Though the punditocracy has become much more aware of the sheer scale of China’s equity bubble in recent weeks, it is still arguably the case that reality is running ahead of reportage even as more and more evidence emerges of just how dire things are in the world beyond the brokerage screens.
The first hard data release of the month for China was hardly guaranteed to reassure. Two-way trade in USD terms dropped 6.3% in the first quarter from its level of a year ago, the second most severe setback since the Crash and only the third such instance in the whole era of ‘Opening Up’.
When even the eminent lawyer, Christine Lagarde, interrrupts her incessant calls for more ‘stimulus’ to confess that yes, peut-être, we ought to be on the look out for a bubble or two, you know things have reached a pretty pass.
In truth, the awful effects of monetary overkill on the part of the major central banks seems finally to have reached a critical juncture, with asset markets everywhere spiralling rapidly out of control. We can only shudder to think what will await us if the inflationary spark ever manages to jump the firebreak of bad banks, zombiefied overcapacity, and ruined balance sheets and sets light to the markets for goods and services, too.
Here we present one of a series of brief runs-though of the salient events of the past week or so. A more detailed treatment of these and other issues is intended to be released on a monthly schedule, starting in early May. Today, the focus is on the US.