Erik: Joining me now is Harley Bassman, best known as the inventor of the MOVE Index, which is the essentially the VIX for the bond market and now known as Convexity Maven and publisher of convexitymaven.com.
Harley prepared a terrific slide deck to accompany today’s interview. Listeners, I strongly encourage you to download it as we will be referring to those slides throughout the interview.
You can find the download link in your Research Roundup email. If you don’t have a Research Roundup email, just go to our home page at macrovoices.com, look for the red button that says Looking for the Downloads?
Harley, I want to start with a call that you made way back in November of 2018, which you reiterated in May 2019. And you said, look, there is an economic recession coming at the beginning of 2020.
Now, obviously, you didn’t know that the COVID-19 pandemic was coming.
Do you think that the recession is something that happened as a result of COVID-19? Or do you think that COVID-19 was just the catalyst that lit the fuse, so to speak, for something else that was already bound to happen? Because, of course, the president of the United States told us we had a perfect economy, right up until the virus hit.
Erik: Joining me now is petroleum geologist Art Berman. Art, I am so looking forward to this one. We are overdue to have you on the program. Welcome back.
Art: Thanks, Erik. Good to be back.
Erik: I gotta tell you, Art. I have become convinced that most of the analysts in the oil and gas space are guys like me who are fascinated with oil and gas but have never been to an oil field in our lives.
And don’t really know what the hell we’re talking about when it comes to the actual mechanics of drilling oil wells and production and how all of this stuff really works at the physical level.
Now, what I can tell you, what I do feel very confident that I understand is, although I don’t think it’s going to happen as soon as a lot of people are assuming, at some point we’re going to have a recovery. We’re going to need to resume producing US oil as much as we can.
Erik: Joining me now is Diego Parrilla, portfolio manager for Quadriga Asset Management and bestselling author of two books, both The Energy World Is Flat which he co-wrote with Daniel Lacalle, another very popular MacroVoices guest, and another book, which we talked about in Diego’s last interview, called The Anti-Bubbles.
Diego, it’s great to have you back.
Needless to say, what’s on everybody’s mind is, holy cow, look at the stock market. It seems like there’s a lot of good arguments being made that we’ve still got a global pandemic. It’s not over. There’s riots breaking out in the streets. There’s a lot of stuff going on. But, boy, the market, tapewise, just couldn’t look stronger.
What do you make of all this? And how should investors think about it?
Erik: Joining me now is Vikram Mansharamani, Harvard University lecturer and author of, first, the book Boombustology. But Vikram also has a new book coming out next week called Think for Yourself. We’ll find out a little bit more about that at the end of the interview.
Vikram, I want to start with what’s on everybody’s mind. Okay, seems like, at least for the first wave, the worst is behind us in this COVID-19 crisis.
So what does the economic recovery look like? Is it V-shaped, U-shaped, L-shaped, W-shaped, some-other-symbol-shaped? What should we expect in terms of what happens next economically?
Vikram: Well, it’s a great question, Erik. And, of course, the alphabet soup of describing economic activity today has become quite the rage. One letter that I’ve recently heard, which I think is quite fascinating, is a lower-case h – meaning that we went straight down, we’re bouncing and sort of rolling over, only to go back down, and no apparent sign of return at that stage.
My sense is that we’re probably more towards a W-type trajectory. And the rationale is as follows: We obviously had a big downdraft. And when I start talking to a bunch of people about the fact that consumers are saving money – they haven’t had a chance to spend money and the support from the government unemployment, more money in people’s pockets without the expenditure rate that they used to have means that they have effectively been saving.
And folks are really chomping at the bit to go out and do something. And so I think that there is some possibility of a bounce.
Ronni is best known as the principle author of “In Gold We Trust,” which – it’s almost bragging rights, Ronni. I can say that I remember the old days when IGWT wasn’t that big of a deal. But it’s really taken on a huge following in the last few years. You’re up to about 350 pages of heavy-duty research. And it’s free.
So tell us a little bit about how this came about. Why is it free? Why are you giving it away? And how did you get to the point of doing this?
Ronni: Hi Erik.
Thanks for having me again. I’m publishing this report for 14 years now already.
I started writing it when I was an analyst at a bank. Back then, I kind of felt like the vegetarian in the big butchery. Because, you know, sitting in a bank and then writing about the gold standard and being bullish on gold is kind of weird.
Then we set up our own company, Incrementum, based in Lichtenstein. And then the reports got bigger and bigger.