Federal Reserve Chairman Rudolph Shalom Von Bernankestein will testify before the House Budget Committee starting at 10 am Eastern today. Congressional employees of the Fed and the Banking syndicate are expected to question the Fed's plans on avoiding inflation and the current unemployment rate. We expect more of the same "QE is working because after spending $2 trillion we got 650,000 part time jobs, and we are certain it is working because rates are surging, and wholesale mortgage are now again at the higest since April, which doesn't make sense but I am a Princeton economist (Ph.D.) and you don't get this complicated stuff."
It was less than three short days ago that we wrote about what is poised to be an imminent surge in corn prices. To wit, we said: "If revised Chinese import estimates by the US Grain Council are even
remotely correct, look for corn prices of $6.80 a bushel at last check
to jump by at least 15% in a very short amount of time. As the FT reports, "Corn prices – and with them, the price of meat – are set to explode if the latest import estimates from China are correct. The US Grain Council, the industry body, said late on Thursday
that it has received information pointing to Chinese imports as high as
9m tonnes in 2011-12, up from 1.3m in 2010-11." Why is this a
concern? Because "the US Department of Agriculture, which compiles
benchmark estimates of supply, demand and stocks, forecast Chinese imports at just 1m tonnes in 2011-12." In other words, the whole forecast supply-demand equilibrium is about to be torn to shreds." And with the market being perfectly efficient, and not dominated by dumb robotic HFT trading at all, it has taken the "market makers-cum-liquidity providers-cum-no volume meltup facilitators" just over 48 hours to understand what this means. And what it means practically is another limit up open in the grain.
- Two Fed Skeptics of Bond Purchases Say Inflation Underscores Stimulus Risk (Bloomberg)
- 'Heavy Lifting’ Looms as China Rate Below Inflation (BusinessWeek)
- Rothschild to take control of the weather next (EarthNews)
- Underground world hints at China's coming crisis (Telegraph)
- Wait A Minute--Why Should I Hate Bernie Madoff? (Forbes)
- Egyptian Unrest Throws Deficit Goals Off Course as Yields Rise (BusinessWeek), all they need is Paulson pitching blank check TARP now
- SEC to Wean Markets Off Credit Ratings (Reuters)
- You don't say: Commodity prices could squeeze economy, just as in 2008 (Barrons)
- And speaking of, did anyone even notice that Moody’s lowered Jordan's debt outlook (BusinessWeek)?
- Asia Fights Inflation With Stronger Currencies (WSJ)
With the physical gold market remaining very small when compared to the futures and paper gold market (futures, CFDs etc) there are increasing concerns of illiquidity due to the scale of demand and lack of supply. Pertinently, the size of the physical gold and silver bullion markets is tiny compared to the size of international equity, bond and currency markets. Not to mention the hard to fathom humongous international derivatives market (see chart below). The gold market remains one of the most liquid markets in the world. The market is more liquid than many government bond markets in Europe, with daily trading volumes normally exceeding $100 billion. UBS wrote about “illiquid conditions” in the gold market this morning. They did not clarify but they may have meant illiquidity in the physical gold bullion market.
Guest Post: The Bernank, Frankie Pentangeli and a Ponzi Scheme - An Advance Look At Today's Von Bernankestein GrillingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/09/2011 - 09:18
At 10am today, Ron Paul will convene a sub-committee hearing with the topic “Can Monetary Policy Really Create Jobs?“. It really is too bad that Ben Bernanke will not be at this hearing. But if he was, we have a feeling the hearing would be like a scene right out of “The Godfather II” with Bernanke playing the part of Frankie Pentangeli. In fact, we just happen to have a transcript of how that hearing would have sounded...
Ireland Hikes Insolvent Bank Funding, To Acquire Another €12 Billion In Bank Loans, Brings Total Discount On Loans To 58%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/09/2011 - 09:11
Remember when in December, to much fanfare, the Irish bail out was announced, which included a package of €85 billion financed by everyone, up to an including the country's Pension fund (the NPRF)? Well, less than two months later, it has become clear that the funded component is woefully low as the true extent of losses is starting to be appreciated. According to the Irish National Asset Management Agenc, the country's two key insolvent banks will need a fresh infusion of €12 billion. What this means is that as a result of current estimate of full pay outs by NAMA, the property loans underwritten by the banks, are now being discounted by a ridiculous 58%! For the captcha challenged, this means a more than half write down on loans. And Ireland is solvent how again? At least the country's pension funds are being depleted to fund a good cause: banker (read senior bondholder) well-being...
Something curious was noted this morning on CNBC Europe: namely a reference to an article in the Shanghai Financial News, according to which China is quietly (or not so quietly) trying to orchestrate a 30% drop in real estate prices, in the form of a "Thunder attack" which combines increased purchase costs, property taxes as well as the rise in interest rates. If proven true, this is a major flashing red sign of just how out of control inflation, especially property and real estate, is in China, and that future CPI readings (not the official Politburo number, but that which people actually have to live with) will be getting progressively worse. Also, for the government to step in with such a drastic measure, it must mean that the discontent on the ground must be approaching a fever pitch.
Futures appear sluggish this AM, bucking the trend from the recent sessions. US rail shipping data (AAR) reporting that intermodal traffic up 7.4% over 2010. Confidence numbers for small businesses and economic optimism printed better than expected yesterday while the weekly consumer confidence number disappointed. The market's shrugged off the PBOC rate hike initially, but with more speculation of actions to come and further price rises in commodities, it appears time for a breather. 11.3% gain last week. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak today at the House Budget Committee at 10AM. Expect comments focused on fiscal policy rather than on monetary concerns as he presented last week. We look ahead to tomorrow for initial jobless claims which may add a new perspective on last week's unemployment numbers.
It's all Fedspeak after this morning's news of a drop in mortgage applications...Today is the last POMO of the current schedule in which $6-8 billion of bonds due 02/15/2015 – 07/31/2016 will be monetized. Tomorrow, the new monthly POMO schedule will be released at 2:00pm. Look to see if the Fed will be buying more than the usual fare of 17-30 bonds due to ongoing massacre at the long-end or if, instead, Bernanke is happy with letting the 30 Year plunge.
One of the bigger news this morning is the so far unconfirmed report that Bundesbank President Axel Weber, who has been in the running to replace Jean Claude Trichet, has decided against an ECB future, and instead wants to make money at Deutsche Bank. The sudden about turn in the process has left many wondering why so late in the process, and just what about the ECB is it that makes Weber leery of affixing his fate to the central bank without a unified bond printing facility. From BusinessWeek: "Deutsche Bundesbank President Axel Weber will step down and wants to join Deutsche Bank AG, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported today, without saying where it obtained the information."
RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 09/02/11
We all know by now that Meredith is a witch: an unpatriotic, racist bitch, who eats kittens for breakfast, who deserves to be grilled by Joe McCarthy's exhumated corpse for telling communist truths, pardon, lies (just a Freudian slip dear Department of Central Planning and Internet supervision), and who will soon be accused of having unprotected (yet arguably consensual) sex with a Swedish man. But just in case she is on to something, here comes the president's plan to bail out the (otherwise perfectly solvent and all, we promise) states. The NYT reports that "President Obama is proposing to ride to the rescue of states that have borrowed billions of dollars from the federal government to continue paying unemployment benefits during the economic downturn. His plan would give the states a two-year breather before automatic tax increases would hit employers, and before states would have to start paying interest on the loans." But where are the details you may ask? Patience grasshopper: they will be included in the latest budget proposal which has been delayed for nearly half a year now as the printer ran out of zeroes. "The proposal, which administration officials said would be included in
the 2012 budget that the president is scheduled to unveil next week, was
greeted coolly by Republicans on Capitol Hill, who warned that the plan
would ultimately force many states to raise their unemployment taxes in
the years to come." Ah yes, the Republicans - those paragons of sound financial judgment and sounder virtue. After all who can forget whole "Tea Party thing" which did so much to prevent the incurrence of a few hundred billion in additional debt over the next decade to pay for the latest Russell 2000 at 36,000 hairbrained ponzi scheme concocted by Rudolph von Bernankestein.
Failed Danish Bank Makes History With First Senior Bondholder/Depositor Impairments To The Tune Of 41% Of TotalSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/08/2011 - 23:28
Danish bank Amagerbanken A/S has just made history. The bank (which together with all other Danish, and not to mention Irish banks passed last year's European stress farce test) failed yesterday, this time for good, after its previous near death experience in the summer of 2010, when it only continued to exist in a zombi state courtesy of $2 billion in financial guarantees by the government. That guarantee, which was subject to "Amagerbanken strengthening its
capital base and solvency by 750 million crowns in the form of
equity or subordinated loan capital by Sept. 15" has ultimately been wiped out and on Monday, the Danish equivalent of the FDIC, the Finansiel Stabilitet A/S, announced that administrators would close the bank. And while the failure itself is not surprising (it was roughly the same size as the
mid-2008 collapse of Roskilde Bank, previously the biggest
Danish bank failure), nor is the reason for the failure, the bank said fourth-quarter writedowns wiped out its
equity, attributing a large part to failed property investors (but we thought European real estate was doing so much better?), what is unique about this failure is that it is the first one to proceed according to new new regulations designed to ensure
senior bondholders suffer losses in a bailout. And suffer they will. According to Bloomberg, bondholders of senior debt, including bonds formerly guaranteed by the government, will face write-offs of about 41%. "The bank estimates its assets
amount to about 59 percent of liabilities." Another loser: depositors, who just happen to be pari passu with senior bondholders. To put this failure in context, recall that every Failure Friday the FDIC bail outs numerous banks, with the tab in most cases running up into the hundreds of millions if not billions. What Europe has done, is instead of getting a deposit insurer to guarantee the loses (at the expense of more taxpayer capital), is it has allowed bond bondholders and depositors to be impaired to the point where pro forma assets equal liabilities. Something, which in bankruptcy is known as Fresh Start, and is the most apt way to make sure that in addition to unlimited upside, bank bondholders actually also incur risk. Which is why this brilliant approach to zombi bank resurrection with NEVER materialize in the US. After all, how can we possibly ask the banksters to dare accept the possibility of loss on even one penny of their investments...
Did WikiLeaks Confirm "Peak Oil"? Saudi Said To Have Overstated Crude Oil Reserves By 300 Billion Barrels (40%)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/08/2011 - 21:41
In what can be the "Holy Grail" moment for the peak oil movement, Wikileaks has just released 4 cables that may confirm that as broadly speculated by the peak oil "fringe", the theories about an imminent crude crunch may be in fact true. As the Guardian reports on 4 just declassified cables, "The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show. The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom's crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%." Could the OPEC cartel's capacity for virtually unlimited supply expansion to keep up with demand have been nothing but a bluff? That is the case according to Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, who met with the US consul general in Riyadh in November 2007 and "told the US diplomat that Aramco's 12.5m barrel-a-day capacity needed to keep a lid on prices could not be reached." And yes, that conspiracy concept of peak oil is specifically referenced: "According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12m barrels a day in 10 years but before then – possibly as early as 2012 – global oil production would have hit its highest point. This crunch point is known as "peak oil"." And it gets worse: "Husseini said that at that point Aramco would not be able to stop the rise of global oil prices because the Saudi energy industry had overstated its recoverable reserves to spur foreign investment. He argued that Aramco had badly underestimated the time needed to bring new oil on tap." Look for Saudi Arabia to go into full damage control mode, alleging that these cables reference nothing but lies. In the meantime, look for China to continue quietly stockpiling the one asset which as was just pointed out is the key one to hold, for both bulls and bears, according to Marc Faber.