The Fed’s policy has painted itself into a proverbial corner. A ZEROHEDGE piece shows that in the age group of 16-55 there has been a loss of 2.7 million jobs during the previous few years, while in the 55-69 age group there has been a gain of 4 million jobs. This has been a recurrent theme of Notes From Underground during the last two years. The FED‘s policy of financial repression has resulted in an outcome that its beloved models failed to predict. The baby boomers haven’t been able to retire because their saving plans have been undermined by the zero interest rate policy. Zerohedge shows that debt-ladened college graduates are unable to find jobs and thus are struggling to repay education loans. Recent college grads are forced to live at home and are not creating new households.
Archive for the ‘Oil’ Category
The Financial Times headline played up the report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) that by 2017 the U.S. will become the world’s largest energy producer. The use of fracking and other newly developed technologies has enabled the exploitation of previously uneconomic carbon deposits. In 1974 I sat in an economic geography class in which the professor claimed that the U.S. was full on shale oil and gas and its development was merely a matter of price. Being a know-it-all about the Club of Rome studies on the limits of growth, I entered into a lively debate with the prof about why he was wrong and the effects of the energy crisis was going to lead to the demise of Kapitalism. If I could remember his name I would send an appropriate apology.
Before I take a few days hiatus (well deserved) and with the world in a more “serene” state, it is a good time to contemplate the recent news out of the GULF REGION. In a story in yesterday’s Financial Times, “Saudis battle to calm oil fears,” it seems that the Saudis have consigned 11 VLCCS to send a total of TWENTY-TWO MILLION BARRELS of crude to the U.S. This is an interesting development as high U.S. gas prices are seen to be an issue in the upcoming presidential election.
Yes, all the news about Prime Minister Berlusconi is pure puff and nonsense. The Italian economic situation will not change one iota when Silvio steps aside and, in fact, I would argue that the situation will become more volatile. Italy has seen so many governments come and go since the end of WORLD WAR II that it must be the role model for Japan. Mr. Berlusconi may be a scoundrel but the markets and the Italians know what they have and it seems that Berlusconi the known is better than what may come next. If the present government falls there is a possibility that a more leftist coalition will be formed and it is doubtful if it would be prone to pass an AUSTERITY plan.
The global markets are on tenterhooks waiting for the European leaders to come to some definitive plan of action to secure the European banking sector and provide relief to the problem of sovereign solvency issue of the so-called PIIGS. This problem has plagued the financial landscape since January 2010, when the Chinese SWF failed to buy a Greek 25 billion euro bond offering. When China didn’t fund Greece, the spotlight was directed to the European debt markets and the result has been a steady decay in the value of the sovereign debt of the European peripheries. After previous crisis meetings to stem the debt crisis, the time has come for the EUROCRATS and their political leaders to provide a program that has some genuine credibility.
The seriousness of the U.S. DEBT CIRCUS cannot be overstated but evidently not from a market perspective. U.S. Treasuries have continued to be well bid as many investors still run to the TREASURY market in times of uncertainty. Besides the “rush” to safety in the BONDS, the FED has so badly perverted the market’s pricing mechanism that it is very difficult to determine the genuine impact of the Washington default countdown. European sovereign debt has been trashed during the last 20 months as there was no real central bank support to the market as the EFSF was a late comer to the scene and was provided with meager provisions.
For all those who have ever been involved with American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), it is easy to see the similarity between the EBA‘s “stress tests” and a youth soccer game. Like AYSO, the Euro STRESS TESTS meant that everyone who plays gets a trophy for showing up. The philosophy is that every participant is a WINNER. Also, there is no keeping score for that would be bad sportsmanship. So, the EURO STRESS TESTS are treated in the same light.
Yesterday, it was such an easy game to play but now the IEA had entered and made it so much harder and it looks as though they’re to stay.
All eyes have been focused on the MIDDLE EAST for its huge impact on OIL prices. There is a debate between those who believe that the OIL supply disruption is inflationary as energy prices create a rising price environment and those who believe that high energy prices are a tremendous drag on economic growth. NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND is in the camp that OIL supply disruptions are a drag on growth, especially in an environment of high unemployment and a severely stretched consumer. It is this fear that has roiled the stock market in the U.S. and put stress upon the global financial system. Emerging markets that are already feeling the impact of higher food costs will now have to deal with higher energy prices, which many governments already subsidize for its citizens. Will the situation in Bahrain be as economic disastrous as some analysts and pundits are claiming?