Q. What is the fiscal multiplier on $529 in government stimulus?
A. If you are Fisker Automotive, zero.
While the terminal fate of the federally-subdizied car company was no secret to anyone, there were some questions when this latest example of idiotic government "capital allocation" would get Solyndraed. The answer is now.
As the investigation into unusual loan write-downs and the 'premature' movement of capital away from Cyprus by the elites of that nation progresses, Cyprus Mail reports that the investigators - Alvarez and Marsal (A&M) - have found that the information provided by Bank of Cyprus (BoC) was incomplete and data deleting software were found on the computers of two senior executives. "Our computer forensic technologists have found that the computers of two employees, (former CEO) Mr. (Andreas) Eliades and (senior manager group treasury and private banking) Christakis Patsalides, have had wiping software loaded, which is not part of the standard software installations at the BoC." Investigators found no e-mail files, mailboxes or user documents on Eliades’ desktop computer - "we had significant gaps in the e-mail data received from BoC for the period 2007 to 2010, a key period for our scope of investigation," and no email backups were performed. A&M is looking into how BoC accumulated €2.4bn worth of Greek government bonds (GGBs), later suffering huge losses because of that, and into BoC’s expansion to Romania and Russia. We are sure this is all above board and normal IT protocol for the bank... or not.
The enduring myth of the post-2008 era is that central-planning money printing and deficit spending would soon spark a self-sustaining recovery. Once consumers and businesses stepped up their own borrowing and spending, the central bank and state would then pare back money printing and deficit spending, as the increase in private-sector spending would fuel further borrowing and spending, i.e. become self-sustaining. The reality is the mythical self-sustaining recovery is the carrot dangled in front of a credulous public: though we're constantly reassured "we're almost there" (the promised land of self-sustaining recovery), the mythical recovery remains out of reach, no matter how much money is printed or borrowed and blown in fiscal stimulus. There are several key reasons for this.
Because we have discussed the issue of the age-bifurcated US jobs market extensively before, we are delighted to not have to say much if anything this time around, as absolutely everything is still the same. Since the arrival of Obama, the US workforce has been effectively split into two separate job markets: those 54 and younger (condolences) and those 55 and older. Specifically, since January 2009, the number of jobs created has been focused solely on the gerontocratic component of the US labor pool, those aged 55 to 69 (or more - gray line below), and who can no longer afford to retire as expected thanks to Bernanke's genocidal ZIRP policies which have made a mockery of savings. These older workers have seen a grand total of 4.02 million cumulative jobs created. Everyone else (or those 54 and younger - red line below)? A grand total of 2.8 million jobs lost, and now deteriorating once more, with those in the prime work demographic of 25-54 having lost the most jobs, 2.2 million, since the coming of Obama.
While the crisis in Europe is first in Goerge Soros' mind because it is the "hottest" risk flare currently, his biggest concern in what he calls the "disarray in global cooperation," or what we would call 'dueling central banks'. "The almost universal adaptation of quantitative easing," worries him and he notes that "Europe is the last bastion of orthodoxy," in this regard as the aging hedgie warns, "Europe is entering a situation that Japan is desperate to escape from," as "Japan has just abandoned - after 25 years of stagnation - a process that Germany is just in the process of imposing on Europe." But perhaps his clearest concern in this brief clip is that no matter what we are told, the central banks' actions are 'creating' increasing financial instability because, "let's face it, quantitative easing is really and directly competitive devaluation." But it is his comments on the actions of the BoJ that should be most concerning as he stated to CNBC, "What Japan is doing is actually quite dangerous because they are doing it after 25 years of just simply accumulating deficits and not getting the economy going," as he fears, should they actually get something [inflation] started, "they may not be able to stop it." If the yen starts to fall, which it has done, and people in Japan realize that it is liable to continue, and want to put their money abroad, then "the fall may become like an avalanche."
The markets, so abundantly juiced by the more than $100 billion pouring in from the Fed every month, are beginning to tire. Like repeated injections of some pain killer; the effects are noticeably starting to wear off. The thrill may not be gone but it is diminishing and one should take note of the condition of the patient. The ten year Treasury; the long bond. Watch them. Whatever your responsibilities; keep your eye on them. They are serving up lunch and are the best indicator of the courses to come. I believe now they are signaling that we have run out of Champagne and that Mad Dog 20/20 will be served with the duck.
Today, we got the laughable news that the unemployment rate declined even as those not in the labor force grew by over 660,000, while the total civilian non-institutional population grew by just 167,000 to 244,995, meaning the actual labor force declined by 496,000. Which is precisely the issue: fudging the labor force participation rate is how the Obama administration has managed to maintain the myth the economy has grown under his leadership for the past 4+ years. It hasn't, and in fact if one renormalizes for the recent long-term average participation rate of 65.8%, one gets a very different number. How different? A difference that is now at a record compared to what is reported. As the chart below shows, a "renormalization" process indicates a massive and record 4% difference between the reported unemployment rate of 7.6%, and what the real unemployment rate is assuming normal growth of the labor force, which in March was 11.6%, up from 11.3% in February, and the highest since August 2012 when it was 11.7%. More importantly, as the real unemployment chart shows, the economy has not improved by one bit since 2009!
People Not In Labor Force Soar By 663,000 To 90 Million, Labor Force Participation Rate At 1979 LevelsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/05/2013 - 08:58
Things just keep getting worse for the American worker, and by implication US economy, where as we have shown many times before, it pays just as well to sit back and collect disability and various welfare and entitlement checks, than to work .The best manifestation of this: the number of people not in the labor force which in March soared by a massive 663,000 to a record 90 million Americans who are no longer even looking for work. This was the biggest monthly increase in people dropping out of the labor force since January 2012, when the BLS did its census recast of the labor numbers. And even worse, the labor force participation rate plunged from an already abysmal 63.5% to 63.3% - the lowest since 1979! But at least it helped with the now painfully grotesque propaganda that the US unemployment rate is "improving."
The kneejerk response to this morning's dismal NFP print was significant disappointment. 10Y yields plunged to a 1.68% handle - its lowest in almost 5 months (and largest 3-day drop in yields in 10 months), S&P futures dropped 10 points (and were already weak overnight), Gold spiked, VIX futures popped over 1 vol to 15.3, and the USD weakened notably against the EUR (which broke above 1.30). The spike is being retraced now but very slowly.
So much for "open-ended QE driven recovery". Moments ago the March Non-farm payroll hit and it was a doozy, printing at 88K, below the lowest forecast of 100K, well below the expected number of 190K, and a tragedy compared to the February revised print of 268K (was 236K). This was the biggest miss to expectations since December 2009 and the worst print since June 2012. The unemployment rate declined to 7.6%, but this was due entirely to the collapse in the labor force participation rate, which declined by 20 bps to 63.3%, a new 30 year low.
China Begins Mass Slaughter Of Poultry As Bird Flu Kills Six, On Verge Of Becoming Epidemic: Realtime Victim MapSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/05/2013 - 07:56
While everyone is fascinated by the unraveling slow-motion North Korean theatrical trainwreck, which is nothing but a desperate attempt by a broke "leader" to get paid some "nuisance" cash by the west just so he goes away, the real Asian story has been the latest outbreak of birdflu in China which has not only claimed six lives already (and many more coming), but is starting to have major spillover effects on the broader economy, such as mass slaughter of poultry at local markets - a move which will have certain inflationary effects to an economy already on the cusp of losing the war with the G-7's hot money.
- George Soros: 'What Japan is doing is actually quite dangerous because" (BBG)
- North Korea lacks means for nuclear strike on U.S., experts say (Reuters)
- Yellen latest to hint about slowing of QE3 (FT)
- Hollande approval rating hits new low (FT)
- Hollande Dismisses Reshuffle as Crisis Hits Popularity (BBG)
- Japan Upper house approves full 5 year term for BOJ gov. Kuroda (BBG)
- US: Plan to Cap Tax Breaks Is Gaining Steam (WSJ)
- BOE Says Investors May Be Taking ‘Too Rosy’ a View of Stress (BBG)
- Kiwis Say ‘Ni Hao’ as China Ties Trump Australia Sales (BBG)
- Obama Avoids Trading Threats With North Korea’s Kim (BBG)
Ordinarily in the first post we would recap any of the key overnight events, but in this case there was just one event of note ahead of today's non-farm payroll seasonally adjusted "noise": the halting of the Japanese Government Bond complex due to excessive volatility. Now, this is not some zero-liquidity penny stock or an algo fat binary finger: at last check there is one quadrillion yen in Japanese debt, which makes it the second biggest sovereign bond market in the world. Yet one glimpse at what transpired in overnight trading and one can see just why the Japanese regulators decided it is time to close all bond trading. The reason: the JGB's insane decision to literally reflate or bust, and with it the total loss of all signalling to various asset classes, because while the country is targeting 2% inflation, its bond curve is indicating the most epic deflation in history. The good news: the bond market reopened... eventually; the bad news: who knows if it will, the next time there is a 100% swing from low to high in the 10Y JGB bond yield in the span of hours. Which brings us to the point of this post, summarized best by Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid who overnight said it best: "we are now flying blind"... The central banks are now flying a plane that has lost all hydraulics and their only option is to add ever more power to the engines to pretend they are still in control.