The financial crisis is surely a touchy subject at the Fed, where the biggest PR challenge is “bubble blowing” criticism from those of us who aren’t on the payroll (directly or indirectly). But Foote, Gerardi and Willen are, of course, on the payroll. They tell us there’s little else that can be said about the origins of the crisis, because any “honest economist” will admit to not understanding bubbles... " Unfortunately, the study of bubbles is too young to provide much guidance on this point. For now, we have no choice but to plead ignorance, and we believe that all honest economists should do the same." This smells to us like a strategy of gently acknowledging criticism (of the Fed’s interest rate policies), while at the same time attempting to neutralize it.
If yesterday's large tailing 5 Year paper sale exhibited some curious ESP ahead of the FOMC's tapering announcement, with a very ugly tail, and atrocious internals, then today's 7 Year was quite aware of what was coming. Which is why it was not surprising that the just concluded sale of $29 billion in belly-buster bonds, once again came with a flopping 2 bps tail, pricing at 2.385% or 2 bps wider of the 2.365% when issued, indicating the hiccups in the auction process continue.
First CSCO cited Government (NSA)-related cuts for its dismal results and now Boeing, considered the front-runner, has lost a $4.5 billion contract to provide jets to Brazil because, as officials exclaimed, "the NSA problem ruined it for the Americans." Sweden's Saab won the contract instead for 36 new fighters to be delivered by 2020. As Reuters reports, one U.S. source close to the negotiations said that whatever intelligence the spying had delivered for the American government was unlikely to outweigh the commercial cost of the revelations. "Was that worth 4 billion dollars?" the source asked.
Take one serving of pre-triple dip recessionary France, add a dash of US-made drones, drop a pinch of Al Qaeda scapegoating and the now generic false flags, and let it all simmer in the latest global conflict in which the uninvited west has decided it is its moral role to intervene, and what you get is the latest hilarious development out of military superpower France, which is now preparing to unleash US drones in West Africa. The comedic possibilities one ends up with are countless.
Each quarter the Fed releases their assessment of the economy along with their forward looking projections for three years into the future. The reality is, however, is that the Federal Reserve simply cannot verbally state what they really see during each highly publicized meeting as it would roil the markets. Instead, they use their communications to guide the markets expectations toward reality in the hopes of reducing the risks of market dislocations. The most recent release of the Fed's economic projections on the economy, inflation and unemployment continue to follow the same previous trends of weaker growth, lower inflation and a complete misunderstanding of the real labor market. Reminiscent of the choices of Goldilocks - the reality is that the Fed's estimates for economic growth in 2013 was too hot, employment was too cold and inflation estimates were just about right. The real unspoken concern should be the continued threat of deflation and what actions will be available when the next recession eventually comes.
... In a word (or two) - good luck.
Overnight we warned that short-to-medium-term money market rates had spiked to record highs (1-Year rate-swaps over 5.06%) and that the PBOC was bravely standing firm on its (lack of) liquidity injections... that didn't last long. Despite the PBOC's veiled ongoing attempts to 'taper' its own liquidity provisions, as MNI noted, echoes of the June liquidity crunch were heard again in the Chinese money market Thursday and authorities moved to extend trading amid a surge in rates which quiet injections of funding by the People's Bank of China failed to stem. Jitters in the Chinese interbank market since the PBOC tried to force deleveraging in June highlights the nervousness of an overstretched banking system that is reliant on the central bank's largesse to ensure stable operations. It seems clear that the Chinese banks' PBOC taper tantrum will not allow the central bank to withdraw painlessly.
As equity markets around the world try valiantly to hold on to yesterday's manufactured gains that 'proved' the Taper is a good thing, few have commented on the consequences that are already being felt. Emerging Market currencies were broadly pummeled overnight with Indonesia's Rupiah tumbling to 5 years lows and the Turkish Lira collapsing 1.9% in the last 2 days (its biggest drop in 4 months) to an all-time low.
*LIRA AT LOWEST VS USD ON CLOSING BASIS SINCE AT LEAST 1981
*TURKEY CENTRAL BANK TO SELL MINIMUM $50M FOR LIRAS TOMORROW
The Istanbul stock exchange is down 7.3% in the last 3 days (biggest drop in 6 months).
For the 2nd month in a row, Philly Fed missed expectations (printing at 7.00 vs 10.00 exp) holding close to 7-month lows. Prices Paid dropped the most but it was the outlook sub-indices that are the most concerning with the surveyed expecting a big drop in the average workweek, the number of employees and a drop in New Orders and Shipments. Add to that a plunge in expectations for CapEx and all-in-all, it's not as pretty a picture as Bernanke painted about the rosy horizon...
If anyone is still wondering why back in June Zero Hedge first presented what the adverse impact on housing affordability as a result of soaring rates, today's NAR release on existing home sales should set all questions to the side. Because after rising in a seemingly relentless fashion, existing home sales have (and this is before the traditional downward revision by Larry Yun's conflicted organization which will expose all of its numbers as flawed regardless) finally hit a brick wall, and not only did November existing home sales tumble from 5.12MM to 4.90MM, missing estimates of 5.02MM, they also posted the first year over year decline in 29 consecutive months of increases.
Among other things, the month of November was memorable because for the first time, Caterpillar - that bellwether of the old industrial economy in which "stuff" was actually made, dug out of the ground, erected, or otherwise processed instead of merely hosted ad impressions - posted declining retail sales in every region around the globe. This was the first time of uniform declining retail sales since February 2010. To say that this data conflicts massively with all the rumors, fairytales and lies about a global recovery, is an understatement which is why it has not been mentioned anywhere, in hopes the subsequent month would demonstrate some improvement and perhaps an upward inflection point. That did not happen. Moments ago CAT released its November dealer retail sales: for the second time in a row CAT posted negative retail sales across the world, with total retail sales down a whopping 12%.
Russia's MICEX jumped almost 1% this morning on news that Vladimir Putin had asked for clemency in the jailing of vocal Kremlin critic, Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky has been jailed since 2003 on a variety of tax-evasion, fraid and embezzlement charges though being among the nation's wealthiest men, the jailing was seen as politically-motivated (because of his political ambitions). The WSJ reports that Putin said this morning, "He asked for a pardon for humanitarian reasons, his mother is sick, and I believe that we can make a decision and will soon sign a decree to pardon him." The twist in this tale is that Khodorkovsky's people deny the pardon request, since Putin's spin would be the pardon request implies an admission of guilt...
Despite yesterday's somewhat lackluster response, treasury bond yields are breaking bad this morning with 5Y up 13bps from the Fed taper (and 10Y at 2.94%). But it is gold (and silver) prices that have been monkey-hammered with the former trading below $1200 briefly - its lowest in 6 months.
For everyone who shrugged off last week's enormous spike in initial jobless claims as "can't be real", the BLS has another "holiday volatility"-blamed statistical anomaly for traders to ignore. Initial claims rose 10k to 379k - dramatically worse than the 336k expectation - and the worst since March. Though the BLS says no states estimated jobless claims last week, they would suggest, ever so humbly, that we ignore this data and focus on the trend of the 4-week moving average. Total benefit rolls also rose to 3 month highs, up 94k to 2.88 million. The piece de resistance - non-seasonally-adjusted initial claims were down 48.2k (against the seasonally-adjusted 10k), yet both are up exactly 13k from a year ago (seems the Sandy-based YoY adjustments are playing havoc). Lastly, 1,374,031 American on Emergency Unemployment Compensation (ie. extended benefits) - which are about to run out thanks to Congress (which will implicitly send the unemployment rate plunging).