We will mince no words: Mr. Draghi has opened the door to hyperinflation. There will probably not be hyperinflation because Germany would leave the Euro zone first, but the door is open and we will explain why. To avoid this outcome, assuming that in this context the Eurozone will continue to show fiscal deficits, we will also show that it is critical that the Fed does not raise interest rates. This can only be extremely bullish of precious metals and commodities in the long run. In the short-run, we will have to face the usual manipulations in the precious metals markets and everyone will seek to front run the European Central Bank, playing the sovereign yield curve and being long banks’ stocks. If in the short-run, the ECB is the lender of last resort, in the long run, it may become the borrower of first resort!
It seems the ability to admit defeat a lack of omnipotence comes with retirement from the Fed. The volume of truthiness from ex-Fed governors is growing and Mark Olson just provided a very succinct summary of why he believes not only is the most recent jobs number not a surprise to the Fed, but the market has already priced in what the Fed could do. Olson sees the odds of QE3 as 50-50 at best, believes changes in the employment picture are rounding errors and not driving Fed decisions on a tick by tick basis, and most critically he notes that "the Fed doesn't want to get into a position of is having to react because of the market anticipation." No matter how much political pressure, the need to keep that QE powder dry for when the stuff really hits the fan seems more prescient and Olson provides color on the limits of Central Bankers as he notes the effect of Fed actions as "the only possible impact it would have would be psychological," and that "they've provided all the stimulus you can do with monetary policy in the absence of anything happening with a better fiscal policy."
California Lt. Governor: This Aggression Against Our Expropriation Of Private Property Will Not Stand, ManSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/10/2012 - 13:21
It is not news that California, despite what the money laundering practices aided and abetted by the NAR at the ultra-luxury segment of housing may indicate, is and has been for the past 5 years neck deep in a massive housing glut (with millions of houses held off the books in shadow inventory), which together with a complete economic collapse of this once vibrant economy, which happened to be the world's 7th largest, led various cities to resort to the socialist practice of expropriation, or, as it is known in the US, eminent domain, whereby a citizen's rights in property - in this case their home - are forcefully expropriated with due monetary compensation, naturally set by the expropriator. It is also no secret, that Wall Street, which has the most to lose by handing over property titles on mortgaged houses in exchange for money that is well below the nominal value of the mortgage, is not happy about this draconian quasi-communist measure, and has apparently told California to cease and desist. It is, apparently news that California has had enough of these bourgeois capitalist pawns, and has decided to, appropriately enough, channel El Duderino, and to tell Wall Street that this aggression against forced socialist expropriation, by broke deadbeats, will not stand... man.
While watching the political conventions over the past couple of weeks, JPMorgan's Michael Cembalest wonders aloud: What if, something like the CBO’s Alternative Case scenario came to pass; debt markets were no longer willing to fund trillion dollar deficits, so the deficit had to be reduced to 3% of GDP by 2020; taxing the rich was the only thing the country could agree on doing? If this happened, how high would top marginal Federal income tax rates have to go? The answer, after some number-crunching: 71% for the top bracket, and 57% for the second highest bracket. Adding state, local, and payroll taxes, and in 'Blue' states like NY and CA, income taxes will approach 80%. This is not a projection, but an illustration that there are not enough Americans subject to the top brackets to reduce the deficit to 3%. Eventually, the US will more likely have to adopt broader-reaching tax reform (e.g., raising taxes on the middle class), larger spending cuts than those already adopted, and/or Federal Reserve monetization of the public debt.
Ahead of Wednesday's mega-launch of the all-singing, all-dancing, all-happy-ending-providing (rumor) iPhone 5, the stunning reality is that a recent poll (via CouponCodes4U) found that 81% of consumers admitted they could not keep up with the latest and greatest from Apple - and worse still that 51% used credit to buy one of the must-have iDevices. As The Street notes, the findings of the survey show "the crazy lengths people will go to be the first person to have the latest iPhone of iPad" and the pollster was "shocked and very surprised about how many Americans freely admit that they are willing to spend their way into debt by buying Apple gadgets that they simply cannot afford."
A few days ago, the BOE's Andy Haldane, rightfully, lamented that the apparent "solution" to the exponentially growing level of complexity in the financial system is more complexity. Alas, there was little discussion on the far more relevant central planning concept of fixing debt with even more debt, especially as the US just crossed $16 trillion in public debt last week, right on schedule, and as we pointed out over the weekend, there has been precisely zero global deleveraging during the so-called austerity phase. But perhaps most troubling is that with 2 days to go to what JPM says 77% of investors expect with be a NEW QE round (mostly MBS) between $200 and $500 billion in QE, the world is, also in the words of JP Morgan, drowning in liquidity. In other words, according to the central planners, not only is debt the fix to record debt, but liquidity is about to be unleashed on a world that is, you guessed it, already drowning in liquidity. The bad news: everything being tried now will fail, as it did before, because nothing has changed, except for the scale, meaning the blow up will be all that more spectacular. The good news: at least the Keynesians (or is it simply Socialists now?) out there will not be able to say we should have just added one more [ ]illion in debt/liquidity and all would have worked, just as our textbooks predicted. Because by the time it's over, that too will have happened.
After Thursday/Friday's capitulative spikes in all things risk-on (from credit spreads to equity indices and from Swiss 2Y rates to European VIX), today saw a more modest give back of some of those gains. Spanish and Italian bond curves saw quite notable deterioration (yields up 5-20bps across the curves - dominated by short-dated weakness) - though of course in the context of the previous week's rally this was modest. Equity indices fell around 0.25% and Europe's VIX rose notably - but again all in the context of the recent rally, these were small moves. EURUSD regained 1.28 into the European close but the ranges were mininal in most risk assets and correlation across asset-classes were low too - just a noisy day with little signal ahead of the week's more cataclysmic events.
Two signs that fear and instability have reached critical mass are capital flight and capital controls. Capital flight is people and enterprises moving their capital (cash and liquid assets) to an overseas "safe haven" to avoid devaluation of the currency or confiscation of their capital/assets. (Devaluation can be seen as one method of confiscation; high taxes are another.) Capital controls are the Central State's way of stemming the flood of cash leaving the country. Why do they want to stop money leaving? If we think of each Central State as a neofeudal fiefdom, we understand the motivation: citizens are in effect serfs who serve the State and its financial nobility. If the serfs move their capital out of the fiefdom, it is no longer available as collateral for the banks and a source of revenue for the State. Once capital has drained away, borrowing and lending shrink, cutting off the revenue source of the banks (financial nobility). Since financial activity also declines as cash is withdrawn from the system, the State's "skim"--transaction fees, sales taxes, VAT taxes, income taxes, wealth taxes, etc.--also declines. Both the State and its financial nobility are at increasing risk of decline and eventual implosion as capital flees the fiefdom. The Central State imposes capital controls as a means of Elite self-preservation.
Even in the face of worsening odds of re-election (no sitting government has been returned to power in EU elections since the start of the crisis) one would expect national governments to do what is necessary to maintain current stability. The ultimate arbiter of burden sharing capacity, or whether the Euro will continue on the steady incremental path to integration, is whether regular voters vote for it. Hence the importance of elections, like the Dutch election this week. The anti-austerity Socialist Party (SP) has gained significant ground on the incumbent VVD party - focusing the market's attention on the willingness of the Dutch to meet the 3% of GDP deficit targets in 2013. The two 'extreme' parties look set to gain considerably more seats, and either a very broad coalition would be required, including a tail of small parties, or all four mainstream parties will have to participate in the new government: either way, government stability might be questionable. The scenario troubling markets is the potential for a long government formation process coinciding with the euro area’s need to fight the crisis and progress communal policies - though in the last week or two, support for the SP has declined. With the 2013 budget an immediate test, a 'new' Dutch government faces decisions over Greece, Cyprus, EFSF bond buying, and a common-bank supervisory body - none of which have anything like majority support across the coalitions.
Watching Phil LeBlow providing Ford with a reacharound this morning reminded us of the total farce that is both the forest and the trees of the US auto industry. We have discussed the FUBAR channel-stuffing and the subprime-lending SNAFU but now, as Reuters reports, we see the ugly truth about GM's little baby "the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced". Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds. Furthermore, there are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce. Of course, with seemingly unlimited Government backing the hope can continue, funded by the US taxpayer, as GM's Volt development chief admits "It's true, we're not making money yet," but the Volt will "eventually will make money. As the volume comes up and we get into the Gen 2 car, we're going to turn (the losses) around." Estimates on the cost to build a Volt range from $76,000 to $88,000, according to four industry consultants contacted by Reuters with one concluding: "I don't see how General Motors will ever get its money back on that vehicle."
"Trenton makes, and the world takes", but the mob has dibs on everything. And by mob we mean the city's mayor, who in collaboration with a convicted sex offender, were just arrested by the FBI. At least we now have a reason why jobs in New Jersey are "confirming" the stock market "recovery."
Former Reagan OMB Director David Stockman was 'allowed' on CNBC this morning - much to their chagrin now we suspect - and espoused his own brand of truthiness, starting with this epic tirade: "Ron Paul is the only one who is right about the Fed, and the Fed is the heart of the problem. They have destroyed the capital markets and the money markets; interest rates mean nothing; everything is trading off the Fed and Wall Street isn't even home - as it's now a bunch of computers trading word-clouds emitted by this central banker and that" In this environment, he goes on, everyone is being given the wrong signal - i.e. the Ryan/Romney campaign is abnout restoring vibrant capitalism; how can you do that when the financial markets are dead - the lifeblood of a capitalist system. And that is the problem today: "The Fed (and the lunatics that run it) are telling the whole world untruths about the cost of money and the price of risk." Must watch clip.
Perhaps never a more truthful 'lifting-the-veil' paragraph has been written by the squid as the following discussion of just what NEW QE will consist of and what it will achieve; sad that our economy market has come to this.
"The form of any return to QE is less clear. The issue is not so much whether the Fed buys Treasuries or agency mortgage-backed securities; we are pretty sure that any new program would be primarily focused on agency MBS purchases. These should have a somewhat bigger per-dollar effect on private-sector demand and are probably less controversial with the public than Treasury purchases. They can be framed as help for homebuyers to achieve the American Dream, which sounds better than help for the government to run large budget deficits."
The unremitting deterioration of the eurozone’s sovereign debt landscape continues to fuel uncertainties about the longevity of the euro as a hard currency. Such uncertainties are not only leading to capital flight from the EMU’s periphery to the core and destabilizing markets worldwide, but they are also beginning to frighten southern European savers into seeking refuge outside their 10-year-old currency. Such is the case of Spain – the latest tumbling economy to threaten the euro’s survival. As the crisis deepens, there is still a window of opportunity for Spaniards to turn to gold as a means to protect their wealth against the risks of increased foreign exchange volatility, forced re-denomination, or even a total currency collapse.