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Bullets pointed at your own head

Nouriel Roubini is the only orthodox  ‘PC’ economist who managed to predict financial catastrophe without mentioning Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Austrian School economics, central bank monopoly, gold, silver, corruption, fractional-reserve banking, fraud, Taleb, John Law, fiat paper confetti, Zimbabwe, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Freemasons, Illumanti or zealot-zionists.

This extraordinary achievement deserves great respect and has garnered him accolades around the central banking world.

Unfortunately, he now sounds very Austrian.  That means that the range of possible outcomes for stocks, the economy and our future is narrowing.  If both the Austrians and a noted neo-Keynesian draw the same conclusions, you’d better believe there’s trouble ahead and bunker down for financial Armageddon.  From today’s UK Daily Telegraph:

“The US has run out of bullets,” said Nouriel Roubini, professor at New York University, and one of a caste of luminaries with grim forecasts at the annual Ambrosetti conference on Lake Como.

“More quantitative easing (bond purchases) by the Federal Reserve is not going to make any difference. Treasury yields are already down to 2.5pc yet credit spreads are widening again. Monetary policy can boost liquidity but it can’t deal with solvency problems,” he told Europe’s policy elite…

“We have reached stall speed. Any shock at this point can tip you back into recession. With interbank spreads rising, you can get a vicious circle like 2008-2009,” he said, describing a self-feeding process as the real economy and the credit system hurt each other.

“There is a 40pc chance of double-dip recession in the US, and worse in Japan. Even if it is not technically a recession it will feel like it,” he added…

Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson said the US has exhausted fiscal stimulus given warnings from the Congressional Budget Office that interest payments as a share of tax revenues will reach 20pc by 2020 and 36pc by 2030 without drastic retrenchment.

“The fiscal crisis seems to be out of control. The ‘big crossover’ is approaching when the US spends more on debt service costs than on security, and historically that is the tipping point for any global power,” he said.

Mr Ferguson said the “Chimerica” marriage of recent years is on the rocks. China is no longer willing to fund the US Treasury bond market, cutting its share of holdings from 13pc to 10pc of the total debt stock.

While China must find ways to recycle its trade surplus and hold down the yuan, it is doing this by stockpiling commodities, buying hard assets around the world, or rotating into Asian bonds.

Dr Roubini said US companies have plenty of cash but are boosting profits by a policy of “slash and burn” on labour costs. “We’ve lost 8.4m jobs and if you include the loss of hours worked it is equivalent to another 3m. We need to generate an extra 450,000 jobs every month for three years to get it back,” he said.

The US non-farm payrolls data released on Friday was better then expected but still showed a net loss of 54,000 jobs.

Dr Roubini said average public debt in the rich countries would rise to 120pc of GDP by 2015 in the rich countries, leaving no scope for a further fiscal stimulus. If they push their luck, they too risk the sort of bond crises seen in Southern Europe this year.

In the US, the fiscal boost has faded, switching to tightening over coming months The lift from the inventory cycle is finished. Capex spending by companies has held up well, but this slowed sharply in July. Housing is already in a double dip. The last support for the US economy is consumption, barely growing at 1pc.

“All we did was kick the can down the road and stole demand from the future,” he said.

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