Jeff Gundlach Finanz und Wirtschaft interview April 2016 Notes

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Recessions don’t drive financial markets it’s the other way around

“We will be on watch for that in the coming months. But it doesn’t really matter. Recessions don’t drive financial markets. It’s the other way around. People are so focused on this «recession-yes-or-no-question». What really matters is that we are in a low nominal growth environment and global growth keeps getting marked down. It is going to be slower in 2016 than in 2015.”

Yellen capitulated on rate increases on March 29

“I have been waiting for about two years for the Fed to capitulate on their interest rate increase dreams. Now, I think they did. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen basically capitulated on March 29th.”

The Fed keeps saying we’ll get two rate hikes but it’s never going to happen

“The Fed has already reduced its forecast to two rate hikes. And that’s going to turn into one hike pretty quickly because we’re getting close to mid-year and I really doubt that they are going to do a rate hike in June. But what they are going to do is a rolling twelve month two hikes type of thing. So in June they will signal two hikes by June 2017 and then they will just keep pushing it forward. That’s a movie we’ve seen before. The Fed has pushed forward such decisions for years. We were always going to get to a Federal Funds Rate of 3% and it was always going to be starting in six months. But it never happened.”

The markets have humiliated the Fed

“The markets have humiliated the Fed into abandoning their pretty idiotic forecast.”

There is mounting evidence that negative rates do the opposite of what central bankers were hoping for

” I think the next big thing will be that at some point central bankers in Japan and in Europe will have to realize that they need to give up on negative interest rates. Negative interest rates are the dumbest idea ever. It’s horrible. Look at how badly it’s been working. The day that the Bank of Japan went negative the Yen started strengthening like crazy and the stock market is down. That’s exactly the opposite of what they wanted. The same thing happened with the ECB. Around a year ago, the consensus recommendation was to sell US equities and to buy European stocks because of negative interest rates in Europe. That turned out to be the most common mistake that was made in 2015. It’s been a horrible outcome. So there is mounting evidence that negative interest rates do the opposite of what the central bankers were hoping for.”

Negative interest rates are themselves deflationary

“Negative interest rates are designed to fight deflation. But they are the very definition of deflation: Your money is disappearing. As an investor, you are going to have less money in the future than you have today with negative interest rates. That’s deflation! So negative interest rates are deflationary and they are tremendously negative for monetary velocity. ”

This is all about capital preservation right now

“It’s all about capital preservation. If you can get a few percent return in a deflationary environment you’re doing fine. Because if you invest in European government bonds your base case is that you are going to have a negative return. The same applies if you invest in Japanese government bonds. So gold is a high yielding investment. You are getting zero yield versus negative yields in the case of short term European bonds and most Japanese bonds. Gold (Gold 1266.15 1.65%) is doing fine. It’s preserving capital in the US, it’s been making money over the last couple of years for European investors. That’s why I own gold. Because in a negative return environment anything that holds its value or makes a little is good.”

The stock market seems egregiously overvalued versus other stock markets

“The US stock market seems egregiously overvalued versus other stock markets. Emerging markets look vastly better, Japan looks better and Europe does too. That’s because they’re all down. It’s remarkable that the US stock market is within about 2% of its all-time high and every other significant stock market is down substantially. Also fundamentally, it’s very hard to believe in US stocks. Earnings and profit margins are dropping and companies basically are borrowing money to pay dividends and to buy back shares”

I think the rally is basically over, the default rate in the next five years could be the highest in the history of the high yield bond market

“Just like oil, the high yield market has enjoyed the easy rally. I think it’s basically over. I don’t see how you are supposed to be all fond off high yield bonds, since they are facing enormous fundamental problems. I thought people would learn their lesson but the issuance in the years 2013/14 was vastly worse than the issuance in 2006/07. Also, in the bank loan market covenant lite issuance rose to 40% in 2006/07. In this cycle it climbed to 75%. The leverage in the high yield bond market is enormous and you’re about to have a substantial increase in defaults. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cumulative default rate in the next five years were going to be the highest in the history of the high yield bond market.”

We are in a culture of default

“We are now in a culture of default. There is no stigma about defaulting anymore. During the housing crash, homeowners walked away from their mortgages. That was the beginning of a massive tolerance of default. Today, people talk about Puerto Rico defaulting like it’s nothing.”

The next election will be more tansformative than this one because we’re on the verge of generational change

” The next election is going to be much more transformative than this one. Because in this election, both parties are kind of clinging to the belief that they can keep the genie in the bottle. But we’re on the cusp of big change and, unfortunately, it’s all wrapped up in generational problems. The big problem that is coming, of course, is the unfunded liabilities that have been promised to the baby boomers.”

Trump is going to win

“Trump is going to win. I think Clinton and Sanders are both very poor candidates. I know the polls are signaling the opposite. But the polls said the opposite four years ago, too.”