Perspectives on the the sovereign crisis and bond markets from Roubini, Malpass and some other talking heads. The ever optimistic David Malpass sees no fear of a failed bond auction. Roubini on the other hand, and quite logically, compares the European peripheral crisis with what is happening in California and all the other bankrupt US states. To which Malpass changes the subject to gold and jumps on our bandwagon which sees gold, not the dollar, as the ultimate fiat currency alternative. To be fair Malpass does say: "Europe is actually further down the line to a debt crisis than we are, but we are getting there very fast right now... The Federal government will have to decide how much to bail out California. That creates a lot of social tensions." Ironically, Liesman nails it: "Isn't the difference between Greece and the U.S. that the U.S. has a printing press and Greece doesn't. At some point it is no longer any good for Greece to be part of a union where it can't have any control over its monetary policy." The tide is again turning: isn't it time for Roubini to turn just a little bearish?
Compare and contrast the following headlines:
Really nothing much to say here.
- Asian stocks rose on Friday, lifting the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to its first weekly gain in four.
- China inflation 'blip' masks price pressures from property, credit surge.
- China orders banks to set aside more deposits to cool the fastest-growing major economy.
- Euro declines for third day on concern Greece measures may not be enough.
- Eurozone economy grows by only 0.1 percent in 4Q 2009.
- Germany, others pledged “determined and coordinated action” to help Greece.
RANsquawk 12th February Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc.
The U.S. consumes nearly three times the amount of oil that it produces domestically on a daily basis. How can this statistic get any worse, you might ask?
Imagine in 2010 the Obama administration persuades Congress to pass a budget that results in a reduction of domestic oil production by 10% - 20%, making the supply/demand imbalance even more lopsided. Foreign oil companies will gain a distinct advantage over American domestic operators as an unintended consequence of these proposals.
Sound farfetched? It’s closer to reality than you may think… If it comes to pass, it will likely be the biggest structural change in the U.S. domestic oil and gas industry in decades and have far-reaching implications for investors and for the entire country.
The Federal Reserve's balance remained at an all time high of $2.233 Trillion in assets, after a $3 billion increase in MBS and Agency purchases week over week. Securities held outright: $1,913 billion (an increase of $57 billion MoM, resulting from $52 billion increase in MBS and $5 billion in Agency Debt), or a $3 billion increase sequentially. The fed is now 95% complete with its purchases of MBS. Net borrowings: $127 billion. The monetary base increased by $50 billion in the past fortnight to $2.06 trillion. The ratio of total assets to Monetary Base remained constant at 1.08x, elevated from the historical ratio of 1.00x. Custody foreign holdings increased by $9.3 billion to $2,956 billion. A maturity profile of the Fed's assets indicates a skewed maturity distribution. Of a total of $2 trillion in dated assets, $132 billion mature in under 15 days, $226 billion in under 1 year, and $976 billion in under ten years.
The CME group announced that margins for metals futures contracts on the NYMEX and COMEX will rise beginning February 12 by approximately 25% across various classes. The initial margin for 100-ounce COMEX gold futures will increase to $6,747 from $5,403, while the maintenance margin will rise to $4,998 from $4,002. For 5000-ounce COMEX silver futures, initial margins will increaseslightly less: from $6,075 to $6,750 while the maintenance margin increases by $500 from $4,500 to $5,000. Margin increases will be largest for palladium, where initial margins will risefrom $2,363 to $3,713, coupled with a maintenance margin increase of $1,000 from $1,750 to $2,750. Additionally, as the full advisory indicates, the CME increase margins by various percentage for virtually all of its product groups.
Today's low volume once again brought about an aberrant market, in which a gust of buying late in the morning even as the euro was probing new lows, took the market to a new churn level, which resulted in a close at 2 standard deviations above the VWAP over the past two days. The gap can be seen on the accompanying chart. Should VWAPs reversion algos appear, the SPY will likely retrace the gain back to the computer model favored 1067 level.
Pimco's Michael Gomez, who recently shared the floor with Hugh Hendry, Marc Faber and Nassim Taleb, and who was likely the key voice in Pimco's recent decision to accumulate German Bunds, shares insights on the euro, Greece and new investment opportunities. Based on this Bloomberg TV interview, it is likely that PIMCO will soon be accumulating a variety of Polish and Brazilian sovereign bonds, as well as corporate bonds in Brazil, Mexico and Russia, with an emphasis on the first. With tens of billions in dry powder, PIMCO will likely have an increasingly risky EM exposure as it departs from its traditional MBS/UST portfolio.
Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman programmer, who was arrested by the FBI in July last year on virtually a day's notice after Goldman told the FBI the Russian had stolen secrets that could be used to manipulate markets, has just been indicted on charges he stole computer codes used for proprietary high-frequency trading programs. The specific charges include theft of trade secrets, transportation of stolen property in interstate and foreign commerce and unauthorized computer access. The charges carry a total jail time of 25 years.
With the ever increasing, and rightfully so, interest on European gross and net bond issuance, we present BofA's latest calendar breakdown of weekly and monthly Bond and Bill redemptions, coupon payments and gross issuance for the key European countries. Using this data, one can determine the net financing needs by country by month, to determine when a supply squeeze is likely to occur. As can be seen, there is a cash crunch for the Eurozone in the Feb-April period as €324 billion in near-term Bills have to be rolled over, while for Bonds the redemption peak hits in Q3, when €176 billion in Bonds have to be redeemed, while coupon payments peak at the same time. Focusing on rollover risk indicates that while Spain, whose 21% of debt rollover concern had been discussed previously, is at risk, Italy is just as much in jeopardy, with 20% of debt requiring to roll in 2010. Another potential flashpoint is the country of Austria, which is only second to Portugal (77.1%) in the amount of debt held by foreigners, at 76.3%.
Just in case you thought the IMF would not be implicated in the Greek bail out, here comes George Papandreou to pump stocks up a little more. The Greek PM, not satisfied with the very intangible and non-commital support he has so far gotten from all his European peers who at least so far are not in charge of a soon to be defaulting nations, and wish to avoid revolts from their own taxpayers, has confirmed that he has been in close contact with the IMF's Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Now did anybody seriously think the Fed would avoid such a golden chance to not destroy the dollar just a little bit? In the race to current bottom and sovereign default, every little bit counts.
When psychologists evaluate human behavior, one of the most prevalent observations regarding any activity is the all too often flawed basis of perceived versus realistic outcomes that dictates our every action. As imperfect creatures, we tend to construct theories that conform with our worldview, which are subsequently reinforced by our confidence (or lack thereof) in the future. This is true in any discipline: finance, politics, gambling, mating, etc. There is hardly a better example of this than the very basis of modern economic theory where assumptions about the validity of fiat currencies determine the actions of central banks, which in turn spill over into every aspect of modern society . Yet what if the very basis of core assumptions is wrong? What if every activity exhibited by humans in the post gold-standard world has a flawed assumption at its core? Austrian economists have, of course, claimed this for ages, usually seeing their efforts conclude with a dead-end as the attempt to change the status quo hits the brick wall of quadrillions of (arguably worthless) pieces of paper which dictate the status quo. However, with the recent turn for the worse, courtesy of sovereign bail outs (as confused as they may be) could the day of reckoning be fast approaching? With each passing the day an affirmative answer seems closer at hand. Today SocGen's Dylan Grice shares his perspectives on popular delusions, and why these may soon be coming to an abrupt end.
The chart below demonstrates how something is very busted when it comes to bond auctions recently. We have previously discussed the ever increasing proportion of Direct take downs in the short-end. Today, we saw a record explosion in the Direct take down for the longest bond purchasable. Who are the Direct bidders? Whose orders are they executing? Are these merely a proxy for China or the Fed? What happens when that "mysterious" demand disappears? Nobody knows. Which is why Rick Santelli called this a failed auction. All this is accompanied by a collapse in the Indirect bid (think foreign buyers) to the lowest levels since November of 2008. China is finally coming through on its Bond boycott promises.
Horrible 30 year bond auction in which not only did the bid to cover plunge from prior auctions, not only was the tail very big, but the Direct take down (24%) was almost as high as the Indirect (28.5%). Something is very wrong with the demand dynamics of the long-end, as we have long speculated.
- Yields 4.720% vs. Exp. 4.687%
- Bid To Cover 2.36 vs. Avg. 2.54 (Prev. 2.68)
- Indirects 28.5% vs. Avg. 41.07% (Prev. 40.77%)
- Indirect Bid To Cover: 1.44
- Allotted at high 61.57%
- Direct Bidder Take Down: 24.07%
- Indirect Bidder Take Down: 28.53% - foreign buyers are fleeing, with the average of the last four auctions coming at 39.9%.
Algos care not that we just had as close to a failed auction as possible.