Off The Cuff

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Off The Cuff: What Today's Rate Hike Means

Another increase, plus a reduction of the balance sheet
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 8:30 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Unpacking Today's Rate Hike
    • What will the impact be?
  • When Is A Rate Hike Not A Rate Hike?
    • The Fed's hikes aren't really pulling liquidity out of the market
  • Every time The Fed Talks Gold Goes Down
    • Manipulation (for optics) is alive & well
  • Can The Fed Engineer A Soft Exit?
    • Hardly likely

Chris and John break down today's Fed announcement of a 0.25% rate hike, plus its presented schedule for starting to reduce it's $4.2 trillion balance sheet. 

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Off The Cuff: Signs Of An Approaching Downturn

We're seeing more & more of them
Thursday, June 8, 2017, 12:00 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Wolf Richter discuss:

  • The Late-Stage Housing Bubble
    • From the US, to Canada, to China
  • Signs Of The Approaching Downturn
    • Data everywhere is flat-lining
  • Soaring Debt Levels
    • At levels that make 2008 look tame
  • Canary In The Coal Mine
    • The bullet-proof Bay Area showing weakness?

The diverse data sets that Wolf tracks are showing increasing signs of building weakness across the global economy:

We see weakness all over the place now in the United States. In terms of the corporate credit cycle, we have commercial and industrial loans flat-lining since November, meaning they have grown very strongly from the financial crisis and they peaked in October. Since then, it’s all just flat-lining.

And the only time this ever happened in the past, it’s been affiliated with a recession because these are loans that companies take out to fund equipment purchases and for expansion purposes and for the things that are useful to an economy. These are not loans that are used to buy back stocks. This is not for financial engineering. These are actual productive funds. And when you see companies putting a lid on this, they’re not expanding anymore. They’ve borrowed as much as they’re going to borrow, and at some point, these commercial industrial loans will turn down. And this has happened in every recession before.

Plus, we have now a surge in bankruptcies in the United States in terms of commercial bankruptcies. I just did a report on that earlier in May. The prior peak in bankruptcies was during the financial crisis.

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Off The Cuff: Volatility Attacks!

The market calm is suddenly shattered
Friday, May 19, 2017, 2:03 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Volatility Attacks!
    • The market calm is suddenly shattered
  • Trading A Credit Crisis For A Currency Crisis
    • How all this ultimately ends
  • Misuse & Abuse Of Power
    • Is the norm these days, not the exception
  • The Coming Reset
    • Yes, it will be painful. But let's focus on what we want to come afterwards

In this week in which volatility in the markets -- which has been MIA for longer than any other time in history -- has suddenly come roaring back, Chris and John focus on the inherent fragility of the financial system, which is now utterly dependent on continued central bank subsidization. 

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Off The Cuff: Too Many Balls In The Air

Why the central banks will ultimately crash the markets
Friday, May 12, 2017, 3:26 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish Shedlock discuss:

  • Too Many Balls In The Air
    • The central banks are losing control of them all
  • Growing Risk In Europe
    • Macron's victory masks huge looming problems
  • Without Continued Central Bank Balance Sheet Expansion...
    • ...The markets will crash
  • Things Don't Matter Until They Do
    • Why the crash will happen unbelievably quickly

This week Chris and Mish enumerate how completely dependent today's financial market prices are on the continued expansion of central bank balance sheets around the world.

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Off The Cuff: Sowing The Seeds Of Our Self-Destruction

Our broken culture is failing us and our progeny
Thursday, May 4, 2017, 4:11 AM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • Our Sick Culture
    • Disconnected and depressive
  • We Are Deficient In Meaning
    • More & more of us live without purpose and value
  • Emotional Resilience
    • Each of us has the ability to chart a better course
  • Engaging Others
    • How to help others break free, too

This week's Off The Cuff takes a more existential turn, as Chris and Charles focus on the many broken elements of today's culture, and the toxic effects they have on our quality of life. With so much social disconnectedness and disappearing prosperity, more and more of the population is simply surviving as opposed to living.

To have quality of life, it is becoming more important than ever for each of us to become the captain of our own destiny, and seek to break out of the current our culture is dragging us along with.

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Off The Cuff: The Era Of Easy Money Is Over

Debt-funded stimulus no longer yields an increase of GDP
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 8:44 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Sovereign Sabre-Rattling
    • Suddenly, the world became a lot less safe
  • Market Misdirection
    • The central planners are doing their utmost to paint a positive picture
  • The Era Of Easy Money is Over
    • Debt-funded stimulus no longer results in an increase of GDP
  • How This All Will End
    • Exploring the likely pins that will pop this "mother of all bubbles"

Chris and John look at the disconnect between world events and stock prices and urge folks not to misled: risk is high, and getting higher. There is *no* rational reason for the current price levels in financial markets -- only gobs and gobs of liquidity being force-fed into the system by the world's central banks.

But the data is increasingly showing that the era of "easy money" we've lived under since the Great Recession has reached its inevitable terminus. Shoving more debt into the system is no longer boosting GDP. We are now simply blowing bigger asset bubbles that will monumentally destructive when they burst -- as they must.

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Off The Cuff: The Soft Data & Hard Data Are At Odds

One of them is right. Which one is it?
Thursday, April 13, 2017, 7:30 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish Shedlock discuss:

  • Soft vs Hard Data
    • They disagree. Which is correct?
  • More Manipulation
    • The central banks are not even hiding it anymore
  • The Big Problem: Too Much Debt
    • Don't expect the Fed to raise rates much higher from here
  • The French Election
    • However it unfolds, France is at a breaking point

In this week's podcast, Chris and Mish discuss the increasingly opposite stories being told by the "soft" and "hard" data. Soft indicators like consumer confidence and bullish sentiment are sky-high; while hard metrics like GDP growth, retail store closures, or auto sales tell a grim story of economic slowdown.

History shows that such a dichotomy between soft and hard data occur at turning points in the economy. And, as Mish recaps, we've seen this movie before:

Hussman reports that soft data after a lengthy expansion like we've had is mainly noise. I tend to agree with him. Market tops and bottoms tend to be points, both in the economy and the stock market -- and we are seeing the stock market today is experiencing a rounded topping affair with people remaining bullish even as it's clear the economy is sinking. We saw that happen in 2007. I think we saw that happen in 2000 as well. 

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Off The Cuff: Eggshell Markets

Why the market can't sustain any losses
Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 7:20 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Vexing Volatility
    • How the VIX is being used to drive the markets
  • We Can't Handle Losses Anymore
    • Why the market is now incredibly vulnerable to downturns
  • Our Captive System
    • Until it breaks, the system is run to serve the banks, not us
  • The Death Of The Living Wage
    • The hollowing out of the middle class continues

Lots of sobering material packed into this week's Off The Cuff discussion between Chris and John. While there are signs of growing instability to be found nearly everywhere, both are very concerned about the extreme fragility of today's financial ""markets"". At the slightest sign of weakness, tremendous interventions now happen on a daily basis to keep prices from falling, even by a single percent.

The reason why is that the system is too vulnerable for ANY degree of loss to be sustained without fear of collapsing it.

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Off The Cuff: Weariness Everywhere In The Markets

The support underlying today's sky-high prices is faltering
Thursday, March 23, 2017, 4:43 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles Hugh Smith discuss:

  • Weariness Everywhere In The Markets
    • The post-election price support is evaporating
  • Confused Leaders
    • Chris recaps his latest meetings at the U.N.
  • Boomer Guilt
    • Divisions between the older haves & younger have-nots are growing
  • Banks & Government
    • A partnership of evil

Charles returns to Off The Cuff this week to note the recent lack of vigor in today's financial markets. Does it portend a turning point?

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Off The Cuff: Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered

The reaction to the recent Fed hike makes little sense
Friday, March 17, 2017, 2:37 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and James Howard Kunstler discuss:

  • Rate Hike!
    • The Fed just increased the interest rate by 0.25%
  • Scam-o-rama
    • The financial system is now a racketeering fraud
  • The Net Energy Predicament
    • The unseen cause of so many of the systemic breakdowns we're seeing
  • The Deep State In Turmoil
    • The Trump administration has set off an internal war

James Howard Kunstler returns to Off The Cuff this week for a wide ranging discussion. First on the docket is the recent Fed rate hike, and the baffling logic that markets are using to interpret is as another "bullish" signal for piling into stocks. 

No surprise, Jim thinks the markets have become one big roach motel for investment capital. 

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