Monthly Archives: November 2009

Sovereign Defaults Coming in Second Stage of the Financial Crisis.


The first stage of the deflationary debt unwind resulted in massive consumer and corporate defaults, particularly in the financial sector. This sector being one and the same as the governments that it controls, the state has thrown all the resources that it had and did not have (pulled them out of thin air) in order to save its Banking sponsors. While it has given the Banks the respite and saved many of them for now from going belly up, it did not solve a thing. The bad debts have simply been transfered to the Central Banks’ balance sheets that are expected to be later transferred to the taxpayers of each and every country. Whatever was not transfered was hidden by suspension of the mark-to-market accounting rules. Thus, the deflation that is not seen has not gone a way, but has been simply hidden.

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Dubai default is DEFLATION.


When a debtor reneges on its loan repayment obligations or asks to postpone them this is deflation by definition. The debts that cannot be repayed are defaulted on and so the total debt outstanding in the economy deflates. And what about prices? The prices on real estate in Dubai are down as much as 50% since the beginning of the world financial crisis. So when debt deflation takes hold assets lose value and cause even more defaults. We say that we are in a deflationary spiral then. When it stops is a big question, but given world wide government intervention in free markets this almost assures that the so much needed adjustment will take a long and painful haul. Yet the prices will get to their natural level in spite of all government actions to support them.

One can hope that the Dubai default situation will give a much needed kick to accelerate the process of deflation and wipe out the speculators and their central bank friends.

Here goes Dubai.

What deflation will do to future US GDP.


It is now an established fact that Japan has been mired in deflation for the last 18 years. It meant no economic growth as manifested in the below GDP graph. Assuming that USA is now in the early stages of a similar, if not much stronger, deflationary depression, we may be able to project future US GDP growth/contraction based on the Japanes experience.

Treasury Three-Month Bill Yields Turn Negative.


When you have US Treasury yields sitting at historic lows at prolonged periods of time and across the entire yield curve, it only means one thing – delfation is here and anywhere you look on the horizon. But when you have yields turn negative, which really means investors paying privately owned Federal Reserve to hold their money as it has become the only safe place to keep it, this is a sign of a crash or some impending credit event which is also deflationary. Someone somewhere knows something. Only indication we, the common folks get of an impending crisis, is the sharp jump in excess reserves held with the Federal Reserve banks by other financial institutions. The excess reserves rose by almost $250 Billion between July of 2009 and November 2009, while the stock market has been setting yearly highs and “recovery” has been gathering pace, or so the powers that be would want us to beleive. Add to this the November 19th, 2009 delay in release of “Reserve Bank credit H.4.1 weekly report” and you get a shiver down your spine that something is about to hit the proverbial fan.

Demand deflation.


In a deflationary environment the psychology of economic agents, be it lenders or borrowers, is such that neither is motivated to engage in credit transaction. This is because consumer attitudes in a deflationary environment are leaning towards conservation not expansion and consumption. Thus, making it economically discouraging for business to expand. The deflationary times follow an expansionary period which ends in an oversupply of goods and services, and overcapacity in production that makes them happen.

Japan sees long deflation in US, bets on falling Treasury yields.


“The recovery is very weak and the U.S. is running the risk of deflation…” say the Japanese investors as they are piling into US Treasuries while expecting the yields to drop sharply. They may be the only ones in current economic environment that have extensive experience investing in deflationary times and so it may be worth wile heeding their advice:

“Demand for Treasuries is very good because of the idle money in the banking system…”

“The medium term risk toward inflation is being caused by potential policy missteps by policy makers in regards to monetary and fiscal policy and the weakening dollar…”

“Any economics textbook would tell you that the massive stimulus from the central government will eventually cause inflation, but the Japanese know it doesn’t have to turn out that way…”

“The U.S. economy has faced a double whammy: the recession and credit contraction. The U.S. will face a triple whammy with deflation. That’s good for the Treasury market.”

Bank excess reserves with Federal Reserve signal coming loan losses.


This latest chart from November 5, 2009 release of the privately owned Federal Reserve’s report on the excess reserves is showing a sharp increas even over a few months of suppossedly “recovery” and economic “growh”. This sharp increase in excess reserve levels in a seemingly improving economic environment signals that banks know of something else. That something else is causing them to hoard cash and keep it in safest place possible, i.e. accounts at Federal Reserve banks themselves. This menacing something is likely to be huge loan losses that are result of defaults and bankruptcies by debtors. This is, of course, very deflationary.

Mother of all carry trades will lead to inevitable deflationary bust.


For now the privately owned US Federal Reserve’s efforts to reflate the financial markets are sending a flood of liquidity into speculative asset bubble blowing by the speculators. Nearly every asset class is seeing its price being bid up with cheaply borrowed US dollars. At some point an asset bubble always bursts when an event or a perception driven change of heart causes investors to unwind their speculative positions. As the article below explains, when this happens we’ll witness a huge deflationary bust which may wipe out many speculators. Will it wipe out the Central Banks is another good question that only time will be able to answer.