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9 - CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT

10-15-15

US CATALYST

 

9 - Chronic Unemployment

 

"A Generation In Crisis" - The World Needs 5 Million Jobs/Month To Stymie Youth Extremism

The global economy will need to create 600 million jobs over the next 10 years: that’s 5 million jobs each month simply to keep employment rates constant.

For over 3 years we have pointed out that the surging youth unemployment was Europe's (if not the world's) scariest chart, because the last thing Europe needs is a discontented, disenfranchised, and devoid of hope youth roving the streets with nothing to do, easily susceptible to extremist and xenophobic tendencies: after all, it must be "someone's" fault that there are no job opportunities for anyone. Well, as Bloomberg reportsThe World Bank has an unsettling message for young people around the globe: unless we create 5 million jobs a month, the situation is going to get worse.

As The World Bank notes, Unemployment in any form is a drag on an economy and society.

It undercuts productivity, spending, and investment, stunting national growth. It contributes to inequality and spurs social tension. Joblessness and inactivity and the failure to tap into the economic aspirations and resources of young people carry an even higher price.

As prospects dwindle, many face social exclusion, or see their emotional, mental, or physical health deteriorate.

...

Young people account for roughly 40 percent of the world’s unemployed and are up to four times more likely to be unemployed than adults.

...

When young people are not fully participating in the labor force or are NEETs, governments forgo tax revenue and incur the cost of social safety nets, unemployment benefits and insurances, and lost  roductivity. Businesses risk losing a generation of consumers. Social costs are ever mounting as well. The Arab Spring and subsequent youth-led uprisings in many countries, along with the rise of economic insurgency and youth extremism, demand that we explore the links between economic participation, inequality, and community security, crime, and national fragility through a lens focused on youth. What we see is a generation in economic crisis.

Over the next decade, a billion more young people will enter the job market—and only 40 percent are expected to be able to enter jobs that currently exist. The global economy will need to create 600 million jobs over the next 10 years: that’s 5 million jobs each month simply to keep employment rates constant.

In other words, even with that 'growth' we are going nowhere!!

As Bloomberg reports,

The youngest workers have been hit hardest by the financial crisis and the global recession of the last decade because they often held the temporary jobs, which offer less protection. The youth unemployment rate is projected to be 13.1 percent in 2015, compared with 4.5 percent for adults, according to the ILO.

Global employers are looking not only for technical and academic skills, but also such qualities as being open, responsible or organized, ...Young workers are often either overqualified or underqualified for their jobs, it said.

"In emerging economies that are progressively more service-based, employers find a workforce population that lacks necessary skills," the report said. "Elsewhere, the problem is that many of the unemployed are highly educated but the market demands different competencies or more technical or vocational skills."

At stake is the well-being of the entire global economy. Without an income, millions of young people slump into poverty. By delaying their entry into the workforce or accepting low-paying jobs, many limit their lifetime earning potential. When young people don't work, governments don't get the tax revenue and businesses fail to gain customers.

"Social costs are ever mounting as well," the report said, citing youth-led uprisings in many Arab countries and the rise of economic insurgency and youth extremism. "What we see is a generation in economic crisis."

*  *  *

Full World Bank Report below...

Toward Solutions for Youth Employment Full

Toward Solutions for Youth Employment Full

 

 

MOST CRITICAL TIPPING POINT ARTICLES THIS WEEK - Oct 11th, 2015 - Oct 17th, 2015      
BOND BUBBLE     1
RISK REVERSAL - WOULD BE MARKED BY: Slowing Momentum, Weakening Earnings, Falling Estimates     2
GEO-POLITICAL EVENT     3
CHINA BUBBLE     4
JAPAN - DEBT DEFLATION     5

EU BANKING CRISIS

   

6

US BANKING CRISIS II

   

22 - US Banking Crisis II

Bloomberg Briewf 10-12-15

Having bailed them out and then helped to repair their balance sheets with record-low interest rates and bond-buying, policy makers may assist the financial industry once more when the U.S. Federal Reserve begins tightening monetary policy.

That’s according to two recently published reports by the Bank for International Settlements and McKinsey & Co., both of which have highlighted the downsides of ultra-easy borrowing costs in the past. Based on seven years of data from 109 large international banks in 14 countries, the BIS confirmed a relationship between short-term rates and the slope of the curve for bond yields with bank profitability.

The conclusion drawn by Claudio Borio, the head of the monetary and economic department at the BIS, and colleagues is that the positive impact of being able to earn income by lending money out for higher rates over time is bigger than the hit of defaults and income that doesn’t carry interest.  

Even better news for the banks is that the effect is strongest when rates are lower and the yield curve isn’t that steep, as is now the case.

That provides another reason for the BIS’s economists to again decry the unintended side-effects of accommodative monetary policy. They reckon that between 2011 and 2014, the average bank of those studied lost one year of profits as a result of low rates.

“All this suggests that over time, unusually low interest rates and an unusually flat term structure erode bank profitability,” said Borio, Leonardo Gambacorta and Boris Hofmann in the report, which was published on Oct. 1.

Return on equity at 500 global lenders was unchanged in 2014 at 9.5 percent, about the average of the last 35 years, according to the Sept. 30 study by McKinsey. Profit margins also continued a steady decline, dropping by 185 basis points in 2014, in part because of lower rates. It reckons tighter policy would boost return on equity by about 2 percentage points.

“Many in the industry are waiting for an interest rate rise or some other structural lift to profits,” McKinsey said.

There is a sting in the tale. It warned that even if rates do rise, profit margins may still not return to their pre-crisis highs.

“Much of the benefit will get competed away, and risk-costs will likely increase, especially in economies where the recovery is still fragile,” McKinsey said.

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10-14-15

STUDY 1- Bond Bubble

 

It Begins - Managed High Yield Bond Fund Liquidates After 17 Years

Posted:Wed, 14 Oct 2015 01:30:00 GMT

Since inception in June 1998, UBS' Managed High Yield Plus Fund survived through the dot-com (and Telco) collapse and the post-Lehman credit carnage but, based on the press release today, has been felled by the current credit cycle's crash. After 3 years of trading at an increasingly large discount to NAV, and plunging to its worst levels since the peak of the financial crisis, the board of the Fund has approved a proposal to liquidate the Fund. While timing is unclear, this is the worst case for an increasingly fragile cash bond market as BWICs galore are set to hit with "liquidty thin to zero."

Having survived 17 years...

It's Over... (as The Fund Statement reads):

Managed High Yield Plus Fund Inc. (the "Fund") (NYSE:HYF) announced today that the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of the Fund has approved a proposal to liquidate the Fund in 2016, subject to shareholder approval.

After careful deliberation and a thorough review of the available alternatives, and based upon the recommendation of UBS Global Asset Management (Americas) Inc. (“UBS AM”), the Fund’s manager, the Board has determined that liquidation and dissolution of the Fund is in the best interests of the Fund. A proposed plan of liquidation will be submitted for the approval of the Fund’s shareholders at a special shareholders meeting of the Fund, which will be scheduled to be held in April 2016. If the shareholders approve the proposed plan, the liquidation and dissolution of the Fund will take place as soon as reasonably practicable, but in no event later than December 31, 2016 (absent unforeseen circumstances).

Further information regarding the liquidation proposal, including the plan of liquidation, will be included in the proxy materials that will be mailed to the Fund’s shareholders in advance of the shareholders meeting.

*  *  *

This is a nightmare for the corporate credit market, where, as we noted previously "liquidity is thin to zero."...

...discussing illiquid corporate credit markets is easier if you find yourself among polite company. You see, the lack of liquidity in the secondary market for corporate bonds is a somewhat benign discussion because although it unquestionably stems from a noxious combination of regulatory incompetence and irresponsible monetary policy, myopic corporate management teams and the BTFD crowd, not to mention ETF issuers, have also played an outsized role, so there’s no need to lay the blame entirely on the masters of the universe who occupy the Eccles Building and on the "liquidity providing" HFT crowd that’s found regulatory capture to be just as easy as frontrunning.

But while explanations for the absence of liquidity vary from market to market, the response is becoming increasingly homogenous. Put simply: market participants are simply moving away from cash markets and into derivatives. Where market depth has disappeared, it’s become increasingly difficult to transact in size without having an outsized effect on prices. This means that for big players - fund managers, for instance - selling into ever thinner secondary markets is a dangerous proposition. And not just for the manager, but for market prices in general.

In Treasury markets, traders have turned to futures to mitigate illiquidty... 

...while corporate bond fund managers utilize ETFs and other portfolio products to avoid trading the underlying assets...

With the stage thus set, Bloomberg has more on the move to smaller trades and cash market substitutes:

Sometimes less is more. At least according to investment managers trying to navigate Europe’s credit markets.

TwentyFour Asset Management capped a bond fund to new investors at 750 million pounds ($1.2 billion) and JPMorgan Asset Management, which is marketing a 128 million-pound fund, said smaller investments are more flexible in a sell-off. Other managers are also limiting the size of their trades and using derivatives to avoid getting trapped in positions.

It’s become more difficult to buy and sell securities as Greece’s financial crisis curbs risk taking and dealers scale back trading activity to meet regulations introduced since the financial crisis. The Bank for International Settlements warned of a "liquidity illusion" in June because bond holdings are becoming concentrated in the hands of fund managers as banks pull back.

"Liquidity is generally poor in corporate bond markets and in the U.K. market it’s thin to zero,"said Mike Parsons, head of U.K. fund sales at JPMorgan Asset Management in London. "You don’t want to be in a gigantic fund where there’s potential for a lot of investors rushing for the exit at the same time. Smaller funds are more nimble."

"Without enough strong liquidity, it’s hard to execute bond trades in sufficient size or price to move portfolio risk around quickly or cheaply," he said. "The bigger the position, the harder it is to find enough liquidity to sell it or buy it."

Liquidity in credit markets has dropped about 90 percent since 2006, according to Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. That’s because dealers are using less of their own money to trade as new regulation makes it less profitable.

Euro-denominated corporate bonds got an average of 5.3 dealer quotes per trade last week, up from 4.5 recorded in January and compared with a peak of 8.8 in 2009, according to Morgan Stanley data. That’s based on dealer prices compiled by Markit Group Ltd. for bonds in its iBoxx indexes.

Liquidity is especially bad in the U.K. corporate bond market, which is being abandoned by companies looking to take advantage of lower borrowing costs in euros and investors seeking securities that are easier to buy and sell.

NN Investment Partners said it seeks to manage difficult trading conditions by diversifying positions and capping trade size. The Netherlands-based asset manager avoids owning large concentrations of a single bond and uses derivatives such as credit-default swaps or futures that are easier to buy and sell, said Hans van Zwol, a portfolio manager.

"We really want to stay away from positions we can’t get out of," he said.

The conundrum here is that the more reluctant market participants are to venture into increasingly illiquid cash markets, the more illiquid those markets become.

And here are the fund's largest holdings...

*  *  *

Of course, this should not be a total surprise, in light of the near-record up/downgrade ratio...

Credit-rating firms are downgrading more U.S. companies than at any other time since the financial crisis, and measures of debt relative to cash flow are rising.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded U.S. companies 297 times in the first nine months of the year, the most downgrades since 2009, compared with just 172 upgrades.

Deteriorating fundamentals...

U.S. companies have increased borrowing to levels exceeding those just before the financial crisis, as firms pursue big acquisitions and seek to boost stock prices by buying back shares. According to one metric, the ratio of debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for companies that carry investment-grade ratings, meaning triple-B-minus or above, was 2.29 times in the second quarter. That’s higher than the 1.91 times in June 2007, just before the crisis, according to figures from Morgan Stanley.

“We’re seeing more widespread weakness across more industry sectors in the U.S.,” Ms. Vazza said. “It’s become broader than just the commodity story.”

“The metrics that you measure health and credit by have peaked a while ago,” said Sivan Mahadevan, head of credit strategy at Morgan Stanley. “They are beginning to deteriorate.”

*  *  *

And as we noted earlier, the credit cycle has well and truly rolled over...

And no lesser market veteran than Art Cashin is concerned, What are the signals you are looking for to stay on top in such a market?

I continue to monitor the high yield market and see where that goes. The high yield market has been of some concern of the last several weeks. If that begins to show appreciable weakness than I would think the caution flags stay up.

Charts: Bloomberg


 

 

Bond Market Breaking Bad - Credit Downgrades Highest Since 2009

Posted:Tue, 13 Oct 2015

Despite The Fed's best efforts to crush the business cycle, the crucial credit-cycle has reared its ugly headas releveraging firms (gotta fund those buybacks) and deflationary pressures (liabilities fixed, assets tumble) have led to a surging market cost of capital.

As WSJ reports, softening U.S. corporate fundamentals have been largely overlooked but the markets for riskier debt have become snarled with rising downgrades and an increase in U.S. corporate defaults indicate “some cracks on the surface” of the domestic-growth outlook. In fact, in the latest quarter, theratio of upgrades-to-downgrades is its weakest since the peak of the financial crisis in 2009.

Falling profits and increased borrowing at U.S. companies are rattling debt markets, a sign the six-year-long economic recovery could be under threat.

Credit-rating firms are downgrading more U.S. companies than at any other time since the financial crisis, and measures of debt relative to cash flow are rising.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded U.S. companies 297 times in the first nine months of the year, the most downgrades since 2009, compared with just 172 upgrades.

Meanwhile, the trailing 12-month default rate on lower-rated U.S. corporate bonds was 2.5% in September, up from 1.4% in July of last year, according to S&P.

Analysts expect profits at large companies to decline for a second straight quarter for the first time since 2009.

 

U.S. companies have increased borrowing to levels exceeding those just before the financial crisis, as firms pursue big acquisitions and seek to boost stock prices by buying back shares. According to one metric, the ratio of debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for companies that carry investment-grade ratings, meaning triple-B-minus or above, was 2.29 times in the second quarter. That’s higher than the 1.91 times in June 2007, just before the crisis, according to figures from Morgan Stanley.

“We’re seeing more widespread weakness across more industry sectors in the U.S.,” Ms. Vazza said. “It’s become broader than just the commodity story.”

“The metrics that you measure health and credit by have peaked a while ago,” said Sivan Mahadevan, head of credit strategy at Morgan Stanley. “They are beginning to deteriorate.”

*  *  *

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