Can Central Banks Manage The Deflation Of An Everything Bubble?

March 21, 2018

The big questions being tossed around Wall Street today are: why are markets such a mess? Why are we getting these wild swings?

The reality is that the markets are NOT a mess. These are actually normal healthy markets. Healthy markets move, sometimes a lot in a small span of time.

The real issue is that from '09 until recently, the market was completely artificial because Central Banks cornered ALL risk by cornering the sovereign bond market.

Remember we are in a debt-based financial system today. Sovereign bonds are the bedrock of that system. They define the "risk free rate of return" against which ALL risk is priced. They're also the senior most collateral owned by the banks to backstop their trading/ derivatives portfolios.

When Fed and other Central Banks cornered sovereign bonds via ZIRP (front end of bond market) and QE (long end of bond market) they forced EVERYTHING to reprice to ridiculously low levels of risk. This is why I coined the term the Everything Bubble in 2014. It’s also why I wrote the book on this subject.

This bubble is unlike any other bubble in history in that it is truly systemic, affecting every asset class Today you have a primary bubble (sovereign bonds) creating secondary bubbles (corporate debt, housing, stocks) and even tertiary bubbles (short vol/ risk parity fund/ passive investing).

It truly is the Everything Bubble.

As Central Banks begin to attempt to normalize policy, all of these will start blowing up in reverse order. The tertiary bubbles blew up in February when the short-volatility trade destroyed over 97% of its value in a matter of days.

Central Banks are now trying to manage to deflate secondary bubbles, particularly that of stocks, without causing a crisis.

Big picture: you're going to see a LOT of volatility going forward. And we're going to see absolute insanity in asset prices. The reason? Every historic correlation/ relationship has been messed up by Central Bank interventions.

Imagine a person who was a raging heroin addict and who contracted major illnesses during his addiction. Now imagine that person getting clean. Throughout the detox process all kinds of issues/ organ problems would develop as the body attempts to adjust to drug being removed.

THAT is the market today. This time is truly different but not in a good way. We've never had a coordinate Central Bank policy of creating bubbles in the bedrock of the financial system before. Given how badly Central Banks managed the Tech stock bubble and Housing Bubble, the outcome won’t be pretty.

Graham Summers

Chief Market Strategist

Phoenix Capital Research

Graham Summers is Chief Market Strategist for Phoenix Capital Research, an independent investment research firm based in the Washington DC-metro area with clients in 56 countries around the world.

Graham’s clients include over 20,000 retail investors as well as strategists at some of the largest financial institutions in the world (Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, and Raymond James to name a few). His views on business and investing has been featured in RollingStone magazine, The New York Post, CNN Money, Crain’s New York Business, the National Review, Thomson Reuters, the Glenn Beck Show and more.

The first use of gold as money occurred around 700 B.C., when Lydian merchants (western Turkey) produced the first coins