Sunday, January 24, 2016

Potential Risks in 2016

I just thought I'd post a few things I have been contemplating about the current year:

1. I truly think that China's problems will become the world's problems. The world has been increasingly reliant on Chinese growth over the last 25 years, but debt has grown exponentially in China, and China is now drawing on currency reserves to prop up its economy, stock market and growth rates. It will be harder to profit from this thesis, as increasingly this thesis is becoming consensus in the marketplace.

2. I believe that the Federal Reserve will reverse course on interest rates later this year, and this eventually (but likely not this year) will result in negative federal funds rate. I simply don't believe that the U.S. can increase rates and experience a stronger currency, and still expect to experience any form of inflation. Currently, by raising rates, I feel the Federal Reserve has created an environment of exporting inflation to economies with weakening currencies, while deflating commodities, imports and prices of consumer goods in US dollar terms. I don't feel this process ends quickly, and the ECB's current calls for further quantitative easing in the Euro region will only exasperate the situation.

3. I feel that the U.S. may experience its first brokered convention in many decades, and, should Bloomberg attempt a presidential run, they may even see a situation where Congress and the Senate determine the next president and vice president of the United States (12th Amendment). This could be a black swan event, and I'm unsure what impact this has on the markets, or world order for that matter. This is simply something I am contemplating (thanks to cherzeca CoBF for bringing the potential general election issue to my attention).

4. I have believed that deflation will become a global phenomenon, and I still see no reason to back away from that thesis.

There are hundreds of thousands of other risks that could arise, but I can only prepare my portfolio to handle such issues, rather than attempt to directly profit from those risks.

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