Financial 'wikileaks': The Adams-Switzer-Joye E-mails
Correspondence Between John Adams and Christopher Joye
Peter Switzer to John Adams (16 April 2019, 1:16PM)
As you know I have over 50 staff and three businesses to attend to. Send me a bullet point email of your issues with Chris and I will send it to him for a response.
His response will determine how I act. There are other issues and I can’t always be on house prices. The media is about timing your story. I want to see how the house price situation plays out to after the election.
What you are involved in is a waiting game. So we have to wait. Good luck with that.
John Adams to Peter Switzer (23 April 2019, 9:25PM)
He said it on Linkedin (social media). See attached.
Christopher Joye said in the debate that debt serviceability in Australia was fine and yet 3 weeks later he said something very different about the risks with RMBS that implies serviceability is now an issue in Australia.
Even Martin North and others on social media could see that Christopher Joye has provided contradictory statements.
Christopher Joye to John Adams (24 April 2019, 12:02PM)
I have not changed any of my views one bit, and suggesting such is incredibly misleading and deceptive.
I have been saying the same thing about RMBS risks since mid 2018, as the Macrobusiness (cc'd) team will attest.
I sold $400m of RMBS in February 2018 because of these risks.
I have published numerous AFR columns over the last year where I have made exactly the same points about RMBS pricing risks over and over again.
I stand by everything I argued on national television in my very one-sided debate with you. I was frankly appalled at how weak your arguments were, and I was annoyed with Peter for presenting me with such an intellectually feeble foe.
I am not going to do a debate like it again unless Peter offers up some decent opposition. It was like the Wallabies playing Spain in Rugby, and nobody wants to see a white-wash like that again. It is no fair on you mate--you are just setting yourself up to get very badly bruised!
So stop creating straw-men, and accept that you got KO'd very brutally in your one shot at the big time. Humility in both victory and defeat is a virtue that I always advocate irrespective of how difficult it may be to abide by.
Co-Chief Investment Officer
Coolabah Capital Investments
John Adams to Christopher Joye (30 April 2019, 7:31PM)
Thank you for your e-mail.
I find it baffling to understand how you can, on the one hand, say that ‘debt serviceability at this point is perfectly fine’ (See our debate at the 21:20 mark) and yet in the same breath talk about ‘rising RBMS risks with the highest arrears rates since the GFC’ (as per your Linkedin post).
These positions appear to be completely contradictory and many people on social media who have seen your LinkedIn post also believe that your post appears, on the surface, to be inconsistent with your comments from the debate.
Your point that RBMS issued in 2017, 2018 and 2019 are in worse shape than more seasoned bonds also appear to be inconsistent with your statement about debt serviceability.
Having spoken to several industry professionals, I understand that banks put their better-quality mortgages in securitised pools (i.e. RMBS), which means that if serviceability risks are rising among RBMS, this means that these risks are rising across the whole mortgage book.
On this basis, your statement from our debate does not seem to be sustainable.
If you don’t believe you have inconsistent and contradictory positions, then I would encourage you to issue a column which explains why debt serviceability is fine given that RBMS risks are rising.
While at it, you may want to explain why:
1 million Australian households are in mortgage stress (as per the data from Digital Finance Analytics); and
Australia’s debt servicing ratio being one of the highest in the world (as per data from the Bank for International Settlements)
are not flashing red signals that Australia has a major household debt serviceability problem.
Credit Growth to Housing
I would also point out that your statement in our debate about credit growth to housing has not proven correct at this point (you said that the credit growth will improve). Data released by the RBA today shows that annualised credit growth to housing has fallen to 4% which is an all-time low (the data series commenced in August 1977).
This effectively means that the market will continue to see falling property prices for the next 6-9 months at the very least (ahead of any form of policy intervention).
Shockingly, credit growth was completely absent from the RBA research paper (which you like to cite) which means that the RBA paper was junk research and that your recent AFR column about lowering interest rates to stabilise the housing market is deficient.
On the issue of ‘a shock to incomes’ which you referred to in the debate, I continue to receive anecdotal stories from across the country that show that people employed in industries tied up in the bubble (finance, construction, retail (including hospitality) and real estate) and either losing their jobs or having their incomes cut (through reduced bonuses or hours). Small business sales and profits in these sectors are already facing major pressure as well.
This phenomenon is a function of slowing credit growth and falling property prices that is having a significant impact on economic confidence. Increased property listings (such as in Melbourne) and property portfolio liquidations indicate that market pessimism is now turning into panic which can easily result in a stampede towards the exit door.
Hence, the income shock which you want to see appears to be currently underway, albeit this process is just in the beginning phase and is likely to intensify.
Stability of the Australian Dollar
Any policy intervention of the sort which you have advocated for (federal government spending stimulus, cutting interest rates and QE) will ultimately have a significant negative impact on the value of the Australian dollar as well as the serviceability of Australia’s foreign debt (as explained in the Brain/Manning book ‘Credit Code Red’).
Hence, I think it is necessary that you and the AFR explain to your readers the costs and consequences of your suggested policy actions given the negative impact that this will have on the Australian middle class.
I should note that unlike yourself, I have never declared myself the winner of the debate (this was never my objective in participating in the debate), rather the audience en masse declared me the winner by a large margin. I think it would benefit yourself to be humble enough to accept the verdict of the audience.
I have it on good authority that a member of the RBA board has seen our debate and they believe I have the more convincing argument. There is significant concern within elements of the RBA and the Commonwealth Treasury around debt serviceability and your thesis is not universally accepted.
Given that you received a nasty wake-up call from the Australian people in the weeks after the debate, I can understand your reluctance to have another debate, even though our debate has reached over 101k views on YouTube and is the most watched show from the Your Money Channel.
If you continue to believe that your thesis is superior than mine, there is only one way to settle the impasse.
Let’s have a second debate for 60 minutes in front of a live studio audience where real Australians are able to cast their vote on who has the more convincing thesis. I would also suggest we open up online voting to measure the reaction of the TV audience as well.
I am confident that when presented with the full set of facts, the Australian people will realise that Australia is headed for the worst economic crisis in our history (especially if a global shock were to eventuate).
Yours in honest and good faith,
Correspondence Between John Adams and Peter Switzer
John Adams to Peter Switzer (1 May 2019, 11:49AM)
I thought I would bring to your attention that the RBA data released today shows annualised credit growth to housing falling to an all-time low of 4.0%. With continued falling credit growth, house prices is expected to fall in the coming 6-9 months.
The data, at this stage, does not support the 'soft-landing' thesis and it would appear that the economy could officially fall into recession late 2019 or early 2020.
I note that the Joye-Adams debate has now hit 101k views on YouTube which is an amazing outcome (definitely beyond my expectations).
I know for a fact that at least one member of the RBA board has watched the debate and thought that I had the more convincing argument (he has significant concerns about debt serviceability).
I am open to having more debates if there is interest on your side. Happy to wait until after the election if you prefer.
Peter Switzer to John Adams (1 May 2019, 11:27AM)
But if you don’t show me the respect I show you I will ask Martin North or Steve Keen from OS to take on Chris. OK?
John Adams to Peter Switzer (1 May 2019, 11:49AM)
Sure. But indirectly referring to me as a 'bush economist' (as per the national press club with the RBA Governor) and now 'smug bastard' (as per your column of yesterday) doesn't seem to be quite respectful towards me does it?
Peter Switzer to John Adams (1 May 2019, 4:33PM)
You were not named John as bush economist or smug bastard and I have to say if the cap fits…
And the bottom line is if you want to be a part of my economic debate team you can’t play in both camps. The team that loves your stuff behave like school yard bullies who love to put the boot in.
You make your choice. As I say Steve and I disagreed but we never played the man.
And remember I gave you a platform and you have leveraged off it.
You seem to think the Youtube success is down to you. All of us are involved and both Chris and I have a big social media following as so does Yourmoney.
It’s your choice. I can get other Armageddon debaters if I need them.
Finally, I might have forgotten but have you ever thanked me for giving you a chance to strut your stuff?
Director, Switzer Financial Group
John Adams to Peter Switzer (3 May 2019, 10:02am)
I don't think you fully understand the context here. Have you ever bothered to ask why I am doing what I am doing?
I have been publicly warning about Economic Armageddon because I am trying to help people before they experience catastrophic economic and social loss. In extreme economic crises, the rate of mental health problems and suicide, for example, goes up dramatically. Such experiences destroys lives, families and communities. We are already seeing that domestic violence is sky rocketing in south west Sydney because of mortgage stress (as reported by the SMH).
I am not on an ego trip mate. I am on a moral crusade to help save the Australian middle class and those innocent bystanders from poor public policy (e.g. RBA and monetary policy) and those who got sucked into the property hype and propaganda. 'Establishment Economists' and 'Cash for Comment Economists' (which do exist) are giving people a false sense of security by not outlining the real state of the Australian economy and the real level of systemic macroeconomic risk.
Martin North and I are trying to stand-up for the Aussie battler. To call me a 'fool' and a 'goldbug prepper' (as per your post on Macrobusiness) is insulting and won't make you many friends.
Also, I am not going to beg to be on your platform. If you don't want me on, then don't invite me. But if you don't, you will just look weak and captured by vested interests (including your own).
On ratings, you only pulled 118 views on YouTube for 2019 prior to me coming on your show whereas Martin and I typically can pull 10k per show (minimum).
If your standing with the Australian people is so high, I would expect to see this reflected in your YouTube views. So I will keep a close eye on your show's ratings moving forward.
If you genuinely care about Australia and the Australian people, then you are obligated to put someone like me on your show who has put forward an independent integrated macroeconomic perspective (who also understands how the political system works).
Just ask yourself how many lives can your show help if my economic warnings are correct?
That is the only leverage that I am seeking, to help my country before the biggest bubble in our history turns into a day of reckoning!
Peter Switzer to John Adams (3 May 2019, 11:12AM)
I tried to show you respect but you are trying to build up your profile by jumping in my slipstream.