GLOBAL RISK - Global Business Confidence Collapses To Post-Lehman Lows
Global Business Confidence Collapses To Post-Lehman Lows 11-24-14 Zero Hedge
As we noted here, despite record high stock prices and talking-heads imploring investors to believe CEOs are confident, they are not (consider the clear indication of a lack of economic confidence from tumbling capex and soaring buybacks), That is further confirmed today as Markit's survey of over 6000 firms showed optimism falling sharply in October, dropping to the lowest seen since the survey began five years ago. Hiring and investment plans were also at or near post-crisis lows, while price expectations deteriorated further. More worrying, perhaps, is the US is not decoupled whatsoever, with future expectations of US business activity at the lowest since the financial crisis.
The Markit Global Business Outlook Survey, which looks at expectations for the year ahead across 6,100 companies, showed optimism falling sharply in October, dropping to the lowest seen since the survey began five years ago. Hiring and investment plans were also at or near post-crisis lows, while price expectations deteriorated further.
Long list of worries
The surveys highlight a growing list of concerns among companies about the outlook for the year ahead that led to a cooling of business optimism in recent months.
Key threats include fears of a worsening global economic climate, and notably a renewed downturn in the Eurozone, the prospect of higher interest rates in countries such as the UK and US next year, geopolitical risk emanating from crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, plus growing political uncertainty in many countries, notably the US, UK and Japan.
“Clouds are gathering over the global economic outlook, presenting the darkest picture seen since the global financial crisis. Companies’ hiring and investment intentions have both fallen to post-crisis lows alongside the bleakest outlook for future business activity seen over the past five years.
“Inflationary pressures are expected to ease further, meaning central banks will have leeway to keep policy looser for longer to help support economic growth, especially as the risk of deflation remains a major worry.
“Of greatest concern is the slide in business optimism and expansion plans in the US to the weakest seen over the past five years. US growth therefore looks likely to have peaked over the summer months, with a slowing trend signalled for coming months.
“There’s also little sign of the Eurozone’s malaise ending any time soon, as companies have become even less optimistic about the outlook. Confidence is weakest in the core countries of Germany and France, with the gloomy mood in the latter being highlighted by France being the only country in the survey in which companies expect to cut staffing levels over the coming year on average.
“The Eurozone’s ongoing weakness remains one of the major concerns seen in the global survey, and especially in the UK, where optimism waned further from the post-crisis high seen at the start of the year. However, firms in the UK remain more optimistic than in any other major developed or emerging country, suggesting the UK will continue to outperform its peers in 2015, albeit with growth slowing from that seen in 2014.
“Optimism in Japan continued to lag behind that of the US, UK and even the Eurozone, dropping to a twoyear low to suggest companies have become increasingly disillusioned with the potential for ‘Abenomics’ to boost growth, although there are signs that Japan’s recent deflation-beating policies will continue to drive prices higher next year.
“A key factor that has held back economic growth in recent years has been the disappointing performance of major emerging market economies, and this looks set to continue, and perhaps even intensify, over the coming year. Across the four ‘BRIC’ emerging markets, business optimism has sunk to the lowest seen since the financial crisis. Russia is the biggest concern, with sanctions, a spiralling currency and uncertainty driving business expectations down sharply to a new low. A slight upturn in business expectations in China provides some hope that companies there are at least not expecting a hard landing.”
As Markit reports, the US is not immune...
“This survey is a timely reminder that the U.S. economy has not been immune from weakening global business conditions, with euro area woes and heightened geopolitical risk weighing on firms’ business outlook and job hiring intentions for 2015.
“U.S. companies reported the lowest degree of confidence since the survey began in late 2009, reflecting domestic concerns and a subdued external demand environment.
* * *
So QE managed to surge inequality, did nothing for wages, and achieved nothing in sparking animal spirits... but apart from that it was a great success.
|22 - Public Sentiment & Confidence
FINANCIAL REPRESSION - Central Banks Manipulating Markets
Veteran S&P Futures Trader: "I Am 100% Confident That Central Banks Are Buying S&P Futures" 11-23-14 Zero Hedge
I have been an independent trader for 23 years, starting at the CBOT in grains and CME in the S&P 500 futures markets long ago while they were auction outcry markets, and have stayed in the alternative investment space ever since, and now run a small fund.
I understand better than most I would think, the "mechanics" of the markets and how they have evolved over time from the auction market to 'upstairs". I am a self-taught, top down global macro economist, and historian of "money" and the Fed and all economic and governmental structures in the world. One thing so many managers don't understand is that the markets take away the most amounts of money from the most amounts of people, and do so non-linearly. Most sophisticated investors know to be successful, one must be a contrarian, and this philosophy is in parallel. Markets will, on all time scales, through exponential decay (fat tails, or black swans, on longer term scales), or exponential growth of price itself. Why was I so bearish on gold at its peak a few years back for instance? Because of the ascent of non-linearity of price, and the massive consensus buildup of bulls. Didier Sornette, author of "Why Stock Markets Crash", I believe correctly summarizes how Power Law Behavior, or exponential consensus, and how it lead to crashes. The buildup of buyers' zeal, and the squeezing of shorts, leads to that "complex system" popping. I have traded as a contrarian with these philosophies for some time.
The point here is, our general indices have been at that critical point now for a year, without "normal" reactions post critical points in time, from longer term time scales to intraday. This suggests that many times, there is only an audience of one buyer, and as price goes up to certain levels, that buyer extracts all sellers. After this year and especially this last 1900 point Dow run up in October, and post non-reaction, that I am 100 percent confident that that one buyer is our own Federal Reserve or other central banks with a goal to "stimulate" our economy by directly buying stock index futures. Talking about a perpetual fat finger! I guess "don't fight the Fed" truly exists, without fluctuation, in this situation. Its important to note the mechanics; the Fed buys futures and the actual underlying constituents that make up the general indices will align by opportunistic spread arbitragers who sell the futures and buy the actual equities, thus, the Fed could use the con, if asked, that they aren't actually buying equities.
They also consistently use events through their controlled media, whether bad or good price altering news, to create investment behavior. The "ending" QE 3, and the immediate Bank of Japan QE news that night, and thus the ability to not quit QE using them as their front, and then propping our markets on Globex, like this is suppose to be good news, free markets totally dependent on QE, is one example. Last night, Obama passing the amnesty bill, and the more great news about how Europe and now China are also printing money out of thin air and "stimulating" their economies with QE too, which in turn prompts the Fed to prop up overnight futures markets on Globex to make that look like great news as well. I guess this is suppose to create a behavioral pattern for investors, that dependency on government gives us positive feedback and is good, much like Pavlov's dog and the ringing of the bell.
Why would the Fed prop up our stock market to begin with? Weren't they just supposed to "stimulate" the treasuries market only, to keep interest rates low, indirectly, by an eventual direct purchase in secondary markets, keeping them propped up (for five years now!)? Well, first of all as it relates to equities and utilizing the "Plunge Protection" mandate, why not just bypass the "plunge" altogether. Can't the definition of Plunge Protection be just that? Protection against a plunge instead of during a plunge? Doesn't propping the market equate to "Plunge Protection" since propping alleviates plunge and "protects" us? Does it depend on what the definition of "is" is? And really, doesn't the Fed buying futures directly alleviate those bankers who take their money in TARP or however means and then this money doesn't make its way into the very heart of what the public deems as its consumption motivator, higher stocks and real estate? Plus, buying futures is a means of then delivering fiat cash upon every expiration, therefore, "stimulus" to someone who receives it.
The Fed boasts about having a printing press, and I guess this allows them to "fix" everything. They "print money out of thin air" we keep hearing (which is true by the way) and with US taxpayer backing (fiat currency (always fails throughout history)), (perhaps post QE 3 there is an Executive Order for QE infinity), they sit on the actual bid and hold our treasury markets steady, and by buying out big sellers as they arise like Russia and China via their Belgium central bank franchise as an example, propping our dollar and then staying on that bid by other franchises, having constant bid flow into equity futures in real time hours and Globex overnite, all in order to retain US consumer confidence (since that is what we are suppose to continue to do) and the image of global strength to keep the dollar from losing its reserve status. Their obsession of stopping a deflationary depression, has headfaked people like Bill Gross, formerly of PIMCO, and known to have started hedging long bond positions five years ago with the assumptions that Fed printing would be inflationary, and rates would move higher, but without the assumption of the perpetual direct bid in the market place by the Fed creating, "price discovery". For now, that is.
In the end, which they know exactly when that is, the ultimate con is exposed through mass theft. Americans finally find out what those guys on CNBC are talking about when they mention "inflation" and how it destroys buying power over time. The end reflects the Fed stepping away from the bid in all markets. Prior to this, of course, they prep their offshore fund accounts to take the other side and short dollar, short global equities, and short fixed income, with mass leverage for maximum gain. I mean, why wouldn't they? They are a private entity and are composed of non-US citizens with no accountability or oversight and they seem to be globalist humanists with a depopulation bent (Rockefeller Foundation). Why wouldn't they use our money to prop, their money to take other side in a massive global short play, then let it all crash by simply stepping off the bid of these markets. They can then use the controlled talking heads who can relay the complexities of fiat money, index arbitrage, money velocity, currency and CDO swaps, with some geopolitical China worries, whatever, but really emphasize that the whole capitalistic system and constitution was flawed to begin with anyways, and that perhaps totalitarian fascism would be best for the country at this point since everyone's wealth is destroyed overnight and are literally hungry. Perhaps Obama is just that person! Maybe Dinesh D'souza was right about Obama. This is the way to destroy us, or "equal" the playing field globally by taking us down to third world status, is it not? Leverage the American people's money by trillions of dollars at the tops of capital markets, then bury them in a death spiral? Maybe Thomas Jefferson knew what he was saying' "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered."
Why wouldn't anyone believe these words written here? Perhaps you can't imagine someone being so evil? Wasn't the Federal Reserve Bank concept initially funded by a Rothschild in the 1800s, who used the media to deceive the public and sway the London Stock Market down negatively, who then speculated against that panicking public's sell orders by taking long positions in stocks, then making a fortune when everyone found out that the news was wrong and positive? Then later another Rothschild founded our Federal Reserve in 1913, and others like JP Morgan who supposedly bought the US stock market in a banking panic and "saved" America in 1909? Aren't all of these Fed owners Fabian Socialists?
Details of this last market move:
This last 1900 point Dow Jones push upwards - and the Ebola events leading into it - it was so orchestrated and heightened at critical points but the ascent and push straight up in price, and sideways nonreaction after was completely unlike anything I've seen before. After going up for a record breaking amount of time the last five or so years, in a nonlinear exponential mania type of ascent, there should normally be tremendous volatility that follows. But, this isn't a tech-like mania! There aren't any buyers here other then the Fed. The shorts were all squeezed in 2009, 2010, 11, 12, and everyone who has ever wanted to buy stocks is in!
Modern Portfolio Theory has reached it's pinnacle, leading 55% of the American public who partake in that "diversified" portfolio theory off an eventual cliff. The market acts more like a penny stock that has been pumped up and is "boxed" (boxed, meaning, the whole float is buying and holding and held with the promoter, one broker dealer, and thus this one broker dealer can control price "discovery"(regardless of actual fundamentals and using "press releases" to sway and create order flow they want and need from naive clients)) , and less like a free market. The Dow runs up that much that quickly, then on Globex its down .02 percent at the most over night, multiple days in a row? No pullback? Are you kidding me!? Then the actual trading days have very little volume, and the peaks in price intraday also exhibit nonreactions sideways, just a couple of tics from the highs. This price manipulation reflects that they want to expunge all shorts on all time scales, to the point that there will be no point to try, and at the very end, there will be very few. This also reflects that a group of very smart prop trader types, experienced behavioralists, perhaps off of a prior prop desk like a Goldman, are controlling this game, and not some government treasury/cftc/sec "plunge protect" type who doesn't understand this game.
With the indoctrination of Modern Portfolio Theory, and the masses' epistemology from experience and from "experts" to never ever get out because "it always comes back", and from corporate buybacks, the actual intraday trading float has disappeared, thus, easier and cheaper to manipulate and find the perfect "price discovery" for every situation to control investor behavior, especially during off hours on Globex. This past situation, during the break and runup, there would be thousands of opportunities for the Fed insiders using different variations of ways to front run (without using the focus dump then pump futures contract itself), making the HFT guys front running for pennies look like complete chumps. Can you imagine all the different ways to bet the global markets at the height of the ebola scare, which just happened to be the height of the mass media hammering the public with fear about it(haven't heard a word since!), which happened to be the exact moment of a very large Dow Jones 600 points intraday range after falling 1000 points in 9 days, which also happened to be at the height of put option premiums expanding and call option premiums eroding quickly, by knowing that the Fed is now going to prop it back up, way back up, and quickly! Shorting put premium globally for expiration in 7 or 37 days? Buying way out of the money cheap calls, buying the underlying equities, shorting interest rates, buying inflation, buying emerging markets and all of their liquid securities, options plays etc... on and on. That prior knowledge ts worth trillions, is it not? We all know that investment bank broker dealer desks take the other side of trades, and inventory the other side opportunistically. Why wouldn't this "bank" too, especially now that they are intertwined with investment banks thus have gained their intellectual property in trading? And why wouldn't they influence our idiot sheepish politicians to mandate the Fed Reserve, to encourage the Fed Reserve, to stimulate, whereas our Fed could use that for "the people", while at the same time, for themselves take the other side based on their offshore opportunistic mandate? Today's current markets are completely manipulated, every market, all the time, with our money and political Keynesian (control) mandate doing the manipulation in order for their money to front run and profit from there opportunistic mandate.
So if I am right, and my 23 years of experience trading equities, during manias enables me to know with certainty that I am, that they are allowed to directly be involved and have a perpetual standing bid in the secondary derivatives markets, they can then take the other side when they want (no need to publicly announce this, but to justify in their own heads). So when they take the other side in the public markets upon themselves pulling the prior US citizen backed bids in all markets for the ultimate 80 year cyclical "end game" (btw, about 23 years past the Kondratief Cycle deadline which is one way to describe the inevitable delay in this ongoing natural economic system reset) of the US fiat backed paper print con capped off by mass leverage, wouldn't they make trillions on the bubble pop on the way down? Wouldn't they also end up eventually owning the whole US since commerce would halt immediately, everyone would lose their jobs causing mass deflation (and hyperinflation due to our currency being booted as reserve currency, and imports becoming expensive overnight) causing mass defaults on their home loan obligations? Where do our mortgages end up now post 2008, 2009 financial collapse? Our governments coffers via FHA, FNMA, GNMA? And who will place a lien on our government when they default on it's loans? Wouldn't they be able to foreclose on America?
The US mandate on allowing Plunge Protection enabling the Fed to stick their noses directly in the equities markets was written in 1988 and is public knowledge and found in the public forum. And the attached "memo" shows incentives from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for Central Bankers to use their equity futures markets.
Write me if you have any questions or comments, or if you need me to join in your efforts help to expose this Ponzi scam.
FINANCIAL REPRESSION - Why Monetizing Debt Could End In Revolutions
Why Monetizing Debt Could End In Revolutions 11-23-14 Submitted by Luke Eastwood, via ZH
Much has been made of the decision by the Japanese government to inject another $700 billion into their ailing economy. While some may see this as an earnest attempt to save Japan from further stagnation and deflation, even some of the mainstream media (e.g. Bloomberg) are questioning the wisdom of this reckless act.
Over the last few decades, since the crash of 1989,
- Japan has injected billions into its banks and stock-market to help its economy but all of it has been a miserable failure.
- America has, via the Federal Reserve, increased its national debt to formerly unthinkable numbers with almost no effect on its ailing economy.
- Most of Europe has huge public debt as a result of bank bailouts, but still suffers from stagnating or shrinking economies.
In fact, any privately owned central bank that has undertaken monetization policies (creating more public debt) has failed to improve their nation’s economy and merely created a transfer of wealth from the general public to corporate hands.
Of course, government owned banks such as in China and Russia are and do take somewhat different actions given that they are owned by the public (state owned) and not private individuals or corporate entities. Therein lies the crux of the matter – private ownership means private interests, therefore the needs of the country and the populace are of no concern at all.
All that the Fed, BoJ (Bank of Japan), the Bank of England etc. have been concerned with is the preservation of private banks and the continued propping up of stock markets. None of these institutions really care about the real-world economy, real-world inflation or the ability of individuals to maintain their lives in a prolonged period of economic contraction.
While monetizing is all great news for the banks and stock-markets it is terrible news for any people that do not receive well over average earnings – this is because monetizing debt (printing money) causes inflation. As with everything else connected with the economy, governments cook the books on inflation to the extent that the CPI is a total fantasy designed to give falsely low inflation rates.
Even the most foolish of people can see that month by month food, fuel, utilities, clothing and just about everything is going up in price. Part of this is due to factors such as environmental/weather disasters and conflict that can affect production and therefore prices. However, the continual currency wars – a race to the bottom to expand and devalue the US dollar, Euro, Pound, Yen etc is the fundamental cause of runaway inflation that is affecting most households.
When you couple high real inflation with stagnation or reduction in wages over the years since the 2008 crash then real-world buying power of most individuals is drastically reduced. This doesn’t just make people depressed, it makes them angry – hardworking people do not expect or deserve to be thrust into poverty.
Governments press blindly on, printing money, propping up the financial sector and saddling their voters with more and more debt that must be paid for in taxes. They know that the public is unhappy, but they are more interested in placating their corporate partners than listening to a public that is
- increasingly poor,
- increasingly angry and
- increasingly close to open revolt.
Stimulus has failed to produce any ‘green shoots’ simply because it has been directed to where it is of no benefit (except to the already rich) and not at where it desperately needs to go. Throwing good money after bad is not going to change anything unless it is redirected to the bottom and middle earners who are the lifeblood of any consumer society.
Quoting Raul Ilargi Meyer’s recent article: ‘Any stimulus must be directed at the bottom, or it must of necessity fail… it’s very simply that an economy cannot function without its poorer 90% of citizens spending.’
If this is true, which I believe it is, then more monetizing debt can only lead these ailing economies into further ruination and further beggaring of the masses. If this continues then the bulk of the population will become poor enough and angry enough to demand change on their own terms.
This will begin with mass protest and if it is ignored or suppressed then continued attempts to retain the status quo will lead to insurrections and possibly violent revolutions. One can only hope that governments will act soon in the interest of the people for once instead of lining the pockets of corporations and those that own them.