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Visualizing "The 5000 Year Long Run" In 18 Stunning Charts

In the long run, as someone once said, we are all dead, but in the meantime, as BofAML's Michael Hartnett provides a stunning tour de force of the last 5000 years illustrates long-run trends in the return, volatility, valuation & ownership of financial assets, interest rates & bond yields, economic growth, inflation & debt...

The Longest Pictures reveals the astonishing history investors are living through today: lowest interest rates in 5000 years; lowest UK base rate since 1705; a negative Japanese bond yield for the 1st time since 1870; all-time highs in corporate bond returns; slowest Chinese nominal growth in over 20 years; US stocks at 60-year highs vs Europe; bank stocks at 75-year relative lows; largest losses from commodities since 1933.

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What this really means, is that China's debt/GDP, estimated most recently by the IIF at 300%...

... is now growing between 30% and 40% per year, when one accounts for the unaccounted for "shadow" credit conduits.

Here is how Goldman concludes this stunning observation:

The PBOC appears to have shifted to a less dovish, though still supportive, policy bias in the last few months. However, given the prospective headwinds from slower housing construction and tighter on-budget fiscal stance in the coming months, there remains a clear need to sustain a high level of infrastructure investment, which is credit intensive, to achieve the minimum 6.5% full-year growth target (see our recent comment here). This poses constraints on how much further the PBOC can keep reining in credit, in our view.

Translating Goldman, some time around 2019, China's total Debt/GDP will be over 400%, an absolutely ridiculous number, and one which assured a banking, if not global, financial crisis. The only saving grace is that for the time being, the PBOC and Beijing have managed to sweep away China's unfixable problems under the rug, with a series of amazing distractions and the effectively nationalization of the stock, bond and FX markets. Alas, this is also the basis for "recovery" in all other developed nations, which means that as of this moment, it is a race between the world's central banks not who can devalue the fastest, but who can avoid losoing credibility first, and watch as these Keynesian mountains of debt, never before seen in the history of manking, come crashing down as JM Keynes "long run" finally catches up with everyone.

Edited by billybong
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July 2011


Debt and deleveraging: The global credit bubble and its economic consequences (Updated analysis)

January 2012


Debt and deleveraging: Uneven progress on the path to growth

Edited by billybong
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1 February 2010


On that basis, in 2008, the UK's debt to GDP ratio was 469%, the highest in the the world, compared with 459% for Japan. The ratio of heavily indebted America was "just" 300% in US.


Edited by billybong
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