By Dan Denning
Monday was the day the world’s capital markets turned into a giant fiat money casino. Consider yourself warned. You can trade your way to profits this in this market on the tide of easy money being printed now by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. But the financial markets are now setting up for the mother of all collapses.
Up until Monday, we’ve seen the end of the super cycle in fiat money as a process that could take years to unfold. The piecemeal nationalisation of certain industries…the assumption of private sector liabilities on the public sector balance sheet…the abrogation of contract in the form of defaulted mortgages that are not foreclosed on…and higher-and-higher public debt-to-GDP ratios were all signs that the government everywhere was sucking the life out of the economy to preserve the status quo, and turning dozens of firms and institutions into zombies with no real productive economic future.
But Monday is the day that sent a bit of a chill down your editor’s spine. And it’s not because the €750 billion bailout package by the ECB caused a frisson here in St. Kilda. Granted, it did wonders everywhere else. The S&P 500 was up 4.4% in New York. Local stocks rallied. And most impressively, the spread between 10-year Greek debt and equivalent German bunds shrunk by a massive 570 basis points.
And if you’re a speculator — and especially a high-yield bond hunter — why not get on the gravy train? If the ECB is going to print money to buy public and private sector debts to “ensure depth and liquidity” in certain markets, it’s not a trend you want to fight. If the central banks are going to splurge on assets to support debt markets, bond yields will fall and asset prices will rise. For now.
But we reckon it is not for long. This really is Act V of the fiscal welfare state, in which monetary policy becomes the shameless handmaiden of fiscal policy in order to sustain an unsustainable kind of riskless society with massive benefits for everyone paid for by a few. That is an unaffordable illusion, the shattering of which leads to lower standards of living — a fact many in Europe find politically unacceptable (even if the fiscal facts speak for themselves).