A lot of Americans know that the US government is out of control. Anyone who has cared enough to study the US Constitution even a little knows this. Still, very few of these people are taking any significant action, and largely because of one error: They are waiting for “the good guys” to show up and fix things. Some think that certain groups of politicians will pull it together and fix things, or that one magnificent politician will ride in to fix things. Others think that certain members of the military will step in and slap the politicians back into line. And, we're sure there are other variations. There are several problems with this. The sad truth: No one is going to ride in and save you. If you want things to get better, then YOU will have to make them better. YOU will have to stand up and take the arrows, yourself. Liberty, at this stage of human development, requires risk and pain.
Anyone waiting with bated breath for the moment when cell H25 in the daily Comex gold inventory update (the one showing JPM's total holdings of Eligible gold) shows 0.000 will have to wait at least one more day. According to today's update, as of Thursday (so excluding today's post-Europe close gold shenannigans) JPM's eligible for delivery gold inventory did not receive any new gold, which started the day at yesterday's record low (for the firm) level of 141,581.5 troy ounces, and would have ended flat, had it not been for the reclassification of 17.5k ounces of registered gold into eligible.
It appears Chuck has finally met his match, and his name is Jamie...
For the fifth week in a row, US Macro data deteriorated markedly (not helped at all by today's GDP miss). The Q1 earnings picture is dismal, with beats far less than average and revenues hugely disappointing. But, in light of all that reality, where-ever you look, screens are green. Despite some softness today (oil, S&P, and Nasdaq down) the week showed impressive gains for equities amid the lowest volume week in three months (mostly driven by the epic short squeeze on Tuesday), modest gains for Treasuries (yields lower by 2-4bps), significant outperformance by precious metals (up over 3-4% on the week - having given some back in a post-Europe smackdown today), and WTI crude up over 5% on the week. Perhaps the most notable fact about the week (apart from equity's inexorable bid in the face of nothing positive at all) was the surge in JPY. In an Abenomics-shattering print, last night's deflation data helped USDJPY rally its most in 11 months for the week. While all asunder will be celebrating another green week, it is perhaps worth noting that while the Russell gained 1.3% from Monday's close, the 'most-shorted' names of that index more than tripled that performance - gaining 4.4% on the week... squeeeeze.
Another day, another muppet-slaying by the true master. Recall Goldman Sachs from April 10:
We recommend going short 10-year US Treasuries via June futures (TYM3) at the current level of 132-20 for an initial price target of 130-00 and stops on a close above 134-00. In yields space, the corresponding move is from the current 1.76% to around 2.10%, and stops on a close around 1.60% - corresponding to the lows from last November.
Fast forward to today where just out from Bloomberg we read...
- TY Poised for Highest Close Since Dec. 11
Sorry muppets, you just got slain. Again.
Some call it the “holy rail.” In Alberta Canada, an estimated 120,000 barrels of oil per day are shipped out by train to the U.S. east coast and Gulf coast region. By the end of the year - when several terminals are completed - that number could reach 200,000 barrels a day. Despite rail costs doubling pipeline tariffs, the logistics have often been worth the time for producers - those that have been able to get a better price railing it past the mid-continent refineries all the way to the US East Coast and Gulf Coast. But just as Canadian rail use is set to soar again, say analysts - rail may no longer be economic. In fact, rail could be a victim of its own success.
German finance minister Schaeuble just explained, in a seeming effort to assuage rising fears that the one core nation left in Europe will choose the game-theoretically optimal first-defection wins strategy, that "Germany benefits from the Euro more than others." Indeed it does; as German firms are buying up strong competitors, clients or suppliers at a time when those companies are struggling to stay afloat through years of recession in their home markets and as shaky banks restrict access to credit. It appears that the slow-and-steady bloodless invasion of Europe can be summed up by the following virtuous circle of Germany's hidden strategy. Of course, as Schaeuble explained later in his missive, "it is nonsense" that Germany wants a German Europe and that the Euro exchange rates is "Okay" for Germany.
The controversial cybersecurity bill, known, ever so gently as, the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) - since it's for your own good - that passed the House last week looks set to be shelved in the Senate according to representatives. The bill would have allowed the federal government to share classified "cyber threat" information with companies, but it also provided provisions that would have allowed companies to share information about specific users with the government. Privacy advocates also worried, rightly so given previous experience, that the National Security Administration would have gotten involved. As US News reports, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., chairman of the committee, said the passage of CISPA was "important," but said the bill's "privacy protections are insufficient." One of CISPA's staunchest opponents, the ACLU, added, "CISPA is too controversial, it's too expansive, it's just not the same sort of program contemplated by the Senate last year." While this is a short-term victory for everyone who uses the web, the ACLU warns, "we need to be vigilant as the year moves on to make sure that whatever the next product is, it's not CISPA- lite."
Earlier in the week we discussed the dismal downward spiral that bank lending was implying for the euro-zone. Today, we get further confirmation that the credit creation business in Europe, the very life-blood of the pump-at-all-costs Keynesian economic world in which our super-inflated debt economies now live, is dead in the water. Not only did M3 come out well below expectations at 2.6% YoY (vs 3% Exp.) but loans to the private sector remain drastically in the red. The fragmentation across the individual nations is dramatic, indicating that even if Draghi were to cut rates next week it will be largely ineffective - given overnight rates are already close to zero and demand appears absolutely non-existent (due to balance sheet destruction). Of course, that is the entire point of the central bank, to lower the cost of funding to a point where it's impossible to refuse (force feed supply) but with the LTRO repayments an explicit tightening, banks delevering, and collateralizable assets in very short supply, Draghi will have to look long and hard to find an extraordinary measure to solve this vicious spiral.
Despite the many differences between China and the U.S., their basic problems are remarkably similiar: an economy that increasingly serves a tiny Elite, and a political/financial system that is incapable of meaningful reform. Setting aside the latest bird flu outbreak and sagging indicators of growth, China 2.0 is in trouble (with 1.0 being the Communist era of 1949 -1977 and 2.0 being the modernization/globalization era of 1978 - 2013), for it remains overly reliant on unsustainable growth dynamics. Add it all up and you get a clear picture of a government and economy that is incapable of making the kind of structural reforms that are needed to make growth sustainable.
And it was shaping up like your typical boring, noonish "gold-smackdown-so-JPM-can-refill-its-vault" Friday. Trust the White House to come out, guns blazing, false flags waving, and make those selling hard assets into the weekend think twice:
- US PURSUING "DEFINITIVE" EVIDENCE ON SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS
- WHITE HOUSE SAYS OPTIONS FOR DEALING WITH SYRIA USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT EXCLUSIVE TO, MILITARY FORCE
Well, you know what they say: seek and ye shall find. Just ask Bush. As for what the White House failed to mention is that the other options are, well, military force.
Gold and silver prices are plunging after the European equity markets closed. It seems someone got the tap on the shoulder and needed to fund some liquidity. Given the 'unusual' strength in high-beta European assets this week, it would suggest someone (or many someones) were short and squeezed to cover in a hurry and perhaps this post-close dump in gold and silver reflects the final end-of-week realization of losses that need to be funded.
It all makes so much sense. Broad European stocks have just completed their best week in 5 months. Even though today saw some of the exuberance wear off a little, the market is up 3.6% broadly (with Spain and Italy up around 5%) as everyone anticipates something magical from Draghi next week. Macro data is a disaster. Micro (earnings) data is far worse then expected. Italy remains government-less. The money (Merkel) faces problems at home. The Buba is strongly critical of the ECB and OMT/ESM plans. But apart from that, stocks ended near multi-year highs. The EUR closed down modestly on the week. European sovereign bonds are perhaps the canary in the coalmine here - as they have been smashed to near record low yields, the last 3 days have seen spreads leaking back wider (even as stocks continue to surge).