Tag Archives: interest rate

Is Canada’s housing market bubble beginning to deflate?

Now we are reading a welcome news from Canada. The supply of houses on the market is beginning to increase which if it were to continue on this path would signify that Canadian housing bubble is being pricked as we speak and should provide a spectacular deflation in the months and years to come.

This is how it started in USA back in 2005. First supply of houses rose while the prices continued to inch upward. But then the supply really began to accumulate as more and more fools started to put their properties on the market sensing that it was time to get out. We know what happened next.

And now in Canada we are beginning to see the same kind of trends. They, of course, still continue talking about how real estate prices never go down, and that the rising valuations are based on fundamentals and that Canadian economy is strong and getting stronger. But we now know that this is precisely the bubble talk you hear at the top of many speculative markets throughout history.

The Marginal Productivity of Debt.

The key to understanding the problem is the marginal productivity of debt, a concept curiously missing from the vocabulary of mainstream economics. Keynesians take comfort in the fact that total debt as a percentage of total GDP is safely below 100 in the United States while it is 100 and perhaps even more in some other countries. However, the significant ratio to watch is additional debt to additional GDP, or the amount of GDP contributed by the creation of $1 in new debt. It is this ratio that determines the quality of debt. Indeed, the higher the ratio, the more successful entrepreneurs are in increasing productivity, which is the only valid justification for going into debt in the first place.

A sure sign of deflation: 9 bailed-out banks report declines in new lending.

As the pool of credit worthy borrowers and worthy inestment projects dwindles in a deflationary environment so the lending declines. It is no surprise that in still democratic USA, unlike the communist China, the Government cant just mandate its banks to lend. It can provide interest free credit lines, it can embark on a massive Qunatitative Easing and public relations campaings, but if banks are scared to lend and the borrowers are not interested in borrowing nothing will get the lending machine going. At least, not until the bad debts are liquidated through defaults, which are, of course, deflationary. And so the lending contracts.

G7’s Sheeple Distraction in IQALUIT, Canada, while Central Bankers Meet Secretly in Australia.

We don’t know what the Central Bankers will be discussing during their secret two day meeting in Australia, but what we know is that you don’t hold a well publicized G7 economic ministers meeting at the same time for no reason. If the CBs need a distraction that means that something is very grave and serious is going on. Whether we are on the verge of a new panic and financial crisis or something else, but it cant be good. Perhaps the sovereign debt issues in Europe are on the verge of causing a big monetary implosion and stock markets collapse.

Google wants to get into energy trading business. Is this a sign of coming deflation in that sector?

When you see automotive companies and consumer electronics companies getting into the business of Finance, you know that the boat is lurching to far to one side in will most surely topple over. So it happened in the US Financial Services industry that has expanded far beyond the original investment banks and brokerage houses.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.