Earlier in 2016, the US Investment Grade bond market passed an key milestone when some time around August, the total amount of high grade debt outstanding hit $6 trillion, tripling from $2 trillion at the time of the financial crisis. Most, if not all, of the new funding was used to buyback stock….. And now, as we come to the end of 2016, another $6 trillion number makes a dramatic appearance, this time in a slightly different metric: according to Dealogic, global debt sales hit a record in 2016, led by corporations rushing to load up on cheap borrowing costs, now threatened by Trump’s vague policies to boost the US economy. As the FT reported, courtesy of record low rates throughout most of 2016, overall debt issuance in the year rose to just over $6.6 trillion, breaking the previous annual record set in 2006.
Though other perpendiculars have already been posited, it’s fair to interject a friendly reminder that we are not in 1982, the last time stocks were trading at a single-digit price-to-earnings multiple and Baby Boomers were less than half their age. Is it relevant that productivity growth was running at eight times its current pace with the saving rate double where it is today and household debt to income half of where it is? Wait…won’t rising rig counts cap oil prices? And does it matter that Uncle Sam’s debt load has grown to 105 percent of GDP compared to 30 percent back then? Does this country and its inhabitants technically have to have a pot that’s growing in size to piss in?
Washington-Supported “Moderate” Terrorists Abandon East Aleppo—Leave Mass Graves, Tortured Victims Behind
Russian military forces have discovered mass graves in eastern parts of the Syrian city of Aleppo, with many of the bodies reportedly showing signs of torture…..“Many of the corpses were found with missing body parts, and most had gunshot wounds to the head,” he said, according to RT, a Russian state-owned news network. Last week, Russian and Syrian military forces oversaw the evacuation of civilians from eastern Aleppo. Prior to that, the rebel-held portion of the city had been controlled by two main factions, Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist group with ties to al-Qaeda also known as the Nusra Front, and Ahrar al-Sham, another extremist group that receives U.S. support despite being designated a terrorist organization.
House flipping, a potent symbol of the real-estate market’s excess in the run-up to the financial crisis, is once again becoming hot, fueled by a combination of skyrocketing home prices, venture-backed startups and Wall Street cash….House flipping, a potent symbol of the real-estate market’s excess in the run-up to the financial crisis, is once again becoming hot, fueled by a combination of skyrocketing home prices, venture-backed startups and Wall Street cash.
President Barack Obama has long been under fire from the US national security elite and the media for failing to intervene aggressively against the Assad regime. But the real strategic blunder was not that Barack Obama didn’t launch yet another war in Syria, but that he decided to go along with the ambitions of America’s Sunni allies to create and arm a Syrian opposition army to overthrow the regime in the first place. Now a former Obama administration official who is knowledgeable on the internal discussions on Syria policy, speaking to this writer on condition of anonymity, has shed new light on how and why that fateful decision was made.
Over the Christmas holidays, when no one was supposed to pay attention, and when the markets were closed, the bailout costs of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the third largest bank in Italy, and the center of the Italian banking crisis, suddenly jumped by 75% to €8.8 billion ($9.2 billion)! Just how immense the black hole inside of a bank really is remains unknown until the bank collapses entirely and the pieces are sorted out. No one wants to know, especially not bank regulators. But when banks are teetering, and a bank bailout, or rather a bondholder bailout is being discussed, the aspects of that hole begin to emerge, and the hole keeps getting bigger the longer someone looks at it.
One year after this website demonstrated that Turkey was cooperating with the Islamic State, in the very least trading cash in exchange for crude oil sold to various Turkish outposts (a trade which was subsequently ended by the Russian air force), Turkey has flipped the tables and on Tuesday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has uncovered evidence that US-led coalition forces have helped support terrorists in Syria – including Isis. They give support to terrorist groups including ISIS” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara on Tuesday, adding that US coalition forces “give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It’s very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos.”
But those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Banking concentration in the U.S. has reached an unprecedented crisis level when it comes to deposits. Out of the dramatically shrunken base of 5,927 FDIC insured banks which were holding a total of $11.2 trillion in total deposits (insured and uninsured deposits) as of September 30, 2016, just four banks hold 44.6 percent of all deposits. Those four banks are JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. with $1.486 trillion in total deposits; Bank of America N.A. with $1.3 trillion in total deposits; Wells Fargo Bank N.A. with $1.3 trillion in total deposits; and Citibank N.A. with total deposits of $947.8 billion. (Deposit figures are as of September 30, 2016. The source is the FDIC.)
Peter Schiff recently appeared on RT News and laid out how he sees gold prices and the US economy moving into 2017. Inflation vs. interest rates, the stock market bubble, and downturns in mortgage/auto financial markets were a few of the topics Peter provided insights and predictions about. He also dispelled four economic myths surrounding the Fed’s positive outlook, Trump’s fiscal plans, and how inflation impacts gold prices.
Today’s piece should be seen as a bit of a followup to yesterday’s post, India’s Demonetization Debacle Highlights the Dangers of Monetary Monopoly. While yesterday’s piece was more philosophical/strategic in nature, today’s zeroes in on some of the devastating real world impacts of Narendra Modi’s insane and inhumane cash ban. It’s hard to overstate the damage this policy has done to India’s economy. Modi is quickly solidifying his place as one of monetary history’s biggest idiots.