Demand for gold is likely to rise as the world heads towards a multi-currency reserve system under the impact of uncertainty about the stability of the dollar and the euro, the main official assets held by central banks and sovereign funds. This is the conclusion of a wide-ranging analysis of the world monetary system by Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, (OMFIF), the global monetary think-tank, in a report commissioned by the World Gold Council, the gold industry’s market development body. The report warns of “twin shocks” to the dollar and the euro and of a “coming dollar shock” and points out how gold would be a safe haven in a dollar crisis. “Gold has a lot going for it; it correlates negatively with the greenback, and no other reserve asset seems safe from the coming dollar shock.” “The world is preparing for possible twin shocks from the parlous. position of the two main reserve currencies, the dollar and the euro... The OMFIF offers a confidential, convenient and discreet forum to a unique membership of central banks, sovereign funds, financial policy-makers and market participants who interact with them. They note that “western economies have attempted to dismantle gold's monetary role. This has failed.”
- Foreign Hostages Die in Algeria’s Battle With Terrorists (Bloomberg)
- The latest bank to soon join the currency wars: McCafferty Says BOE Must Keep Open Mind on New Policy Tools (Bloomberg)
- US debt talks complicated by timing (FT)
- BOJ eyes open-ended asset buying, agrees new inflation goal (Reuters)
- AmEx Says U.S. Card Income Fell 42% as Loss Provisions Increased (BBG)
- Call to raise age for US’s Medicare (FT)
- Obama Promise to Raise Middle Class Living Already Seen in Peril (BBG)
- China Exits Slowdown as Quarterly Growth Tops Forecasts (BBG) - actually, as new Politburo says to make it appear that way
- Britain to drift out of European Union without reforms (Reuters)
- Republicans weigh interim debt-limit hike (FT)
- Abe's aide says Japan shouldn't fret if yen falls to 100 vs dlr (Reuters) ... and it was 90 just a few days ago
- PBOC May Seek More Liquidity Operations (Dow Jones)
So Much For That "Record Inflow" Into Equity Funds - Domestic Equities See $4.2 Billion Outflow In Most Recent WeekSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/18/2013 - 07:24
The most talked about story of the last week was undoubtedly the relentless chatter about that massive $18 billion in equity fund inflows as reported by Lipper (not ICI), which tracks primarily institutional and ETF flow of funds, and which, as we explained even before the Lipper data came out, was driven exclusively by a surge in bank deposits into the year end, to be recycled for risk investment purposes by the commercial banks' own prop desks. The details, however, were largely ignored by the mainstream media which took that inflow as an indication that the tide has finally turned and that the great rotation out of bonds into stocks is on. Turns out that just as we expected it was a year end calendar asset rebalancing. As Lipper reported earlier, the enthusiasm for US stocks appears to have abruptly ended, with a whopping $4.2 billion pumped out of domestic equities, offset by some $4.5 billion invested in non-domestic equities. The blended flow? Just $286 million going into equities. Now our math may be a little rusty, but $18 billion followed by $0.2 is not really indicative of an ongoing rotation out of bonds and into stocks, and is more indicative of a one-time, non-recurring event, just the opposite of all the Bank of America addbacks.
China’s monthly data dump was the main macro update overnight, which however with ongoing mockery of the Chinese data "goalseeking" and distribution methodologies, most recently by the likes of Goldman, UBS and ANZ, had purely political window dressing purposes for the new Chinese politburo. Sure enough, that all the data came precisely Goldilocks +1 was enough to put a smile on everyone's face. To wit - Q4 GDP growth came in just higher than consensus (+7.9%yoy v +7.8%). On a full year basis the economy grew by 7.8%, also a tad above expectations. Then we got industrial production, also just higher than expected (+10.3% v +10.2%) and retail sales - just higher as well (+15.2% v +15.1%). Much more important than meaningless, jiggered numbers, was the announcement from the PBOC that in light of the entire world going "open-ended" on easing, China - which now can't afford to lower rates for fears of rampant inflation together with importing everyone else's hot money - announced it will start short-term liquidity operations as additional tool for controlling liquidity, engaging in a reverse repo on a daily basis, which will have a maturity of less than 7 days. This way the central bank will be able to reacted almost instantly to any inflationary spikes across the economy, as it too has no choice but to ease although not by the conventional inflation targeting methods now used by everyone else.
Following Part 1 (History), Part 2 (Interventionism), and Part 3 (money vs. credit), Part 4 considers another kind of credit: the Real Bill, designed to provide a bridge between service providers and supply chains. Although initially appearing inflationary, it is the restriction of counterfeit credit that keeps Real Bills in tact as they will inevitably spontaneously circulate as a clearing mechanism for transactions (thus avoiding the credit inflation). In practice, the Real Bill is nothing more than the invoice of the wholesaler on the retailer. Opponents of Real Bills have a dilemma. They can either oppose them by means of enacting a coercive law, or they can allow them because they will spring into existence and circulate in a free market under the gold standard. We can hope that the principle of freedom and free markets leads everyone to the latter.
New York's apparent success as a financial and cultural center of the world (and anchor for the liquidity flood of the world's central banks via bank er bonuses) has an ugly side. The inflationary impact of the extremely wealthy is squeezing food prices to the point that many low income families simply cannot afford to eat. A dismally real picture of the situation in New York is exposed in a report by Food Bank NYC - One City, Two Realities. As The Daily News notes, many of the report’s findings are truly worrisome. For instance, between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of households with annual income below $25,000 that had trouble affording food increased a whopping 30%, with 70% of these households with kids reported difficulty affording 'needed' food. NYC's unemployment rate remains well above the nation's average and 54% of those are struggling as according to the Food Bank, “low [no] income families are making the difficult decision to reduce the nutritional quality of their meals by purchasing less expensive and unhealthy foods in order to afford the mandatory expenses that would keep a roof over their heads.” Participation in government food assistance programs continues to rise, and demand for emergency food programs continues to intensify as 54% expect to need assistance (SNAP) in the next 12 months.
A few years ago back when I used to watch an occasional bit of television, I would always have an internal debate with myself: which was more funny– Comedy Central, or CNBC? It was always a toss-up. One channel has talking puppets. The other has Steven Colbert. Both are satires of our bizarre reality. These days it seems financial media has surged ahead in this contest, rolling out one expert guest after another to beat a steady drum that economic recovery has settled on terra firma. Now, I’m an optimistic guy... and there are plenty of good news stories around the world. But just looking at the numbers, it’s clear that there is a major disconnect between sentiment and reality. On one hand, western governments and mainstream media sources tell people that their economies are recovering and moving forward. Sentiment is high, confidence is growing. Unfortunately the data show a completely different story...
With the Dell LBO potentially heralding the renaissance of re-leveraging risk transfer from equity-holders to credit-holders, Goldman's screen among investment grade and high-yield companies attempts to uncover the names most likely to engage in shareholder-friendly (or more specifically bond-holder unfriendly) events. From quantitative screens on cashflow, leverage, and cash to stock 'cheapness', industry suitablity, and management reputation, the following 47 names warrant further attention (in both CDS and equity markets).
Stock market performance during bull markets is mainly (89%) explained by the duration of the bull market (defined as an uptrendwithout any pull-backs of 20% or more). The conclusion: As long as no shock rocks the boat, the expected market return is +22% per annum. The current bull market (+117%) is a tad ahead of the expected performance. Time-dependency matters more in bull markets. In bear markets, fundamentals (or initial conditions) matter most. What does this mean for current market environment? Valuation is, depending on what you look at, either cheap (P/E ratio) or expensive (P/E 10,Tobin's Q, regression etc). Hence, all eyes have to be on the look-out for any external shocks.
A week ago, when Wells Fargo unleashed the so far quite disappointing earnings season for commercial banks (connected hedge funds like Goldman Sachs excluded) we reported that the bank's deposits had risen to a record $176 billion over loans on its books. Today we conduct the same analysis for the other big two commercial banks: Wells Fargo and JPMorgan (we ignore Citi as it is still a partially nationalized disaster). The results are presented below, together with a rather stunning observation.
As we noted earlier this month, the demand for both gold and silver 'physical' coins has been record-breaking as 2013 began. So much so, that now after selling over 6 million silver coins in 2013 so far, the US Mint has run out of silver eagles and has suspended sales. Furthermore, the Mint is saying that it will not restart sales until January 28th! With all asunder proclaiming victory and crisis averted based on the nominal price of stocks at five-year highs, Swiss interest rates no longer negative, and Spanish bond yields at 5%, it seems there are still a few that demand the wealth-preserving safe-haven of hard assets as the escalation of the currency wars shows no sign of abating.
The newly elected Japanese Prime Minister, Shinz? Abe, has caused quite a stir. The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, which scored a landslide victory in 2012’s election, he’s promised to restart the Japanese economy, whatever it takes. How will he do this? By “bold monetary policy”, what he means—and what he has said—is to end the independence of the Bank of Japan, and have the government dictate monetary policy directly. The perception is, the Bank of Japan will not only print yens and buy government bonds à la Quantitative Easing of old - it is also generally thought that Mr. Abe and the incoming Japanese government fully intend to target the yen against foreign currencies, like Switzerland has been doing with the euro. This perception is what has been driving the Nikkei 225 index higher, and driven the yen lower. But why was this decision triggered?
Absolutely "nobody" could have possibly anticipated that the week old French incursion into Mali could already have such disastrous consequences: a botched hostage rescue attempt by French commandos while leaving behind one of their team, a downed pilot on the first day of the confrontation, rebels that succeeded in capturing a strategic village and military post, and today, yet another hostage crisis in Algeria that has seen tens of hostages killed, potentially including Americans, following another botched rescue operation. Yet, in some ways, perhaps the stars have aligned just right for the US, which as Bloomberg reports, has wasted no time in sending not only drones in the air, but also boots on the ground.
Stocks surged (apart from AAPL) gloriously out of their super-narrow recent range, driven by recycled JPY rumors and some potential 'give' by the Republicans, and the rest of the risk-on complex tracked higher with it. Treasury yields pinged back to higher on the week as the S&P took out recent highs amid a very large surge in average trade size - something that often marks a climax in trend. It seems the selling of vol has hit its short-term limit (as VIX flatlined in general today) and so FX and credit were the levers today. Gold and Silver also surged on the day as Oil popped on the growing tensions in Algeria. In a premature release, Intel exposed an EPS beat, revenue miss, and weak guidance which sent algos scurrying and the share price snapping up and down into the close (and falling after). The bottom-line seems to be that the BoJ joining the infinite print brigade (and some very mixed US macro data) was enough to break us out of a narrow range - but the VWAP reversion into the close appears anything but follow through for the next leg up - as trade size suggests short-term trend change.