Macro

(New York)

There has been a lot of speculation lately about the extent to which the current growing trade war may affect the economy and markets. Some expect a benign effect on both. Well, Bloomberg has run a piece arguing that the trade war may lead to a Chinese debt crisis, which could in turn lead to a global financial crisis. The impact of the tariffs on the Chinese economy could be serious. China is already seeing a very high level of defaults, and with the extra burden of tariffs coupled with a weaker Yuan, it could create credit chaos for Beijing. Bloomberg put it this way, saying “That the massive burden of debt will drag the economy into recession is as obvious as the empty towers that rise on every landscape … But on any metric, the amount of new lending each year grows faster than the economy, and the interest newly owed exceeds the incremental rise in GDP. In other words, the whole economy is a Ponzi scheme”.


FINSUM: It is hard to imagine a more forceful comment than that last one from Bloomberg. We don’t know if we would go so far, but given how indebted the Chinese economy is, and their reliance on exports, tariffs could spark a meltdown that then spreads overseas.

(New York)

Right now everyone seems to be focusing on the possibility of an inverted yield curve occurring between the 2 and 10-year Treasury. However, that might not be the best recession predictor after all. If you are strictly focusing on yields, then the 1 and 10-year is better, as it gives less false positives. But speaking more broadly, the M1 money supply and housing starts are other great places to look as both tend to peak well before a recession; M1 is usually about a year, and housing starts two years.


FINSUM: The reality is that if you take a broader view, things don’t look too bad. M1 is still growing, as are housing starts, so those indicators look healthy.

(New York)

One of the market’s favorite prognosticators has just called for a big financial crisis. Mark Mobius, 81, veteran investor, thinks that EMs are going to plunge, and that the normalization of interest rates and monetary policy will cause a crisis. “There’s no question we’ll see a financial crisis sooner or later because we must remember we’re coming off from a period of cheap money … There’s going to be a real squeeze for many of these companies that depended upon cheap money to keep on going”, says Mobius.


FINSUM: Emerging markets are currently having a rough time and the rise in rates is going to be turbulent, but calling for a Crisis seems a bit premature.

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