There is a serious disturbance in the Farce called the global economy, and it is the role of central bankers who create absurd amounts of fiat currencies, literally out of thin air.
Policies adopted by the financial elite experts who control nearly all currencies worldwide have caused markets to virtually stop functioning. After seven years of base interest rates at near zero - and recently, below zero - endless stimulus programs otherwise known by the catchy name, quantitative easing, and a serious lack of transparency, regulation, and discipline in all markets, global growth is a non-starter for 2016 and the foreseeable future.
Businesses, fed a diet of easy money for nearly a decade (two decades, if one includes the Greenspan "put" years) are loathe to spend on capital improvements, labor or infrastructure. Businesses are, so to speak, "living off the land," by cutting budgets while fattening the salaries and bonuses of crony CEOs and others occupying the executive suites and boards of directors.
It's a horrible condition, with disinflation and outright deflation popping up in pockets like food production, energy, and most hard commodities (see natural gas and copper). Price discovery has become a function less of supply and demand and more driven by derivative bets, options, credit default swaps, and hedging. Over-finacialization of nearly all markets that matter has turned fundamentals on their heads and what once were functional markets into nothing more than trap-laden casinos. The effect has been to alienate a generation of investors (millenials), impoverish another (retirees) and overburden those not yet ready to enter the economy (the youth). In the middle is generation X, condemned to toil away towards an uncertain future.
The argument that fundamental supply and demand is defunct rests largely on the oil market, currently carrying the largest global glut on record, yet pushed to levels indicative of a shortage. Oil was ranging toward $25 per barrel just a month or so ago; today it is approaching $40, mostly a function of short-covering and naked short selling.
Much the same can be said of the markets for precious metals, the price held down by nefarious forces while the demand continues to expand. In many quarters, gold, silver, and gemstones are considered the only investments worth having and holding. They carry no counterparts risk, are relatively easy to transport and can be converted into money or any other asset with relative ease.
As Bill Bonner and his enlightened crew love to postulate, a day of reckoning is coming, though just exactly when that day arrives and how it is manifested are known to exactly nobody.
It's a mess. Better to put money in a mattress or buy canned goods than risk in capital markets, as moribund and compromised as they are. US equity indices peaked in May of 2015. It's nearly a year from the all-time highs without any rally catalysts in sight.
All eyes and ears will be tuned to the ECB tomorrow, when Mario Draghi does what he can only do, signal more easing, more fraud, and more of the relentless can-kicking that has typified the past seven years.
Nobody is holding his or her breath on this coming non-event because there is no longer any air to breathe.
S&P 500: 1,989.26, +10.00 (0.51%)
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Crude Oil 38.23 +4.74% Gold 1,253.90 -0.71% EUR/USD 1.1001 -0.06% 10-Yr Bond 1.8920 +3.28% Corn 360.25 -0.07% Copper 2.23 +0.54% Silver 15.31 -0.52% Natural Gas 1.76 +2.92% Russell 2000 1,072.77 +0.46% VIX 18.34 -1.77% BATS 1000 20,677.17 0.00% GBP/USD 1.4217 +0.03% USD/JPY 113.3350 +0.60%