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$300 Trillion in Lost Economic Growth: A Silent Depression | Hugh Hendry

$300 Trillion in Lost Economic Growth: A Silent Depression | Hugh Hendry

Jan 29, 2024

$300 Trillion in Lost Economic Growth: A Silent Depression | Hugh Hendry

Key Takeaways

This episode of the Eurodollar University Podcast with Jeff Snider and his guest Hugh Hendry offers a deep dive into the complex and often perplexing world of global finance, with a particular focus on the differences between the bond market and the stock market signals, the role of the Federal Reserve, and the impact of China's economic policies on the global economy.

The conversation suggests that we are living through an extreme divergence in market signals, reminiscent of the prelude to the 2007 financial crisis, raising questions about potential hidden risks the stock market is overlooking that the bond market might be hinting at. The episode touches on the strategy of global macro hedge funds, which aim for diversification to manage risk and explores the idea of pursuing investment opportunities in the long end of the treasury market due to mean reversion after significant price pullbacks.

A significant point of discussion is the notion of the 'silent depression' and how central banks, particularly the Federal Reserve, have managed to create a perception of control over interest rates and the broader market, which the speakers question. They argue that low-interest rates were not merely a product of bureaucratic intervention but were influenced by broader global factors, including China's unique approach to financing its industrialization internally rather than through international trade deficits.

The speakers discuss China's influence on global liquidity and the potential implications of its property market bubble and how a devaluation in Chinese property could impact the world economy. The conversation also reflects on the structural shifts in global economics, with a particular focus on the last 30 years and how these shifts have led to a potential deflationary threat despite the current highs in equity markets.

Best Quotes

  1. "We took out 19 years of price, not yield... that profound mean reversion has instilled in me a risk-taking kind of bravado."Context: Discussing investment strategy in the treasury market, emphasizing the opportunity presented by the mean reversion following the elimination of price gains over nearly two decades.
  2. "Markets do what they tell them to do. The perplexing thing for me is people gnarl their teeth and say the disgrace of the... we've had the 15 years of incredibly low short-end interest rates... that somehow that was by bureaucratic intervention. And of course, it's nothing of the sort."Context: Challenging the common belief that the Federal Reserve's low-interest rate policies are solely responsible for the economic environment of the past 15 years.
  3. "China's kind of chugging is really stuck... there has been a profound tectonic-like shift in the manner of global economics over the course of the last 30 years."Context: Reflecting on China's economic slowdown and the significant changes in global economic dynamics over recent decades, particularly since the Asian financial crisis.
  4. "So imagine a parallel universe where [China] took that path. Then... German manufacturers, US manufacturers... would have this hugely rich nation and they're going to buy all of our merchandise. And they failed us on that."Context: Speculating on an alternative scenario where China's economy focused on consumption instead of building overcapacity, which would have led to a different global economic landscape.
  5. "The great fear, the dragon fear, is that you could imagine how they could be persuaded to believe it's easier to devalue property in dollar terms rather than in one terms."Context: Expressing concern over how China might handle the devaluation of its real estate assets, which could have drastic consequences for the global economy.


The podcast episode provides a rich and compelling discussion that paints a picture of a global financial landscape at a crossroads. The conversation covers the disparity between the bond and stock market signals, the misconception of the Federal Reserve's omnipotence, and the profound effects of China's economic strategies on global liquidity and potential deflationary pressures.

The insights suggest that while equity markets are at all-time highs, there is an underlying concern about a major deflationary event driven by China's economic challenges and the potential devaluation of its property market. The speakers draw analogies to historical events and question the sustainability of financial markets that have thrived on the back of these imbalances.

In wrapping up, the episode leaves listeners pondering the future of the global economy and the role of China as it grapples with the consequences of its internal financing methods and property bubble. It also questions whether the financial optimism reflected in equity markets is well-founded or if a reckoning is on the horizon that could have long-lasting and far-reaching effects.


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