Worried that manipulated official data is the only thing one has to "predict" on a day to day basis in a world drenched with "Baffle with BS", where China expanding and contracting at the same time is perfectly normal, and where Chicago PMI soaring by an 8 sigma beat to multi year highs precedes by one day the lowest US manufacturing print in 4 years? Turns out that's not all - in addition to everything else, one should also realize that key market moving data continues to be disseminated ahead of its official release time to those who have the "funds" and the interest in trading on early leaks. Take today's key economic data point: the Manufacturing ISM. As Nanex shows, trading in SPY exploded at 09:59:59.985, which is 15 milliseconds before the ISM's Manufacturing number released at 10:00:00. Activity in the eMini (traded in Chicago), exploded at 09:59:59.992, which is 8 milliseconds before the news release, but 7 milliseconds after SPY. Surely someone decided to perform a massive headfake and like a plunging goaltender during a penalty kick just happened to guess the direction right. That, or the clock on the CQS tape is just a little off. Oh, and this is merely today's example of early distribution of data to those who have the means(and the funds) to trade on it. Everyone else - well, the saying involving a sucker, a poker table and confusion, is quite applicable right now...
A German election is drawing close and it is evident in many small things that are happening lately. The latest is that Mrs. Merkel is now apparently distancing herself from her erstwhile demands to create a 'fiscal union' and give the eurocracy in Brussels more powers. Incidentally, her change of heart comes shortly after her summit with France's president Hollande, which indicates that the latter has probably let her know that France is none too happy with the idea either. She still talks about the alleged need for 'more policy coordination', but luckily handing more powers to the bureaucrats in Brussels seems to be off the table for now.
Here's the challenge the Status Quo monetary and fiscal authorities faced in the 2008 global financial meltdown: how do we maintain the power structure and keep the masses passive while masking the fact that the Status Quo is broken? The solution: sell bonds to fund benefits to the masses, lower interest rates to zero to keep the explosive rise in fiscal deficits affordable, and rapidly inflate new bubbles in assets that painlessly enrich the top 25% of households who then increase their borrowing and spending, i.e. the "wealth effect." The political calculus is simple: the bottom half of households don't vote, don't contribute to political campaigns and don't have enough income to borrow huge sums of money to enrich the banks. They are thus non-entities in the fiscal-monetary project of maintaining the power structure of the Status Quo. All the Status Quo needs to do is borrow enough money to fund social programs that keep the masses passive and silent: food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, SSI permanent disability, unemployment, etc. Unfortunately for the Powers That Be, the cost of placating the rapidly increasing marginalized populace is rising much faster than tax revenues.
Ever feel like you can't put that math PhD to good use anymore and make money scalping ahead of order flow, sub-pennying and frontrunning retail in normal and dark pool markets because volumes are just off 1929 levels? Then the Chicago Fed has an offer you just can't refuse. And since money printers can't be choosers, the Fed may also have a spot for those who tried their hand at the New Media (i.e., churning slideshows): "Develop presentations and clarify complex issues for broad audiences." Yet what is most interesting is the following requirement: "Interact with highly informed and technically skilled outside stakeholders while preserving the reputation and credibility of the Reserve Bank." We'll just let that one slide...
The only thing more ominous for the world than a Hindenburg Omen sighting is a Bilderberg Group meeting. The concentration of politicians and business leaders has meant the organisation, founded at the Bilderberg Hotel near Arnhem in 1954, has faced accusations of secrecy. Meetings take place behind closed doors, with a ban on journalists. We suspect the agenda (how the US and Europe can promote growth, the way 'big data' is changing 'almost everything', the challenges facing the continent of Africa, and the threat of cyber warfare) has been somewhat re-arranged as market volatility picks up and the status quo begins to quake once again. The annual gathering of the royalty, statesmen, and business leaders, conspiratorially believed to run the world (snubbing their Illuminati peers and Freemason fellows), will take place this week at the Grove Hotel in London, England. The Telegraph provides the full list of attendees below - for those autogrpah seekers - including Britain's George Osborne, US' Henry Kissinger, Peter Sutherland (the chairman of Goldman Sachs), the Fed's Kevin Warsh, Jeff Bezos?, Peter Thiel, Italy's Mario Monti, and Spain's de Guindos.
We can only imagine that the unemployment data must be so good that the French need a little more time to get positioned for the market's exuberance. It seems the government's statistical agency has proclaimed that:
- *INSEE WON'T BE ABLE TO PROVIDE FULL 1Q FRENCH UNEMPLOYMENT DATA
- *INSEE WAS SCHEDULED TO PUBLISH 1Q UNEMPLOYMENT DATA ON JUNE 6
Of course, we are sure this has nothing to do with the nation being near depression (as we discussed here and here most recently) and jobseekers at all-time record highs. It seems 'when the news is bad, "lie"' is trumped by 'when the news is dreadful, "don't report it"'.
If the further away from USDJPY 105-110, the latest BOJ "soft target" on the pair, we go, the weaker the case for Abenomics, than we wouldn't be surprised if Japan's marionette PM, whose only bidding was to reflate global stock markets, price stability, quality of Japanese life and soaring import costs, be damned, is about to see an escalation in bathroom runs, leading to yet another disgraced exit, hopefully his final this time, from Japanese politics. And with that the great Japanese reflation experiment will end. Nikkei futures continue to fade - getting closer and closer to the 20% correction that marks the start of the Japanese bear market. In the US, everyone's favorite ETF - homebuilders - are now down 7.4% from Friday morning.
It may come as a surprise to some that the total level of commercial bank loans outstanding as of the most recent week, May 22, was "only" $7.303 trillion. We say only because this number is $20 billion less than the total commercial loans outstanding as of the weeks following the Lehman failure, just before the most epic deleveraging episode in recent US history began. It is also just $600 billion higher than the cyclical lows of $6.7 trillion (net of the February 2010 readjustment of the commercial loan terminology). So does this mean that deposits in the US financial system have been unchanged in the past nearly 5 years? Not at all. As the chart below shows, while commercial loans have flatlined, deposits, which previously used to track loans on a dollar for dollar basis, took off, and are now at $9.4 trillion (as per the latest H.8), or $2.2 trillion more than the $7.2 trillion when commercial banks loan hits a record in October 2008, just after Lehman filed. What's more notable, is that as of the latest week, the excess of deposits over loans just hit an all time record of $2.079 trillion
UPDATE: BIST-100 Closes -10.47% - Biggest drop since March 2003
Until mid-last week, the Turkish equity market was up 90% from the start of 2012 and up 19.5% in 2013. Of course, why not. Global easy money and a nation in the middle of economic and geopolitical hotspots - buy it with both hands and feet. However, it appears reality is starting to sink in. Last week's (and ongoing) social unrest is beginning to take the shine off the hot-money flows. The broad Turkish stock market is now down 17% from its highs last week (very reminiscent of Japan) having given up in 3 days the gains from the first five months of the year. Turkish bond yields also spiked (moar hot-money outflows from 'reaching for yield') by their most on record (71bps) to 6.78%.
So much for the Chicago PMI 8 Sigma renaissance. Moments ago the Manufacturing ISM came out and confirmed that all those "other" diffusion indices were correct, except for the "data" out of Chicago (yes, shocking). Printing at a contractionary 49.0, this was a drop from 50.7, well below expectations of 51.0 (and far below the cartoonish Joe Lavorgna's revised 53.0 forecast). More importantly, this was the worst ISM headline print since June 2009, the first sub-50 print since November 2012, while the New Orders of 48.8, was the worst since July 2012. Both Production and Backlogs tumbled by -4.9 and -5.0 to 48.6, and 48.0 respectively. In brief, of the 11 series tracked by the ISM, only 3 posted a reading over 50 in May. This compares to just 2 out of 11 that were below 50 in April. Oh well, so much for this recovery. But the good news for the market is that today is really bad news is really good news day, and stocks have soared as according to the vacuum tubes, the result means no taper. The farce must go on.
While "risk-on, risk-off" has been an oft-repeated mantra in this period of extreme monetary policy machinations, it would appear the most relevant factor in the last six months is in fact "Abenomics-on" as a concerted plan to devalue the JPY has provided ammunition for carry traders to rampage through every dismal risk asset in the world. After collapsing through the Maginot Line of 100 on May 9th, JPY has rallied back and spent the last two weeks fighting over 101. It appears, given today's shift back under 100 that, for now, Abe is going to need a bigger boat. It seems, as with the Fed's balance sheets, that it's not about the 'stock' of USDJPY (level) but the 'flow' (depreciation rate) if risk assets are to continue their march ever higher in the face of a not-so-bullish reality. As one would expect, NKY futures and US (and European) equities are fading fast along with this 'driver'.
By my count we are now in our fourth “Recovery Summer.” The recession was officially (and mistakenly) declared over in June 09. Yet, no data series in economics not influenced drastically by liquidity and a zero interest rate policy (e.g., stock prices and home prices) supports the claim. Recovery advocates point to the stock market as a barometer of how well the economy is doing. A key takeaway is that the stock market misled people during the 1930s and may be doing the same thing today. Those who want to argue against this position will declare the 1930s an unfair comparison because it was a Great Depression. Just what makes them think what we are in today is not the same thing, although not yet as far advanced. Given the trillions of dollars wasted to hide the true condition of the economy, that is not an unreasonable possibility. This liquidity hides the true nature of the economy (also falsely drives up financial asset prices) and creates even bigger distortions in the real economy.
While we are told day-after-day just how 'fixed' Europe is; just how 'past the crisis' they are; and just how close to banking union; the reality is the nations of Europe are as disparate as they have ever been. We discussed the dismal unemployment picture last week, but one glance at the chart below will highlight the growing divergence between the haves and have-nots in Europe. As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, unemployment rates are diverging at record levels in the euro area.
In almost every asset class, volatility has made a phoenix-like return in the last few days/weeks and while equity markets tumbled Friday into month-end, the bigger context is still up, up, and away (and down and down for bonds). From disinflationary signals to emerging market outflows and from fixed income market developments to margin, leverage, and valuations, here is the 'you are here' map for the month ahead.