Equity markets continued to edge higher today as market participants grew hopeful that a full scale bailout of Spain will take place in the very near future. So much so that even though reports that Spain is to seek bailout this weekend was denied, the risk on sentiment held strong. As a result, SP/GE and IT/GE bond yield spreads tightened further, with IT 10s now yielding close to 5%. The renewed sense of security saw EUR/USD squeeze higher towards the psychologically important 1.3000 level, while GBP/USD also benefited from a weaker USD and is trading in minor positive territory in spite of another round of disappointing macro data from the UK. Going forward, the second half of the session sees the release of the latest ISM New York index, as well as the regular weekly API report. Both the BoE and the Fed are due to conduct another round of asset purchases at 1445BST and 1600BST respectively.
Bill Gross: The US Is A Debt Meth Addict - Unless The Fiscal Gap Is Closed Soon "The Damage Will Be Beyond Repair"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/02/2012 - 06:37
The highlights from Bill Gross' latest monthly piece:
- Armageddon is not around the corner. I don’t believe in the imminent demise of the U.S. economy and its financial markets. But I’m afraid for them.
- Unless we begin to close this gap, then the inevitable result will be that our debt/GDP ratio will continue to rise, the Fed would print money to pay for the deficiency, inflation would follow and the dollar would inevitably decline. Bonds would be burned to a crisp and stocks would certainly be singed; only gold and real assets would thrive within the “Ring of Fire.”
- If the fiscal gap isn’t closed even ever so gradually over the next few years, then rating services, dollar reserve holding nations and bond managers embarrassed into being reborn as vigilantes may together force a resolution that ends in tears. The damage would likely be beyond repair.
- The U.S. and its fellow serial abusers have been inhaling debt’s methamphetamine crystals for some time now, and kicking the habit looks incredibly difficult.
- RBA Cuts Rate to 3.25% as Mining-Driven Growth Wanes (Reuters)
- Republicans Not Buying Bernanke’s QE3 Defense (WSJ)
- Spain ready for bailout, Germany signals "wait" (Reuters)
- EU says prop trading and investment banking should be separated from deposit taking (Reuters)
- Call for bank bonuses to be paid in debt (FT)
- Spanish Banks Need More Capital Than Tests Find, Moody’s Says (Bloomberg) ... as we explained on Friday
- "Fiscal cliff" to hit 90% of US families (FT)
- The casualties of Chesapeake's "land grab" across America (Reuters)
- U.K. Government Needs to Do More to Boost Weak Economy, BCC Says (Bloomberg)
- World Bank Sees Long Crisis Effect (WSJ)
- UBS Co-Worker Says He Used Adoboli’s Umbrella Account (Bloomberg)
- And more easing: South Korea central bank switches tack to encourage growth (Reuters)
In a world in which markets are simply policy instruments of central planners it is no surprise that the only thing that matters is how much money is injected by any given central bank at any given time. Last night, following the Fed and the BOJ, it was the turn of Australia, which in a "surprise" move cut policy rates by 25 bps. From SocGen: "Reacting to a weaker global economic outlook, which has moderated the outlook for growth in Australia, the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its policy rate today by 25bp to 3.25%, a move that was predicted by only a minority of forecasters (including us). Nevertheless, we believe that markets are too aggressively priced for further rate reductions: we expect a low of 3.00%, to be reached by year-end, but the swap market is currently discounting a low of 2.4% by mid-2013. The reasons the RBA stated for lowering rates centered mostly on the global economic outlook, which has softened over recent months, not least because of greater uncertainty about near-term prospects in China, and hence the outlook for Australia is seen as a “little weaker”. The RBA also stated that the resource investment peak may be lower than previously thought." Sure enough, the move sent Australian stocks to 5 month highs, and global equity futures spiking. Of course, in the open-ended global race to debase perhaps it is more surprising i) they did not do this sooner and ii) not more banks have "cut" yet. Ironically, while the ECB, BOE and SNB are still contemplating next steps to catch up with Bernanke, it is the BOJ which in the abysmal failure of its own QE 8 from three weeks ago, is now contemplating QE 9 - the foreign bond edition (because buying treasury and corporate bonds, ETFs and REITs is never enough). Naturally, all this additional liquidity and promises thereof, has sent futures to fresh highs as more and more latent inflation is loaded up in the global monetary system.
We are well aware that Calvinists consider patron saints a form of idolatry, but for the most part Christians and many non-Christians alike see with favor having an advocate intercede on their behalf in the many problems that beset their lives. Team Europe (golf) had one in Seve (Ballesteros) this past Sunday in Medinah, Illinois, as the Europeans overcame a record insurmountable lead (away from home) to retain the Ryder Cup. We could say that Obama, by not having the Justice Department bring to trial key members of the Thug-elite, became the patron saint of “gentler capitalism”; that’s probably what he will prefer to be known, using the pretext of further endangering an already divided nation. But that is precisely where he is wrong. It isn’t “gentler capitalism” that he has helped. By his lack of courageous action, he has interceded on behalf of the Thug-elite… and, although we are sure such was not his intention, he has become, de facto, St. Barack Obama, Patron Saint of Predatory Capitalism.
When it comes to investing in gold, investors often see the world in black and white. Some people have a deep, almost religious conviction that gold is a useless, barbarous relic with no yield; it’s an asset no rational investor would ever want. Others love it, seeing it as the only asset that can offer protection from the coming financial catastrophe, which is always just around the corner. PIMCO's views are more nuanced and, we believe, provide a balanced framework for assessing value. Their bottom line: given current valuations and central bank policies, we see gold as a compelling inflation hedge and store of value that is potentially superior to fiat currencies.
To those familiar with Algebra, we suggest that the Ponzi scheme we live in is actually an overdetermined system, because there is no solution that will simultaneously cover all the financial and non-financial imbalances of practically any currency zone on the planet. Precisely this limitation is the driver of the many growing confrontations we see: In the Middle East, in the South China Sea, in Europe and soon too, in North America. That these tensions further develop into full-fledged war is not a tail risk. The tail risk is indeed the reverse: The tail risk is that these confrontations do not further develop into wars, given the overdetermination of the system! We have noticed of late that there’s a debate on whether or not the US dollar zone will end in hyperinflation and whether or not the world can again embrace the gold standard. The fact that we are still in the early chapters of this story does not allow us to state that hyperinflation is only a tail risk. The tail risk is (again) the reverse: That all the steps central banks took since 2008 won’t lead to spiraling quasi-fiscal deficits.
The U.S. tri-party repo market is one of the most important components of the financial system - that noone has ever heard of (though not ZH readers: Tri-party repo has been a core topic of several of our 2009 posts exploring the nuances of the Lehman collapse - initially here and here and then multiple times as we discuss the backbone of the shadow banking system). The 2007-09 financial crisis exposed weaknesses in the design of the U.S. tri-party repo market that could rapidly elevate and propagate systemic risk. We have long-discussed the importance of the collateral and hypothecation markets and a recent study of the market identifies the collateral allocation and unwind processes as two key mechanics contributing to the market’s fragility. While the topic is relatively specialized, it is critical to understanding the reality behind the curtain and the paper below provides clarification of the bilateral and tri-party repo markets (The Fed, Bank of NY, and JPM - who in effect have first refusal on any collateral in the system), dealers' intervention, and its potential as a source of financial systemic risk.
Serfdom has simply been pushed too far. Globally. What we are about to witness, incredibly, is not just a change in the way that one or two countries or even a specific region of the world operates. No, what we are about to witness is a complete transformation globally, a change that we believe will be incredibly positive and will ultimately free us from the shackles upon the minds of humanity as a species. Whether it was the intention from the outset or not, what globalization has created is a very small class of incredibly wealthy people that are extraordinarily corrupt as a group and also above the law. The writing is on the wall folks. The global economy is headed back down into depths that will prove worse than 2008, and this time no amount of money printing and propaganda will be enough to hold things together. TPTB know this. What we have today is not Socialism or Capitalism, it is Ponzism.
In what could easily be a Friday Humor post, Reuters reports that the Aussie government's statisticians, taking a page out of the German's 'creative' accounting book, have found an additional $338bn of assets for the nation. 'Cheers' all around as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (and Lies) revised household wealth up by AUD14,380 for every one of the country's 22.6 million people - as new estimates of unlisted shares and other equity pushed the nation's total financial assets to AUD3.1tn (compared to an originally reported AUD2.77tn. As the miners from down-under continue to struggle against a fading China, this miraculous 'find' has dropped the ratio of debt to liquid assets from a worrisome 170.1% to a meager 129.1%. Rumors are circulating that the ABS is now looking for the ark of the covenant, the philosopher's stone, and Shangri-La.
There's a belief among certain economists – and the wider population – that if the government takes a more active role in the economy, the social outcome can be improved. Dr. Lacy Hunt, executive VP of Hoisington Investment Management Company (HIMCO), says it's a false belief… and he has proof to back it up. An unprecedented buildup of debt, he shows, can only lead to one outcome: a drop in Americans' standard of living. Must watch!
NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing JPMorgan over "multiple fraudulent and deceptive acts" in selling mortgage-backed securities causing losses of over $20bn. The suit appears to be related to conduct at Bear Stearns and is on the back of the monoline insurer lawsuits, and whistleblower affidavits such as the following:
In connection with the Bear Stearns Second Lien Trust 2007-1 (“BSSLT 2007- 1”) securitization, for example, one Bear Stearns executive asked whether the securitization was a “going out of business sale” and expressed a desire to “close this dog.” In another internal email, the SACO 2006-8 securitization was referred to as a “SACK OF SHIT” and a “shit breather.”
While we hope this would effectuate some real change, the likelihood is that it will at best result in a $300mm civil-lawsuit slap-on-the-wrists and brownie points for Schneiderman while nothing changes.
We have presented many charts over the last few weeks showing the collapse in retail sales in Spain, along with surging unemployment, bankruptcies and non-performing bank loans. But to do justice to the situation, you’ve got to put it in context of the last 150 years, and JPMorgan's Michael Cembalest provides just such context. Spain’s adventure in the Eurozone has sent it into an economic tailspin the likes of which have not been seen, with the exception of the Spanish Civil War, since the 19th century. At that time, the Spanish empire was at the tail end of its colonial decline, and was an under-regulated, agrarian, closed economy subject to frequent crises. The chart shows the details, highlighting the economic declines during revolutions, depressions and agricultural epidemics. Spain’s recent decline has now matched them.