First semester 2016

The first semester of 2016 was remarkably turbulent and we expect the volatility to stay high and possibly even increase by year’s end. The markets are ignoring the existing risks, simply because they are counting on price manipulation by the Central Banks (CB). Unfortunately, by holding stock prices up, the bureaucrat professors in charge of the CBs are postponing the inevitable and making the consequences even worse and perverse. The best recent example was the Brexit – it was a big surprise for the markets, made the pound sterling plunge and dragged the global stock indexes along with it. How did the CBs respond to it? They promised what they always do: more liquidity, more bond purchases and interest rate cuts. Result: the indexes bounced back and completely ignored one of the most important events of the 21st century, as if it was nothing to worry about. We are going to list the most obvious potential problems that investors are ignoring – of course, these are the known ones. There could be a “black swan”, which would make the entire situation even worse. • Countries’ leverage Countries’ indebtedness has reached very high levels as measured by Debt-to-GDP, especially in ones whose economies are stagnated or recessive, such as Japan (229%), Italy (133%) and the Eurozone (90%). The very leader of this rank, Japan, uses 41% of its tax revenue just to serve its enormous debt (bear in mind that interest rates there are zerobound). • Elections in the USA The prognosis for the American future isn’t very exciting. Besides their innumerous problems that are always brought up in this blog (ZIRP, slow growth, high unemployment rate, high asset prices, etc.), this year is an election year and the candidates aren’t exactly the best ones in our opinion. • Zero and even negative interest rates in many parts of the world. The total amount of government debt yielding negative interest rates is increasing and had reached USD11.7 trillion last month, nearly twice as much as the amount in the beginning of the year. We consider the idea of investing in a bond, holding it until maturity with the certainty of getting less money than what was initially invested as inconceivable. • Frightening corporate leverage. The corporations took advantage of the extremely low interest rate to take on a lot of debt. Instead of investing in innovation, research, development and expansion, the executive officers decided to do buybacks, busting their own bonus, but clearly putting the company in jeopardy. As soon as the money authorities are obliged by the markets to increase interest rates, the companies’ capital structure will be compromised and they will no longer be competitive. On top of that, these companies will have to issue shares to serve the debt and correct operational weaknesses, at the very moment that investors are also selling their positions, sending the stock prices further down. • Bank crisis in Europe (mainly in Italy). Italy is responsible for less than 10% of Europe’s GDP, but it is responsible for almost 1/3 of the NPL’s of the entire Euro area. The vulnerability of the European banking system is quite evident. • A possible (and probable) debasement of the Chinese currency Big investors like George Soros and Kyle Bass have already pointed out what seems to be the trade of the year: the impossibility of China to keep the Yuan pegged to the USD. Last year, when China debased its currency by a little more than 2%, the markets melt down. That makes us wonder what would happen in case of a big devaluation. •...

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Prata e os mercados financeiros

O United States Mint (US Mint) acaba de anunciar que está sem estoque de prata. Isso no dia em que a prata despenca quase 5% (há poucos minutos, chegava a mais de 6%) no mercado financeiro. Há um descasamento enorme entre o mercado físico e o mercado financeiro nos metais preciosos. Talvez seja melhor perguntar ao Citi porque o preço está caindo quando a demanda está aumentando… Depois nos perguntam porque esses bancos precisam constantemente de planos de resgates (bailouts)… Continuamos recomendando aos nossos clientes exposição FÍSICA aos metais preciosos. Vale lembrar que papel é só uma promessa, o que vale é o...

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