Even before the latest bear market rally started last week I wrote the following on March 2nd: Of course you cannot rule out another bear market sucker's rally in 2009, most likely in Q2 or Q3: the drivers of this rally will be the improvement in second derivatives of economic growth and activity in US and China that the policy stimulus will provide on a temporary basis: but after the effects of tax cut will fizzle out in late summer and after the shovel-ready infrastructure projects are done the policy stimulus will slack by Q4 as most infrastructure projects take year to be started let alone finished; similarly in China the fiscal stimulus will provide a fake boost to non-tradeable productive activities while the traded sector and manufacturing continues to contract.
But given the severity of macro, household, financial firms and corporate imbalances in the US and around the world this Q2 or Q3 sucker's market rally will fizzle out later in the year like the previous 5 ones in the last 12 months.
Bernie Madoff confessed to get put in jail and avoid murder by angry Russian mobsters who had invested money with, says John Taplin. Nice story...if true and we have no way of knowing.
Alan Kohler at BusinessSpectator says the Australian carbon trading scheme (which we're supposed to be basing ours on) is a dead duck that would kill Australia's coal fired power generators if it was introduced. Here's a taste.
So this is how Australia will meet its 2050 carbon reduction targets "“ in one hit, in 2015. There won't be enough electricity for us to warm last night's dinner in the microwave oven, but at least those stinking brown coal generators will be closed down.
And the government has managed to achieve this planet-saving outcome while totally alienating the green lobby on the grounds that the scheme is not ambitious enough, and at the same time alienating the resources industries on the grounds that it is too ambitious "“ to the point that the legislation has no hope of being passed through the Parliament.
No wonder Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and PM Kevin Rudd are a little half-hearted in their selling of Australia's CPRS "“ saying, basically, that it's better than nothing.
It won't work to reduce carbon pollution, it will impose a massive compliance burden on companies and cost jobs, and it will lead to the cessation of investment in base load power generation at best, and the closure of the Latrobe Valley at worst.
The good news is that it won't be passed into law anyway.
Watch out for insurance companies too, says The Economist in an excellent piece on their risks. (HT OptionARMageddon)
Now the IMF is considering a "global quantitative easing", The Telegraph reports.Here's what happens when faith in a currency breaks down. In parts of Zimbabwe people are using gold panned from rivers to buy bread and other staples. Now people use the Z$50,000 note to wrap up tiny grains of gold. This video is from The Guardian. (HT Option ARMageddon)
Ken Rogoff, the former IMF Chief Economist and now a Harvard economist, paints a bleak picture of the outlook for the global financial system, here at Option ARMageddon.
Rogoff sees US unemployment hitting 11% or 12% and the recession could last another 4 years. He sees political fallout next year and angry voters around the developed world. Its an interview with Rogoff on the excellent PBS.org. Now there's a proper public broadcaster.
He reckons it will take the US government US$2 trillion to fix the banking system. He sees the US government having to take US$8 trillion to US$9 trillion in extra debt and that the United States will have to deflate inflate the problem away. "Basically, we just keep printing it until we're blue in the face and eventually people will stop wanting it," Rogoff says.
"I think there's only one end game to this. Most of the large financial institutions will have to go through some form of accelerated bankruptcy," he says.
"It probably needs to be done all at once. It's been very disappointing to me with the new administration who have a wonderful economic team that they have not taken the bull by the horns yet," he says.
"It's painful. It could make things worse for awhile. But if we don't"¦clean up the financial system, we could be in and out of recession for a decade, and that's what happened to Japan. If you face the music sooner, you'll be growing again sooner."
Ignoring the Austrians got us into this mess, from Barrons. (H/t Peter Cresswell at Not PC)
When is this madness going to end? Citigroup will pay Vikram Pandit US$38 million for 2008, a year in which Citigroup lost billions and had to ask for government help 3 times. This in Dealbook.