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Maximum Impact — Part I — The Incoming Financial Collapse and its Effects on Global Markets

SHORT STORY
This is a broad overview of the current conditions of economy, an attempt to connect the dots between money supply, rates, deficit, inflation, stock and bonds markets, and how a major change can affect different asset classes.

Because of expansive monetary policies and artificially low interest rates lasted for almost a decade, debt has grown more than any other parameter: real economy, productivity, cash, employment. Inflation is picking up and all major indicators point to the end of a cycle and the shift to a recession.

The conclusion is that the incoming crisis will more likely be a dollar/fiat crisis, rather than a major recession.

FULL STORY

How easy do you think it is to predict a financial crisis?

If it would be easy, would bubbles and downturns be as big as they have been in the last 100 years?

Economics is not an exact science, and one it its fascinating mechanisms is that if you leverage a certain parameter, it will subtly affect the whole system as much as you stretched it. You will not see it, but its effects will build under the hood.

An R&D programmer of a game development studio once told me “our engine has become like a very tall sandwich, so that every time you try to add something in between its layers, some other ingredients will be pushed out, somewhere”.

Uh, yummy, do you think you can add some more tomatoes on top?

In summer 2017 a friend told me “they say the next financial crisis would be much bigger than the last one”. As an enthusiastic investor in the stock market, I took that statement with lots of skepticism. But, also with the prices reached already in 2017, soon later I started looking into some indicators. Three months later I was looking for alternative asset classes, the most uncorrelated with the stock market, the best.

This is not an exact science, but many indicators are red flags and people should be informed that there is a concrete risk in keeping their money invested in certain assets.

An Old Story that Never Saw a Real Ending

Proponents of an incoming financial collapse — or at least a downturn — have been growing in the last year, first among independent thinkers and contrarians, and more recently also among traditional investment institutions, ie: banks. Many bring the accent on the Trump politics, trade wars and geopolitical instability. I believe that when you talk about the geopolitical risk, it is because you cannot find any substantial systemic risk within the economic mechanism.

The theory I believe to be the most convincing is the one seeing the 2008 crisis, triggered by the subprime bubble, never reaching the bottoms it should have reached, because in the following 10 years, every time the market was about to see a correction, it has been plugged by monetary injections through quantitative easing (QE) from central banks. The 2008 crisis was not let fail completely, not just for a ‘too big to fail’ argument, but for other reasons as well.
Note: QE technically does not imply printing money, but rather injecting liquidity in the economy by purchasing bonds and lowering interest rates; however it’s an expansive policy and its practical effects have arguably the same effect as printing money and unloading them into the economy.

Now let’s look at the data.

First the data that say our sandwich is unstable.

1. Historical Cycles
Crisis happen on average every 8.5 years. We are at year 9 since the last crisis. Economic cycles are hard to avoid, and certainly cannot be avoided forever.

Google

Historically we are close to the situation of late ’30s / early ’40s (here has been two instances in the last century when rates were next to zero). 
The recent interventions on the macroeconomic fundamentals — tax stimulus, productivity, employment… — can hardly compensate the structural ones — debt — because the first are interventions with effects relatively in the short/mid-term, while the debt has been ingrained in the system for a long time.[11]

At a political level there is a natural shift towards populist government and leaders due to the increased diversity of wealth produced by the monetary policies. Italy is a clear example of this shift.

Dalio

Banks doing QT when rates are close to zero is the final phase of the cycle, right before entering a downward phase, which is due to the fact that monetary policies do not work normally when rates are close to zero.
Investor remained in the market because unemployment rate is low, asset prices are high, debt allowed to invest and expectations are that past performances will continue. Indicators of being at the final phase of the cycle are (1) unemployment and central banks politics, (2) how much debt has been used to finance purchases, (3) market euphoria, (4) what percentage of growth is included in stock prices (comparing the yield of stocks and bonds related to their price), these represent future projections of past performances and how much is likely that that will continue like that in the future.[12]

2. Prices vs Economic Performance
Stock prices are historically at all-time-highs (ATH). Productivity in the US is experiencing a relatively solid growth, but it is a nice growth, not anything extraordinary, and not justifying the current valuations.
The price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is pretty high compared to the historical trends; and the cyclically adjusted P/E ratio (CAPE) is even higher: in fact is it lower only than the pre-dotcom crash of Dec 1999.

Macrotrends
Wikipedia — Cyclically adjusted P/E ratio

Other indicators, like the Margin-adjusted CAPE, are even higher than those above.

This means stocks are very overvalued.

Note: explanations for the unusual P/E ratio spike in 2008 can be the negative year earnings due to writing down the bad loans, ie: earnings fell faster than price[13] (and the mark-to-market accounting principle may have made things worse: “when markets froze, banks and other financial institutions were forced to mark-down cash-flowing, performing loans to artificially low prices. These marks amplified the actual losses from bad loans and, like wind on a forest fire, caused the flames to spread.”[14])

3. Fiscal Expansion
US taxes have been cut but government spending have been increased, in fact the US deficit growth reached a staggering amount. Therefore it is hard to see this a major factor of sustainability for the current situation. Nevertheless, corporations retained this liquidity, but what needs to be verified is how it was or will be used.

4. QE Injections
How could US stocks reach such high prices?
Perhaps the major factor causing US corporations — especially a certain group of selected top stocks, among which the FANGS — to see their prices rising a lot in the past years, as well as accumulate liquidity, should be identified in the repeated QE rounds. Since 2009, and especially in the last 5 years, the correlation between the balance sheet of the central banks and the price of the FANG stocks has been more evident: US top stocks were practically bought with QE money.

ZeroHedge
The Daily Reckoning

The correlation is strong also with the S&P500 Index, not just the FANGS.

In Japan the government even directly bought Japanese stocks, at the point that the Bank of Japan has become a top 10 shareholder in 40% of Japanese listed companies.[15]
And the expansionary monetary policy of all major central banks started to change course, so in the near future there won’t be the same liquidity provided in the past years.

5. Buybacks
Both representing what corporations have done with the extra cash, as well as a reason why share prices are so high, corporate buybacks saw a $433BL in shares repurchases during 2018. In addition to the fact that they are expected to happen less than in the recent period, and although they were accompanied also by higher dividends and M&A investments, capital spending and other direct investments in the businesses — eg: R&D — have been lower. So if buybacks don’t keep up at the same rate, that will take away another element to sustain the current stock prices.[18][19][20]
Buybacks are also often seen at the end of a bubbling phase.

6. Stock Options Sellout
Even more recently, another trend has been a huge selloff of company stocks from executives, in the order of $10BL just in August 2018. It is hard to not see this move as a consequence of the previous point (buybacks), basically dumping the shares pumped with the tax savings.[21]

7. Interest rates
Here is where things start to look ugly. 
The primary aim of QE policies is to lower interest rates. Although some argue that there is no evident correlation between QE injections and lower interest rates, the long-term effects of QE policies spread during the past 10 years seems evident.

Macrotrends
Macrotrends

Note: the FED Funds Rate and Treasury Rate are determined by different interventions, but they are related, and in the long-term the FED Funds Rate influences also the long-term 10y Treasury Bonds to a certain extent, which the other interest rates (eg: mortgage rates, corporate bonds) ultimately follow.[23]

Artificially low cost of borrowings — also called ‘cheap money’ — have different impacts on the economy:
 a. Investors move from bonds to stocks, because of low bond yields.
 b. Investors invest more money in general, especially in US where investments are heavily supported by credit.
 c. The government can sustain larger deficit, as the interest payments are less severe.
 d. Any debt-financed expenditure increases, in all sectors (public, private, individuals), eg: home mortgages.
This has been going on for roughly 9 years, with ups and downs. Only in 2018 a real quantitative tightening (QT) policy started, and its effects on the stock market have been clear since January; at each announcement confirming rising interest rates, the market reacted badly.

Market reaction on September 26 when Powell confirmed rising rates.

Why? Because they know this level of stock prices can hardly be sustained without cheap money (note: the market recovered the following day, the point here is just to show the reaction).
Rising interest rates almost always preceded a financial crisis or a recession[24].

The spread between the 10-Year vs the 2-Year U.S. Treasury bond is a recession indicator. When it goes below 1%, a recession is likely; if it even goes below 0%, a recession is likely to occur within a year[25].

Forbes
ZeroHedge

8. Debt and Deficit
Advocates of an incoming downturn, call this one a “debt crisis”. A difference is between who argues that the biggest bubble lies in the public deficit[12][27], and who argues that lies in the private debt. The staggering growth of the US deficit is not an isolated case — the US is just the worst case, with ~100% debt-to-GDP — but China quadrupled its deficit in the last 7 years, and many other countries are facing more and more severe issues with their deficit size and payment, all making strong arguments for the public deficit theory. In fact from 2007 to 2017 the global debt increased of $70k BL, to a total of $233k BL, equal to 320% of the world’s GDP[28][29][30][31][32].

OECD
Macrotrends

Note: due to the complexity of their calculations, expect to see variations in the global debt data according to the source you are consulting; but we are always talking of order of magnitudes in the Trillions of dollars and debt-to-GDP ratio measured in 3 digits for most of the developed countries, including United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain and Portugal.
Furthermore, the private sector accumulated liquidity, while the same is not true for the public one.

However, I tend to agree more with the theory seeing the private debt as the trigger, because historically, before the crisis it grew much more than the public debt, and the weight of corporate and families debt on the GDP is much higher, so I expect also the effect of a debt-inflated economy to be higher there.

9. Inflation
The last big piece of the puzzle. 
Historically, inflation is close to minimum levels, but from 2017 it started to pick up.

OECD

This is critical because in the first years of QE the increase in money supply did not growth inflation significantly, while now that central banks must stop QE, inflation finally started to rise.[33][34]

10. Velocity
A logical question to ask would be: how is it possible that with all the QE rounds, inflation has been relatively low?
The answer is in the equation of exchange, in one parameter in particular:

M * V = P * Y

M = money supply; V = Velocity of money; P = price; Y = outputs (GDP)

The liquidity has not circulated: the velocity has been very low. This is why inflation did not pick up sooner. 
This is a key point that very few are discussing right now.

FRED

Historically, interest rates, velocity of money and inflation have been correlated in the long-term[35][36][37].

FRED

But low interest rates should increase the demand for money by reducing the opportunity cost of holding money, right? Yes, in fact there are multiple forces at play on money demand when rates are high or low; however some other consequences of low interest rates should eventually play a bigger role in the picture, for instance investing in riskier assets because the reward from bonds investments are not worth the effort. This a big issue that pension funds have been facing in recent years: traditionally oriented towards conservative portfolio allocations, pension funds were forced to invest more and more into riskier assets in the attempt to preserve the average return on investment. At a certain point, towards the end of 2017, I even read of certain pension funds evaluating to invest in cryptocurrencies. This last one is an extreme case, but what remains a fact is that low interest rates forced many investors, including the more conservative ones, to put money into riskier assets like stocks, which added to the inflated valuations.

11. Financialization
So why is the velocity low?
Money has accumulated in financial assets (ie: investment funds) much more than it circulated directly in the real economy. Since 2009 financial assets grew by $33.9 trillion, compared with $10.4 trillion in nonfinancial assets.[39]

ZeroHedge
StLouisFED

Technology allowing for electronic payment may have also contributed to reduce the velocity (as the faster they enable payments, the more they act a substitute of liquidity). Here it depends on what we believe that had the greatest effect: the financialization or others factors such as payments technology. 
In studies on “the impact of these variables on different measures of economic performance: the growth rates of GDP per capita, consumption per capita, investment and inequality; [the] findings show that credit has no effect on economic performance. However, the potential fragility of the banking sector measured by the ratio of credit to deposits decreases GDP per capita and contributes to increasing inequality whereas the ratio of capital to assets has a negative impact on GDP per capita growth through its negative effect on investment, in countries with the lowest GDP per capita levels. [Regarding] the impact of market-based measures of financialisation and the side effects of excessive financialisation, […] the market-based variables do not impact GDP per capita growth, whereas the latter variables have a clear negative impact.”[41
Also “In contrast a growing number of studies shows that the link between finance and economic growth has been either exaggerated […] or misleading […] The finance-economic growth nexus draws too much on the availability of savings and not enough on the availability of productive investment opportunities. The transition from “financial repression” to “financial liberalisation” generates an increase in the interest rate; the rise in interest rate certainly makes savings more attractive, and stimulates it; but the same rise in interest rate is also expected to reduce the demand for investment. The idea that financial liberalisation will lead to more investment and higher economic growth assumes that the sensitivity of investment to interest rates is very low and the sensitivity of savings to interest rates is high.”[41] But the conditions in the last years saw interest rates kept artificially low, hence their counterbalancing effect was absent and financialization spread greatly with all its consequences described above. In fact “once a certain level of economic wealth has been reached, the financial sector makes only a marginal contribution to the efficiency of investment. It abandons its role as a facilitator of economic growth in favour of its own growth. Banking and financial groups thus emerge and are “too big to fail”, enabling them to take excessive risk”. I believe these conclusions to be valid, although there are also studies showing that a certain financial development has a positive impact on GDP[41]. 
Another finding to consider is that “during financial crises, bank-oriented economies are more severely hit than market-oriented ones” [41].

The financialization seems to me a logical consequence of low interest rates, also because in the US investments are known to be particularly driven by credit.

12. There are other shaky points, like the fact that we are in an “everything bubble” (stock market, mortgages, student loans), the uneasy situation of the banking sector (think Deutsche Bank or the Italian banks), the trade wards and the geopolitical risks. I won’t discuss them in detail here, also because I believe that, if you cannot discuss major risk other than the geopolitical one, then it means you cannot find true systemic risks; and that is not the case in this moment. So if these risks will produce an impact, they will just add fuel to the fire; if they don’t, it won’t change the situation.

Data supporting arguments that the current markets are sustainable:

1. Banks are smaller, more regulated and interconnected
This is easy to dismantle:
The biggest banks are still big and heavily concentrated[42].
Regulation has not done great as there are new sorts of CDOs and the number of funds grew more than the number of stocks.
The fact that banks and governments are more interconnected can help to prevent crisis as much as it can contribute to make them bigger.
In addition to all this, there is all the shadow banking system which grew in recent years.

2. Unemployment is Low
The low US unemployment rate — lower than 4% in most of 2018 — is perhaps the number one argument used today to defend the sustainability of the current situation. Trump’s decisive policy change definitely had a concrete impact on real jobs, and I believe it could have even put some foundation for a long term sustainability within the US. It could have, if it was not made possible and was not accompanied by the other conditions discussed above, which had a greater impact on the system.
Further, the employment statistics are not free from criticism, as more observed that the unemployment rate only tells a superficial part of the story, while the quality of the new jobs reveals a different picture.
Employment will hardly save the day, as ⅕ occupations are below the poverty line[42]. Arguably, the new jobs are mostly low-wage jobs, and many americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck (although this phenomenon is extended beyond low-wage workers, which on the other hand points again to households being run on debt)[49].
Low unemployment was made possible also from the trade war (protectionism), but — even if the US will come out as a ‘winner’ — that would decrease the value of foreign currencies and their economies will suffer: with 50% US stocks revenues are from abroad, such scenario will increase a likelihood of foreign countries’ collapse, with potential domino effect on others.
 
So this argument hardly holds, especially alone.

3. Economic Performance is Solid
Most of the trust in future sustainability come from present economic outlook. Jerome Powell just said that the US economy is so good that it almost look “too good to be true”.
But the present outlook is not an indicator of future performance.
First of all, as introduced at the beginning of the article, it is not just the state of economic performance that matters, but its state in relation to other indicators, which express the conditions that made such performance possible. And those indicators do not show to be sustainable. Economic growth has seen a decent-to-good performance in the latest years, debt growth has seen a staggering increase: the two are disproportionate, the first was made possible by excessive sacrifices in the latter.
 
Second, profitability improved but not in a spectacular way, unlike debt did.
 
Third not all the economy is giving positive signals. The real estate bubble in some cities started to shake, the retail sector is facing a severe crisis which online sales are not compensating enough, 83% of IPOs in 2018 are of companies with negative earnings, which stresses again that stock market valuations are loosely based on economic fundamentals.

CNBC

In addition, the tariffs war will affect exports and harm manufacturing, construction and other trade reliant sectors. So, as it was natural to expect, protectionism also bring negative consequences on the economy.

Markets decoupled after the volatility change in Jan 2018: the US recovered and continued going upwards, the rest kept going downward, including China and India, the two biggest economies with high growth expectations[46].

USFUNDS

The EU is in bad shape, with critical cases like Italy, and the other emerging markets already started to collapse. Will the US market be safe from a possible domino effect from the other countries?
Almost 50% of S&P 500 sales come from foreign countries.[47]

Emerging markets also price their debt in USD, so a rise in US interest rates will further weaken their currencies.

This argument does not hold.

4. US Corporations have huge cash reserves
This is the strongest argument against a collapse or major downturn, I believe.
Some US Corporations have indeed accumulated a lot of cash, and they are repatriating even more thanks to the tax cuts, at least $2.5 trillion according to the FED’s estimates, which are conservative[50][51]. A ~$1.5 trillion[53] cash brought back from overseas will likely translate in more corporate buybacks, which will boost the shares prices at even higher levels.
This is the hardest argument to evaluate in relation to the risks described above, in particular it is hard to compare the magnitude of the effects of both because it is unclear how much of this corporate cash can potentially be dedicated to sustain the economy. 
In addition to raising interest rates, the Fed is tightening at a rate that shrinks its balance sheet at a rhythm of $40 billion per month[52]. And tightening through the balance sheet may run on for years.
It seems to me that the impact of the tightening policies will outpace the oxygen of the corporate cash in the space of about two years.

The cash-to-debt ratio is near decade lows, even more critical than it was during the last crisis of 2008 (as well as debt-to-gdp, by IMF report), with the 2017 12% record low seeing $8 of debt for each dollar of cash[55]; while investment leverage is near decade high, particularly the speculative borrowers. And investment borrowers not on top (FAANGS and few other top performers) also have a high leverage. All this has been made possible by cheap debt.
A counterargument to this is that the debt-to-profitability ratios (debt-to-EBITDA) are in a better shape[56]. Concerns over the profitability side were discussed above.

The first question is how much this corporate cash will compensate the shrinking in money supply due to rising interest rates? And will it be injected in the economy in the appropriate way to compensate the quantitative tightening?

The second question is: what will happen to the money velocity when this cash will be injected in the economy?

Timing and Magnitude

Certain banks and analysts see a crisis or a severe correction happening between 2019 and 2020. More specifically: the remaining of 2018 will still see positive growth, then 2019 will start to shake and by the end of 2020 a ‘collapse’ of some sort would be inevitable.
Few others say that the current situation can keep up until 2021.

In terms of magnitude, the opinions are very different and range from an impact much less steep and great than the 2008 crisis, to catastrophic proportions. I believe it will be more towards the first case because the 2008 crisis exploded also out of real estate mortgages conditions that were basically a fraud, while in this case the circumstances were primarily created by institutions to postpone a crisis, and they can leverage between parameters to keep postponing or ease the downturn.

Anyway, predicting the exact timing and magnitude of such events is impossible as the underlying phenomenons are too complex.

Scenarios and Dynamics

As Peter Schiff put it, “they will have to choose which beast they want to fight”.

The sandwich does not look that well now, does it?

It will be either recession or inflation; two main scenarios:

  1. Recession
    If they keep going with QT and interest rates keep rising, it will (1) increase the cost of debt (also to invest), the cost of repaying the deficit, mortgage rates, students tuitions, credit cards, and the ATH corporate debt; (2) investors will move from stocks to bonds because of the more attractive yields, (3) emerging markets and high debt countries like Italy, Spain etc. will be crippled by rising interest rates, and for emerging markets it will be worse as they price their debt in USD rather than their local currencies.
    The stock market will suffer a crash or at least a major correction, faith in the current government will collapse too (although it is clear that these conditions built up well before the current administration), making it much more difficult for Trump to be re-elected.
    Real economy will stop at least like in 2008–2009, but probably worse as the negative conditions have been amplified too much and for too long. So the short-term effects of fighting inflation will look a disaster compared to a depreciation of the dollar. The celebrated achievements in the employment rate will vanish as companies will disappear and jobs will be lost.
    A trigger like the economic growth not keeping expectations for a quarter, or the default of a country bigger than Argentina or Venezuela, will be be enough to start it or make things worse.
     
    Hence, it is very unlikely that they will allow going into a recession.
  2. Inflation
    They will choose to fight recession and abandon the tightening policies, to save economic and industrial development. First they will stop rising interest rates, then if the situation does not improve they will do QE4, the FED may even start to buy equity (like in Japan). The stock market will continue to produce even more inflated valuations, pension funds will abandon bonds even more and move to riskier assets, financialization will increase; all consequences that will further inflate the ‘everything bubble’ and make it impossible to get out without being severly burned.
    If money get out of financial assets and start circulating, the velocity will pick up, adding to the greater cost of goods.
    Inflation is already accelerating now, so the value of the dollar will suffer a lot. And there are no other measures to take because all the parameters have been stretched to their maximum levels for too long.
  3. Little by Little
    A mix is also possible, like trying to keep the stock market just around the same levels, or growing at a much lower rate. This will be done by raising rates little by little. But I believe that between the two they will not prioritize fighting inflation.

SOURCES

Macro Statistics
[1] Google S&P500 Index chart
[2] Macrotrends S&P500 P/E Ratio
[3] Wikipedia — Cyclically adjusted P/E ratio
[4] Macrotrends — FED Funds Rate
[5] Macrotrends — 10 Year Treasury Rate
[6] Macrotrends — Debt-to-GDP ratio
[7] OECD — General Government Debt
[8] OECD — Inflation (CPI)
[9] FRED — Velocity of MZM Money Stock
[10] FRED — Treasury Constant Maturity vs Velocity vs Inflation

Historical Cycles
[11] Dalio on the Next Economic Downturn (Ray Dalio, Bloomberg 2018.9.12)
[12] Dalio on the Economy (Ray Dalio, Business Insider 2018.9.19)

Stock Prices
[13] Sorry, Stocks Still Aren’t Cheap (Doug Short, Business Insider 2009)
[14] The Myth of 2008 (Brian Wesbury, First Trust 2014)
[15] BOJ’s huge share purchases cause investor unease (Mitsuru Obe, Nikkei Asia 2018.7.5)
[16] Amazon is a Creation of Bubble Finance (David Stockman, The Daily Reckoning 2017.7.13)
[17] Central Banks Are Using The Trade War To Hide Their Influence On Stocks (Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge 2018.7.19)

Buybacks and Sellouts
[18] Stock Market Buybacks Should Make Investors Nervous (Ryan Derousseau, Fortune 2018.4.20)
[19] Corporate Buybacks, the Illusion of Profit and Looming Disaster (John E. Girouard, Forbes 2018.11.5)
[20] Corporate buybacks are the only thing keeping the stock market afloat (Jeff Cox, CNBC 2018.7.2)
[21] Executives are selling off their company’s stock at a record pace (Irina Ivanova, CBS 2018.9.26)

Interest Rates
[22] Don’t Worry About the End of QE, Worry About Rates (James Mackintosh, WSJ 2018.8.6)
[23] The FED Funds Rate’s Impact on Other Interest Rates (Fernando Martin 2017)
[24] How Interest Rate Hikes Will Trigger the Next Financial Crisis (Jesse Colombo, Forbes 2018.9.27)
[25] Disaster Is Inevitable When America’s Stock Market Bubble Bursts (Jesse Colombo, Forbes 2018.9.5)
[26] Liquidity Crisis Looms As Global Bond Curve Nears The Rubicon-Level (Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge 2018.10.4)

Deficit
[27] The Real Financial Crisis is About to Hit (Peter Schiff 2018.2.19)
[28] Global Debt hits a new record at $247 Trillion (Natasha Turak, CNBC 2018.6.11)
[29] The world is swimming in a record $233 trillion of debt (Joe Ciolli, Business Insider 2018.1.5)
[30] What $63 trillion of world debt looks like (Jeff Desjardins, World Economic Forum 2018.5.9)
[31] Why the US should stop ignoring its debt problem (Elizabeth Schulze, CNBC 2018)
[32] There Will Be No Economic Boom (Lance Roberts, RIA 2018.2.15)

Inflation
[33] Annual Inflation Rate Chart (Tim McMahon, Inflationdata 2018.8.10
[34] Inflation Forecast — Moore Inflation Predictor (Tim McMahon, Inflationdata 2018.8)

Velocity of Money
[35] The velocity of money is a function of interest rates (Philipji.com 2014
[36] Money Velocity and the Natural Rate of Interest (Luca Benati, Banca d’Italia 2017)
[37] Money Demand and Money Velocity (Thismatter)

Financialization
[38] Investors face ‘mental exhaustion’ in abnormal markets (William Watts, MarketWatch 2017.10.16)
[39] Net worth compared to income at all-time high and sending scary signal (Jeff Cox, CNBC 2018.3.20)
[40] Household Wealth at a Post-WWII High (William R. Emmons, Lowell R. Ricketts, StLouisFED 2017)
[41] Financialisation Risks and Economic Performance (Jérôme Creel, Paul Hubert, Fabien Labondance, OFCE 2017)
[42] How The World Has Changed Since 2008 Financial Crisis (WSJ 2018.3.27)
[43] Financial Markets Have Taken Over the Economy (Servaas Storm, INET 2018.2.13)

Economic Performance
[44] More money-losing companies than ever are going public (Kate Rooney, CNBC 2018.10.1)
[45] FED prepares for next crisis, bets it will begin like the last (Jonathan Spicer, Howard Schneider, Reuters 2018.10.3)
[46] Two Big Reasons Why I Believe China Looks Attractive Right Now (USFUNDS 2018.9.25)
[47] S&P 500 2017 Global Sales (Howard Silverblatt, S&P Global 2017)

Unemployment
[48] U.S. job growth underscores economy’s strength, tariffs a threat (Lucia Mutikani, Reuters 2018.7.6)
[49] Almost 80% of US workers live from paycheck to paycheck (Robert Reich, The Guardian 2018)

Corporate Cash
[50] 16 US corporate giants have $1 trillion in cash (Jon C. Ogg, USAToday 2018.1.19)
[51] Surge in corporate cash brought home since tax cuts (Jeff Cox, CNBC 2018.9.10)
[52] Fed bond unwind may be even less thrilling for Trump than rate hikes (Howard Schneider, Reuters 2018.9.4)
[53] $1.5 trillion in corporate cash is coming to America (Crainscleveland 2018.8.17)
[54] U.S. Corporate Cash Reaches $1.9 TR But Debt and Tax Reform Pose Risk (S&P Global 2017)
[55] The biggest red flag for a recession — Corporate debt-to-cash ratios (Natasha Turak, CNBC 2018.9.12)
[56] Why a record $4 trillion in corporate debt isn’t scary (Anora M. Gaudiano, MarketWatch 2018.5.11)

IMAGES CREDITS

Big Hamburger (Tonny Watanebe 2018.9.4 Used under CC0 Public Domain, Edited)