Has “It” Finally Arrived?

With the recent plunge in the S&P 500 of over 5%, has the long-anticipated (and long-overdue) market correction finally begun?

It’s hard to say for certain. But the systemic cracks we've been closely monitoring definitely got an awful lot wider this week.

After nearly a decade of endless market boosting, manipulation and regulatory neglect, all of the trading professionals I personally know are watching with bated breath at this stage. The central banks have distorted the processes of price discovery and market structure for so many years now, that it’s difficult to know yet whether their grip on the markets has indeed failed.

But what we know for certain is that bubbles always burst. Inevitably. Each is built upon a fallacy; and when that finally becomes apparent to enough people, the mania ends.

And today, there are currently massive bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate. Every one courtesy of the central banks (as we have written about in great detail here at PeakProsperity.com over the years).

And with no Plan B in place to gracefully exit the corner they have painted themselves -- and thereby the global economy -- into, the only option available to them is to double-down on the pretense that we'd all be screwed without their stewardship. They have to do this I suppose. To admit the truth would throw the world into panic and themselves out of a job. 

Who knows what they think privately? But in public, they give us real gems like these:

Williams Says Fed Rate Hikes Helping Curb Financial Risk-Taking

U.S. interest-rate increases will help reduce risk-taking in financial markets, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said.

"The primary driver of us raising interest rates is just the fact that the U.S. economy is doing so well in terms of our goals,” Williams said Wednesday in a reply to questions after a speech in Bali, where the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are taking place. “But I would also add that the normalization of monetary policy in terms of interest rates does have an added benefit in terms of financial risks.”

"A very-low interest-rate environment for a long time does, at least in some dimension, probably add to financial risks, or risk-taking, reach for yield, things like that," he said.

"Normalization of the monetary policy, I think, has the added benefit of reducing somewhat, on the margin, some of the risk of imbalances in financial markets."

(Source)

And with that, our award for “Finally closing the barn door after the horse left 8 years ago,” goes to John Williams of the US Federal Reserve.

Come on, Mr. Williams. Your historic 'very-low interest-rate environment' didn't merely lead to a slight degree of higher risk at the margins here.

Instead, it has lead to an explosion of excessive risk everywhere today, including:

  • Junk bonds trading near their most expensive prices ever
  • Covenant lite loans out the wazoo
  • The highest levels of corporate debt ever
  • The most expensive stock markets ever, by several measures
  • The highest margin debt on record
  • Real estate bubbles across the globe
  • Pensions highly exposed to the stock market
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