While the focus of most of the dreadful employment data in Europe is on the surging youth joblessness, there is another growing shift. The jobless crisis is affecting men more than women, according to the EU labor force survey. As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, the employment rate for men fell 0.3 percentage point to 69.8 percent in 2012, while rising 0.1 percentage point for women to 58.6 percent. What is perhaps even more concerning is the growing divergence between employment rates across the union (remembering all these nations are driven by the same monetary policy) from Holland's 75.1% employment rate to only 51.3% of employable citizens working in Greece. It is perhaps no wonder that Germany is having second thoughts over aiding the 'fourth world' nation.
In a confirmation that the S&P is starting to get worried about the drones surrounding the McGraw Hill building resulting from the ongoing litigation with Eric Holder's Department of Injustice, not to mention a reminder that US downgrades always happen after hours, while upgrades must hit before the market opens, Standard & Poors just upgraded the Standard & Poors 500 the US outlook from Negative to Stable. On what "receding fiscal risks" did the S&P raise its assessment of the US - the fact that the US is now at its debt limit, that there is no imminent resolution to the credit issue, or the 105% and rising debt/GDP - read on to find out. And of course, the countdown until the S&P wristslap settlement with the DOJ is announced begins now, as does the upgrade watch by Buffett's controlled Moody's of the US to AAAA++++.
It is perhaps too early to judge the impact of Edward Snowden's confirmation of conspiracy fact, but in Pentagon Papers' Daniel Ellsberg opinion in today's Guardian, there has not been a more important leak in American history. The "executive coup" against the US constitution that has, at first sercretly but increasingly openly, been under way since 9/11 could finally be stalled by the Whistleblower's efforts. Ellsberg notes Senator Frank Church's 1975 comments on the NSA warning of the dangerous prospect that America's intelligence gathering capability "at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left," noting 'that has now happened'. That is what Snowden has exposed, with official, secret documents. The NSA, FBI and CIA have, with the new digital technology, surveillance powers over our own citizens that the Stasi – the secret police in the former "democratic republic" of East Germany – could scarcely have dreamed of.
Yet another month in which the Ben Bernanke risk managed S&P500 Onshore Fund outperforms 93% of all other actively managed brand name hedge funds, and is on pace for the fifth year in a row in which the 2/20 world will underperform the S&P500. And the best news: PM Ben does not charge 2 and 20. Of course, there is no free lunch, and his dues will come when the world one day realizes just what the cost of reflating the biggest asset bubble in history is, but for now the music is playing and the dancing continues. As for the best funds out there? Those focusing on Japan, if only for a little longer.
The last time we encountered the name Stephane Richard, CEO of France Telecom Orange, he was deflecting poor iPhone sales on frugal customers. While we don't know if French customers have become less frugal in the past two months, we do know that Mr. Richard has bigger problems on his hands than declining top and bottom lines: such as suddenly being embroiled in the Bernard Tapie corruption scandal that previously focused on Christine Lagarde, and which this morning led to the CEO being held for questioning over his role in a 2008 arbitration process that resulted in a large pay-out to businessman Bernard Tapie, a judicial source said. "Richard was at the time head of cabinet to Christine Lagarde, who was finance minister to conservative former president Nicolas Sarkozy before she became head of the International Monetary Fund."
Currency markets are anticipating the conclusion of the BOJ meeting on Tuesday. No changes are expected to the current policy scheme and asset purchase targets, but it is likely that the committee will introduce measures to try to stem JGB volatility. Based on their recent record, it is unlikely they will succeed. Later in the week, the focal point will shift to the US where the monthly Treasury statement on Wednesday and retail sales data on Thursday will shed more light on how automatic federal spending cuts are affecting the broader economy.
- In Hong Kong, ex-CIA man may not escape U.S. reach (Reuters)
- Backlash over US snooping intensifies (FT)
- Apple to Revamp IPhone Software, Ending Product Funk (BBG)
- Nothing like revising history: Japan revises up Q1 growth to annual 4.1% (FT), just don't look at the trade deficit
- Coffee Exports From Indonesia Seen Slumping to Two-Year Low (BBG)
- Euro bailout Troika nears end of road with patchy record (Reuters)
- Treasuries Little Changed Before Bullard Speaks Amid QE Debate (BBG)
- Schwab Topping Goldman Sachs Presages Return to Stocks (BBG)
- Hedge funds take over another city: London’s Forced Renters Fuel Apartment Investing Boom (BBG)
Japan goes to bed with another absolutely ridiculously volatile session in the books following a 5%, or 637 point move higher in the PenNIKKEIstock Market closing at over 13514, which if taking the futures action going heading to Sunday night into account was nearly 1000 points. With volatility like this who needs a central bank with price stability as its primary mandate. The driver, as usual, was the USDJPY, which moved several hundred pips on delayed reaction from Friday's NFP data as well as on a variety of upward historical revisions to Japanece economic data, but not the trade deficit, which came at the third highest and which continues to elude Abenomics. Fear not: one day soon consumers will just say no to Samsung TVs and buy Sony, or so the thinking goes. erhaps the most interesting news out of Asia was the spreading of FX vol tremors to a new participant India, which is the latest entrant into the currency wars, even if involuntarily, where the Rupee plunged to 58, the lowest ever against the dollar.
A miss for the trade balance (extending the slide into bigger and bigger deficits), positive 'revisions' to rear-view mirror data on nominal GDP, a world of carry traders looking for a better exit point (or staring at margin calls), and more PR coverage of Abe's third arrow have created the perfect short-squeeze storm in Japanese stocks. While USDJPY managed to creep back above 98 (trading in a relatively modest 100 pip range), and JGBs rapidly recovered from early negative-correlated-to-equity-based losses to trade 1-2bps lower in yield, the broad Japanese equity market - TOPIX - is up almost 5%. This is it's best day since March 2011 and second-best day since Lehman. S&P futures are up a mere 2 points, Treasury futures are unchanged, and Gold is modestly higher. So simply put, Japanese stocks are on their own tonight in a land of Abe(g)nomics as every other asset (risk-on or risk-off) sits idly by.
With JPY back around 98 and the Nikkei 225 indicating further advances, perhaps the fears in the market are mis-represented - at least that's what the other Goldman desk would have you believe. But, as The Japan Times reports, even glorious leader Abe's own LDP party are beginning to voice concerns that all this fluff is - well - just that. As we outlined here the market is already concerned, and additionally as Goldman notes, the fact that the JGBi expected inflation level - a now symbolic indicator of policy success since Kuroda quoted it - is now suddenly moving counter to its previous extended trend could possibly indicate the markets’ early signal questioning the credibility of the BOJ policy. The recent stock price collapse, Lower House LDP lawmakers noted "shows the market expects little (of Abenomics)." The sky-high approval ratings (and business confidence) for the Abe Cabinet have been bolstered by the resurgence of the benchmark Nikkei since 'Abe(g)nomics began. The stock market’s downturn, therefore, has created a sense of crisis among some members of the ruling LDP, because "Abenomics could fail."
Whenever Juncker is lying, or Goldman openly commands the muppets to buy, you know the situation is serious, and Goldman has a lot of unwinding to do. Which is precisely what just happened following the Squid's reco to buy Nikkei September futures (NKU3) ahead of the BOJ meeting. What is Goldman's thesis in a nutshell: hope may be fading in Abenomics, but the "incentives for Governor Kuroda to use the [upcoming BOJ] meeting to signal a firmer and clearer commitment to the easing course, and to highlight the potential to do more, are high and rising." In other words, please bet the farm on more of the same jawboning that lead to a 20% loss for anyone who bought as recently as 2 weeks ago. Oh, and by the way, complete the sentence, whenever a client is buying from a Goldman flow trader, the Goldman flow trader is [____].
"I think we are going to go through the ringer... It is bad enough already, but there is no way that we can step back."
"I think monetizing debt and spending and deficit is going to get much, much worse until the world rejects the dollar."
"when people become frightened, they look for things of real value, and I don't think they can repeal the laws of economics that says that for 6,000 years metals have been beneficial. They will go to monetary metals, gold and silver"
"...if we have an authoritarian government, that is our greatest threat. So, I would like to think that there is no perfect protection, other than shrinking the size and scope and power of government, so that we can be left alone and take care of ourselves."
Goldbugs the world over may not know it, but the one catalyst they are all waiting for, is for the PBOC to throw in the towel to Bernanke's and Kuroda's liquidity tsunami and join in the global reflation effort. Alas, those hoping the Chinese central bank would do just this on Friday were disappointed. Moments ago the 21st Century Business Herald, via MNI, reported that the People's Bank of China "decided to shelve plans to inject short-term liquidity into the market late Friday because of concerns it would be sending the wrong signal in light of the government's ongoing commitment to its "prudent" monetary policy stance. Rumors hit the market mid-afternoon about an injection in the region of CNY150 bln via the PBOC's rarely-used short-term liquidity operation (SLO) tool. But how much longer can it avoid the inevitable: what happens when overnight loan yields soar to 20% or 30% or more, and when the repo and SHIBOR markets lock up and no overnight unsecured wholesale funding is available? Because when China finally does join what is already an historic liquidity tsunami then deflation will be the last thing the world will have to worry about. In the meantime, we welcome every chance to dollar cost average lower on physical hard assets, the same hard assets that none other than 1 billion concerned Chinese will direct their attention to when inflation makes it long overdue comeback to the world's most populous country.