Le parfum nauséabond de la récession

L’idée du retour de la croissance globale durable synchronisée a fait les beaux jours de Wall Street et des places financières mondiales en 2017. C’était l’idée du meilleur des mondes avec des taux bas, des liquidités abondantes, et des matières premières accessibles a bas prix. Peu à peu le consensus se fissure, l’Europe ralentit nettement , le Canada publie des chiffres négatifs et les indicateurs américains deviennent mitigés.

Albert Edwards pesne que la récession aux USA pourrait bien ëtre plus proche qu’on ne le pense . Il fait valoir la maturité du cycle qui dure depuis 106 mois.

Il s’inquiète du poids dettes des dettes; aux Etats-Unis; les défauts de paiement , les « delinquencies » sont en très forte hausse, ce qui est mauvais signe.

Albert pense que tous les bons chiffres actuels reflètent l’illusion de la prospérité plutot que la prospérité réelle.

Cette illusion est batie sur une montagne de dettes lesquelles ont inflaté les prix des actifs financiers et produit un sentiment de richesse artificiel. Le coup de grace de l’expansion pourrait selon lui être donné par la Fed , par la hausse des taux courts.

En attendant les taux longs rebaissent ce qui va dans le sens d ‘Albert.


  • The famously bearish Societe Generale strategist Albert Edwards thinks a recession in the US could be closer than anyone expects.
  • While most US economic data is strong right now, Edwards has major concerns about delinquency rates on credit-card loans made by smaller US banks.
  • All good things must come to an end, and the postcrisis recovery is surely reaching its natural conclusion, Edwards believes.

Albert Edwards thinks a US recession could be closer than anyone expects.

The Societe Generale global strategist — one of the best-known bears in the industry — has long prophesied doom in the US economy, but he now believes that a recession is finally on the horizon.

« The optimists have had their day, » Edwards wrote to clients in a note titled « Are your nostrils finally filling with the sickly aroma of recession? » on Thursday.

On the surface, Edwards said, the US’s economic data looks peachy. The economy grew at a 2.9% clip in the fourth quarter of last year. Additionally, consumer and business optimism are at « extreme highs » and the US manufacturing ISM — a much-watched measure of economic confidence — is « making one of its very rare forays above the heady 60 mark. »

Such data, however, « merely reflects the illusion of prosperity, » Edwards wrote. « The markets are now sniffing out a rising stench from decaying debt. They say a fish rots from the head down. »

Look beyond the immediately obvious indicators and the picture of the American economy is a lot less rosy.

« The economic data seems to be weakening in the US (and Europe) surprisingly quickly, Edwards wrote, citing in particular a rapid increase in the number of people missing credit-card payments in the US.

« Not much surprises me or shocks me nowadays, but I was truly gobsmacked by the surge in charge-offs and delinquency rates on credit card loans made by smaller US banks, » he said, pointing to the chart below (which comes from widely read, and notoriously bearish, blog Zero Hedge).

Screen Shot 2018 03 29 at 11.39.17Societe Generale

« Once again the Fed has built up the illusion of economic prosperity on a mountain of debt, fuelled by monetary steroids that have inflated asset values way beyond their sustainable level. As markets begin to slide, this wealth is now being eviscerated as quickly as it was created, and it threatens this increasingly anaemic and very aged recovery. »

Part of Edwards’ thesis is effectively that all good things must come to an end and thatthe postcrisis recovery is surely reaching its natural conclusion.

« We are about to reach a memorable milestone, » he said. « By April, this US economic cycle will be 106 months long — the second longest in history. »

That cycle will inevitably reach an inflection point at which the economy starts to go in the opposite direction, and Edwards believes that point is almost upon us, especially as the Federal Reserve continues to tighten policy through interest-rate hikes going forward.

« The Fed generally tightens rates until something breaks, » Edwards said, pointing to the fact that out of 13 tightening cycles from the Fed, 10 have ended in recession.

« If you want to blame someone, blame the Fed, » he concludes. « And I am sure that is exactly what President Trump will do when he loses patience and moves to remove their independent status. »

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