Finance and Stuff

Thoughts on finance and other stuff by Johan Lindén

Category: Economy (Page 1 of 3)

Inflation? Deflation? Financiation?

So what has happened lately in finance? Where is all the money going?

Federal Banks all over the world have printed money in true Keynesian style to counteract a falling economy.

In Europe, the European Central Bank, lent banks half a trillion for a mere 1% interest. It is basically the same blues that has been sung for the last couple of years and it is still going strong. I guess it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

So where is this money ending up and why does not price indexes for goods and services increase?

Well, because a few people in the financial sector is taking all this money and are making themselves very rich. Think of it, you pay 1% interest, and the inflation is around 2-3%. So by just avoiding losing money you will make money with this ingenious system created by politicians and bankers.

If the market would have set the interest instead of politicians, would it be as low as 1%? Is all risk really calculated in that 1%? Now that is a ridiculous thought!

The Skewed Risk-Reward Ratio

skewed risk reward ratioTo illustrate the problem of how skewed the risk-reward ratio of banks vs. consumers is you just have to look at today’s all time high in the yield gap between banks’ mortgage rates and the rates banks borrow from the central bank.

This increased yield gap will increase bank profits while at the same time increase the interest burden to the consumer side of the equation. As usual, the banks score another goal on the behalf of the consumers.

So, is it really a problem in a free market that one party wants increased compensation for the increased risk? No.

Unfortunately there is still no such thing as a free market, and it is highly doubtful that the banks should get compensation for increased risk, knowing that the public will take the fall in the event of a default situation.

That is a really skewed risk to reward ratio for banks and consumers, where the consumers have drawn the short straw. This is also referred to as asymmetric risk, which risk expert Nassim Taleb, among others, often warns about.

I do not know which word to choose, laughable or pathetic, when the new president of ECB, Mario Draghi, today said:

“Therefore […] banks should consider restraining dividends and ad hoc compensation to strengthen buffers.”

Please Draghi, if you want some respect, do not use the word “should” nor “consider” in when speaking about economics.

Free markets will always end up doing the right choices, but regulated markets are in the hand of a few politicians armed with only hypothesis in one of the most complex field of sciences called economics.

Note:
I have had some technical difficulties and have not been able to update the blog frequently the last few weeks, but problems are resolved and I am back and track.

Men Living With Their Parents and Financial Crises

In this diagram we see the correlation between men still living with their parents and their countries’ financial risk. Not fully sure about the causality though…

financial risk and men living at their parents

Libertarians vs. Occupy Wall Street

I wonderful diagram that shows the common traits among libertarians and the occupy wall street group. But also what differs the two groups of people.

One can really see what side has the best argument and solution. But both sides see that the current system is totally flawed to put it mildly. However, it will not work to replace a currently flawed system with another system that may even be worse.

I let you be the judge whose side has the best logics and solution the current political system.

occupy wall street libertarians socialistsPicture from: GreaterBostonTeaParty.com

The Common Denominator why both Left and Right-wing Activists Occupy Wall Street

The Common Denominator which brings both Left and Right-wing Activists to Occupy Wall Street.

left right politics libertarian socialism occupy wall street

… too much government. Which ironically boils down to be only a socialistic problem. So come on socialists, think again.

As an added bonus also check out this next cartoon:

government bailout banks

Symmetry in Compensation – Occupy Wall Street

Nassim Talab claims that the reason for the demonstrations on Wall Street is about asymmetry in compensation. Thus to fix this problem we need symmetry in compensation.

Symmetry in compensation basically means that the upside for bankers on Wall Street, the rewards, should equal the risk for losses. What we have seen so far is that bankers have made million dollar bonuses, and they still are, but when screwing up they get bailed out by the tax payers.

Here is the video by, Nassim Taleb, one of the most important persons of the century:

Cartoon for the Weekend

riots at wall street iphone

The Truth Behind the Trader on BBC

If you have not seen it yet, see the clip from BBC about the trader who spoke frankly about what he thought about the market. Some of the things he says is:

  • The smart money, do not buy the European rescue plan. The stock market is finished. The Euro is finished.
  • That he and most traders do not care about how the economy goes. He says that he goes to bed every night dreaming of a recession since they equal opportunities.
  • A trader or any person can make money if he is prepared.
  • This economic crises is like a cancer. It will just grow if not taken care of. Get prepared.
  • Governments don’t rule the world, Goldman Sachs does, and Goldman Sachs does not care about the European rescue package.
  • In less than 12 months the savings of million of people will vanish, and that is just the start.

[youtube_video=http://youtu.be/aC19fEqR5bA&rel=0&w=570 rel="nofollow"]

 

I mostly agree with him, and think he has some good observations. But there are two main issues here that I want to point out. Firstly, from a contrarian view it is very bullish when mainstream television like BBC air such an ultra negative outlook like this.

Secondly, what is really interesting is that many newspapers today write about this interview. But instead of focusing on what the trader said, they focus on him as a person trying to discredit him. When people trying to hide their heads in the sand by discrediting sources instead of statements, then that should be seen as very negative from a contrarian view.

Market sentiment remains very negative at the moment, making it hard to bet on a downward market (S&P500 1163), more upside risk than downside risk at the moment. However, the long-term outlook is still very bearish as long as most people are denying the risk of a disaster.

Free Markets are the Usual Suspects in Economic Turmoil

In dire times people are looking for scape goats. One of the most common scape goats is the free market. So is the free market really the problem? Let us look at what countries do in these troubled times.

  • First, they blame other countries for unrighteously compete with their domestic industries, setting up tariffs for foreign trade, thus engaging in trade wars, instead of letting competition rule.
  • Second, they increase regulations on businesses, blaming trading robots, short-sellers and other participants, and trying to interfere with these tools of the free market.
  • Thirdly, the state out-crowds sound private companies by engaging in their own businesses with the unlimited resources of the public. This is just one of many things the state do to ruin private businesses. Out-crowding is also done by manipulating the interest rate so it either becomes too high or too low, and thus ruining the private businesses’ ways of doing business at market rates.

So there you have some of the reasons why bad gets worse. With all these things happening at once in already fragile economies, there is no wonder that the economy usually hits a depression or crash before things get better.

Also note that all these signs are signs of socialism, taking us further away from the principles of free markets. A free market is a market without rules governed by the state, but instead by rules made by the market’s own participants.

Mortgage Rate Spread

falling house prices mortgage loansThe spread on interest rates between mortgage loans and central banks’ loans to other banks are increasing. While banks pay less for long-term loans, the private households who want a loan to buy a house need to pay a higher premium each day.

This implicitly means that house-buyers have to pay an increased risk premium to their bank and that real-estate investment are getting worse each day, not taking future depreciation of house value into account.

I do not see that this phenomenon is widely recognized and that more pressure on real estate is to come.

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