28 febrero 2018


Se está acabando…
“Once you strip out the effects of the debt binge, the artificial stimulus via currency depreciation, and the fabled ‘wealth effect’ from the equity market runup, real GDP growth stripped-down to its core was the grand total of 0.7% last year. Potemkin would be proud.” –David Rosenberg
It appears every president finds the religion of false economic narrative once they ascend to power. Trump never stops babbling and tweeting about the fantastic economy and raging jobs market since his election. He has embraced the stock market bubble as proof of his brilliant leadership, rather than the tens of trillions in debt propping up the most overvalued market in world history. Every president takes credit for any good news, spins bad news as good news, or blames the previous president for bad news that can’t be denied. The president has absolutely zero impact on the economy or stock market over the short term. It’s like taking credit for the sun rising in the east each morning.
The Big Lie method works wonders when you have a willfully ignorant, mathematically challenged, easily manipulated populace. I spent the entire Obama presidency obliterating the fake economic data perpetuated by his BLS, BEA and every other government agency trying to paint a rosy economic picture. I voted for Trump because the thought of Crooked Hillary as the president made me ill. Despite disagreeing with many of his economic, budgetary, and military policies during his first year in office, I’d vote for him again over Hillary in an instant. The thought of having that evil shrew running the country gives me chills.
But that doesn’t mean I will stand idly by, cheerlead and ignore the facts to provide cover for Trump. I despise false narratives, whether they are spun by Democrats or Republicans. The Deep State still runs the show on a day to day basis, and it is in their best interest to mislead the public, keep them sedated, unaware of how bad things have become, and oblivious to the coming debt shitstorm destined to destroy this country. Every remedy prescribed by the Deep State players within the government, Federal Reserve, and Wall Street since 2008 not only did not cure the disease infecting this country, but exacerbated the disease and insured the inevitability of our demise.
It is particularly irritating to hear Trump and his minions bloviating about the tremendous job growth since he was elected. U.S. job growth has averaged 176,000 jobs per month over the past year. That’s down from an average of 208,000 in the prior year, and 217,000 over the prior 4 years. But why let facts get in the way of a good story. The number of new jobs being added per month is on a declining slope. We are eight years into a fake recovery built on trillions in debt, with the ensuing bubbles in the stock market, bond market and real estate market. I don’t need politicians pissing down my back and telling me its raining.
The other false narrative flogged relentlessly by politicians, Wall Street shysters, CNBC bimbos, and a myriad of highly paid MSM talking heads is the record stock market highs are a reflection of a strong robust economy. What a load of crap. The stock market went up 360% over the last nine years as real wages stagnated and even the highly manipulated GDP barely grew at a 2% rate. The Dow hit a record 26,616 on January 26, proceeded to collapse by 2,800 points in less than two weeks, and has since soared by 1,700 points in the next two weeks. None of these moves had anything to do with the economy, corporate earnings or cash on the sidelines.
The stock market bubble has been driven solely by the Federal Reserve providing free money to Wall Street, with a guaranteed put by Bernanke and then Yellen. QE, ZIRP, and an unspoken agreement between the central bankers at the Fed, ECB, Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank to buy stocks has effectively elevated stocks around the world to absurd valuations. These highly educated intellectual-yet-idiots now cannot unwind their debt house of cards without blowing up the world financial system. With total public and private U.S. debt of $67 trillion and over $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities, this powder keg of debt awaits the inevitable spark.
The Fed announced the unwinding of their $4.4 trillion balance sheet of dodgy mortgages, treasuries, and other Wall Street created dreck, many months ago. They had been all talk until the last week of January when they reduced their balance sheet by a measly .5%. Do you think it was just a coincidence the stock market imploded by 10% in an instant? Shockingly, the Fed increased their balance sheet by $15 billion over the next two weeks and the stock market rebounded dramatically. Weakening the dollar at the same time didn’t hurt either.
The other excuse for the stock market correction was the CPI hysterically coming in too high at 2.1% and resulting in the 10 year Treasury surpassing 2.9%. It is hysterical the government expects the plebs to believe health care costs are only rising by 2%, auto prices are falling, food prices are increasing less than 2%, and shelter expenses are only rising by 3%. Anyone living in the real world knows their living expenses are rising at an above 5% clip, while their wages are barely growing. It is absolutely essential for the Deep State to disguise the true level of inflation or panic and retribution would ensue.  
Proof the fake employment numbers are nothing but a propaganda ruse can be seen in the real average hourly earnings chart. Real earnings have not budged in over two years when the economy was supposedly adding 200,000 jobs per month. And this is using the patently false CPI as the measure of inflation. In reality, real wages have been in steady decline since 1999. If millions of jobs have been added over the last two years, they must be the shittiest paying jobs possible to not budge wages up one iota. Fries with that Coke?
This is exactly what the Deep State controllers want. They don’t want real wages for real people in the real world to go up. The true purpose of the actions taken since 2008 has been to enrich Wall Street while impoverishing Main Street. Mission accomplished. Record corporate profits and stock market gains have not “trickled down” to the plebs. The over-class has reaped all the benefits. If they allowed real wages to increase by more than 2%, their low interest rate scheme would become untenable. Look what has happened when 10 Year Treasuries approached 3% – financial panic.
A critical thinking individual might ponder why a 3% interest rate would be fatal to the US economy if we truly have 4% unemployment, GDP is really growing at 3%, and consumer confidence is at all-time highs. In 2007 the 10 Year Treasury was 5% and savers could get a 5% in a money market account. Today, with the 10 Year around 2.85%, the average money market pays .12%. The Too Big To Trust Wall Street cabal reaped all the ZIRP benefits and continue to screw the little guy. While they borrowed from the Fed for free, they continued to charge 15% or higher on their credit cards to the ignorant indebted masses.
Let’s face the facts. Your overlords have doubled down on debt to keep this crumbling empire alive, so their looting and pillaging operation could continue. The fractional decline in debt during the 2008/2009 Fed created financial crisis virtually destroyed the global financial system. The solution to this debt problem has been to add tens of trillions in debt while artificially suppressing interest rates by rigging markets. The U.S. alone has added $13 trillion of debt since 2009 – a 25% increase in eight years. The corporate media and Wall Street cheer, as consumer debt surpassed its previous high and stands at over $13 trillion, with revolving credit card debt soaring.
With only 4% unemployment and nothing but rosy economic indicators for as far as the eye can see, one might ask why revolving credit card debt is at all-time highs and the personal savings rate is at all-time lows. Are these two indicators a positive economic sign or a sign of desperation for the average working class family? If the bottom 80% have not had any real wage gains in over a decade, are paying through the nose for healthcare, rent, education, energy, and food, maybe their only choice is depleting their savings and surviving on their credit cards. Does that sound like a Goldilocks scenario for Main Street?
Do you remember the strident mainstream media narrative about the best holiday retail season in years? It seems the Big Lie narrative has been revealed to be false by actual data.Retail sales were flat in December and down substantially in January. The trend is down. Retail sales in the discretionary categories are negative. But at least gasoline sales are robust, due to soaring prices. The debt based auto sale (rental) scheme is unraveling as defaults soar among the millions of subprime borrowers comes home to roost. The average family is barely scrapping by and retail sales will continue to stagnate, while thousands more retail stores are shuttered. Ghost Malls R Us.
The precarious fragile nature of our entire debt dependent financial house of cards has been revealed by the reaction of the housing market to the slightest blip up in mortgage rates over the last two months. A lousy 37 basis point increase in mortgage rates resulted in mortgage applications plunging. And we all know what happened next.
Existing and new home sales both collapsed in a heap. We have home prices at all-time highs, exceeding 2005 bubble highs. We have heavily indebted millennials working shit service jobs who will never be able to afford to buy. We have a new tax law that no longer rewards home ownership. And now we have rising mortgage rates. Get ready for housing collapse part deux. Home prices are poised to fall by at least 30%, again. Thank you sir may I have another. I wonder how much of the $8.9 trillion of mortgage debt will be written off this time and passed to the taxpayers.
The Deep State overlords and their lackeys at the Federal Reserve hit the panic button after the 10% correction two weeks ago. The Fed increased their balance sheet, they’ve managed to push rates back below 2.85%, and they have drastically weakened the dollar to support their Wall Street masters. They can’t keep this up for long. The Fed committed to drastically reducing their balance sheet and weakening the dollar has had zero impact on our worsening trade deficit. Bug is approaching windshield.
Those controlling the strings behind the scenes might believe their brilliant maneuvering, devious schemes, and potent propaganda have successfully navigated the rock shoals of looming financial disaster, but their hubris will end up sinking the ship in the end. Any success they attribute to their intellectual capabilities can also be attributed to just plain dumb luck. The lethargic, plodding, boring economic recovery has been just right for Wall Street and the political class. Not too hot and not too cold. Just right to keep interest rates at emergency level lows while not resulting in workers actually getting wage increases which would create inflation.
It’s truly been a Goldilocks recovery for the stock owning .1%. But, as Ludwig von Mises noted many decades ago, the boom cannot continue indefinitely. Valuations are stretched to the breaking point. Those in power are unwilling or unable to voluntarily renounce further credit expansion. They have laced Goldilock’s porridge with arsenic and it is just a matter of time until she’s dead. A depression is in our future, no matter what actions are taken at this point. Keep calm and prepare yourself.
“The boom cannot continue indefinitely. There are two alternatives. Either the banks continue the credit expansion without restriction and thus cause constantly mounting price increases and an ever-growing orgy of speculation – which, as in all other cases of unlimited inflation, ends in a “crack-up boom” and in a collapse of the money and credit system. Or the banks stop before this point is reached, voluntarily renounce further credit expansion, and thus bring about the crisis. The depression follows in both instances.” – Ludwig von Mises
PD1: Frente a las situaciones concretas en las que muchas veces no sabemos cómo reaccionar podríamos preguntarnos: ¿qué diría el Señor?, ¿cómo actuaría?

27 febrero 2018

menores expectativas de rendimientos futuros

Se le va a ganar menos con o que se tiene invertido en los mercados ahora en los próximos años. Es la pura realidad. Esto no va a dar tanto de sí como antes. Y mucha gente no se está dando cuenta…
“The great economist John Maynard Keynes once said: ‘Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.’” – John Coumarianos
The whole idea of “efficient markets” and “random walk” theories play out well on paper, they just never have in actual practice. The reality is investors make repeated emotional mistakes which are ultimately driven by the very volatility they are supposed to withstand.
These emotional mistakes, as I have discussed repeatedly in the past, are the biggest reason for underperformance by investors. These behavioral biases can be broadly defined as Loss Aversion, Narrow Framing, Anchoring, Mental Accounting, Lack of Diversification, Herding, Regret, Media Response, and Optimism.
When prices rise on a consistent basis, investors begin viewing stocks as a “no lose proposition“ which simply deliver high-rates of return over the long-term. The reality has actually been quite different. The chart below shows the real, total return, (inflation and dividends included) versus it’s annualized rate of return using a geometric average.
It took nearly 14-years just to break even and 18-years to generate just a 2.93% compounded annual rate of return since 2000. (If you back out dividends, it was virtually zero.) This is a far cry from the 6-8% annualized return assumptions promised to “buy and hold” investors.
But such a low rate of return should not have been surprising.
What drives stock prices (long-term) is the value of what you pay today for a future share of the company’s earnings in the future. Simply put – “it’s valuations, stupid.”  
Instead of magical lottery tickets that automatically and necessarily reward those who wait, stocks are ownership units of businesses. That’s banal, I know, but everyone seems to forget it. And it means equity returns depend on how much you pay for their future profits, not on how much price volatility you can endure.
Stocks are not so efficiently priced that they are always poised to deliver satisfying returns even over a decade or more, as we’ve just witnessed for 18 years. A glance at future 10-year real returns based on the starting Shiller PE (price relative to past 10 years’ average, inflation-adjusted earnings) in the chart above tells the story. Buying high locks in low returns and vice versa.
Generally, if you pay a lot for profits, you’ll lock in lousy returns for a long time.
While volatility is the short-term price dynamics of “fear” and “greed” at play, in the long-term it is simply valuation. Despite the recent correction, valuations are once again pushing more extreme levels which suggest lower future forward returns.
With valuations at levels that have historically been coincident with the end, rather than the beginning, of bull markets, the expectation of future returns should be adjusted lower. This expectation is supported in the chart below which compares valuations to forward 10-year market returns.”
“The function of math is pretty simple – the more you pay, the less you get.”
As a long-term investor, we experience short-term price volatility as “opportunity,” and high prices as “risk.” With economic growth to remain weak, and valuation expansion elevated, the risk of high prices has risen sharply.

Nothing But “Net”

This brings me to one of the biggest myths perpetrated by Wall Street on investors. Individuals are often shown some variation of the following chart to support the claim that over the “long-term” the stock market has generated a 10% annualized total return.
The statement is not entirely false. Since 1900, stock market appreciation plus dividends have provided investors with an AVERAGE return of 10% per year. Historically, 4%, or 40% of the total return, came from dividends alone. The other 60% came from capital appreciation that averaged 6% and equated to the long-term growth rate of the economy.
However, there are several fallacies with the notion the markets will compound over the long-term at 10% annually.
1) The market does not return 10% every year. There are many years where market returns have been sharply higher and significantly lower.
2) The analysis does not include the real world effects of inflation, taxes, fees and other expenses that subtract from total returns over the long-term.
3) You don’t have 146 years to invest and save.
The chart below shows what happens to a $1000 investment from 1871 to present including the effects of inflation, taxes, and fees. (Assumptions: I have used a 15% tax rate on years the portfolio advanced in value, CPI as the benchmark for inflation and a 1% annual expense ratio. In reality, all of these assumptions are quite likely on the low side.)
As you can see, there is a dramatic difference in outcomes over the long-term.
From 1871 to present the total nominal return was 9.15% versus just 6.93% on a “real” basis. While the percentages may not seem like much, over such a long period the ending value of the original $1000 investment was lower by millions of dollars.
Importantly, the return that investors receive from the financial markets is more dependent on “WHEN” you begin investing with respect to “valuations” and your personal “life-span”.

Curb Your Expectations

Following on with the point above, with valuations currently at one of the highest levels on record, forward returns are very likely going to be substantially lower for an extended period. Yet, listen to the media, and the majority of the bullish analysts, and they are still suggesting that markets should compound at 8% annually going forward as stated by BofA:
“Based on current valuations, a regression analysis suggests compounded annual returns of 8% over the next 10 years with a 90% confidence interval of 4-12%. While this is below the average returns of 10% over the last 50 years, asset allocation is a zero-sum game. Against a backdrop of slow growth and shrinking liquidity, 8% is compelling in our view. With a 2% dividend yield, we think the S&P 500 will reach 3500 over the next 10 years, implying annual price returns of 6% per year.”
However, there are two main problems with that statement:
1) The Markets Have NEVER Returned 8-10% EVERY SINGLE Year.
Annualized rates of return and real rates of return are VASTLY different things. The destruction of capital during market downturns destroys years of previous capital appreciation. Furthermore, while the markets have indeed AVERAGED an 8% return over the last 117 years, you will NOT LIVE LONG ENOUGH to receive the same.
The chart below shows the real return of capital over time versus what was promised.
The shortfall in REAL returns is a very REAL PROBLEM for people planning their retirement.
2) Net, Net, Net Returns Are Even Worse
Okay, for a moment let’s just assume the Wall Street “world of fantasy” actually does exist and you can somehow achieve a stagnant rate of return over the next 10-years.
As discussed above, the “other” problem with the analysis is that it excludes the effects of fees, taxes, and inflation. Here is another way to look at it. Let’s start with the fantastical idea of 8% annualized rates of return.
8% – Inflation (historically 3%) – Taxes (roughly 1.5%) – Fees (avg. 1%) = 3.5%
Wait? What?
Hold on…it gets worse. Let’s look forward rather than backward.
Let’s assume that you started planning your retirement at the turn of the century (this gives us 15 years plus 15 years forward for a total of 30 years)
Based on current valuation levels future expected returns from stocks will be roughly 2% (which is what it has been for the last 17 years as well – which means the math works.)
Let’s also assume that inflation remains constant at 1.5% and include taxes and fees.
2% – Inflation (1.5%) – Taxes (1.5%) – Fees (1%) = -2.0%
A negative rate of real NET, NET return over the next 15 years is a very real problem. If I just held cash, I would, in theory, be better off.
However, this is why capital preservation and portfolio management is so critically important going forward.
There is no doubt that another major market reversion is coming. The only question is the timing of such an event which will wipe out the majority of the gains accrued during the first half of the current full market cycle. Assuming that you agree with that statement, here is the question:
“If you were offered cash for your portfolio today, would you sell it?”
This is the “dilemma” that all investors face today – including me.
Just something to think about.
PD1: La autentica fe crece en el amor de Dios. Por tanto, que nada ni nadie nos distraiga del verdadero encuentro con el Señor y su mensaje salvador. El Señor no pierde ocasión para enseñar y eso lo sigue haciendo hoy día: “Nos hemos de liberar de la falsa idea de que la fe ya no tiene nada que decir a los hombres de hoy” (Benedicto XVI).
Que en esta Cuaresma encontremos al Señor, que nos convirtamos, que le pidamos que nos aumente la fe.

26 febrero 2018

Europa va bien, o la precariedad subyacente incordia ¿?

Desde PIMCO hablan sobre la salud de la economía europea. ¿Va tan bien como dicen algunos indicadores, o es un bluff?
Nicola Mai, Pimco
La recuperación económica de la zona euro está en pleno apogeo, y se desvanecen los riesgos políticos. No obstante, los inversores deberían mantenerse en guardia ante los riesgos a largo plazo que plantea la inversión en esta región geográfica. La zona euro ha terminado uniéndose a la esta del crecimiento mundial. El crecimiento tiene previsto situarse en el 2,3% en 2017, lo que significa que esta región se ha ido expandiendo a una tasa bastante superior a la de la tendencia, y registró la rentabilidad económica más constante del periodo posterior a la debacle de Lehman Brothers. Al contar con una política fiscal ligeramente propicia, un estímulo monetario que fomenta la recuperación en el ciclo crediticio, un comercio internacional en buena marcha y una demanda contenida que se libera tras varios años de magro crecimiento; esta recuperación va a tener recorrido a buen seguro.
En nuestro foro cíclico de diciembre, predecíamos un crecimiento del PIB real en 2018 del 2% al 2,5% en la zona euro. Si acaso, los últimos datos apuntan a un riesgo alcista de estas perspectivas. Al situarse en 58,1 puntos en el mes de diciembre, el índice de gestores de compras (considerado actualmente como el mejor indicador mensual de la actividad económica) coincidía con la subida del 3% anualizado (véase el gráfico 1). Más concretamente, en Alemania, el índice IFO de confianza empresarial en los meses de noviembre y diciembre registró el máximo histórico en la serie.
El crecimiento no solo es fuerte, sino que también se revela sincronizado en el resto de países. Además de Alemania, los índices de gestores de compras de Francia, Italia y España han repuntado de forma constante y ofrecen muestras de un crecimiento superior al potencial. La marea creciente levanta todos los barcos, incluso los más pequeños, y las economías de Irlanda, Portugal y Chipre experimentan una enérgica recuperación, así como la economía griega parece delatar signos de saneamiento.
Pese a la fuerte recuperación, la inflación sigue deprimida en esta zona, a medida que la inflación subyacente se sitúa en torno al 1% interanual. Con el objetivo esquivo de «situarse cerca pero inferior al 2%», el Banco Central Europeo (BCE) irá seguramente abandonando poco a poco su postura acomodaticia. El programa de compra de activos emprendido por el BCE se irá reduciendo gradualmente a partir del mes de enero; probablemente se interrumpirá totalmente a nales de este año, pero los tipos oficiales no cambiarán seguramente hasta mediados de 2019 aproximadamente. Esta sólida postura que se decanta por los estímulos deberá seguir fomentando el impulso del crecimiento cíclico en la región.
La mejora de la economía ha venido de la mano de una reducción del riesgo político. De las elecciones francesas y holandesas celebradas en 2017 salieron gobiernos moderados. En Alemania, las negociaciones enfocadas a la formación de coaliciones se revelan largas y tortuosas, pero aun cuando acabe siendo necesaria una nueva ronda electoral, no es probable que vaya a cambiar de manera significativa el plano político. Cabe destacar que las encuestas electorales muestran en toda la región una tendencia estable o en paulatina decadencia del apoyo a los
partidos contrarios a las élites (véase el gráfico 2), sobre todo después del brexit y la victoria de Donald Trump en Estados Unidos. Por último, varios partidos antisistema han ido moderando su retórica antieuropea, al ser testigos del fracaso de Marine Le Pen a la hora de cosechar suficientes votos con esta política durante los comicios franceses.
De cara al futuro, el calendario electoral europeo parece menos intenso. Las elecciones italianas de marzo constituyen el principal acontecimiento político. Sin un solo partido o coalición con visos de liderar una mayoría clara, el desenlace más seguro es que se forme una coalición frágil de partidos moderados. Aunque este escenario deja mucho que desear desde el punto de vista de la reforma futura, sí elude el riesgo de que salga victorioso un ejecutivo contrario a las élites.
Como se mencionó anteriormente, puede que se repitan las elecciones alemanas; sin embargo, lo más probable es que la CDU lidere de nuevo el ejecutivo. Por último, parece que Grecia se predispone este verano a salir de su tercer programa de rescate. No queda claro que vaya a procurar una «salida limpia», es decir, sin fondos adicionales de la UE/IMF. Ahora bien, los incentivos encaminados a evitar acontecimientos turbulentos reman en la misma dirección, tanto en Europa como en Grecia.
En líneas generales, los riesgos políticos de la zona euro se muestran contenidos en el horizonte cíclico.
A pesar de que las cosas pintan bien en el horizonte cíclico, los inversores no deberían mostrar complacencia respecto de las perspectivas a largo plazo, ya que esta región dista todavía de resolver sus problemas existenciales. En términos específicos, las siguientes características fundamentan la continuidad de la precariedad estructural de la zona euro a medio plazo:
La baja inflación estructural en Alemania, junto con la necesidad de varios países de lograr la desinflación y la recuperación de la competitividad frente al país de mayor peso en el continente, entraña una serie de problemas graves en el desapalancamiento de los sectores público y privado, tan necesario en toda esta zona geográfica. El compromiso tan poco ortodoxo del BCE con el objetivo de la inflación «cercana pero inferior al 2%» solo viene a agravar este problema.
No existe en esta región ningún compromiso con las políticas macroeconómicas convergentes, especialmente en todas las economías centrales. Las políticas de convergencia macroeconómica exigen contención en una serie de reformas y gastos de las economías periféricas, junto con la demanda y las políticas conducentes a la impulso de los salarios y los precios en las economías centrales. Aunque en las economías periféricas los avances han sido dispares y puede decirse que todavía insuficientes, se han dado algunos pasos adelante a través de las crisis recientes. Los esfuerzos en las economías centrales para aumentar la demanda y los precios, por otro lado, han sido desdeñables. Alemania y los Países Bajos registran ahora un superávit por cuenta corriente del orden del 8% al 9% del PIB, mientras que el superávit presupuestario público fue del 0,5% al 1% del PIB, sin una política clara sobre la mesa destinada a fomentar la demanda interna frente al resto de la región. Cabe constatar que sigue dándose una marcada aversión por parte de la población y las instituciones teutonas a una tendencia alcista de la in ación.
La ausencia de convergencia macroeconómica podría ocuparse con una mayor solidaridad destinada a paliar la divergencia en la dinámica macroeconómica y las turbulencias asimétricas. Sin embargo, aunque en esta región se haya establecido una serie de mecanismos de liquidez de urgencia como el Mecanismo Europeo de Estabilidad (MEDE), encargado de conceder préstamos a países en dificultades, el Viejo Continente se halla lejos de la creación de un presupuesto importante capaz de incurrir en gasto contracíclico a nivel federal. Además, perdura la fragmentación en los mercados de capital de la zona euro debido a la falta de una genuina unión bancaria y en particular, un sistema común de seguro de los depósitos.
La falta de políticas adecuadas de convergencia en el plano macroeconómico o de mecanismos de estabilización scal ha sido suplida por el momento por el BCE. Al mantener bajos los tipos, y con la compra de bonos de los países en dificultades de la zona euro, el BCE ha intervenido como un prestamista de facto de última instancia (PUI) para los países. Sus políticas han contribuido a mantener a raya los gastos por intereses de la deuda soberana, y ha permitido que los países puedan emprender una política fiscal más laxa de lo que hubiera sido sostenible para ellos, lo que ha servido para suavizar la corrección macroeconómica.
No obstante, no hay lugar a dudas de que, en el mejor de los casos, el BCE es un PUI imperfecto. Buena prueba de ello son los límites sobre las compras autoimpuestos por este banco central en cuanto a la emisión y los emisores (donde el banco central puede tener una participación de hasta el 33% en los bonos en circulación de cada emisor), junto con la presión política en las economías centrales para que el BCE revierta o, al menos, interrumpa sus agresivas políticas trazadas en los últimos años.
Aunque estas características del sistema de la zona euro no son un problema en este instante, es probable que salten a la palestra con el próximo impacto de una perturbación económica. En ese momento, por muchos avances que se hayan realizado en todos o algunos de estos frentes, seguramente se pondrá a prueba de nuevo la integridad de la región.
Algo de esperanza queda de que dentro de uno o dos años, el recién electo presidente galo Emmanuel Macron y Ángela Merkel, quien revalidará probablemente su cargo de canciller, lleguen a idear un acuerdo para ahondar de forma notable en la integración. No están claros los límites del acuerdo, pero se espera que la zona euro aumente su capacidad federal en materia de política scal; que el actual mecanismo de provisión de liquidez, el MEDE, se convierta en una herramienta más contundente en la estabilización contracíclica (para pasar a llamarse «Fondo Monetario Europeo» o FME); y que esta zona cuente con un ministro de hacienda que administre su capacidad aumentada en política fiscal.
Albergamos nuestras dudas en cuanto a que se esté barajando este gran acuerdo a corto plazo. Aunque Macron siga una línea claramente europeísta y tenga el anhelo de avanzar en estos objetivos mencionados, parece ser consciente de los obstáculos políticos que se interponen a su implantación. Con el discurso pronunciado en La Sorbona en septiembre del año pasado, el presidente se mostró menos ambicioso que lo que sugieren sus alocuciones preelectorales, y apuntó simplemente a un pequeño presupuesto común para nanciar el gasto de la zona con ingresos corporativos. El discurso de Macron también eludió el asunto sobre la emisión de deuda común de la zona euro.
En Alemania, mientras tanto, la visión de Europa es aquella de la continuidad, donde un artículo redactado por un ministro de hacienda alemán y publicado el año pasado entendía el proyecto de FME como una herramienta para aumentar la supervisión y el seguimiento de la deuda soberana, ejecutar su reestructuración y de este modo, hacer cumplir la disciplina. La voluntad de acoger el programa europeo propuesto por Macron dependerá, en parte, de la composición del nuevo ejecutivo germano. Ahora bien, incluso con la entrada en el ejecutivo del partido socialista SPD, de corte más europeísta, la opinión de los alemanes tiene visos de mantenerse alejada de los planes más ambiciosos que plantea el país galo.
En síntesis, no prevemos grandes cambios en la infraestructura de la zona euro a corto plazo.
El tema del optimismo cíclico frente a la fragilidad a medio plazo nos sitúa en una posición bastante neutral en cuanto a la deuda periférica de la zona euro en el momento actual. Los rendimientos sobre los BTP italianos (deuda soberana) han perdido mucho atractivo con respecto a algunos años atrás, pero siguen representando una fuente decente de carry en un entorno actual marcado por las valoraciones exigentes. Con diferenciales que rondan los 85 puntos básicos (p.b.) sobre el bund alemán con vencimientos a 5 años y 155 p.b. sobre el bund a 10 años (a 16 de enero de 2018), los BTP arrojan una rentabilidad acorde generalmente con los índices de crédito corporativo como el iTraxx Main, similar en términos de liquidez y calidad del crédito corporativo (véase el gráfico 4). Con alrededor de 50-100 p.b. sobre el bund a 5 y 10 años, respectivamente, (a 16 de enero de 2016), los bonos españoles ofrecen una rentabilidad menor, si bien esto re eja en parte el hecho de que la deuda soberana goza en general de mejores fundamentales.
Nuestro optimismo cíclico en las perspectivas de la zona euro sugiere que podríamos observar en el futuro una mayor contracción de los diferenciales italianos y españoles. Nuestra cautela a largo plazo, por otro lado, nos disuade de tener una clara posición sobreponderada en estos activos. Asimismo, la incertidumbre a medio plazo supone que le damos mucho valor a la liquidez, lo que nos deja con nuestra exposición preferente a la deuda soberana periférica centrada en emisores de mayor calado, como son Italia y España.
PD1: Los efectos de la mala demografía en Europa y la robotización creciente:
Glups! Tendremos un paro crónico para siempre:
Muy interesante lo que cuentan aquí de los efectos de la demografía, de la robotización y automatización en los próximos años. Es de lo mejor que he leído, no dejes de mirarlo: http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/labor-2030-the-collision-of-demographics-automation-and-inequality.aspx
PD2: ¿Cómo actúa el demonio? Mintiendo, engañando. "La más grande victoria del Demonio es hacer creer que no existe" (Baudelaire). Y, ¿cómo miente? Nos presenta acciones perversas como si fuesen buenas; nos estimula a hacer obras malas; y, en tercer lugar, nos sugiere razones para justificar los pecados. Después de engañarnos, nos llena de inquietud y de tristeza. ¿No tienes experiencia de eso? Yo mucha…
¿Cuál debe ser nuestra actitud ante la tentación? Antes: vigilar, rezar y evitar las ocasiones. Durante: resistencia directa o indirecta. Después: si has vencido, dar gracias a Dios. Si no has vencido, pedir perdón y adquirir experiencia…