Since "it just doesn't matter" anymore, we hope that soon financial network TV, plagued by the lowest ratings in a decade for the simple fact that nobody cares anymore what Federal Reserve Capital LP does, will at least invite some funnier guests, such as Bill Murray, to dispense hot stock tips.
Presented with little comment because frankly everything is now full retard. That is the Dax; This is the Dax on low-volume, mega levitation drugs, at 9pm on a Friday in Germany, when out of nowhere someone goes on a mega buying spree in the Dax futures, and sends global risk assets, and FX pairs, surging. Is Bernanke LBOing Germany? Or is Spain due for junk downgrade and this is the ultimate bad is good trade which sends global risk assets, and FX pairs soaring to fresh record highs across the board.
Inflation slowed in 24 (of 27) EU nations in April to leave the average EU rate at 1.4% (versus 1.9% in March). Greece entered deflation in March for the first time in 45 years and Latvia consumer prices fell 0.4% in April (versus +2.8% a year ago). This notable plunge, while 'helpful' for the average spender in the short-term, is a problem, as Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, sustained falling prices will increase the nation's debt burden. At the other end of the spectrum, Romania and Estonia both have inflation running above 4% and 3% respectively. Of course, none of this serial 'depression' matters, since Draghi has your back and Hollande says "the crisis is over."
Earlier this week, the CIA's Russian outpost was deeply humiliated when (in a calculated move following accusations that the US had not gottern appropriate Russian information on the two Boston bombers, and following the visit of John Kerry whose primary objective was to, unsuccessfully, get Russia to relent on Syria) Russia's FSB exposed and broadcast on live TV the arrest of its agents caught while attempting to recruit a Russian spy. Back then we suggested to "expect a prompt retaliation by the US" however it turns out Russia was not nearly done with embarrassing the US in what is becoming an obvious campaign to humiliate the US intelligence service, this time by going where very few clandestine operations go, at least during peacetime detente: by publicly exposing the head counterparty US spy. As Telegraph reports, "Russia's Federal Security Service has publicly revealed the identity of a man it calls the CIA station chief in Moscow, in what experts say is a serious breach of intelligence protocol."
The emir of Qatar is a busy man: in addition to providing funding and weapons to the mercenary group formerly known as Syrian "rebels" in order to boost his already incalculable wealth and promote his LNG interests in the region over those of Saudi Arabia, in the process isolating Russia as the marginal provider of energy to Europe and furthering western interests even if it means escalating the Syrian civil war, he is also diversifying his assets. And he is doing so in a way that would provide for a quick and painless getaway should things in his country turn sour (now that the US and Russian fleets are converging nearby, this is no longer a merely token possibility): by buying Greek islands. And now that the world has seen the "lead investors" step in, the uber-wealthiest are scrambling to ape one of the world's richest people and stake their own Greek island claim.
What happens to everyone in the ruling Elites and those desperately trying to join the ruling Elites when the debt-serfs stop paying and the tax donkeys drift away to lower-cost, lower-income lifestyles? If you think Tune In, Turn On, Opt Out sounds ludicrous, check back in four years (2017) and eight years (2021) and see how many of your fellow debt-serfs and tax donkeys have quietly abandoned the bloated cost-structure, debt and derangement of the Neofeudal Debtocracy's twisted consumerist dream.
If there is one market that represents the sheer unbridled lack of respect for risk it is the Greek Government bond market. In the last year, GGB prices have surged 380% from under EUR 14 to almost EUR 67% of par today! That is a plunge in yields from over 29% in May 2012 to a mere 8% currently (US Treasuries yielded 8% in 1994)... The driver for all this exuberance? Every major macro data point for Greece has worsened from a year ago - from unemployment to GDP growth... behond the 'wretch'-for-yield. Or perhaps we are overthinking it: it appears that Greek bond prices are merely matching Greek youth unemployment almost tick for tick: expect GGBs to hit par when every single Greek between the ages of 16 and 25 is out of a job.
On one hand we have bad Hilsenrath sending mixed messages saying the Fed may taper sooner (with good Hilsenrath chiming in days later, adding it may be later after all), depending on whether HY bonds hit 4% YTM by EOD or mid next week at the latest. On the other, even resolute Fed doves are whispering that a tapering may occur as soon the summer, so in a few months, and halt QE by year end. Bottom line - confusion. So who better to arbitrate than the firm that runs it all, Goldman Sachs, and its chief economist Jan Hatzius, who issues the following Q&A on "tapering." His view: "not yet." Then again, Goldman is the consummate (ab)user of dodecatuple reverse psychology, so if Goldman says "all clear" the natural response should be just as clear.
In a day devoid of any A-grade economic data, the stop hunting GETCO USDJPY algos had no choice but to look forward to such reflexive C-grade indicators as the UMich Consumer Confidence index, where the polled "consumers" are confident if the market is up and the market is up if "consumers" are confident. Sure enough, the USDJPY literally exploded by over 50 pips and broke the 103 level (send the Yen derivative, the S&P500 spiking) when moments ago the UMich index posted a hilarious reading of 83.7, the highest since August 2007, up from 76.4, and smashing expectations of 77.9 by the most in... ever. Whether this was driven by a near record low in consumer savings, by the collapse in real wages, by the deteriorating Q1 retail results such as WalMart's showing consumers are out of cash, or if all this was irrelevant as everyone on the UMichigan rolodex was long Tesla is unknown. It just is what it is because in a world in which collapsing economic data leads to a record high "market", one buys first, buys second, then BTFD if there is D, and only then are questions asked.
For the third year in a row (since the crisis) average pay at private companies in China surge by greater than double digits - far outstripping GDP growth. 2012 saw a 17.1% nominal rise in average wages for private companies to Yuan 28,752 per annum (still 9% after inflation) but dispersion remains high with "significant gap among regions, industries and specific jobs in some sectors." The continued rise in wages, as the Wall Street Journal notes, is likely to put further pressure on an already pinched manufacturing and construction sector (which accounts for over 41% of all Chinese employment) especially in low-end and labor-intensive positions. With slowing growth (demand) and rising costs (labor, energy), the profitability of Chinese companies is increasingly tenuous and only hindered by potential actions of the central bank.
While unlikley to have the kind of fireworks of Holder and Issa, we suspect President Obama will be biting his nails a little at the inability to control the questions asked here as IRS ex-top-man Steve Miller faces an entirely "bipartisan" questioning into the IRS witchhunts of select political groups.
Earlier today, Spain reported its first trade surplus since 1971, with exports of €20.3 billion finally surpassing imports of €19.7 billion and ending over four decades of constant trade deficits. That was the good news. The bad news is how this number came about. Because while the country will mark a GDP benefit as a result of the net trade number, the reality is that it was not due to a jump in exports, which rose by a lethargic €400MM Y/Y - hardly the stuff to write home about as can be seen on the chart below. It is the second chart, however, that tells the true story of Spain's economy: that of imports, which in a stable or growing economy would be, well, stable or growing. Instead, Spanish imports collapsed by €3.5 billion Y/Y: the biggest such downside annual drop since the start of the depression in 2008. Which begs the question: is the Spanish economy, after modestly growing in 2010 and 2010, set for the same spectacular collapse last seen in the days just following the start of the Great Financial Crisis? And what does this mean for the biggest risk factor for a nation whose banking sector has already been bailed out once, and where NPLs are slowly but surely soaring behind the scenes?