September 19, 2019
Back in 2012, both Spain and Italy were the dumpster fires in Europe that nearly set off a cascade of sovereign debt defaults. Speculators were hammering away at the bond markets in these weak spots, sending yields screaming higher, to unsustainable-default watch levels.
It took Draghi ripping up the script of the EU and EMU to prevent it from happening. What did he do? He fought off bond market speculators by promising to become the buyer of unlimited government bonds in these weak spots of Europe. That was enough to scare off the speculators, and to reverse yields from the ticking time-bomb of 7%+, to (now) under 1%.
This ECB intervention salvaged the global economy from a spiral into the abyss. And the global economic recovery resumed.
Since that point, German stocks have outpaced Spanish stock by three-to-one. And while German stocks have gone on to new record highs in the past two years, stocks in Spain remain deeply depressed from peak value, despite a recovering economy.
As I said last week, this might be the best prospect for a big run in Europe. But this is investable (for non-euro investors) only if you think the euro rises from here — which I do. Remember, the ECB just announced a new round of QE. What did the euro when the ECB launched QE in 2015? It went down in anticipation of QE, and when they launched QE, it bottomed, and rose over the following four years.
What about the dollar?
Despite all of the talk about a "strong dollar", we've been in a bear cycle for the dollar for almost three years.
We've looked at my dollar cycles chart above many times. If we mark the top of the most recent full cycle in early January of 2017, the bull cycle matched the longest cycle in duration (at 8.8 years) and came in just shy of the long-term average performance of the five complete cycles. This argues for a weaker dollar ahead, which aligns well with the desire of the Trump administration.