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Steen Jakobsen: 60% Probability Of Recession In The Next 18 Months

The world economic engine is slowing to a standstill
Sunday, June 11, 2017, 5:46 PM

Steen Jakobsen back on, Chief Investment Officer of Saxo Bank, returns to the podcast this week to share with us the warning signs of slowing economic growth he's seeing in major markets all over the world.

In his view, the world economy is sputtering badly. So badly, that he's confident predicting a global recession by 2018 -- or sooner:

The 'credit impulse' -- defined as net new credit to GDP -- has gone negative in the world for the first time since the start of the Great Recession that we had in 2008 -2009. And the lead is coming again, as always in the last 10 to 15 years, from China. Basically, China's net credit impulse has gone from double-digit positive to almost double-digit negatives. And I can tell you, having just been on the ground in China for a couple of times in the last three months, everything’s at a standstill. This is very important as China is responsible for 50% of all new growth, as well as a huge chunk of every new credit dollar that has been created in recent years.

The credit impulse leads by 9 months. In other words, the pickup we saw in economic activity in December and January was created 9 months prior, and if you look back to Q1 of 2016, we had the worst start to the year in the equity market for very long time. Consequently, the central banks panicked, especially the ECB, the Bank of Japan, and to some extent, the Federal Reserve. This resulted in a huge credit impulse that peaked in April/May of last year. Fast-forward 9 months, and we saw a peak in economic activity and inflation. Ever since, we’ve seen a dramatic deterioration -- and this is all based on this 9-month lead which is coming out of China, now been confirmed to be negative, as well the US.

I know it’s a long answer, but I think it's important information. Basically, I'm thinking right now, unfortunately, that there is a 60% probability for a recession inside the next 18 months. And probably the most likely period for that to happen would be end of this year because, of course, Trump has not delivered.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Steen Jakobsen (32m:43s).

Transcript: 

Chris Martenson: Welcome everybody to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host Chris Martenson, and it is Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Hey, what are the global asset markets up to, where are they heading? Back with us today to give us his views is one of my very favorite guests, Steen Jacobsen, the Chief Investment Officer of Saxo Bank. Hey, he’s been on the program before. He’s graciously agreed to come back again. His expertise in markets is deep, and he’s not afraid to make predictions. So, to remind everyone, Steen serves as the Chief Investment Officer and Chief Economist at Saxo Bank A/S, and he also serves as Group Chief Information Officer and Managing Director at NewCap Holding. He has more than 25 years in the business. Steen, welcome back.

Steen Jacobsen: Thank you very much for having me, Chris.

Chris Martenson: So, Steen, in an effort to figure out where the financial markets might be headed, I’d like to start with the macro trends, global economic growth. What are your thoughts here? I’m looking at a chart right now. I'm looking at a US nominal GDP growth. Is it a level below 3%? It's never been seen outside of recession in the data series I've got. What are your thoughts and growth at this point?

Steen Jacobsen: I think that everybody’s wrong unfortunately, and I’m saying that because we had done a lot of macro work, background work on how you assess whether something in the economy is leading or lagging. And what we found out during the course of the last two years is that the credit impulse—and here the credit impulse is defined as being net new credits for GDP—has gone negative in the world for the first time since the start of the great depression, so to speak, that we had in 2008, 2009. And the lead is coming again, as always in the last 10 to 15 years from China. Basically, China's kinetic credit impulses has gone from double-digit positive to almost double-digit negatives. And I can tell you, Chris, having just been on the ground in China for a couple of times in the last three months, everything’s at a standstill.

The interpretation could be that the political changing of chairs that's going on in October, November, the presidency, feels so confident he will allow the economy to slow down. But it's very, very dominant when you’re on the ground in China that no deal is being struck. No ability to move the needle in terms of taking money out of the country. So, China has gone to a full standstill, and I think you and I both know that China is 50% of all new growth. And unfortunately, they have been a huge chunk off every new credit dollar that has been created. And I said that intentionally, credit dollar, because the Chinese has been the biggest borrower in China.

Just to take the long story shorter, so basically what we figured out is that the credit impulse leads by nine months. In other words, the pickup we saw in economic activity in December and January was created nine months prior, and if you look back to Q1 of 2016, we had the worst start to the year in the equity market for very long time. Consequently, the central banks panicked, especially the ECB, the Bank of Japan, and to some extent, the Federal Reserve, and keeping the powder dry. This made huge credit impulse that peaked in February—sorry, in April and May of last year. Fast-forward nine months and you have peak in [?] economic activity and inflation, which we saw exactly coming out a nine-months turn. Ever since, we’ve seen a dramatic deterioration, and this is all based on this nine-months lead which is coming out of China, now been confirmed to be negative, as well the US.

I know it’s a long answer, Chris, but I think is important information. But basically, I'm thinking right now, unfortunately, that there is a 60%, 6-0 probability, for a recession inside the next 18 months. And probably the most likely period for that to happen would be end of this year because, of course, Trump has not delivered. He will have a hard time politically to deliver and China is all the way into the end of the year before they will start the engines again. So, I think we have a huge gap in growth in momentum and to move the agenda forward in terms of the promises and empty promises that not only Trump has now delivered but also [?] fully done in the UK election cycle as well.

Chris Martenson: So this is fascinating, especially to hear about the cessation of activity on the ground in China. I'll be there and in just another month myself, so I’ll get to take a look at that. Now, Professor Steve Keen has a very simple spreadsheet model where he shows that if you're injecting 10% new credit growth into your economy, that sounds great and it's actually very stimulative. But if next year you still only have 10% growth, that that's GDP neutral at that point in time. So, the point of try to get at here is that China has had these astonishing rates of credit growth, high double digits, and the implication of Steve Keen's work is that either they exceed those rates of growth or those are GDP negative. Do you agree?

Steen Jacobsen: Yeah, absolutely. That it basically…Steve’s job and my job is the same. It's basically a definition of credit impulse, because as you just defined it, you were talking about the year-over-year change to credit over GDP, which is the credit impulse. So yes, absolutely. And think about an economy, pretty simple. We economists know zero about what goes into the black box, but we tend to always follow signals or data that comes out of the box: CPI, inflation, unemployment, stock markets, and vice versa. And I have to ask you why, Chris? Why we doing this because the only thing we do know is that what do we put into the model before we get the output, of course, is the price of money and the amount of credit?

So the price of money and the amount of credit is one of the two factors that actually leads the black box called the economy. But instead we economist insist on observing late-night action every day in terms of the data, because it's all lagging data that we follow and not leading, which is the Steven Keen is saying and I'm saying, is that’s basically the credit side, especially in the economy right now as you know, which is all new growth is pretty much created by fundamentally increasing the amount of credit available to the consumers.

Chris Martenson: And that credit, of course, has been expanding remarkably quickly in terms of the amount of dollars of new credit required to get a dollar of new GDP. So, if this six zero, 60% chance of recession comes due sometime in the next year, what do you think the impact of that will be on the bond and the equity markets?

Steen Jacobsen: And that why I’ve been maintaining a massively long, overweight and fixed-income. Despite everyone and every sale-side economist trying to tell me the Fed was going to go more not less, that Fed was finally getting ahead of the curve, not behind; inflation was showing its ugly face again—but the fact of the matter, all these factors can be explained by the credit impulse and using the nine months. So, what I did in December was I went to 50% fixed income. And to be honest, although the stock market has done well, I'm very comfortable sitting with my fixed-income position at 50%, which by the way 25% more than I normally would have, simply because the recession risk has increased. I know the peak in year-over-year in inflation is going to come down because, of course, energy—despite the fact that we tend to measure core inflation.

And the irony here, of course, being core inflation is highly correlated to energy prices. So, basically, CPI will fall from 50% year-over-year increases and down to less than 0% gross. So, all of this is indicating that the bond market looks like a good deal. And I think I said this on the show before—and secondly and most importantly, probably from a portfolio construction, think about it. Fixed income is the only option you get for free, hence you are getting the option to have it put on the equity market by being little bit overweight to fixed income. And to be honest, with the variation we see today and the action we see in Bit Coin and others, sort of indicators for risk, I’m very comfortable with this position.

Chris Martenson: Let me add one other thing I’d love to get your views on, something I've been harping on. And it goes along the lines of saying when is a hike not a hike? People been making a lot of noise about how the Federal Reserve has been hiking, but in times past, as you well know, but for our listeners, a hike is not something the Federal Reserve sets a dial. What they have to do is go out into the market and remove liquidity, remove cash from the banks so that they will then charge each other slightly higher rates, and that's how rates go up.

But this time, they’ve been moving rates by hiking the interest on excess reserves in exact lockstep with their so-called hikes, and I've noticed they haven't had to remove any liquidity. To me this is another—first, do you agree with that? But second, this would be another reason why to stay long bonds because rates don't really need to rise due to liquidity concerns at this point. They’re going to rise for other reasons, which is, namely, that the Feds, trying a brand-new program out, which to me, I call it a hike is not a hike. It doesn't remove any liquidity, but it does dial up the nominal rate of…the Fed funds rate does move but nothing has to be withdrawn. Do you see it that way?

Steen Jacobsen: Absolutely, I agree, Chris, and another way to say the same thing is that a hike is not a hike when Fed doesn't have the credibility of the talk they do. I mean, the Federal Reserve constantly this year talked about three to four hikes, despite the fact the data is deteriorating. And I noticed a very fun tweet the other day. Apparently, Federal Reserve communiqué has mentioned the word transitory more in the last 12 months than it’s done in the last 12 years. So, a hike is not a hike when you are having a dogmatic institution like the Federal Reserve that see any deviation from path being transitory. That is when a hike is not a hike. And that’s why the forward indication, inflation is coming down and that's why the market gradually is taking 30 year bonds to new highs week after week right now.

Chris Martenson: So you mentioned him before, let's turn now to Trump. There was a lot of excitement that somehow Trump was going to, I don't know, massively boost spending and cut taxes and do all that sort of Reagan era stuff that he can't do for a variety of reasons. But goodness, Steen, we’re six months into the year. Shouldn't people have figured out by now that he's not going to be able to pass everything that was said he was going to pass?

Steen Jacobsen: That’s an interesting perspective with Trump. First, there was the reflation trade. It was to map his infrastructure. It was the tax cuts. And now it's basically that he’s going to reduce the red tape. But I think at the end of the day, the market has actually coincided with one of the single biggest flowings that happened in yours and my lifetime and that is this whole conversation about active and passive management of money. Because the reason my we have low volatility, certainly not that Mr. Trump, and the reason why the market has not corrected on the data so far has been that the main drive every single day in the stock market is the active money being replaced by passive money. So the indexation and the ETS is now replacing the fund manager allocation in the banks that are managing the money. And that's very, very important for a number of reasons.

First of all, because it is what I will call blind buying into the marketplace. Everyone is now buying the gospel, which is that passive investment is cheaper. It is more stringently following the real return. Of course, what people forget is that when the market goes down, there will not be enough money which is willing to risk their neck to buy into the market based on the market being cheap, relative value, or quality stocks. So I think, Chris, the reason why the stock market is up is that's why we’re going to do the thing with Trump here, and Trump is very into promises. It is really that it coincided with the biggest move ever we’ve seen in money flow from active to passive, and passive in itself is deconstructing volatility curves. And it’s certainly making the average Joe and the average household in America, it really, really quotes to the equity market at the wrong time in my opinion.

Chris Martenson: Well, that’s an old familiar song, but I want to add one other thing possibly. The first four months of 2017, I know that the Federal Reserve has been talking about strong economic data, those are their words. I know that the ECB has been talking about how things are improving in Japan, all those guys. But in the first four months of 2017, the big three central banks’ balance sheets expanded by $1 trillion. That's the most in all of history in that amount of time. So to me, that's their actions. Their actions speak of panic at this point in time. First, your views on that. Second, shouldn't we be concerned that a trillion dollars barely managed to eke out a couple of new highs in stock markets, but mostly I think we might say pinned them within a few percent of their highs, not really breaking out to new territory. Should that be a concern that a trillion dollars only buys us a holding pattern?

Steen Jacobsen: Well, the problem with the trillion dollars argument, which is clear to the case and is a fact is that most of that money never actually goes into the real economy has you alluded to before. It actually goes to excess reserves account, and to a large extent, the credit that is created is created financial energy which goes to buyback programs of the companies’ due to the tax laws you have in the US. So the amount of reserve rate, I think ECB program is slightly different because of course it has been targeted towards the credit market materially and to support the weaker government and Europe’s bond market.

But I think overall, the trillion is not a trillion because it is not a trillion. I mean, it sounds ironic, but that’s really what goes on. It's really just increasing the balance sheet without getting money, anything worth for it because the credit mechanism in the US and globally is disrupted. And I think at the central bank’s biggest problem on right now is that they are overconfident. I mean, the Federal Reserve is clearly overconfident. Dragi is smiling more than he usually does, and that is not a good sign is a prudent investor. And the bank of Japan feels that the economy is finally coming into gears and clear to me, just having been to Japan as well, Japan is actually the poster surprise here. The Olympics 2020’s going to have a real impact on their credit impulse and clearly Japan is doing something right. Maybe it's waiting 30 years to get the resolution. I don’t know what it is, but they see improvement in data.

So if you look at the global, major central banks, I think they overconfident. And like central bankers, like traders, like people in marriages, when you get all confident, you’re starting to lose yourself. So, I think that is the most scary part of this, and I'm absolutely certain if my recession light play comes into sight, I'm sure the central bank will panic again. And then I think to some extent, going back to the whole Federal Reserve conversation we had, I think the whole strategy of the Federal Reserve is to get the nominal Federal Reserve rate high enough to have ammunition to take it down when they ultimately will have to deal with this excess economy that they’re dealing with.

Chris Martenson: Well, yeah. Again, I think a hike is not a hike. The only way I can imagine that they can get the rate back down below the interest on excess reserves is to lower that, and there's so many excess reserves sitting in there, it's gonna take a lot of—this is all new territory. I don't quite know how to analyze this because in the past they would remove liquidity, they would add liquidity, but now with the interest and excess reserves sitting there, I think they have to do a lot to begin to affect the actual rate of liquidity in the markets. So let me rewind. It's very hard to get numbers around this, but my back of the envelope says that if they hadn't hiked rates using interest and excess reserves, they would've had to remove hundreds of billions of dollars from the system to get the quarter-point hike which clearly didn't happen. So in reverse, they would have to add—what's your prediction if they do panic? What does that look like? Are we measuring that in the hundreds of billions, and who gets it was it? What does it look like?

Steen Jacobsen: I think it’s a totally different game. I think you are…with all respect, Chris, I think you’re thinking too conventionally. So what did the Bank of Japan do when they ran out of money to print?

Chris Martenson: I don’t know, they printed more.

Steen Jacobsen: They fixed the ten-year rates. No, they fixed the ten-year rates. And I think in economic history in the US, you said you’ve done this before in the late 40s. So basically, when you have a very large balance sheet, you have a recession in coming. The way you then conduct monetary policy is to lower the guided policy rate. So as the argument says, it's five or 10 years that they say to the market, okay hang on. From here onwards, five years is 125, ten years is 150. We will defend that. So instead of having an open-ended intervention which, as you very rightly say, will be costly because as you also indicated by conclusion that to have an impact they have to do material damage to the balance sheet in terms of slicing it up which is not possible. So they will do with Japan has done and that is to target interest rates. So instead of having an open-ended intervention, they expect to have, everything being equal, less ammunition needed to directly defend the rate like 1.5% in ten year rates.

And the reason I’m saying that is that is that if you look back and monitor history in the last 25, 30 years, we all blame Japan for doing it wrong. In the US, you even had central bank get appointed because she was an expert on Japan, so making sure that you didn't do like Japan. But what is the only thing you've ever done in the US monetary policy since then is to conduct Japanese-style monetary policy, QE, extension of percent, and everything else. So basically, Japan leads the world in monetary initiative, so you know what the next step is, Chris. It is to fix the rate because that is open-ended, and so the closest to open-ended is to then have a more limited and more targeted objective of your monetary policy which is to keep the long end the curse down to great confidence and lower the expectation of term premium.

Chris Martenson: Well, that would have to, I would assume, because the last experience we had with a recession is that federal deficits exploded as well. So there would be a lot more debt issuance by the Treasury, so somebody's going to have to sop that up. So, this would require pretty hefty balance sheet expansion by the Fed wouldn't it?

Steen Jacobsen: Yeah, but it will be at a lower rate because you now lower the interest rate from what, 250 now. I mean, I'm making 150 up, but one of the things you do need is low pricing of long-term money so you are creating…in a 1940s, 1950s scale, you’re creating infrastructure funds, your building out, so you create deficit by living up to these promises on infrastructure. But then you will be financing them at that roughly 140, 150 basis point relative to 250. And in the size of the balance sheet you’re talk about, Chris, that is a massive difference in an actual dollar cost funding in the budget every year. So you almost by definition need a lower defined interest rate range if you want to expand the fiscal deficit.

Chris Martenson: And do you think that…does the runway end at zero. or do you think this continues further into negative territory if necessary in the future?

Steen Jacobsen: That's the productivity question basically. If the US is able to reverse the negative productivity trench a half, you can get away with it. But I think we’re sort of blinded by nominal growth in GDP and nominal numbers. But what we have to remember is if we take every single component out of the model called Economics 101, the only thing that really matters…or the two things that matter, demographics, which we can’t control really. That’s sex policy. Secondly, what you can control or what you can do something for is productivity. And if you look at the present government, whatever you think about Trump, everything he's talking about is actually negative productivity. Tax cuts, right? Closing American’s down…American jobs for the sake of American jobs, not for the sake of being productive American jobs. Closing borders. Negating on at Paris, with all the investment into new green investment and vice versa. All of that is negative productivity.

So, I think the longer the Trump scenario is allowed to run, the more he is acting to the nationalistic agenda of Trump and closing down the US for business pretty much foreigners, less productivity potential you have and the more likely the recession risk is and the deeper the recession will go. So I think it's is a self-fulfilling prophecy if nothing changes. So what we need to look for the next 12 months is really what changes relatively to what’s in place. Because I can guarantee, Chris, if we have this conversation one year from now and nothing has happened, the U.S. is in a deep recession, the Fed is printing money, and we have a guide with a fixed interest rate of 10 years for the Federal Reserve at 1.5 or 1.2. And ultimately, they would have to lower the threshold all the way down to zero as we’ve seen in European bond markets.

Chris Martenson: Alright. Well, speaking of predicting out a year in December 2016, you made a number of outrageous predictions. I love that you frame them by saying the common theme for your outrageous predictions for 2017 is the desperate times call for desperate actions. You're describing something that sounds a little desperate to me. So let's start with one your predictions that was dead on. Bitcoin, in December you said, as the banking systems and the sovereigns of Russia and China moved to accept Bitcoin as a partial alternative to the USD, Bitcoin triples in value from the current 700 level to 2100. Directionally correct but low, amazingly enough.

Steen Jacobsen: Yeah, who would’ve thought. And to be honest, Chris, I actually fought my team about getting this one on. So I finally said when I allowed the Bitcoin called to be in the rate prediction, I said, well, at a bare minimum, it’s going to be outrageous. So that they were trying to get away with 1400 or something. I said, no way, it’s going to be up triple we have to make a call. So now just tells you the process here is, of course, almost, first of all, random but secondly, how big this move is. A lot of people talk about Bitcoin being the vex of China because of course the capital control in China means that Bitcoins have become very popular with the Chinese. I don't have the stats exactly, but I think to be conservative, more than 50% of all transaction in Bitcoin has largely been Chinese. So, I think it's an indication of the slowdown in China and the confirmation of it. So right now, I'm sort of 50% of the moves in Bitcoin to me is further nervousness about China seen from domestic Chinese people.

Chris Martenson: Well, and certainly it's got the speculative fever in both Korea and Japan ignited, so that the classic Mrs. Watanabe, instead of trading yen, she trading Bitcoin now. So that’s clearly what looks to me to be…this is a classic parabolic chart if I’ve ever seen one. What do you think? How do you see at this point?

Steen Jacobsen: Well, my young analysis says it’s going to a hundred thousand, and I go like, yeah right. He’s talking about market cap. He’s trying to do the analogy of foreign-exchange, this big a market, and Bitcoin could be 10% of that, then it would equal. But the fact of the matter, of course, as you say parabolic chart and is out of control, so it will find its own. But I think what is really interesting is that we shouldn’t really be talking just about…I mean, one thing is that Bitcoin is up, but it is cryptocurrency at large. And actually, people in the know tell me Bitcoin is becoming very expensive to use, speculating cryptocurrency. Hence, we see a birth of a whole new range of cryptocurrencies competing with the Bitcoin. So that market is smartly expanding and widely so, and blockchain of course is here to stay. Which of the cryptocurrencies that survive, I’m too old, Chris, seriously, to know. But right now I think the two biggest bubbles in the world is Tesla and Bitcoin. And if you put these two charts together on a Bloomberg, they’re exactly the same.

Chris Martenson: Interesting. Alright, well, we already discussed one of your other outrageous calls was that a desperate Fed follows the DOJ leads it fixed 10 years at 1.5%. I think we’ve got that one. Next on my list, a high-yield default rate exceeds 25%. First, where are we on that one and do you stand by that?

Steen Jacobsen: We are absolutely nowhere and not that I’m not standing by views, but you have to remember raters call is really 10 calls that we do once a year to provoke people to think differently. But I think if you are an investor today, there are two questions you need to ask yourself, and the only two questions you need to find the answer to is 1) what is the net direction of the dollars because we’re in a dollar-based credit driven economy in the world, so meaning that if the dollar is stronger, there is less growth, less inflation, less velocity of money, and less emerging market growth and lower commodity prices. So net strong dollar equals negative. But the second one which relates to the credits spread is, what is the chance of a recession inside the next 24 months?

The reason I say that is that specifically the only way that you get equity markets to do a proper correction, i.e., talking about more than 15% correction or—and here comes the catch—you get a serious move in credit spread is that you get a recession. So, everything on the credits spread would be based on a recession happening. A big correction the stock market would also be based on the probability of a recession. So in other words, I think if you’re an investor, the question you need to ask yourself either once a day, once a week, or once a month is has my probability of recession changed from yesterday based on new information or new research? If you are, for arguments’ sake, 50-50 on a recession, which is very high, by the way, then your weighted risk of course in an average recession, the market goes down 30% to 50%. Let's make it easy and make it 40%. Then your weighted risk of course is 20%.

So, we have a 50% probability. You have a weighted risk to your portfolio of 20%. If your weighted risk which the market has right now for a recession is 10%, of course, your risk is less than 4%. So 4% risk if you have 10% probability. So that actually a very good indicator or guide for you to use against your portfolio and your weighting of equity relative to fixing income. And of course that leaves me with 60% probability of being my call, then of course I have 24% or 25% risk to my portfolio. Hence, I have an exposure of fixed income, which is higher than the guy with the 10%.

Chris Martenson: Well, alright. I totally follow what you're saying there. It makes a lot of sense. Last question here. The last time we did talk, it was a while ago, but I believe you said that you were the most optimistic you've ever been in the last 30 years. Is that still true?

Steen Jacobsen: Because it couldn't get any worse, I think, was the follow-up sentence. Yeah, no, I’m very positive actually. I think that the Trump presidency isn’t the end of the cycle, not a beginning of a new cycle. I think what we’ve seen in terms of growth in Europe emerging this year, Europe's ability to deal and operate within the incoming framework of atomization and robotics, and that has been very powerful US growth potential. Japan, as we indicated, is slowly coming back. So the world's’ two biggest, great creditor engine is China and the US it on the brink. But I think something will happen. I think that recession is the most likely to happen in the next 12 to 18 months, and I think that is the stepping stone for releasing this productivity for reducing the balance sheet, have the destruction of capital.

So, although I don't want to be boxed as someone who's very, very negative on the market. I do think that the next big selloff, the next recession will create enough havoc for you to have some of the excellent equity tiles you want to buy could be bought at 35%, 40% discount. And that's that is going to be the deal of your lifetime because I think we stand in front of a massive technology upgrade to the world. I've been doing some of this machine learning with my quant guys. It’s just amazing what we can do, Chris, and now I think it’s only a matter of time before we embrace technology for real.
I think we—all of us—are always having this duality towards technology that on one hand we think it’s needed.

It will be done, it will reduce the cost, but a lot of jobs are going to be lost. I think a lot of jobs will be lost independently, but I think also new jobs will be created for this process. I think we have been very reluctant to accept technology. I think the next crisis will create mandate for that change. So yes. Again, sorry for being long-answered always, but I'm very optimistic, Chris. I don't see any need to be depressed, but I think we are into a very, very bad cycle which, when history books are written, will be what not to do for the next 200 years of economics.

Chris Martenson: I agree with that, and I do also have quite a bit of hope around technology as well because, as you know, I take this from a resource angle. And we are wasting an enormous amount of energy at this point time, and technology could clearly help us use that a lot more efficiently. So really, it's a shifting of a mindset is much as anything. The technology is already there in many respects to and things very differently. We just haven't thought we have to yet, and I'm really eager to get us to that point where we say, yeah, we really should embrace this and use this. It will be very disruptive, jobs will go away. We may have to rethink the 40-hour workweek, but those are all good things to ponder and consider. But first, I think we need a kick in the pants to get there, and that's what I think the correction might do.

Steen Jacobsen: That history and, yes, you're right. I think the number one in the job market is to stop pretending that all jobs should be 35 or 40 hours in the future. Jobs will be everything from half an hour to 40 hours a week, and that's the way we need to go. Whole concept of Milton Friedman’s basic income has to be revisited. There's a lot of exciting things that will happen in the way we deal with the social fallout for technology, but what is inevitable is that technologies part of solution is absolutely not something we need to fight.

Chris Martenson: Absolutely. Well, Steen, thank you so much for your time today. Very generous. Always provocative. Very interesting for our listeners. Tell them how they can follow your excellent work on a more regular basis.

Steen Jacobsen: Yes. So as you very kindly said, I worked for Saxo Bank Group, and we have a platform for research which is called tradingfloor.com. And that’s where, not only me, but smarter people than me is providing good insight to commodity FX equity, bonds and the like. So feel free to visit. That is free of charge of course.

Chris Martenson: Tradingfloor.com. I’m a subscriber there. It's fantastic. A lot of great information. So with that, Steen, thank you so much for your time today.

Steen Jacobsen: Thanks for having me again, Chris, and all the best for the rest of the year.

About the guest

Steen Jakobsen

Mr. Steen Jakobsen serves as the Chief Investment Officer and Chief Economist of Saxo Bank (Switzerland) SA. Mr. Jakobsen serves as the Chief Economist at Saxo Bank A/S, Research Division. He serves as Group Chief Information Officer and Managing Director for Business Area of Asset Management at Newcap Holding A/S. Mr. Jakobsen has more than 25 years of experience within the fields of proprietary trading and alternative investment. Mr. Jakobsen has been with Saxo Bank for 14 years with a short break from 2009 to 2011 as Chief Investment Officer of Limus Capital.

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Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 2820
UBS Data Adds Support To Steen's Warning

Regarding the negative state of the world's 'credit impulse' (from Zero Hedge):

As UBS' analyst Arend Kapteyn wrote then, the "global credit impulse (covering 77% of global GDP) has suddenly collapsed" and added that "as the chart below shows the 'global' credit impulse over the last 18 months is essentially mainly China (the green shaded bit), which even now is still creating new credit at an annualized rate of around 30pp of (Chinese) GDP. But the credit impulse is the 'change in the change' in credit and even the Chinese banks could not sustain the recent extraordinary pace of credit acceleration. As a result: whereas back in Jan '16 the global credit impulse was positive to the tune of 3.8% of global GDP (of which China comprised 3.5% of global GDP) it has now fallen back to -0.1% of global GDP (China's contribution is -0.3% of global GDP)."

Negative credit growth

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