FRA is joined by Barry Habib and Jayant Bhandari in discussing India’s socioeconomic state, along with the wealth taxation there and in the USA.
As founder and CEO of MBS Highway, Barry is also Chief Market Strategist for Residential Finance Corporation, a leading national mortgage banker. Barry has also enjoyed a long tenure as a market commentator on FOX and CNBC Networks. He can be seen presenting his Monthly Mortgage Report on “Squawk Box,” the early-morning CNBC business news show. Barry also serves as a professional speaker on the financial markets, housing, negotiation, technical trading analysis, sales training, building relationships and motivation. He is also co-creator and currently Principal Managing Director of Health Care Imaging Solutions.
Jayant Bhandari is constantly traveling the world looking for investment opportunities, particularly in the natural resource sector. He advises institutional investors about his finds. Earlier, he worked for six years with US Global Investors (San Antonio, Texas), a boutique natural resource investment firm, and for one year with Casey Research. Before emigrating from India, he started and ran Indian subsidiary operations of two European companies. He still travels multiple times a year to India. He is an MBA from Manchester Business School (UK) and B. Engineering from SGSITS (India). He has written on political, economic and cultural issues for the Liberty magazine, the Mises Institute (USA), Mises Institute (Canada), Casey Research, International Man, Mining Journal, Zero Hedge, Lew Rockwell, the Dollar Vigilante, Fraser Institute, Le Québécois Libre, Mauldin Economics, Northern Miner, Mining Markets etc. He is a contributing editor of the Liberty magazine. He runs a yearly seminar in Vancouver titled Capitalism & Morality.
INDIA’S WAR ON CASH AND GOLD
On Nov. 9, Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned Rupee 500 and 1000 banknotes, equivalent to $7.50-15USD, which represents 88% of the total monetary value in circulation. These two are the most commonly used by poor and rich people alike. He banned them despite the fact that 97% of the consumer economy is based on cash, which means in this country they have pretty much banned cash and brought the economy to a standstill. They coincided this with the US election so the world would not pay much attention, but this is creating a massive crisis in the country to maximize tax collection irrespective of what it does to Indian society.
People are now in a desperate situation and savers are pouring their money into gold, because people are forced to use the cash they have. The price of gold is going up in both Rupee and USD. The Rupee price should be about 10% higher than the dollar price, but right now it’s almost 100% higher in India than the US. The reason is that the sudden repression of cash has forced people to divert their cash into physical gold. All the lower denomination bank notes are rapidly going out of circulation and India’s economy is rapidly going into paralysis.
Indians did not resist when the government imposed a ban on currency notes, which is really confiscation of private property. Moral instinct is being taken away from Western societies using socialist, welfare, and warfare economies. Eventually people in Western countries will become incapable of resisting the government whey they start seizing private properties. When governments have no more capabilities to print money, they will go confiscate peoples’ money.
INTEREST TREND SINCE US ELECTION
The long end of the yield curve is going higher in terms of interest rates, coupled with rising inflation. We’re currently at a really important juncture. We’re so oversold on yield that we could see a bit of relief where we’ll see yield drop. The same thing applies for mortgage-backed securities.
Rates started to rate in mid-September when Central Banks in Europe and Asia went to negative rates. It diminished the appetite for bond buying. There was so much money to be made on capital appreciation and with negative interest rates there was theoretically no longer a floor and you could theoretically make an infinite amount of profit as long as rates kept going down. Since then we’ve seen zero become a rational floor across the globe.
Stocks started to make a move, and as stocks rallied some of that money came out of the bond market. We have seen a transition out of bonds and into stocks, but now we do have an opportunity to make a profit on bonds. On December 14th we’re going to get a rate hike, and historically speaking every time that happens bonds tend to improve while stocks drop. In the long term, everything is in place for yields to rise at least a little bit. We remain bullish, and housing will weather the storm and continue to be a good opportunity.
RECENT SELL-OFF OF US TREASURY BONDS
What’s interesting is the complete reversal everywhere in foreign banks buying US bonds. One of the way countries whose currency is pegged to the US is to repatriate some of the dollars they receive from exports by selling Treasuries, so you wonder how long that will last. That lack of buying has to be picked up somewhere, and it’s not going to be domestically.
The best cure for high rates is high rates; the market will take care of itself. Trump has great ideas in that the US needs quite a bit of infrastructure built, we just don’t have the money to do it. It would be wise to use instruments of a longer duration, like 10 or 30 years. There will always be a buyer, it’s just a function of price. We see yield moving higher to stop up some of the supply, to make up for the lost foreign demand, and to incent people to stop up the excess for infrastructure.
While Western countries are suffering, things are much worse in emerging markets with the exception of China. They are becoming negative yielding economies again. People in these countries still see USD as a good way to preserve their wealth, because they trust the US government more than their own economies or governments. This means capital income flow into the US. These countries have historically subsidized the US money printing press, and will continue to do so in the future.
GLOBAL WEALTH TAXATION
Governments in North America are already instituting wealth taxes on real estate. If you’re a foreigner, you might want to invest in real estate or Treasuries not just because it’s a good investment, but also because you get the benefit of the currency move. If you think the Dollar will continue to show strength against other currencies, you’re going to continue to get that foreign investment. In regards to a wealth tax, we’re unlikely to see one under the current administration. A VAT consumption tax is a bit regressive but the bulk of it is going to be on items that are higher ticket than upper incomers can afford, and could really generate some growth.
There are new taxes being imposed regularly, but these taxes are going to converge into one. They want to take away as much of the savers’ wealth as they can. The salaried middle class is indoctrinated and look at life in very simplistic terms, and as long as they aren’t suffering much they’re willing to let these things happen in their society.
LOOKING FORWARD FOR INVESTORS
If you want to do a short term trade, it’d be best to go long bonds and cautious stocks. Long term, it’d be better to short the bond market and then short bonds after the rate hike. Residential real estate in many parts of the US is a very good investment, especially since you can leverage it for an excellent rate of investment.
A lot of the wealth in China and India and Africa still trust the American government more than their own, and will continue to buy more and more properties in North America and Europe. We will continue to exist in a negative yielding environment, so gold and silver is a good place to keep your money. Far East Asia is also a good place to invest, as these are very passionate people with energy and societies geared toward growing their economy.
Abstract by: Annie Zhou <firstname.lastname@example.org>