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Market Lab Report - Higher or lower from here? Global liquidity vs. markets

Market Lab Report

by Dr. Chris Kacher

The Web3 Evolution Will Not Be Centralized™

Higher or lower from here?

Arthur Hayes has spoken of the reverse repo that feeds stealth QE until it runs out in early March. He then turns bearish until it is likely to be replenished March 20 since the central bank must create fiat to honor various expenses. Debt keeps climbing and stands at more than $34 T. US liquidity continues to rise but global liquidity which includes the US had been falling since the start of the year. The dollar and long bond yields are also creeping higher suggesting the Fed may need to keep rates higher for longer due to inflationary concerns. CME FedWatch recently showed the next rate cut in May, not March with a terminal rate of 400-425 bps, up from 350-375 bps, for a total of 5, not 7, rate cuts this year.

That said, China has unveiled a massive market bailout plan of $2 trillion yuan ($280 billion) to contain the relentless hammering of Chinese stocks. We will continue to monitor liquidity out of China as global liquidity has ticked higher over the last couple of days.

Regulatory capture stokes inflation

The rapid pace of inflation we're experiencing cannot solely be blamed on the actions of central banks and their quantitative easing (QE) measures. When we peel back the layers, we uncover a more insidious culprit: regulatory capture. This is the dark underbelly of crony capitalism, where the privileged few reap benefits at the expense of the many. This practice is inherently anti-consumer and plays a significant role in driving up inflation rates. It's twisted woke socialism in action, where a select group enjoys advantages, leaving the rest to bear the financial burden.
To upend the status quo in any given industry, ordinary citizens might feel compelled to take action. You might feel the urge to call your representative, cast your ballot for change, march on the streets of Washington, or rally together to form a powerful lobbying group. Yet, despite these efforts, the grim reality is that change is often stifled by those with the most financial clout. Year after year, these wealthy entities flex their financial muscle through hefty campaign donations, ensuring the system remains skewed in their favor. In this high-stakes game, it's the ones with the deepest pockets who inevitably come out on top.

Cases in point:

=Firms striving to innovate in the realm of nuclear energy, aiming to forge a path towards a safer future, find themselves up against a daunting barrier. A tangle of regulations, heavily shaped by the influential oil and gas industry and the environmental factions they back, stands in their way. Astonishingly, the choice to cling to more hazardous energy alternatives instead of embracing nuclear solutions has resulted in a staggering toll: 59 million lives lost over the past three decades. One would expect such a figure to send shockwaves of outrage and sorrow through the hearts of the global populace, yet the response is muted, almost numb. The graphic devastation wrought by infamous nuclear incidents such as Chernobyl or Fukushima, despite claiming significantly fewer lives, seems to stir a far deeper emotional outcry. The silent, unseen carnage of other energy sources unfolds away from the public eye, failing to ignite the collective conscience with the same visceral impact.

=It's distressing that so many people in the US take their own lives due to depression each year. We've known for decades that psychedelics in combination with talk therapy can help treat depression, yet these substances remain categorized as top-tier illegal drugs.

=Germany gave the green light to 96 different companies to make quick COVID tests, but in the US, only three companies received FDA approval. In Germany, these tests cost less than $1, but in the US, they are $12 each. Unsurprisingly, the person at the FDA who approves these tests, Timothy Stenzel, used to work for two of the three companies that were approved.

=Companies dealing with cryptocurrency face certain challenges due to regulations influenced by the financial sector. This is evident in the efforts of Elizabeth Warren's group opposing cryptocurrency.

=More expensive COVID tests mean three companies benefit at the expense of hundreds of millions of people paying more.

It should be a crime to sit on technology without releasing it for too long out of some misguided precautionary principle. But counterfactuals are hard to comprehend. They dont stir emotions. In consequence, MSM doesn't report on all of the people who wouldn’t have died if we used more nuclear instead of coal, all the people who would still be alive if research into psychedelics had continued, or how cheap healthcare and education could be if those industries weren’t captured.  

The prices of goods in heavily-regulated versus less-regulated industries shows why inflation is so high.
200% 160% 120% 80% 40% 0% 40% MORE I

Government over-regulation often stems from subsidies and rules that hamper the emergence of new competitors, resulting in higher prices. Services like health care, education, and housing stay pricey compared to goods because they’re not opened up for trade. Governments could allow these services to be tradeable, but they often don’t under the guise of protecting consumers, jobs, and suppliers. Unfortunately, this approach usually leads to excessive inflation in these industries and no real protection. As an example, traditional universities, which represent large monetary interests, have resisted online competition. Startups, like Udacity, could not get the same recognition because they didn’t get government subsidies.

Time and time again, we witness the consequences of a superficial grasp on critical issues. Politicians, in their oversight of the intricate web that binds societal elements, rush to legislate without a comprehensive economic foresight. The result? Ill-conceived policies that fan the flames of inflation, a fire that singes every one of us. This pattern of shortsightedness isn't new—it's glaringly apparent in their handling of climate change, pandemics, drugs, sexuality, terrorism, and money laundering.

These are not just complex issues; they are tinder for the mainstream media, which ignites public sentiment and pressures lawmakers into hasty decisions. The laws that emerge are often knee-jerk responses, not well-crafted economic strategies. Consequently, the inflation that grips the world by the throat can't be pinned on central bank policies alone. The proof is as clear as day. 

Global liquidity vs. Bitcoin

The upshot is to expect higher prices. The only question is how fast they rise. With another black swan, expect a reacceleration of price velocity. Without a black swan, expect higher prices due to regulatory capture, stealth QE to fund war efforts, and the funding of unfunded liabilities, among other matters. So it comes as no surprise the major averages are at or near all-time highs. That said, expect appreciable pullbacks along the way since stealth QE is not full blown QE, but is just enough QE to prevent the wheels from falling off the wagon. Of course, another major country's central bank such as from China could appreciably add to the wave of QE which would help the rising tide lift stock, bond, crypto, and real estate markets. Keeping a close eye on global liquidity is prudent.

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