Something is definitely “changing” but what is it?
Markets around the world are convulsing which is definitely different than anything we have seen in over a year. We also know that interest rates are going higher all over the world. In fact, if you look at rates going back to 1981, the downtrend line(s) has been broken and thus a very major change. Generational trades and 37 year trend lines are rare on their own, when they finally break it means something very big has changed and you must do your very best at trying to figure out “what” it is.
Let’s take a look at two charts that might help, one of interbank lending in the U.S. and also at “velocity”. These are both very important and I would suggest they are both connected by something called “trust”. First, interbank lending absolutely collapsed out of nowhere at the end of the year. If you look closely below, interbank lending has dropped back to only $13 billion or the same level it was all the back to pre 1973-74 recession levels!
You can follow along and see how lending amongst banks generally inflated all the way up until 2006-2008 until it crashed. This happened because banks did not “trust” each other. From there, the lending tapered off until the recent nearly zeroing out of interbank lending. I would suggest since 2009, the amount of lending steadily decreased and never increased as banks “knew” other banks did not have strong balance sheets (maybe because they knew the reality of their own balance sheet?). In any case, there can be only two reasons for lending to collapse like is has. Either there is no need for money (credit) OR banks do not trust each other? I would highly suggest it is the latter.
Next, let’s look at velocity. After eight years or so, it finally looks like there is a hook forming and velocity may just be turning up? Zerohedge did an article on this with a good explanation last week
So “what” does velocity turning up mean and why is it important if it is? This topic could be an entire book and a lot depends on “where” in the credit cycle it turns up from. Without doubt, we are at the end of both a cyclical and the secular credit cycle. You see, once debt became too prevalent in 2000, and even worse in 2007, it became over bearing and we hit what I have termed “credit saturation” levels. Rates had to be lowered (even to negative levels) to prevent a domino collapse cause by the inability to service.
Let’s see how these all tie together and why I bolded the phrase “all the wrong reasons”? In one word, “inflation”, but let me explain. Oversimplifying, inflation of say 4% will not allow credit markets to function at rates under that because no one (except central banks) will lock money up at a lower rate than the currency is debasing. Thus, higher inflation means higher yields and lower bond prices. The problem? Debt (bonds) have become the “foundation” to everything financial …INCLUDING currencies themselves!
This is where velocity comes in… If investors believe inflation and thus rates are going higher (in an over levered world), fear will set in. Fear of EVERYTHING financial becoming worth less because they are all “discounted” versus interest rates. Also, and probably more important, fear of loss via “bankruptcy” whether by issuer or counterparty. Additionally, higher rates means no more ability to refinance or to “roll over” debt”. Remember, all currencies are debt based …so inflation/fear will be exhibited not only in the sale of bonds (and to a lesser extent equities) but also the currency in a “hot potato” fashion. In other words, the dollar’s velocity will turn sharply higher as people finally “spend” them to GET OUT OF THEM!
To finish, I would ask, is inflation what the banks saw coming and decided to flatten their books with counterparties? Did they see massive U.S. Treasury borrowing needs and figure out the only player with that kind of buying power is the Federal Reserve who has claimed they would taper and actually are to a small extent? Do they see outright monetization necessary and in the wings? Are the banks front running the Chinese trading for oil with yuan …and thus knocking some serious demand out from under the dollar?
When all is said and done, we are soon to have the biggest deflation of all time versus gold …but it will “feel” like hyperinflation to the vast masses who do not hold gold! Fiscal insanity and monetary lunacy have reached their limits. They will and are “trying” for one last hurrah www.mcclatchydc.com, by borrowing their way to another reflation …GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!
Standing the “re set” watch,
Bill Holter writes and is partnered with Jim Sinclair at the newly formed Holter/Sinclair collaboration. Prior, he wrote for Miles Franklin from 2012-15. Bill worked as a retail stockbroker for 23 years, including 12 as a branch manager at A.G. Edwards. He left Wall Street in late 2006 to avoid potential liabilities related to management of paper assets as he foresaw the Great Financial crisis coming. In retirement he and his family moved to Costa Rica where he lived until 2011 when he moved back to the United States. He was a well-known contributor to the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) commentaries from 2007-present. Bill has retained a working relationship with Miles Franklin and can help with any of your precious metals needs including storage. He can be reached at [email protected]
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