sábado, mayo 14, 2016

VACACIONES MAYO 2016

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VACACIONES MAYO 2016

Jueves 28 de Abril del 2016

Queridos amigos,



Les escribo estas líneas con motivo de mi próximo viaje, el que me tendrá ausente de la oficina y de nuestras lecturas cotidianas, desde el lunes 2 hasta el lunes 23 de Mayo próximo, que me reintegro a mis labores.


Durante estos días no tendré acceso regular al Internet ni a mis correos.
  
  
En los últimos meses la situación económica y financiera internacional se ha seguido deteriorando aun mas, con el consiguiente aumento creciente de la volatilidad de los mercados financieros, según lo ya previsto en mi carta de Octubre pasado, replicada en algunos párrafos líneas más abajo para mayor abundancia, impactando duramente a los países emergentes, las monedas, el petróleo y los precios de los "commodities", el fortalecimiento notable del dólar norteamericano, típico de las épocas de crisis, y una retracción cada vez más marcada del crecimiento del producto mundial, ahora ya reconocido por todos los bancos centrales, lo que nos coloca claramente bajo la sombra del temor de una potencial deflación y de la recesión global, cada vez más inevitable.  
 
En los últimos dos meses el anuncio de una política de aumento de intereses menos agresiva que la anunciada previamente, por parte de la FED, ha debilitado ligera
y temporalmente al dólar, e impactado transitoriamente de manera positiva a los precios de las materias primas y los mercados de acciones.
 
La pregunta es cuanto tiempo puede durar esta situación en una economía global manipulada descaradamente por los bancos centrales y en franco camino de deterioro, con el continuo crecimiento de la desigualdad de los ingresos y una clase media cada vez mas disconforme, como lo reflejan las coyunturas políticas preocupantes de los últimos tiempos, tanto en los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, como en Europa y el resto del mundo. La enorme volatilidad de los mercados financieros, que pensamos será cada vez mayor, es un síntoma de esta situación insostenible a mediano y largo plazo. 
El artículo de hace unos meses de Doug Nolan, "The Unwind", al que pueden acceder mediante el "link" anterior, describe claramente la situación precaria de la economía global, los mercados financieros, las deudas y el crecimiento económico mundial, por lo que me abstendré de mayores comentarios.  También pueden acceder al  articulo de Doug Nolan, "New World Disorder".  
 
La reciente creciente y notable volatilidad de los mercados financieros, las dudas hamletianas de la Reserva Federal sobre las tasas de interés y la reciente volatilidad de las bolsas, son solo una pequeña muestra de la descomposición de las economías y los mercados globales.

En realidad no podía ser de otra manera, si tenemos en cuenta que no se ha hecho nada en los últimos años para reparar los profundos desequilibrios estructurales en los fundamentos de la economía global, sino que más bien, por el contrario, se ha seguido "maquillando" por parte de los bancos centrales la insostenible situación económica y financiera global, profundizando los desequilibrios y la inestabilidad vía el constante crecimiento de las deudas, aumentando las ineficiencias y dilatando el necesario ajuste. El crecimiento estructural de la economía global es cada vez más frágil, dudoso e insostenible.


Hasta la crisis del 2000 y luego de la del 2008, ahora así llamada la Gran Recesión, la demanda global había sido “subvencionada” por un sistema financiero manipulado e intervenido, creando una demanda y una economía global ficticia, una recuperación así llamada "subprime", liderada por la FED mediante un crecimiento desproporcionado de las deudas, imposible de auto-sustentarse en un crecimiento de la economía real en el largo plazo. 


Deuda, deuda y más deuda, parece ser el mantra de la FED.

Desde entonces, la FED y el resto los bancos centrales de todos los países más importantes del mundo se han negado y se siguen negando a reconocer esta realidad, aceptando el inicio de un ajuste inevitable y estructural, regresando a un nivel real de la economía global de alguna manera manejable. Aún siguen abocados al esfuerzo de una gran represión financiera, manipulando e inflando irresponsablemente los mercados financieros vía una política monetaria de emisiones inorgánicas de papel moneda sin respaldo y muy bajas tasas de interés, o hasta tasas de interés negativas en muchos países del primer mundo. Actualmente se estima que existen aproximadamente 7 trillones de dólares de inversiones en tasas de interés negativas.

Las deudas de consumidores, empresas y gobiernos, eran y son insostenibles.

Por ello creemos que los bancos centrales no aumentarán de "motu propio" las tasas de interés de manera importante a corto plazo, salvo que este aumento provenga final y sorpresivamente de una crisis generada por la desaparición de la confianza de los inversionistas globales en los mercados financieros. Mas bien los bancos centrales seguirán, en la medida de lo necesario, con su política de seguir emitiendo e inyectando moneda sin respaldo a los mercados, bajando las tasas de interés a niveles aun mas negativos e interviniendo los mercados de capitales mediante compras de bonos y de acciones, distorsionando cada vez mas los precios de los activos financieros en todo el mundo.

Inmediatamente sus deudas se volverían obviamente impagables y la crisis que tanto han tratado de evitar reconocer, sobrevendría inevitable.

Solo para mencionar al país con la economía más importante, la deuda de los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica ha crecido por encima de los 18 trillones de dólares, a más del 100% de su PBI. Y si incluimos las deudas contingentes internas, como el Seguro Social y los Fondos de Pensiones, algunos analistas calculan que la deuda norteamericana podría llegar a sumar entre los 80 a 120 trillones de dólares, es decir, entre 5 a 7 veces el producto bruto anual. Y en aumento.

Para un análisis detallado del desarrollo de esta problemática y la verdadera situación actual, ver los artículos del blog, aquí, aquí y aquí.

Esta situación se ha seguido agravando en los últimos años y es insostenible en el mediano y largo plazo.  (ver articulo)

Para evitarlo, es que los bancos centrales han tenido que esforzarse en mantener ficticiamente una apariencia de normalidad en el "statu quo", inyectando cantidades innombrables de papel moneda sin respaldo a los mercados financieros y reducido las tasas de interés a niveles nunca vistos por largo tiempo, desde que la historia económica recuerda. (QE1, QE2, QE3, Q4, Abenomics, China, etc….)

Todo ello nos hace presumir que todo ello se lleva a cabo por el fundamentado temor a perder el control del esquema Ponzi mundial, que es lo que son ahora la economía global y los mercados financieros, y por ende se derrumbe el castillo de naipes enfrentando de golpe un ajuste económico enorme y hasta la posibilidad de una revolución social incontenible, guerras, etc.

El hecho es que el esfuerzo de política monetaria intervencionista llevada a cabo por la mayoría de los bancos centrales del mundo, en los últimos 15 años, más intensa y desproporcionadamente desde los últimos siete años, además, ha producido la transferencia más importante de riqueza que se recuerda en la historia, de manos de los pensionistas y los ahorristas, hacia las clases privilegiadas y los bancos. 

Mas importante todavía, se ha distorsionado y manipulado fundamentalmente las reglas de la economía del libre mercado con consecuencias funestas y aun impredecibles en el mediano y largo plazo para los consumidores e inversionistas del mundo, incrementando la locación  ineficiente de los recursos de inversión, además de multiplicar el costo de la inevitable implosión de los mercados financieros, tanto de las acciones, como de los bonos y otros instrumentos de inversión financiera.

Todo esto para no mencionar a los derivados financieros, estimados por algunos analistas en más de 1 cuatrillón de dólares (1000 trillones de dólares),  que se ciernen como una espada de Damocles, sobre todo el sistema financiero y económico internacional.

El mismo FMI ha advertido hace ya unos meses de la posibilidad que la economía global está entrando a un periodo de "stagnación" y a una probable nueva recesión, con las consecuencias que ello implicaría. (ver articulo) Y recientemente ha vuelto a reducir su estimado de crecimiento para la economía global de 3.6% a 3.2%. No nos extrañaría que estos estimados se sigan reduciendo en el futuro cercano, especialmente si tenemos noticias negativas del desarrollo de la economía China, en la que algunos analistas esta comenzando a prever un "hard landing" y de la enorme deuda interna de la economía China, influenciando negativamente de manera importante  a los mercados financieros globales.

Obviamente estos organismos no pueden decirnos toda la verdad. Ello sería propiciar ellos mismos el adelanto inevitable del descalabro global, el caos y el ajuste sin anestesia, con resultados imprevisibles. 

La pregunta de fondo es ¿hasta cuándo se podrá o podrán mantener esta realidad bizarra?
Y eso nadie lo puede responder con seguridad. La confianza de los inversionistas en los mercados financieros es la verdadera incógnita.

Por ello ahora tenemos que seguir preguntándonos seriamente, ¿Cuál de todos los potenciales "cisnes negros", conocidos o no, que hoy se ciernen sobre la economía global ,y que son muchos, económicos, sociales y geopolíticos, podrían ser el detonante de la nueva catástrofe?

Solo la historia nos responderá a esta crucial pregunta.


Por ahora, podemos especular que las próximas elecciones norteamericanas en Noviembre próximo son y serán un factor de gran importancia para el comportamiento de la FED, manipulando los mercados lo mejor posible, para influenciar de manera  positiva a la administración saliente, o dicho de otra manera, para evitar perjudicarla lo mayor posible, con un ajuste enorme y anticipado de las grandes incoherencias en la que se encuentra la economía norteamericana y la global como consecuencia de dichas intervenciones de los bancos centrales, en especial de la FED. 

Mientras tanto, en medio de este mundo bizarro, tenemos que insistir nuevamente y más que nunca, que la experiencia y la prudencia, el análisis y la inteligencia, la vigilancia y la paciencia, son los socios más importantes en las decisiones de políticas y estrategias de inversión a corto y mediano plazo.

En un cambio importante de ciclos como en el que pensamos que estamos envueltos hoy día, y en el que más allá de lo circunstancial, el pasado y el futuro se bifurcan y se oponen, los riesgos para los inversionistas son profundos. (ver articulo)

Con estas  anotaciones y advertencias que espero les sean de utilidad, me despido de Uds. con un cordial abrazo hasta el regreso a mis actividades, Dios mediante, a inicios de la tercera semana de Mayo próximo, cuando estaré nuevamente a su gentil disposición.

Gonzalo

PD. Para leer los artículos pueden subscribirse directamente entrando al blog:  www.gonzaloraffoinfonews.com

Wall Street's Best Minds

JPMorgan: Yield-Obsessed Investors Need to Think Differently

JPMorgan’s David Kelly has some advice for yield-chasing types: focus on total returns.

By David Kelly           

 
One of the most important lessons in investing and, for that matter, in life, is to recognize what is and isn’t in your control and to focus on the former.

Global financial markets are bogged down in stalemate today with not enough growth to push inflation or interest rates higher but not enough weakness to threaten recession. In the medium term, things look a little clearer. Provided the dollar and oil hold at current levels, global consumer spending should be strong enough to trigger a pickup in growth while U.S. corporate profits should rebound. Assuming that central banks react slowly to this change in the backdrop it should not inflict too much damage on the bond market and should boost stocks. This validates an overweight to equities over fixed income, even in a market that seems, for the moment, to be going nowhere. 
  
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David Kelly
 
 
However, while waiting for a rebound in economic growth and profits, investors should also consider their own behavior. In recent years, investors have scoured the world for higher-yielding securities in an attempt to generate a satisfactory income in an environment of falling interest rates.

A better approach would be to construct a diversified portfolio with a goal of achieving a satisfactory expected total return for an acceptable level of expected volatility. However, too many investors feel that it is somehow imprudent to ever sell principal, and so they have been lured into constructing a portfolio mainly with a bias towards yield rather than total return.

A few key points can show why this is foolish:

First, a balanced portfolio gives you far less in coupon payments and dividends than it used to.
For example, a $1,000,000 portfolio invested 50/50 in the S&P 500 stock index and the Barclays Aggregate bond index, would have generated $48,029 in pretax income in 1991, but only $24,056 in 2015. After the tax man, in taxable accounts, the decline would be even worse, from $33,140 in 1991 to just $16,285 last year. Living off income alone is getting more difficult except for the super rich.

Second, because investors have been searching for yield in an environment where yield is increasingly hard to find, they have been overpaying for it. This can be seen by looking valuations in different asset classes relative to history. The valuation measures we use are real yields (based off year-over-year core CPI inflation) for fixed income and real earnings yields (the inverse of the P/E ratio – core CPI in the case of equities. Mapping this relative to average dividend and coupon yields over the past 25 years shows that while large-cap growth stocks (with traditionally low dividend yields) are selling near normal valuations, investment grade bonds are roughly two standard deviations more expensive than they have been on average over the last 25 years. 

Third, higher-yielding, higher-quality securities are particularly exposed to any backup in interest rates, which must be considered a key risk in an extended business cycle where a pickup in inflation could cause a change in central bank policy from its currently uber-dovish stance. Statistical evidence from the last 25 years suggests that while a one percentage point increase in 10-year Treasury yields could actually result in an increase in stock prices, it may reduce high-quality corporate bond prices by -6.5%.

Finally, for taxable accounts, it is far more tax efficient to realize capital gains on appreciating stock than to clip coupons on fixed income. The highest marginal federal tax on interest income is now 43.4% compared to 23.8% on both dividends and capital gains. Moreover, precisely because investors can sell principal, the actual tax paid on realized stock sales should be far less than on dividends received.

In a sluggish economy with now more highly valued assets, investors should not expect to receive the same returns that have prevailed over the last 5 years or the last 50.

However, investors can still achieve better risk-adjusted returns by adhering to some basic investment principles. While the best known principles are diversification and not trying to time the markets, another is to see the logic in investing for total return rather than yield.

After years in which yield-hungry investors and ultra easy central banks have distorted markets by driving down yields, it is more important than ever to recognize that not selling principal is a lousy principle.


Kelly is chief global strategist with J.P. Morgan Funds, a unit of JPMorgan Chase.


Anemic Wage Growth Restraining Economy

Sluggish worker earnings keep consumer spending in check

By Eric Morath

While some employers in low-wage industries say they’re seeing increased pressures tied to minimum-wage increases, others say there’s been little pressure to boost pay. Here, Brittney Bounds bags groceries at a market in Sacramento, Calif., last year. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press


Years of solid job gains are failing to produce a breakout in wages, suppressing the spark needed for a sustained pickup in economic growth.

U.S. employers for the past four years created more than 200,000 jobs a month on average. That has driven the unemployment rate down to 5% last month from above 8% in early 2012.

But wages have shown little progress. Wages and salaries for private-sectors workers advanced 2% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the Labor Department said Friday. The measure has grown near that rate, on average, since the start of 2012.

The U.S. economy, like much of the globe, is stuck in a slow-growth rut. Turmoil overseas and still-weak commodity prices are preventing the manufacturing, trade and energy sectors from supporting growth. That leaves U.S. consumers to boost the expansion. But without accelerating wages, it’s difficult for them to step up spending.

“We continue to be on track for very slow progress,” said BNP Paribas economist Laura Rosner. “That’s reflected in the lack of wage growth."

Economists harbor little hope for a significant economic rebound this spring, though they do expect some pickup after a disappointing winter performance when the economy expanded at a 0.5% pace.

Forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers projects gross domestic​product to advance at a 2.1% pace in the second quarter. GDP figures are adjusted for price changes. Such an​acceleration would only bring growth roughly back in line with the overall​pace of the lackluster expansion.

Overall compensation for all workers, a figure that includes benefits, rose 1.9% from a year earlier, the Labor Department said. Federal Reserve officials watch the gauge for signs of labor-cost inflation.

The reading has been consistently stronger than overall inflation. Consumer prices rose 0.8% from a year earlier in March, a separate Commerce Department report said Friday. But the compensation growth remains small compared with the pace of increases during the previous expansion. From 2002 through 2007 compensation averaged better than 3% annual growth.

Another measure of wages, average hourly earnings for private-sector workers, shows slightly stronger gains, up 2.3% in March from a year earlier. But that, too, is little changed from recent years. Four years ago, in March 2012, the annual gain was 2.1%.

Some employers that hire low-wage workers say they are seeing increased pressures tied to minimum-wage increases in 26 states since the start of 2014. But other firms say there’s been little change.

Wage pressures are “nothing really any different than we’ve seen in the past,” Jeff Shaw, executive vice president for store operations at O’Reilly Automotive Inc., told investors Thursday. “There’s always a scramble for great people in the market. But…really no changes that we’ve seen.”

Several factors are constraining wage growth.

The unemployment rate might not fully reflect the degree of slack in the labor market. Some older workers and those displaced during the recession have returned to the workforce recently, and that makes it difficult for existing workers to demand higher pay.

And productivity growth in many service fields has been low, meaning even small wage gains can feel expensive for employers in those sectors, said BNP’s Ms. Rosner. That could partially reflect global cost pressures due to services that can more easily be provided from overseas, via the Internet and call centers, she said.

Weak wage gains are at least partially responsible for lackluster spending. Overall consumer outlays increased just 0.1% in March from February. Accounting for price increases, spending was flat for the second time in three months, Commerce Department data showed. The same report showed consumers are increasing savings at a faster rate than spending, a potential sign of shaky confidence.

The University of Michigan’s gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment, also released Friday, declined in April to its lowest level in seven months.

“Consumer mood and spending have been rather subdued recently due to volatility in the stock market and rising pump prices, despite well received employment reports,” said IHS economist Chris Christopher. But he forecasts better April spending, “so long as the stock market behaves itself, second-quarter consumer spending is likely to be significantly stronger than the first quarter.”


Did “Keynesian Economic Theory” fail in the post-crisis years of 2008?

Chris Vermuelen

 
Federal Reserve



The ‘Great Recession’ of 2008 was brought about by reckless lending. The aftermath left the credit market in an extreme tight squeeze whereby corporations were frightened and hesitant to spend. Cost cutting led to massive layoffs leaving people with no money, therefore, ‘aggregate demand’ dropped!  Economists, led by the then FED Chairman Ben Bernanke, believed that the solution to this problem lay in generating demand by using the ‘easy monetary policy’ as propagated by the ‘Keynesian Theory’.
 
This famous economic theory is named after the British economist, John Maynard Keynes, who published this theory in his book, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” in 1936. The basic principle of his theory is to generate aggregate demand with a combination of both fiscal and monetary policy.
 
The Central Banks, led by the FED, embarked on a journey in order to stimulate demand by using the monetary policy route.
 
The FED and developed nations dropped interest rates to zero which failed to kick-start demand. They followed this up by huge ‘Quantitative Easing’ programs, in other words, by printing money out of thin air. Even this failed to accelerate the ‘cumulative demand’.
 
After six years of failure, attempting to generate demand, the Central Banks are experimenting with ‘negative interest rates policy’ (NIRP). Although NIRP has been in force in the Eurozone since 2014, it has not produced any noticeable positive results. Yet, the ECB President Mario Draghi continues to inflict negative rates into negative territory, in hopes of generating demand. Japan is another large global economy using the NIRP policy, however, the policy is resulting in the opposite effect. Japanese citizens are hoarding their cash and investing in gold, as a result of NIRP.
 
Why did all of this QE, ZIRP and NIRP fail to generate demand? The main reason, in regards to this question, is that the effects of the ‘easy monetary policy’ never trickled down to meet the needs of the working class people. I feel certain that you are most likely no better off in terms of obtaining credit as compared to that of a decade earlier. The banks are no longer willing to lend.
 
According to the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2016: In a United Nations report, the banks preferred to park their money with the FED and earn a risk-free interest rate return rather than lending it to the public. The Banks parked $1.6 trillion during the period from 2009 to 2015 as compared to an average of $200 billion during the preceding eight-year period of 2000 to 2008.
 
With the FED trying to raise interest rates, the banks will earn higher interest rates and are most certainly unlikely to begin lending, anytime soon.
 
According to the UN report, although the developed economies have maintained an ultra-low interest rate policy, the private investments in 5 of the 20 global economies have declined within the 2010 to 2015 period to lend as compared to the ‘pre-crisis era’ of 2007. The rate of growth, in those 17 economies, post the financial crisis was lower as compared to the ‘pre-crisis years’.
 
The U.N. report also points out that the growth rate in the developed economies has been halved, since the crisis. Even the employment numbers are discouraging; there are 12 million more unemployed people as compared to what existed in 2007.
 
Inflation throughout the developed nations is languishing well below the comfort zone of the Central Bankers. Excess money in the economy, throughout the developed nations has been used by corporations and the wealthy in order to inflate ‘asset prices’.
 
Since the failure of the current ‘monetary easing programs’, a few experts have reverted back to the philosophy of the American economist Milton Friedman and his idea of ‘Helicopter money’, which is published in his paper, “The Optimum Quantity of Money” which was written in 1969.
 
Mr. Friedman wrote: “Let us suppose now that one day a helicopter flies over this community and drops an additional $1,000 in bills from the sky, which is, of course, hastily collected by members of the community. Let us suppose further that everyone is convinced that this is a unique event which will never be repeated.”
 
Interpreted, the basic idea is to directly provide the people with money which will, in turn, encourage them to spend rather than the current indirect method which has failed to reach the working class people.
 
This idea has found many supporters, including the former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as well as the Financial Times' Chief Commentator Martin Wolf.
 
However, once people start receiving ‘free money’, the problem is that they become dependent on it and this makes it virtually impossible to cease the drops. This becomes detrimental to the entire society.
 
So, what options are left?
 
The unsung genius, Kondratiev, and his economic business cycles will ‘play out’. We will witness a debilitating period of ‘contraction and crisis’. This period is most likely to begin very soon and persist for another 3-5 years!  I am labelling it as the ‘Great Reset’. During this period of time, a few nations will default and the Eurozone will likely break apart. I forecast fiat money will be under a serious and severe threat.
 
The world will see gold and silver as a true store of wealth and security and eventually the entire global economy will stabilize and grow, yet once again!