surpassed the total in the rest of the world combined. The world is stuck in a vicious cycle of asset bubbles, low consumer inflation, stagnant productivity and low wage growth.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 12, 2017.


  • Paul Tudor Jones Warns Disastrous “Wealth Disparity” Will End In “Revolution, Taxes, Or War”

    Having previously warned of the “disastrous market mania,” and told Janet Yellen to “be terrified” in April, legendary trader Paul Tudor Jones has a new message for CEOs, urging them to stop embracing the profit-above-all-else ethic creating massive wealth-inequality, or face the “tearing down of our civilization via war, revolution, or taxes.”
    ‘One of the key things that always ends up tearing down great civilizations and countries is wealth disparity. It’s not sustainable,” explained the billionaire hedge fund manager at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston, telling corporate chiefs that they have gone too far in embracing economist Milton Friedman’s profit-above-all-else ethic and they need to change how they do business.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 7, 2017.


  • Survey shows UK and US Pensions Crisis is Imminent

    Both UK and US drop in Global Retirement Security Rankings US falls due to sharp income inequality and reduced workforce to support retirees UK is two spots away from being in the bottom 10 for government indebtedness FCA’s Andrew Bailey says ‘clear risk’ that savings rate for retirement is too low UK’s retirement savings gap set to widen to 2.3trn due to automation of jobs UK expected to fall into major pensions crisis by 2028 The economics of retirement funding is at breaking point. Thanks to low interest rates, looming inflation rates and slow growth the future of our retired populations are at serious risk.
    Currently there are 600 million individuals placing pressure on already-established retirement systems. This is set to get worse as the results of the last decade of financial experimentation show themselves and ageing populations widen the cracks in our economies.
    Most pension schemes were formed in a time when manufacturing and traditional bricks and mortar business were the pinnacle of Western economies. This is no longer the case. Globalisation has seen countries switch to service economies. Our financial planning has failed to keep up.

    This post was published at Gold Core on October 7, 2017.


  • Fed Admits The Failure Of Prosperity For The Bottom 90%

    As the stock market hits all-time highs in its 2nd longest bull market run in history, the lift of asset prices has surely lifted the economic prosperity of all. Right?
    Not really.
    New reports from the Hamilton Project and The Federal Reserve show the real problems facing Americans today.
    First, the Hamilton Project as noted by Pedro Nicolaci Da Costa last week:
    ‘An expansion that began, believe it or not, more than seven years ago has extended a longer-run trend of wage stagnation for the average US worker, despite a sharp drop in the official unemployment rate to 4.4% from an October 2009 peak of 10%.
    No wonder the recovery seems so lopsided, particularly given economic inequality levels not seen since before the Great Depression. After adjusting for inflation, wages are just 10% higher in 2017 than they were in 1973, amounting to real annual wage growth of just below 0.2% a year, the report says. That’s basically nothing, as the chart below indicates.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 2, 2017.


  • Bank of America: “The Best Reason To Be Bearish Is…There Is No Reason To Be Bearish”

    Back in mid-July, Bank of America chief investment strategist Michael Hartnett wrote “The Most Dangerous Moment For Markets Will Come In 3 Or 4 Months” in which he warned that “further upside in risk assets will create problems later in the year” and concluded that “ultimately, we believe the extremely strong performance by equities and bonds in H1 is very unlikely to be repeated in H2” because “monetary policy will have to tighten to raise volatility, reduce Wall St inflation, and reduce inequality. There are two ways to cure inequality: you can make the poor richer, or you can make the rich poorer. The Fed will reduce its balance sheet in the hope of making Wall St poorer.”
    Or maybe not, because almost three months later, the same Hartnett today writes that the “best reason to be bearish is…there is no reason to be bearish.” and admits that the “Icarus ‘long risk’ trade extended into autumn (Humpty-Dumpty “great fall” postponed a tad longer) by low inflation, big liquidity ($2.0tn central bank buying), high EPS, and promise of US tax reform”, noting that the “monster rally in credit and equity markets began 18 months ago when best reason to be bullish was there was no reason to be bullish.”
    And with the VIX approaching all time lows as the S&P hits another daily high, the BofA strategist reiterates that his “Icarus Rally” price targets for Q4 remains 2630 in the S&P, 6666 on the Nasdaq, and the 10-year Treasury hitting 2.85%, as the rising dollar pushed the EURUSD down to 1.15. So what will prompt Q4 peak in the market? According to the BofA strategist, the catalyst will be a “Q4 “top” driven by tax reform, i.e. “peak Policy, a rise in MOVE index, and a peak RMB.
    As Hartnett details further, here are the three catalysts that could end the current period of record complacency. Tax reform = “peak policy” = buy rumor, sell fact…but too early to sell fact; tax reform = quicker Fed balance sheet reduction and less share buybacks if capex accelerates (since 2009 lows S&P equity market cap up $15.3tn, Fed’s balance sheet up $4.5tn, share buybacks up $3.5tn) Big jump in the MOVE index of US Treasury market volatility (i.e. “bond shock”) catalyst for cross-asset vol, but requires inflation to rise

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2017.


  • Visualizing America’s Rampant Racial Wealth Inequality

    Even though the United States is on course to become “majority minority” by 2044, Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes that the country still has a huge and growing racial wealth gap.
    A new study by Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies has found that white households in the middle-income quintile own nearly eight times as much wealth as middle-income black earners and ten times as much as middle-income latino earners.
    Last year, the same research claimed that if current trends continue, it will take 228 years for the average black family to reach the same level of wealth white families have today. For latino families, it would take 84 years.
    Since 1983, black and latino families have seen their real wealth fall considerably from $6,800 and $4,000 to just $1,700 and $2,000 respectively in 2013. Even though white households took a hit during the financial crisis, they still boasted a median wealth of $116,800 in 2013.
    The research projects that the gap will widen even further in the years ahead with black household wealth declining 30 percent from today by 2024. The median latino household will see their wealth fall 20 percent while white households will experience a five percent increase by that point.
    In addition, while policy-makers are crowing about the fact that aggregate American real incomes are finaly back above 1989 levels, the truth is slightly more awkward… It’s all the 1%…

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 17, 2017.


  • Jackson Hole: Inflation, Phillips Curve, Income Inequality, Housing and The Taylor Rule

    Janet Yellen, ‘Super’ Mario Draghi and other Central Bankers are meeting at the 2017 Economic Policy Symposium on ‘Fostering a Dynamic Global Economy’ at Jackson Hole for the next three days.
    Topics will include the persistent low inflation in advanced economies, like the US 1.5% growth rate on Personal Consumption Expenditures Core Prices YoY despite the staggering fiscal and monetary stimulus thrown at it.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B Sanders ‘ August 24, 2017.


  • How Central Banking Increased Inequality

    Although today high levels of inequality in the United States remain a pressing concern for a large swath of the population, monetary policy and credit expansion are rarely mentioned as a likely source of rising wealth and income inequality. Focusing almost exclusively on consumer price inflation, many economists have overlooked the redistributive effects of money creation through other channels. One of these channels is asset price inflation and the growth of the financial sector.
    The rise in income inequality over the past 30 years has to a significant extent been the product of monetary policies fueling a series of asset price bubbles. Whenever the market booms, the share of income going to those at the very top increases. When the boom goes bust, that share drops somewhat, but then it comes roaring back even higher with the next asset bubble.
    The Cantillon Effect The redistributive effects of money creation were called Cantillon effects by Mark Blaug after the Franco-Irish economist Richard Cantillon who experienced the effect of inflation under the paper money system of John Law at the beginning of the 18th century.1 Cantillon explained that the first ones to receive the newly created money see their incomes rise whereas the last ones to receive the newly created money see their purchasing power decline as consumer price inflation comes about.
    Following Cantillon and contrary to Fisher and other monetary theorists of his time, Ludwig von Mises was the first to emphasized these Cantillon effects in terms of marginal utility analysis. With an increase in the stock of money, the cash balances of the early receivers of the newly created money increase. Correspondingly, the marginal utility they give to money decreases and the individuals in question buy either investment or consumption goods, thus bidding up the prices of those goods and increasing the cash balances of their sellers. With this step by step process, the price of goods will increase only progressively and affect both the distribution of income and wealth as well as the different price ratios.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on August 16, 2017.


  • Why Blackrock Isn’t Worried At All About Record Low Volatility

    Yesterday, in an extensive, eloquent essay, One River’s Eric Peters described why it’s only a matter of time before record low breaks the market’s current phase of “metastability” and explodes higher. Below is the punchline:
    To sell implied volatility at current levels, investors must imagine tomorrow will be virtually identical to today. They must imagine that bond yields won’t rise despite every major central bank looking to hike interest rates and exit QE. They must imagine that economies at or near full employment will not create inflation; that GDP will neither accelerate nor decelerate; that governments will tolerate historic levels of income inequality despite citizens voting for the opposite; that strongly rising global debts will be supported by decelerating global growth. And volatility sellers must imagine that nine years into a bull market, amplified by a proliferation of complex volatility-selling strategies and passive ETFs with liquidity mismatches, that we will dodge a destabilizing shock to market infrastructure. I can imagine a few of those things happening, but neither sustainably nor simultaneously. It is much easier to imagine a tomorrow that looks different from today.
    As volatility declined, investors have had to sell even more of it to sustain sufficient profits. This selling reinforces the trend lower, which produces an illusion that legacy volatility shorts are less risky today than yesterday. Lower volatility thus begets lower volatility. And this also ensures that quantitative models reduce overall portfolio risk estimates, which allows (and in many cases forces) investors to buy more assets at prevailing prices. This in turn reduces volatility, reflexively. Naturally, the reverse is also true. Rising volatility begets rising volatility. And given the unprecedented volatility-selling in this cycle, I can imagine a historic reversal.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 7, 2017.


  • Earnings Rise with Boost from Falling U.S. Dollar But Consumers Will Bear the Brunt of Rising Prices

    There seems to be an unlimited supply of methods in which the rich in America keep getting richer and the average Joe picks up the tab. (Think about the $16 trillion secret bailout of Wall Street by the Federal Reserve from 2007 to 2010 for the quintessential example.)
    Yesterday, Fortune Magazine ran this sobering headline: ‘The Wealth Gap in the U. S. Is Worse Than In Russia or Iran.’ The article quotes Richard Florida, author of The New Urban Crisis, as follows:
    ‘Inequality in New York City is like Swaziland. Miami’s is like Zimbabwe. Los Angeles is equivalent to Sri Lanka. I actually look at the difference between the 95th percentile of income earners in big cities and the lower 20%. In the New York metro area, the 95th percentile makes $282,000 and the 20th percentile makes $23,000. These gaps between the rich and the poor in income and wealth are vast across the country and even worse in our cities.’
    Against that backdrop comes news from FactSet last Friday that with 57 percent of the companies in the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index reporting actual earnings results for the second quarter of 2017, ‘ten sectors are reporting year-over-year earnings growth, led by the Energy, Information Technology, and Financials sectors.’ FactSet adds this: ‘The only sector reporting a year-over-year decline in earnings is the Consumer Discretionary sector.’ That would be the sector in which the average Joe lives.

    This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.


  • We Need a Social Economy, Not a Hyper-Financialized Economy

    We all know what a hyper-financialized economy looks like–we live in one:central banks create credit/money out of thin air and distribute it to the already-wealthy, who use the nearly free money to buy back corporate shares, enriching themselves while creating zero jobs. Or they use the central-bank money to outbid mere savers to scoop up income-producing assets: farmland, rental properties, etc.
    This asymmetric wealth accumulation and avoidance of risk creates a self-reinforcing feedback loop, as the super-wealthy financiers and corporations use a slice of their income to buy political protection of their income streams, creating cartels and quasi-monopolies that are impervious to competition and meaningful regulation. The only possible output of a hyper-financialized economy is rapidly increasing wealth and income inequality–precisely what we see now. What we need is a social economy, an economy that recognizes purposes and values beyond maximizing private gains by any means necessary, which is the sole goal of hyper-financialized economies.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on THURSDAY, JULY 27, 2017.


  • Bank of America: “The Most Dangerous Moment For Markets Will Come In 3 Or 4 Months”

    Two weeks after BofA’s Michael Hartnett previewed (and timed) not only the “Great Fall” of stocks, but also explained that the Fed and global central banks are now in the business of making the “rich poorer“, he is out with a new note which looks at the Fed’s latest U-turn, which has unleashed the latest market buying spree, warning that “further upside in risk assets will create problems later in the year” (for three reasons he lists out), and concludes that “ultimately, we believe the extremely strong performance by equities and bonds in H1 is very unlikely to be repeated in H2.” Hartnett then goes back to his original thesis that the Fed will no longer pursue its primary mandate of pushing stocks (i.e. wealth effect and confidence) higher because it is “now politically unacceptable for the Fed and any other central bank to stoke a bubble on Wall St.”
    As a result, “monetary policy will have to tighten to raise volatility, reduce Wall St inflation, and reduce inequality. There are two ways to cure inequality: you can make the poor richer, or you can make the rich poorer. The Fed will reduce its balance sheet in the hope of making Wall St poorer.”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 13, 2017.


  • Are Real Home Prices Rising Or Falling Where You Live: Here’s How To Find Out

    As we’ve noted time and time again, the fact that average national housing prices appear to have recovered from the peak of the housing bubble masks the uneven nature of America’s economic recovery: While certain popular coastal markets have seen prices recover, much of the south and Midwest have struggled with stagnation or even home-price deflation.
    Now, a new tabulation of home-price data by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies provides a granular look at the unevenness of the recovery from county to county. A quick glance at the map reveals how home-prices – a worthy proxy for wealth inequality – have risen dramatically along the coasts, while
    The data show that home prices increased by 40 percent or more in 153 metros (16 percent), including twelve metros where home prices doubled. And in nearly 300 markets, prices increased – but more modestly – by less than 20 percent. Meanwhile, real prices declined in about 280 metros. In another 200 markets, prices increased by 20-to-39 percent.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 9, 2017.


  • BofA: “Massive Market Inflection Point Coming This Summer: Will Lead To Fall Crash”

    One week after BofA’s Michael Hartnett became the latest strategist to admit the truth, when in his Flow Show report from last week he said that “central banks have exacerbated inequality via Wall St inflation & Main St deflation” and now that they are hoping to quickly and painlessly undo their error, there are “two ways to cure inequality…you can make the poor richer…or you can make the rich poorer…” concluding that the “Fed/ECB are now tightening to make Wall St poorer” because it is “no longer politically acceptable to stoke Wall St bubble”, he has followed up with a note in which he looks at the vast change in the market landscape over the past year.
    As he says, one year ago, July 11th, 2016, 30-year Treasury yield hit all-time low (2.14%), and Swiss government could have issued a 50-year bond at a negative yield (Chart 2 shows 10- year Swiss yield back to 1900).

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 7, 2017.


  • Norway’s “Voluntary” Tax Collects A Paltry $1,325

    It’s too bad for Norway’s ruling center-right party that Warren Buffett isn’t a resident. After becoming the object of unceasing criticism by their politicized slashing of taxes and funding a profligate spending program with the country’s oil wealth, Norway’s center-right party hit upon a novel idea: Impose a ‘voluntary’ tax, according to Bloomberg.
    However, when it came time to tally the total for this past fiscal year, the great northern policy ploy failed to evoke in the country’s 5.3 million citizens a patriotic fervor: When it was all said and done, the government collected $1,325.
    Launched in June, the initiative has received a lukewarm reception, with the equivalent of just $1,325 in extra revenue being collected so far, according to the Finance Ministry. That’s not much for a country of 5.3 million people, many of whom are already accustomed to paying some of the highest taxes in the world (the top rate of income tax is 46.7 percent).
    ‘The tax scheme was set up to allow those who want to pay more taxes to do so in a simple and straightforward way,’ Finance Minister Siv Jensen said in an emailed comment. ‘If anyone thinks the tax level is too low, they now have the chance to pay more.’
    Left-of-center opposition parties claimed the tax cuts would benefit the richest and boost inequality. Jonas Gahr Store, the wealthy Labor Party contender who is leading in the polls ahead of the September 11 elections, has so far refused to take up the government’s offer.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 7, 2017.


  • The Golden Revolution, Revisited: Chapter 5

    This Insight is the sixth in the serial publication of the new, Revisited edition of my book, The Golden Revolution (John Wiley and Sons, 2012). (The first instalment can be found here.) The book is being published by Goldmoney and will also appear as a special series of Goldmoney Insights over the coming months. This instalment comprises the fifth chapter of Section I.
    View the Entire Research Piece as a PDF here.
    The “Reserve Currency Curse” amd the International Aspects of Cantillion Effects
    ‘The fact that many countries as a matter of principle accept dollars to offset the US balance-of-payments deficits leads to a situation wherein the United States is heavily in debt without having to pay. Indeed, what the United States owes to foreign countries it pays – at least in part – with dollars that it can simply issue if it chooses to. It does so instead of paying fully with gold, whose value is real, which one owns only because one has earned it, and which cannot be transferred to other countries without any danger or any sacrifice. This unilateral facility that is available to the United States contributes to the gradual disappearance of the idea that the dollar is an impartial and international trade medium, whereas it is in fact a credit instrument reserved for one state only.’
    FRENCH PRESIDENT CHARLES DE GAULLE, FEBRUARY 1965
    Having shown that monetary Cantillon effects can have a material impact on economic inequality within an economy, it remains to consider how these effects can also spill over internationally. As the issuer of the primary global reserve currency, the US Federal Reserve may be the source of significant international Cantillon effects. Indeed, I believe that these effects are in certain respects easier to identify than those observed domestically. There have also been some major studies supporting this view. First, let us consider the important role played by a reserve currency in the international monetary system.
    What, exactly, is a reserve currency? It is one that is used to pay for imports from abroad and is then subsequently held in ‘reserve’ by the exporting country, as it does not have legal tender status outside of its country of issuance. In the simple case of two countries trading with one another, with one being a net importer and one a net exporter, over time these currency ‘reserves’ will accumulate in the net-exporting country. In practice, as reserves accumulate, they are initially held as bank deposits but are subsequently invested in some way, for example, in government bonds issued by the importing country or perhaps purchases of corporate securities. In this way, the currency reserves earn some interest and possibly realize some capital gains, rather than just sit as paper scrip in a vault.

    This post was published at GoldMoney on July 04, 2017.


  • Banks Begin To Mutiny Against The Fed: “If We Are Right, Central Banks Will Be Wrong”

    It has been a trying time for the world’s central bankers, who for decades have been used to the “high finance” community’s adulation, derived from the deliverance of policy wrapped in so much opacity, gibberish and contradictions, that neither the central bankers, nor the markets, had any idea what was going on (see the Greenspan tenure), or dared to admit it was all meaningless drivel, resulting in phases during which the market was on “autopilot” and culminating with a bubble and subsequent crash, “rescued” by an even greater asset bubble and even greater crash, etc.
    However, after generations of largely uncontested and unquestioned monetary policy where only the occasional “tinfoil” fringe blog dared to say that central banker emperors are not only naked and clueless but are also the cause of the world’s biggest problems, more and more voices are emerging to both challenge the prevailing monetary religious dogma, as well as daring to do something unprecedented: tell the truth.
    One example was Bank of America’s chief strategist, Michael Harnett, who on Friday confirmed what we had been saying for years, that “central banks have exacerbated inequality via Wall St inflation & Main St deflation” and that the Fed failed in its mission to make the poor richer, instead its destructive policies have made the top 1% wealthier beyond its wildest dreams, and have been directly responsible for such political outcomes as “Brexit” and “Trump.”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 1, 2017.


  • Bank of America’s Forecast Of When The Fed Will Crash The Market

    Earlier today we reported that Bank of America’s chief strategist Michael Harnett made two stunning (if perfectly obvious) revelations for a person, who stands to potentially lose his job if he dares to publicize the truth, which is precisely what he did when he said that i) “central banks have exacerbated inequality via Wall St inflation & Main St deflation” and ii) it is “no longer politically acceptable to stoke Wall St bubble; two ways to cure inequality… you can make the poor richer…or you can make the rich poorer…they have failed to boost wage expectations, inflation expectation, ‘animal spirits’ on Main St… so Fed/ECB now tightening to make Wall St poorer”
    Some further observations from Harnett’s note “No market for Rich Men”:
    Tightening by Fed, rhetorical tightening by ECB has succeeded in raising bond yields, volatility, reducing tech stocks (CCMP, QNET, SOX all at 1-month lows); flow data had indicated tech very overbought (Chart 2 – flows into tech annualizing 22% AUM YTD)…

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 30, 2017.


  • “The Fed Is Preparing To Make The Rich Poorer”: BofA

    Remember when – for years and years after the grand, global QE experiment started – any suggestion that central bankers are the primary cause behind global wealth inequality, and thus directly responsible for such political outcomes as Brexit and Trump – was branded as a conspiracy theory by bloggers living in their parents’ basement? We do, because we were accused over and over of just that (our position on the Fed and other central banks should be familiar to all by now).
    Well, as of this morning, none other than the chief investment strategist at BofA, Michael Hartnett, is a basement dwelling, tinfoil hatter because in his latest Flow Show report, writes that “central banks have exacerbated inequality via Wall St inflation & Main St deflation.”

    Of course we knew that, you knew that, and pretty much everyone else knew that, but those whose jobs depended on not admitting it, kept their mouths shut terrified of pointing out that the central banking emperor is not only naked, but an idiot. Well, the seal has been broken, and even the biggest cowards from within the financial establishment, most of whom can be found on financial twitter for some inexplicable reason, can speak up now.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 30, 2017.