Friday, January 22, 2016

don't panic, just reload...,

declineoftheempire |  For the first time since 2008, pundits are trotting out Irving Fisher's dreaded "debt-deflation" monster (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writing from Davos).
The global financial system has become dangerously unstable and faces an avalanche of bankruptcies that will test social and political stability, a leading monetary theorist has warned.
"The situation is worse than it was in 2007. Our macroeconomic ammunition to fight downturns is essentially all used up," said William White, the Swiss-based chairman of the OECD's review committee and former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements... 
Mr White said stimulus from quantitative easing and zero rates by the big central banks after the Lehman crisis leaked out across east Asia and emerging markets, stoking credit bubbles and a surge in dollar borrowing that was hard to control in a world of free capital flows.
The result is that these countries have now been drawn into the morass as well. Combined public and private debt has surged to all-time highs to 185% of GDP in emerging markets and to 265% of GDP in the OECD club, both up by 35 percentage points since the top of the last credit cycle in 2007.
"Emerging markets were part of the solution after the Lehman crisis. Now they are part of the problem too," Mr White said...
In retrospect, central banks should have let the benign deflation of this (temporary) phase of globalization run its course. By stoking debt bubbles, they have instead incubated what may prove to be a more malign variant, a classic 1930s-style "Fisherite" debt-deflation.
Mr White said the Fed is now in a horrible quandary as it tries to extract itself from QE and right the ship again. "It is a debt trap. Things are so bad that there is no right answer. If they raise rates it'll be nasty. If they don't raise rates, it just makes matters worse," he said.
There is no easy way out of this tangle. But Mr White said it would be a good start for governments to stop depending on central banks to do their dirty work. They should return to fiscal primacy - call it Keynesian, if you wish - and launch an investment blitz on infrastructure that pays for itself through higher growth.
In short, the solution to a debt crisis is more debt (fiscal stimulus). It pays for itself!
Markets are signalling that the shit has hit the fan, but economists see no reason for panic