Citi's Economics team downgraded global growth expectations once again, expecting 3.0% this year (versus 4.0% last year) with more aggressive downgrades next year to only 2.9% (from 3.2% expectations last month and 3.7% two months ago). Growth revisions were downgraded for every major global economy as expectations move with Goldman's coincidentally-timed discussion of stagnation (also tonight) with advanced economies cut more than developed though Eastern Europe saw the most significant reductions. They note that 'the recent pace of GDP forecast downgrades is among the greatest of the last ten years' and extends the recent run of lower forecasts to four months-in-a-row. In a secondary note, Willem Buiter and team also pour cold water on market expectations for the EFSF pointing out, as we have done for a few weeks now at every suggestion, that all the different options have their shortcomings and are unlikely to be implemented quickly.
We have written extensively over the course of the last few weeks on the increasing rhetoric from Asia over currency fluctuations and furthermore how China was playing the US and Europe off against one another in a quasi-trade-war gambit. A flurry of headlines today/tonight via Bloomberg reminded us to revisit what is also a very worrying trend in Chinese CDS (and more broadly Asian sovereigns), as perhaps sophisticated investors look for the cheapest low cost long vol trades on a non-decoupled world devolving to its lowest common denominator. Between Carney's 'substantially undervalued Yuan' comments, record slides in Dim Sum Bonds, growing concerns over growth longevity, Japanese retail sales, Aussie home prices, Sony's troubles in currency-land, and Barclay's warning of a restart to the Yuan peg in the case of global recession - contagion and transmission channels appear alive and well in global trade.
As G-Pap goes from meeting to meeting with his hand held out making promises to asset strip and tax his country into oblivion, AP is reporting that Deputy PM Theodore Pangalos believes that the country's tax-ability is exhausted (and has exhausted for some time). It is truly astounding that this farce has gone on for so long even as it appears (from the riots/strikes/press) that everyone (serfs and lords alike now) sees through the plans.
The "BBC TV" trader, whose clip Zero Hedge first presented to the broader world and has since become an internet sensation with well over 1 million views, has just made the prime time TV circuit with a first stop on CNN. Here is some more of his story.
Morgan Stanley has released "A panorama of the European Debt system" - easily the most comprehensive summary analysis (in 83 pages) of the Eurozone. To wit from the authors: "In this primer, we have compiled the key background information and statistics relevant to the context in which the European debt markets operate, encompassing Europe’s Institutional Framework, the ECB and the banking system, as well as sovereign, corporate and household debt, both in aggregate and by country. The compilation reflects the most frequently asked questions our economics and strategy teams receive from clients globally." Anyone who has ever had questions or been generaly curious about the uber-dysfuctional European debt system, and that would be everyone, especially the ECB, must read this document, if nothing else for the plethora of pretty charts.
Diversion time. According to The Hill, in an elaborate sting/entrapment operation, the FBI arrested Rezwan Ferdaus for plotting to use drone airplanes loaded with C4 explosives and fly them into the Pentagon and Capitol. Ferdaus was made to believe he was working with members of al Qaeda, who were actually undercover agents. From The Hill: "According to the DOJ, Ferdaus aimed to create a devastating psychological impact with the attacks, saying at one point, “I just can't stop; there is no other choice for me." "Although Ferdaus was presented with multiple opportunities to back out of his plan, including, being told that his attack would likely kill women and children, the affidavit alleges that Ferdaus never wavered in his desire to carry out the attacks,” reads a DOJ press release." It is ironic how every time there is a major drop in the market or the president's rating reaches new lows we are reminded just how profoundly everyone overestimates their security, and supposedly liberty, in this (once) greatest country on earth.
When one compiles the annals of the great deflationists of the early 21st century, they will be hard pressed to decide who is deserving of the title most ferocious deflationist in a runoff between David Rosenberg and Gary Schilling. And while David did not have much notable to say today, despite his daily release of interesting and insightful commentary from his perch atop Gluskin Sheff, Gary Schilling took advantage of the media vacuum to appear on Bloomberg TV and preach, what else, deflation. Among the topics touched upon were the #1 issue du jour - the Chinese hard landing, presented earlier here, and the resulting collapse in copper, on bond market volatility, on investing and speculation, and lastly on the S&P, which just like Rosenberg, he see as deserving of a 10x multiple applied to a soon to be revised S&P 500 EPS of 80 (do the math). All in all sensible stuff except for one thing: his statement "Inflating away is an excess supply world is almost impossible, even for the Fed" leaves a little to be desired. While he may be spot on, it does not mean the Fed will not try. And try it will: we expect rumblings for full blown LSAP to commence in a few days, and QE4 in which the Fed will pull a BOJ and buy ETFs, REITs (in addition to MBS and Agency bonds) early in 2012, after which it will be time to quietly depart from these continental US, or else load up on lead, spam and precious metals.
Update: the correct translation is that as of 5pm the debt has not been paid.
In this messed up post-Keynesian world which is so insolvent, it is virtually impossible to keep track of who is about to default, either technically, selectively, or really, who is already bankrupt, who is hyperinflating, and so forth. And while we all know that Europe and the US can at best hope to kick the can for a month at a time until finally they all have to face the truth, we are happy to bring to your attention the latest entrant to the technical default club: Ukraine, which will shortly join its former USSR satellite Belarus in the hyperinflation club. The fact is that the Ukraine is slowly imploding - the government had stopped Treasury payments for all budget expenses in an attempt to accumulate the cash needed to make a coupon payment on debt and which apparently investors are unwilling to roll. In all fairness, the news update indicates that the country just barely made the 5.3 billion hryvnia payment, but that may be it for now. What about the next one? Time to add some Ukraine CDS to that bankrupt sovereign basket, no matter how overflowing it may be at this point.
Around 11:15 this morning, I left my flat and headed towards the Cape Town Gold Coin Exchange to check out their kruggerrand prices today. (Note: They charge around 10% over spot, and buy coins for about 1% over spot. This is inclusive for all major coins that they carry. They have kruggerrands, eagles, and maple leaf coins in stock.) I was sitting at a red light not too far from the new football stadium they built for last year’s World Cup tournament, when suddenly all the traffic lights went out. I thought it was just a weird anomaly, so I proceeded cautiously. By the time I reached the coin shop, I realized that the whole city was without power. Again. Entire buildings had shut down, stores closed, and schools let out. It was a full-blown blackout… and it lasted for several hours. This sort of thing is not uncommon in South Africa. Politicians will tell you that electrical demand is outpacing supply because of the country’s rapidly growing economy. That’s one way to put it– lemons into lemonade.
The second sequential ban of short selling in Europe, which was supposed to expire at the end of the month, has just been extended. At this point we are certain Europe will not allow shorting of financial stocks. Ever. Or at least until the Eurozone implodes... Which will be far sooner than 'ever.'
- ITALY MARKET REGULATOR CONSOB EXTENDS SHORT-SELLING BAN - BBG
- SPAIN'S CNMV REGULATOR EXTENDS SHORT-SELLING BAN - BBG
Next to join the part: France. In other news, since the short sale ban was instituted, SocGen is down 18.5% and UniCredit is down 26.6%.
Those who follow the repo market are well aware that something is quite odd with the 5 Year point on the repo curve. While most other bonds trade normal, the 5 Year OTR trades special. And not just special: really special (see chart below) at -225 bps, a number which has soared in the past 4 days, when it was just 0.00% on September 22. And while we will not discuss what is happening in the repo market in this post (judging by this fact, nothing good), it did help with today's brand spanking new record low yield 5 Year bond auction, which courtesy of the repo skew and certainly courtesy of Operation Twist, just priced at an all time low 1.015%, well inside of the 1.03% When Issued, and printed at a 3.04 Bid To Cover, substantially above the recent average 2.76, not to mention a surge in Indirect Bidding to the tune of 46%, well above the average. So even though the 5 Year auction was a stunning success, sending the 5 Year to under 1%, what it telegraphs is that there is something very messed up in shadow banking, where both money markets and repo are getting gutted courtesy of Europe. We expect ongoing such risk transfer from shadow into sovereign debt: a development which as we discussed previously is very bad.
Man Down As Hedge Fund Redemptions Arrive: 25% Of Hedge Funds Industry To Follow Into That Good NightSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/28/2011 - 11:15
It was just yesterday that we, as it happens prophetically, said that "we fear the hedge fund space, which at last check was approaching $2 trillion in AUM, will collapse by 25% after the new year when the full carnage of the redemption requests is made public...we certainly had no idea just how pervasive the decimation within the hedge funds ranks was until we saw the mid-September results. We really, really hope the collusive short squeeze-cum-month end rally works out for the hedge fund community, because it really will be "or else." Well, as of today it is nearing "or else" for the world's largest hedge fund Man Group, which is down, yup, 25% today on, you guessed it, redemptions. There is, however, good news for all hedge fund managers reading us today: you will know whether or not you are in business next year, by this friday. As Dow Jones reports, "Friday marks a deadline for investors in many hedge funds with monthly and quarterly liquidity to say they want their capital back." In other words the pain is over, as 25% of hedge fund managers will hear their death sentence in 48 hours and the painful expectation of the inevitable ends.
The risk faced by those who are analyzing macro trends is sounding like a broken record. For those younger readers who have no idea what that means, imagine an MP3 song that will stick on and endlessly repeat a random segment of the song you are listening to until you give your device a sharp knock on the side. That's what a broken record sounded like. The world economy is on the ropes and it won't ever recover. At least not to anything resembling its recent past. Neither the gleeful housing bubble nor the free-flowing credit that enabled that side bubble to emerge will return. The resources simply do not exist to repeat that final orgy of consumption. A new reality is upon us and - while fortunately more and more people are choosing to face our predicament rather than pretend the current risks and challenges do not really exist - the absolute numbers are still small and for the most part don't inlcude any of our political leaders.