Doubleline Capital CEO and founder Jeffrey Gundlach joins ‘Fast Money Halftime Report’ to discuss the Fed rate decision, if there is a recession risk and his market call.
Doubleline Capital CEO and founder Jeffrey Gundlach joins ‘Fast Money Halftime Report’ to discuss the Fed rate decision, if there is a recession risk and his market call.
With nearly 40% of young adults in California living with their parents and a $1.6 trillion student debt crisis taking more than just a little bite out of disposable income (and any hope of saving for many), economist Gary Kimbrough of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has thrown together a ton of interesting data to answer the question: “What are the economic realities for young adults, and how have they changed from prior decades?“
While much of Kimbrough’s analysis was done in February, he’s revisited his work ahead of a January presentation on the topic of young adults living at home.
Living at home
What’s more, when broken down by categories “living with parents, household head or spouse of household head, living in group quarters (mostly prisons for these ages), and other arrangements like cohabiting and living with roommates,” it’s startling to watch how young adults have been living at home vs. starting their own families over time.
When it comes to “job hopping” – young adults are largely staying put – and “aren’t even switching jobs at anything close to the levels of those in their age groups before 2001” according to Kimbrough.
Everyone has a degree
“In 1992, middle-aged men were significantly more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than women or younger men. Now members of every group age 25-34 are more likely to have degrees than those men were,” writes Kimbrough, adding “Women’s college degree rates have shot up significantly more than men’s.”
Men at (part time) work
Since the Great Recession, Kimbrough noticed that “the propensity to work part time is about the same for women as pre-recession, but is up quite a bit for men under 35. Men 25-29 are still more likely to work PT than any time pre-2009.”
Working women are up, marriages are down
As more women have chosen careers over homemaking, Kimbrough provides an illustration of prime-age employment as a percentage of population, by gender. What’s more, young adult marriages have declined markedly over the last decade, continuing a trend which began mid-century.
Gaming overtakes TV time
While not an “economic reality” per-se, it’s interesting to note that young men have been swapping TV-watching time for gaming.
Of note, and unsurprisingly – young men living at home constitute the bulk of gamers watching less TV.
Owned by rent
Using Census/ACS data, Kimbrough shows how young adults are “significantly more likely to live in rental housing than in prior decades.”
What about the children?
Also unsurprising, with lower marriage rates and higher female employment, women in their 20s are “significantly less likely to have a child than a decade ago,” while those over the age of 32 are slightly more likely to have a kid.
(Volfefe begins today) One day before the ECB is expected to cut rates further into negative territory and restart sovereign debt QE, moments ago president Trump resumed his feud with the Fed piling more pressure on Powell to cut rates “to ZERO or less” because the US apparently has “no inflation”, while also crashing the conversation over whether the US should issue ultra-long maturity debt (50, 100 years), saying the US “should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term.”
At least we now know who is urging Mnuchin to launch 50 and 100 year Treasuries. What we don’t know is just what school of monetary thought Trump belongs to – aside from Erdoganism of course – because while on one hand Trump claims that “we have the great currency, power, and balance sheet” on the other the US president also claims that “the USA should always be paying the lowest rate.” In a normal world, the strongest economy tends to pay the highest interest rate, but in this upside down world, who knows anymore, so maybe the Fed has just itself to blame.
Trump’s conclusion: “It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of “Boneheads.”
Expect even more badgering of the Fed once the ECB cuts rates tomorrow.
One parting thought: if Bolton was fired for disagreeing with Trump over the Taliban, we wonder just how stable Powell’s job will be once the market actually does drop.
Having destroyed discipline, central banks have no way out of the corner they’ve painted us into.
It was such a wonderful fantasy: just give a handful of bankers, financiers and corporations trillions of dollars at near-zero rates of interest, and this flood of credit and cash into the apex of the wealth-power pyramid would magically generate a new round of investments in productivity-improving infrastructure and equipment, which would trickle down to the masses in the form of higher wages, enabling the masses to borrow and spend more on consumption, powering the Nirvana of modern economics: a self-sustaining, self-reinforcing expansion of growth.
But alas, there is no self-sustaining, self-reinforcing expansion of growth; there are only massive, increasingly fragile asset bubbles, stagnant wages and a New Gilded Age as the handful of bankers, financiers and corporations that were handed unlimited nearly free money enriched themselves at the expense of everyone else.
When credit is nearly free to borrow in unlimited quantities, there’s no need for discipline, and so a year of university costs $50,000 instead of $10,000, houses that should cost $200,000 now cost $1 million and a bridge that should have cost $100 million costs $500 million. Nobody can afford anything any more because the answer in the era of central bank “growth” is: just borrow more, it won’t cost you much because interest rates are so low.
And with capital (i.e. saved earnings) getting essentially zero yield thanks to central bank ZIRP and NIRP (zero or negative interest rate policies), then all the credit has poured into speculative assets, inflating unprecedented asset bubbles that will destroy much of the financial system when they finally pop, as all asset bubbles eventually do.
Nobody knows what the price of anything is in the funny-money era of central banks. And since capital earns next to nothing, the only way to earn a return is join the mad frenzy chasing risk assets ever higher, with the plan being to sell at the top to a greater fool, a strategy few manage as it requires selling into a rally that seems destined to climb to the stars.
Having destroyed discipline–why scrimp and save when you can always borrow to buy or invest?– central banks have no way out of the corner they’ve painted us into. If they “normalize” interest rates to historical averages (3% above real-world inflation), then all the zombie companies and households that are surviving only because rates are near-zero will go bankrupt, wiping out the “wealth” of all the loans that can no longer be paid.
“Normalized” rates would also bring down the global housing bubble, an implosion that would trigger trillions in losses, reversing the vaunted wealth effect into a realization that we’re all getting poorer, not richer, and collapsing the risky mountain of mortgage debt that’s been piled on absurdly overvalued properties globally.
In effect, central banks added a zero to “money” and anticipated that this trickery would generate ten times more of everything: ten times more productive investments, ten times more consumption, ten times more people borrowing ten times more money, and so on.
But the trickery failed, and all we have is $200,000 houses that cost $1 million, a year in college that costs $50,000 instead of $10,000, and so on.Having destroyed discipline and price discovery, central banks attempted to replace reality with fantasy, and now the absurd fantasy is imploding. The financial system and the real-world economy have both been destabilized by this fantasy, and now both are fragile in ways few understand.
The only “policies” central banks have is to issue more credit at negative interest rates, i.e. doing more of what’s failed spectacularly, until the entire rickety travesty of a mockery of a sham collapses.
That collapse is currently underway in slow motion, but given the increasing instability of asset bubbles, it could accelerate at any time.
Quote Of The Pre-War Era…
The Federal Reserve Resistance: A recent official urges the central bank to help defeat Donald Trump.
Perhaps you’ve seen former Chairs of the Federal Reserve defending the central bank’s independence and fore swearing all political intentions. Fair enough. But then what are we to make of former Fed monetary Vice Chair William Dudley ’s marker that the Fed should help defeat President Trump in 2020? That’s the extraordinary message from the former, and perhaps future, Fed grandee in Bloomberg.
“Officials could state explicitly that the central bank won’t bail out an administration that keeps making bad choices on trade policy, making it abundantly clear that Trump will own the consequences of his actions,” Mr. Dudley asserts. We also think monetary policy should focus on prices rather than trade. But Mr. Dudley seems to be saying the Fed should do nothing to assist the economy even if it heads into recession. Then he goes further and essentially says the Fed should join The Resistance.
“There’s even an argument that the election itself falls within the Fed’s purview,” Mr. Dudley writes. “After all, Trump’s reelection arguably presents a threat to the U.S. and global economy, to the Fed’s independence and its ability to achieve its employment and inflation objectives. If the goal of monetary policy is to achieve the best long-term economic outcome, then Fed officials should consider how their decisions will affect the political outcome in 2020.”
Wow. Talk about stripping the veil. These columns wondered if Mr. Dudley was politically motivated while he was at the Fed, favoring bond buying to finance Barack Obama ’s deficit spending, urging the Fed to intervene in markets to boost housing, and keeping interest rates low for as long as possible. And now here Mr. Dudley is confirming that he views the Fed as an agent of the Democratic Party.
A key lesson of the Trump era is that every single allegedly neutral, nonpartisan, super-professional institution has turned out to be, in fact, a bunch of partisan hacks shilling for the permanent political party. Voters can be forgiven for adopting a “burn it all down” attitude in response.
The main problem with the US economy is that globalism has been deconstructing it. The offshoring of US jobs has reduced US manufacturing and industrial capability and associated innovation, research, development, supply chains, consumer purchasing power, and tax base of state and local governments. Corporations have increased short-term profits at the expense of these long-term costs. In effect, the US economy is being moved out of the First World into the Third World.
Tariffs are not a solution. The Trump administration says that the tariffs are paid by China, but unless Apple, Nike, Levi, and all of the offshoring companies got an exemption from the tariffs, the tariffs fall on the off shored production of US firms that are sold to US consumers. The tariffs will either reduce the profits of the US firms or be paid by US purchasers of the products in higher prices. The tariffs will hurt China only by reducing Chinese employment in the production of US goods for US markets.
The financial media is full of dire predictions of the consequences of a US/China “trade war.” There is no trade war. A trade war is when countries try to protect their industries by placing tariff barriers on the import of cheaper products from foreign countries. But half or more of the imports from China are imports from US companies. Trump’s tariffs, or a large part of them, fall on US corporations or US consumers.
One has to wonder that there is not a single economist anywhere in the Trump administration, the Federal Reserve, or anywhere else in Washington capable of comprehending the situation and conveying an understanding to President Trump.
One consequence of Washington’s universal economic ignorance is that the financial media has concocted the story that “Trump’s tariffs” are not only driving Americans into recession but also the entire world. Somehow tariffs on Apple computers and iPhones, Nike footwear, and Levi jeans are sending the world into recession or worse. This is an extraordinary economic conclusion, but the capacity for thought has pretty much disappeared in the United States.
In the financial media the question is: Will the Trump tariffs cause a US/world recession that costs Trump his reelection? This is a very stupid question. The US has been in a recession for two or more decades as its manufacturing/industrial/engineering capability has been transferred abroad. The US recession has been very good for the Asian part of the world. Indeed, China owes its faster than expected rise as a world power to the transfer of American jobs, capital, technology, and business know-how to China simply in order that US shareholders could receive capital gains and US executives could receive bonus pay for producing them by lowering labor costs.
Apparently, neoliberal economists, an oxymoron, cannot comprehend that if US corporations produce the goods and services that they market to Americans offshore, it is the offshore locations that benefit from the economic activity.
Offshore production started in earnest with the Soviet collapse as India and China opened their economies to the West. Globalism means that US corporations can make more money by abandoning their American work force. But what is true for the individual company is not true for the aggregate. Why? The answer is that when many corporations move their production for US markets offshore, Americans, unemployed or employed in lower paying jobs, lose the power to purchase the off shored goods.
I have reported for years that US jobs are no longer middle class jobs. The jobs have been declining for years in terms of value-added and pay. With this decline, aggregate demand declines. We have proof of this in the fact that for years US corporations have been using their profits not for investment in new plant and equipment, but to buy back their own shares. Any economist worthy of the name should instantly recognize that when corporations repurchase their shares rather than invest, they see no demand for increased output. Therefore, they loot their corporations for bonuses, decapitalizing the companies in the process. There is perfect knowledge that this is what is going on, and it is totally inconsistent with a growing economy.
As is the labor force participation rate. Normally, economic growth results in a rising labor force participation rate as people enter the work force to take advantage of the jobs. But throughout the alleged economic boom, the participation rate has been falling, because there are no jobs to be had.
In the 21st century the US has been decapitalized and living standards have declined. For a while the process was kept going by the expansion of debt, but consumer income has not kept pace and consumer debt expansion has reached its limits.
The Fed/Treasury “plunge protection team” can keep the stock market up by purchasing S&P futures. The Fed can pump out more money to drive up financial asset prices. But the money doesn’t drive up production, because the jobs and the economic activity that jobs represent have been sent abroad. What globalism did was to transfer the US economy to China.
Real statistical analysis, as contrasted with the official propaganda, shows that the happy picture of a booming economy is an illusion created by statistical deception. Inflation is under measured, so when nominal GDP is deflated, the result is to count higher prices as an increase in real output, that is, inflation becomes real economic growth. Unemployment is not counted. If you have not searched for a job in the past 4 weeks, you are officially not a part of the work force and your unemployment is not counted. The way the government counts unemployment is so extraordinary that I am surprised the US does not have a zero rate of unemployment.
How does a country recover when it has given its economy away to a foreign country that it now demonizes as an enemy? What better example is there of a ruling class that is totally incompetent than one that gives its economy bound and gagged to an enemy so that its corporate friends can pocket short-term riches?
We can’t blame this on Trump. He inherited the problem, and he has no advisers who can help him understand the problem and find a solution. No such advisers exist among neoliberal economists. I can only think of four economists who could help Trump, and one of them is a Russian.
Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist, sits down with hedge fund giant Kyle Bass to discuss America’s current geopolitical landscape regarding China. Bannon and Bass take a deep dive into Chinese infiltration in U.S. institutions, China’s aggressiveness in the South China sea, and the potential for global conflict in the next few years. Filmed on October 5, 2018 at an undisclosed location, remains absolutely relevant today.
(Brandon Smith) One thing that is important to understand about the mainstream media is that they do tell the truth on occasion. However, the truths they admit to are almost always wrapped in lies or told to the public far too late to make the information useful. Dissecting mainstream media information and sifting out the truth from the propaganda is really the bulk of what the alternative media does (or should be doing). In the past couple of weeks I have received a rush of emails asking about the sudden flood of recession and economic crash talk in the media. Does this abrupt 180 degree turn by the MSM (and global banks) on the economy warrant concern? Yes, it does.
The first inclination of a portion of the liberty movement will be to assume that mainstream reports of imminent economic crisis are merely an attempt to tarnish the image of the Trump Administration, and that the talk of recession is “overblown”. This is partially true; Trump is meant to act as scapegoat, but this is not the big picture. The fact is, the pattern the media is following today matches almost exactly with the pattern they followed leading up to the credit crash of 2008. Make no mistake, a financial crash is indeed happening RIGHT NOW, just as it did after media warnings in 2007/2008, and the reasons why the MSM is admitting to it today are calculated.
Before we get to that, we should examine how the media reacted during the lead up to the crash of 2008.
Multiple mainstream outlets ignored all the crash signals in 2005 and 2006 despite ample warnings from alternative economists. In fact, they mostly laughed at the prospect of the biggest bull market in the history of stocks and housing (at that time) actually collapsing. Then abruptly the media and the globalist institutions that dictate how the news is disseminated shifted position and started talking about “recession” and “crash potential”. From the New York Times to The Telegraph to Reuters and others, as well as the IMF, BIS and Federal Reserve officials – Everyone suddenly started agreeing with alternative economists without actually deferring to them or giving them any credit for making the correct financial calls.
In 2007/2008, the discussion revolved around derivatives, a subject just complicated enough to confuse the majority of people and cause them to be disinterested in the root trigger for the economic crisis, which was central bankers creating and deflating bubbles through policy engineering. Instead, the public just wanted to know how the crash was going to be fixed. Yes, some blame went to the banking system, but almost no one at the top was punished (only one banker in the US actually faced fraud charges). Ultimately, the crisis was pinned on a “perfect storm” of coincidences, and the central banks were applauded for their “swift action” in using stimulus and QE to save us all from a depression level event. The bankers were being referred to as “heroes”.
Of course, central bank culpability was later explored, and Alan Greenspan even admitted partial responsibility, saying the Fed knew there was a bubble, but was “not aware” of how dangerous it really was. This was a lie. According to Fed minutes from 2004, Greenspan sought to silence any dissent on the housing bubble issue, saying that it would stir up debate on a process that “only the Fed understood”. Meaning, there was indeed discussion on housing and credit warning signs, but Greenspan snuffed it out to prevent the public from hearing about it.
Today we have a very similar dynamic. Use of the “R word” in the mainstream media and among central banks has been strictly contained for the past several years. In the October 2012 Fed minutes, Jerome Powell specifically warned of what would happen if the Federal Reserve tightened liquidity and raised interest rates into economic weakness. He warned that this would have negative effects on the stimulus addicted investment environment that the central bank had fostered. This discussion was held back from the public until only a year-and-a-half ago. As soon as Powell became chairman, he implemented those exact actions.
Only in the past year has talk of recession begun to break out, and only in the past couple of weeks have outlets become aggressive in pushing the notion that a financial crash is just around the corner. The reality is that if one removes the illusory support of central bank stimulus, our economy never left the “Great Recession” of 2008. Signals of renewed sharp declines in economic fundamentals have been visible since before the 2016 elections. Alarms have been blaring on housing, auto markets, manufacturing, freight and shipping, historic debt levels, the yield curve, etc. since at least winter of last year, just as the Fed raised rates to their neutral rate of inflation and increased asset cuts from the balance sheet to between $30 billion to $50 billion or more per month.
The media should have been reporting on economic crisis dangers for the past 2-3 years. But, they didn’t give these problems much credence until recently. So, what changed?
I can only theorize on why the media and the banking elites choose the timing they do to admit to the public what is about to happen. First, it is clear from their efforts to stifle free discussion that they do not want to let the populace know too far ahead of time that a crash is coming. According to the evidence, which I have outlined in-depth in previous articles, central banks and international banks sometimes engineer crash events in order to consolidate wealth and centralize their political power even further. Is it a conspiracy? Yes, it is, and it’s a provable one.
When they do finally release the facts, or allow their puppet media outlets to report on the facts, it seems that they allow for around 6-8 months of warning time before economic shock events occur. In the case of the current crash in fundamentals (and eventually stocks), the time may be shorter. Why? Because this time the banks and the media have a scapegoat in the form of Donald Trump, and by extension, they have a scapegoat in the form of conservatives, populists, and sovereignty activists.
The vast majority of articles flowing through mainstream news feeds on economic recession refer directly to Trump, his supporters and the trade war as the primary villains behind the downturn. The warnings from the Fed, the BIS and the IMF insinuate the same accusation.
Anyone who has read my work for the past few years knows I have been warning about Trump as a false prophet for the liberty movement and conservatives in general. And everyone knows my primary concern has been that the globalists will crash the Everything Bubble on Trump’s watch, and then blame all conservatives for the consequences.
To be clear, Trump is not the cause of the Everything Bubble, nor is he the cause of its current implosion. No president has the power to trigger a collapse of this magnitude, only central banks have that power. When Trump argues that the Fed is causing a downturn, he is telling the truth, but when he claims that recession fears are exaggerated, or “inappropriate”, he is lying. What he is not telling the public is that his job is to HELP the Fed in this process of controlled economic demolition.
Admissions of crisis in the media are coinciding directly with Trump’s policy actions. In other words, Trump is providing perfect cover for the central banks to crash the economy without receiving any of the blame. Trump’s insistence on taking full credit for the bubble in stock markets as well as fraudulent GDP and employment numbers, after specifically warning about all of these things during his election campaign, has now tied the economy like a noose around the necks of conservatives. The tone of warning in the media indicates to me that the banking elites are about to tighten that noose.
Another factor on our timeline beyond Trump’s helpful geopolitical distractions is the possibility of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit in October. I continue to believe this outcome (or something very similar) has been pushed into inevitability by former Prime Minister Theresa May and EU globalists, and that it will be used as yet another scapegoat for the now accelerating crash in the EU. With Germany on the verge of admitting recession, Deutsche Bank on the edge of insolvency, Italy nearing political and financial crisis, etc., it is only a matter of months before Europe sees its own “Lehman moment”. The Brexit is, in my view, a marker for a timeline on when the crash will hit its stride.
To summarize, the mainstream media and global banking institutions have two goals in informing the public about recession right now – They are seeking to cover their own asses when the next shoe drops so they can say they “tried to warn us”, and, they are conditioning a majority of the public to automatically blame conservatives and sovereignty proponents when the consequences hit them without mercy.
As the truth of a recession smacks the public in the face, the media will likely pull back slightly, just as they did in 2008, and suggest that the downturn is “temporary”. They will claim it’s “not a repeat of the credit crisis”, or that it will “subside after Trump is out of office”. These will all be lies designed to keep the public complacent even as the house of cards collapses around them. The fact is, the hard data shows that economic conditions in the US and in most of the world are far more unstable than they were in 2008. We are not looking at the crash of a credit bubble, we are looking at the crash of the ‘Everything Bubble’.
The pace of the narrative is quickening, and I would suggest that a collapse of the bubble will move rather quickly, perhaps in the next four to six months. If it does, then it is likely that Trump is not slated for a second term as president in 2020. Trump’s highly divisive support for “Red Flag” gun laws, a move that will lose him considerable support among pro-gun conservatives, also indicates to me that it is likely he is not meant to be president in 2020. This is another sign that a massive downturn is closing in.
As events are unfolding right now, it appears that Trump has served his purpose for the globalists and is slated to be replaced next year; probably by an extreme far-left Democrat. There are only a couple of scenarios I can imagine in which Trump remains in office, one of them being a major war which might require him to retain the presidency so the globalists can finish out a regime change agenda in nations like Iran or Venezuela. This could, however, be pursued under a Democrat president almost as easily as long as Trump and his elitist cabinet lay the groundwork beforehand.
As in 2007/2008, it is unlikely that the mainstream would admit to a downturn that is not coming soon. Using the behavior of the media and of banking institutions as a guide, we can predict with some measure of certainty a crisis within the economy in the near term. Clearly, a major breakdown is slated to take place before the election of 2020, if not much sooner.
Earlier this week ZeroHedge wrote that after decades of waiting, for Albert Edwards vindication was finally here – if only outside the US for now – because as per BofA calculations, average non-USD sovereign yields on $19 trillion in global debt had, as of Monday, turned negative for the first time ever at -3bps.
So now that virtually every rates strategist is rushing to out-“Ice Age” the SocGen strategist (who called the current move in rates years if not decades ago) by forecasting even lower yields (forgetting conveniently that just a year ago consensus called for the 10Y to rise well above 3% by… well, some time now), what does the man who correctly called the unprecedented move in global yields – which has sent $17 trillion in sovereign debt negative – think?
In a word: “There is a lot more to come.“
Although the tsunami of negative yields sweeping the eurozone has attracted most attention, yields have also plunged in the US with 30y yields falling to an all-time low just below 2%. For many this represents a bubble of epic proportions, driven by QE and ripe for bursting.
Here Edwards makes it clear that he disagrees , and cautions “that there is a lot more to come.”
What does he mean?
As Albert explains, “when you see the creeping advance of negative bond yields throughout the investment universe, you really start to doubt your sanity. For me it is not so much that 10Y+ government bond yields are increasingly negative, but when European junk bonds go negative I really start to scratch my head.” And as we wrote in “Redefining “High” Yield: There Are Now 14 Junk Bonds With Negative Yields“, there certainly is a lot of scratching to do.
One thing Edwards isn’t scratching his head over is whether this is a bond bubble: as he explains, his “own view is that this government bond rally is not a bubble but an appropriate reaction to the market discounting the next recession hitting the global economy from all over leveraged corners of the world (including China), with close to zero core inflation and precious few working tools left at policymakers’ disposal.”
This means that “the bubbles are not in the government bond market in my view. They are in corporate equities and corporate bonds.“
If Edwards is correct about the focus of the next mega-bubble, it is very bad news for risk assets as the “global deflationary bust will wreak havoc with financial markets”, prompting Edwards to ask a rhetorical question:
Does anyone seriously believe that in the next global recession equity markets will not collapse? Do market participants really believe fiscal stimulus and helicopter money will save us from a gut wrenching global bust that will make 2008 look like a picnic? Has the longest US economic cycle in history beguiled investors into soporific complacency? I hope not.
He may hope not, but that’s precisely what has happened in a world where for over a decade, even a modest market correction has lead to central banks immediately jawboning stocks higher and/or cutting rates and launching QE.
So to validate his point that the rates market is not a bubble, Edwards goes on to show that “US and even euro zone government bond yields are not in fact overextended – certainly not on a technical level – but also that fundamentals should carry government bond yields still lower.”
In his note, Edwards launches into an extended analysis of the declining workweek for both manufacturing and total workers, and explains why sharply higher recession odds (which we recently discussed here), are far higher than consensus expected.
But what we found most notable was his technical analysis of the ongoing collapse in 10Y Bund yields. As Edwards writes, “looking at the chart for German 10Y yields (monthly plot) their decline to close to minus 0.7% does not seem so extraordinary – merely the continuation of a downtrend within very clearly defined upper and lower bounds (see chart below).”
As Edwards explains referring to the chart above, “the bund yield has remained in the lower half of that band since 2011, but there is good reason for that as the ECB has struggled with a moribund euro zone economy and core inflation consistently undershooting its 2% target.”
Still, even Edwards admits that the pace of the recent decline in bund 10Y yields is indeed unusually rapid (with a 14-month RSI of 26, middle panel).
And although this suggests a pause in the decline in yields is technically warranted, the MACD (bottom panel) doesn’t look at all stretched. After a pause (data allowing), 10Y bunds could easily fall to the bottom of the lower trend line (ie below -1.5%) without any great technical excess being incurred.
His conclusion: “This market certainly doesn’t look like a bubble to me.”
Shifting attention from Germany to the US, Edwards writes that unlike the 10Y German bund yield, “the US 10Y has mostly occupied the top half of its wide downtrend band since 2013.”
That is fairly unsurprising given the stronger US economy together with Fed rate hikes. Technically the RSI is much less extended to the downside than the bund, but like Germany the MACD could still have a long way to fall. The bottom of the lower downtrend is around minus 0.5% by the end of 2020.
It is Edwards’ opinion that “we are on autopilot until we get” to 0.5%.
But wait, there’s more, because in referring to the charting of Pictet’s Julien Bittle (shown below), Edwards points out the right-hand panel which demonstrates how far US 10Y yields might fall over various time periods after hitting a cyclical peak. “He shows that on average we should expect a decline of 1-1½ pp from the trend line, which takes us pretty much to zero (see slide).” Personally, Edwards says, he is even “more bullish than that!”
Edwards then points us to the work of Gaurav Saroliya, Director of Macro Strategy at Oxford Economics who “certainly doesn’t think that QE is depressing bond yields.” In this particular case, Saroliya uses a simple model which fits US 10Y bond yields with trend growth and inflation reasonably accurately (see left hand chart below). As Edwards notes, “given the demographic situation, inflation is likely to remain subdued.”
In conclusion Edwards presents one final and classic Ice Age chart to finish off.
As the bearish – or is that bullish… for bonds – strategist notes, “the last few cycles have seen a sequence of lower lows and highs for nominal quantities (along with bond yield and Fed Funds). I have used a 4-year moving average and have added where I think we may be heading in the next downturn and rebound – and more importantly where I think the market is now thinking where we are heading.”
Referring to the implied upcoming plunge in nominal GDP, Edwards explains that “that is why this is not a bond bubble. It is the next phase of The Ice Age. And it is here.”
One last note: is it possible that Edwards’ apocalyptic view is wrong? As he admits, “of course” he could be wrong: “And given my dystopian vision for the global economy, equity and corporate bond investors, I sincerely hope I am.”