Rising rates lead to financial accidents, by Alasdair Macleod

The world has never been more primed for a financial accident. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

A recent Bank for International Settlements paper warning of unappreciated risks in foreign exchange markets echoes my earlier warning in an article for Goldmoney published over a month ago describing derivative risks in FX markets.[i]

In this article I also show evidence that banks in both the US and Eurozone are reducing the deposit side of their balance sheets by turning away big deposits which are ending up in central bank reverse repos, parking unwanted liquidity out of public circulation. The great unwind is well under way.

Credit contraction is not only driving a bear market in financial assets, but the exposure to malinvestments by rising interest rates is having negative consequences for the non-financial economy as well. Private equity, which has thrived on cheap finance used to leverage targeted businesses, is showing signs of unwinding with two major Blackrock funds suspending redemptions.

As we approach the season for year-end window dressing, we must hope that the volatility in thin markets that often accompanies it does not destabilise global financial markets. 

Inflation and stagnation

Make no mistake: interest rates have bottomed at the zero bound and can go no lower. The forty-year trend of declining interest rates has ended, with an initial rally, which six weeks ago had halved the value of the 30-year US Treasury bond. The suddenness of this change probably needed a pause, and that is what we have today. Since October, there has been a spectacular recovery in bond prices with this UST bond yield dropping ¾% to 3.5%.

Fears of price inflation have been replaced in large measure by fear of recession. Having dismissed monetarism, bizarrely for a Keynesian led establishment analysts and commentators are now frequently citing the slowing of monetary growth as evidence of a looming recession. Perhaps this means that the failure of their economic models has them grasping at straws, rather than being evidence of a conversion to monetarism. But what is definitely not in the Keynesians’ playbook is a combination of inflation and recession, commonly attributed to an unexplained phenomenon of stagflation.

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