The blockbuster story first posted on Zero Hedge claiming that QE 2, and more specifically the $600 billion (to date, and $750 billion through maturity) in reserves generated as a result, was nothing more than another European bank bailout smokescreen is starting to pick up steam with the contrarian intelligentsia. Here is Sean Corrigan's take on a topic which we have a very distinct feeling will be the cause of substantial Q&A between the Chairman and the Monetary Policy Subcommittee shortly. From Corrigan: "Note that while Large domestically-chartered banks have cash assets of some $509 billion v non-cash ones of $6.840 billion (a ratio of around 8%), and small domestics hold $293 billion in cash against $3,595 billion in no-cash (a similar ratio of approx 9%), foreign banks have the startling sum of $940 billion piled up against non-cash assets of $998 billion for a ratio of an incredible 94%. Put another way, despite the fact that all domestics’ combined non-cash assets amount to getting on for ten times those of foreign banks ($9,633 billion v $998 billion), they actually hold 15% LESS cash ($803 billion v $940). Once again, European banks have a lot for which to thank Mr. Bernanke, even if his fellow citizens have far fewer reasons to be grateful!"
Citi's Stephen Englander, who has been quite bearish over the past several months, continue his series of "negative outlook" pieces on risk currencies with this morning's note "Why this sell-off in FX risk is different", in which he warns traders "we are concerned about risk correlated currencies because we see different forces at play now than over the past two years. The casual assumption that monetary policy remains expansionary, and can ramp up if needed, is questionable -- no one argues that there is a shortage of liquidity. Fiscal policy is, to say the least, not what it used to be. Investor positions and we suspect pricing largely continue to reflect optimism, but this time the assumed policy response may be much more limited than in the last two years, and probably less effective." Naturally, what one can warn about risk FX pairs applies just as well to risk assets in general. And both are things we have been saying for months.
Good morning Europe: do you know where you record wide PIIGS CDS are? From Reuters: "The cost of insuring Greek government debt against default rose to a record high of 1,600 basis points on Monday, hit by concerns that any second rescue of Greece will trigger a credit event or at least multi-notch rating downgrade of its debt. Five-year credit default swaps (CDS) on Greek government debt rose 58 bps on the day to 1,600 bps, according to data monitor Markit. The Markit iTraxx index of western European sovereign CDS was up 9 bps on the day at 220 bps, near a record high of 221 bps hit on January 10. Portuguese CDS were up 40 bps at 773 bps, while Irish CDS were 33 bps higher at 745 bps, both at record highs. Spanish CDS were up 13 bps at 289 bps." The slow motion European implosion is now accelerating as the reality that there is no spoon, nor rescue plan, is finally appreciated.
A snapshot of the European Morning Briefing covering Stocks, Bonds, FX, etc.
Market Recaps to help improve your Trading and Global knowledge
Goldman Sachs summarizes the just released monetary update from China, which some expected could announce a formal rate hike over the weekend.
- May monetary data confirms our understanding that there was no loosening of monetary policy in May.
- We believe policy makers will maintain a tight policy stance at least for another month from now.
- We expect a normalization of monetary policy (not an aggressive loosening as in 2H2010) in 2H2011 when inflation is expected to moderate.
- Commercial banks extended Rmb551.6 billion in loans in May (market consensus: Rmb650 billion), down from Rmb739.6 billion in April. Outstanding CNY loans grew by 17.1% yoy in May (our forecast: 17.1% yoy, market consensus: 17.2% yoy), down from 17.5% yoy in April. The mom; s.a. ann. growth rose to 16.7%, up from 10.6% in April.
- M2 growth came in at 15.1% yoy (market consensus: 15.5% yoy), down from 15.3% yoy in April. The mom; s.a. ann. growth rose to 14.3%, up from 3.6% in April.
Bill Buckler's latest Buckaneer report does a 10,000 foot quantification of the one most critical, yet underreported, trend in America's transformation from past to future: its gradual, and ever faster, conversion into a totalitarian, centrally-planned state. "Today, the US government “GOVERNS” 310 million people with an annual budget of nearly $4,000 Billion and a TOTAL (funded and unfunded) debt approaching $US 100,000 Billion. It takes about 5400 times as many Dollars and about 37000 times more debt to “govern” about 3.35 times as many people as it did a century ago. Why? The answer is equally simple. Today, the US government “governs” everything. It is all pervasive. It has taken over the economy from its people."
As for the US, there is not too much new to say on the monthly data flow, with what there is of note being more long-term in nature, as the quarterly financial numbers show the maintenance of the split between the vitality of Corporate America and that of the rest of the private sector, as well as the contrast between the unretarded profligacy of the state and the ongoing resizing of the 'shadow' banking sector. What we can also see is the scale of the distortions being introduced into the market where, despite the superficial health of both profits and cash flow (these a touch less impressive if we adjust for either of the US dollar's internal or external loss of value, one should constantly remind oneself), it is apparent that the balance sheet is still being strip-mined to salt the income statement and, more particularly, the per share ratios via debt-financed equity buybacks. Even as this increases the overall fragility of the corporate structure, however, the Fed's egregious obliteration of capital market pricing signals has kept equities looking 'cheap' - with dividend yields anomalously above an artificially-depressed LIBOR and equity earnings yields at par with QE-shrunken corporate bond yields for the first time in almost three decades. This cannot end well.
Last week we had the advance stop order shake out warning courtesy of berserk inverted fractal HFT algos which were completely not accidental. Now we get the real thing. Just out from Goldman's Samantha Dart: "NYMEX natural gas prices have rallied 12% in the past three weeks, largely driven by strong cooling-related demand for natural gas on the back of significantly warmer-than-average temperatures, and exacerbated by the still high nuclear outages. However, these factors are transient in nature, and their support to generation demand for natural gas will likely diminish in the coming weeks as the weather normalizes and nuclear power plants come out of maintenance...However, even after taking these transient issues into account, the supply and demand balance for gas was surprisingly resilient in May, especially given the continued impressive gains in shale gas production. We believe the production growth has been largely accommodated by additional strength in generation demand resulting from a wide discount of US natural gas prices relative to coal generation costs, as well as by higher pipeline exports out of the United States. We view the current high prices as unsustainable. In addition to the transient nature of the demand support from weather and nuclear outages, we expect the underlying balance to soften in response to the higher prices, as production growth is further incentivized and price-induced coal-to-gas substitution diminishes. Accordingly, we recommend going short the October 2011 NYMEX Natural Gas contract, at an initial price of $4.84/mmBtu." Translation: Goldman is now buying nat gas.
Just under a year ago, we got the tax fraud, and the only remaining member of Obama's economic Titanic, praising the US recovery. His timing top ticked the economy, preceded the Hindenburg Omen by 10 days, and ushered in QE2. Now, we get his sidekick, long since departed after totally failing (we use the more polite F-form of the word) up at his job, writing the follow up, from the cushy confines of academia, warning America that unless there is a major fiscal stimulus (because presumably the monetary stimulus which everyone praised in the form of QE2 has now been proven to only be a boost to the stock market and a bailout of European banks), this once great country which once exhibited the world's reserve currency is on its way to another "lost decade." We wish Summers well: perhaps 3 of those who read the following drivel will take him seriously. Two of them are Krugman and Koo. We are taking bets as to who the third one will be...
Sometimes observing the counterclockwise rotation on Jim O'Neill's Koolaid-O-Dispener knob from 10 to 1.5 is the most gratifying thing that can happen to a person. Which is precisely what the most recent weekly report by the man who was sanctimoniously relegated to managing Goldman's most unprofitable division, GSAM, present: a bleak world in which the perpetual twisting of reality by the Man Utd fan has lost all credibility. To wit: "On Thursday lunch time, I joined some Goldman Sachs colleagues for a lunch with some leading macro hedge fund investors, most of which I had enjoyed a similar lunch with last October. The mood this time couldn't be more different. I guess it is kind of understandable given the recent run of data, the markets and the apparent policy impasse in DC on fiscal matters. But it seemed to me it was all a bit over the top. The general mood around that lunch table was gloomy, whether it was about the US, Europe or China, both with respect to data and policy options. I was regarded as a raving lunatic for suggesting it was possible that US unemployment might fall below 6 pct by the end of 2013." Hmm, whoever could possibly conceive of the man whose predictive track record is only better to DB's Joe Lavorgna, as a raving lunatic. Anyway, more importantly, even O'Neill is now forced to admit that in the off case that he has OD'ed on the Keynesian-spiked red substance, that the Fed will have no choice but to launch into another round of easing, something which is pretty much a given for everyone else, and would indicate that the US economic depression, which started almost 4 years ago never ended, but was briefly interrupted by bear market rallies inspired by dollar dilution: "while a QE3 would clearly involve “externalities,” it seems obvious to me that if the recent weak US data is for real, then there is a good chance that the Fed would deliver on something more." Naturally O'Neill then goes on to explain why even a negative GDP print which may be in the cards for Q3 is absolutely nothing to worry about. Lastly, there is always next year's Champions' League for Manchester United...
This week, instead of presenting John Noyce's FX charts "that matter next week" and providing our own interpretation of what one of the few credible technicians left out there is trying to imply, we will leave it up to him to do so. Below find the full slide pack of key FX charts together with other key observations on the S&P, as noted by Noyce, "The H&S top which completed last Thursday has a target of 1,245, which is very close to the converged 200-dma and interim low from March; 1,251-1,249", as well as his outlook on the EuroStoxx600 and 50, the IBEX, Spanish 10 year yields, the SHCOMP, and most importantly vol, which continues to be held back by resistance. Should the VIX break out over 20, watch out below.
In yet another bad omen for Greece, now that Bailout Plan #2 has been demonstrated to be impractical and every question related to it is met at best with silence, it is back to plan B: letting Greece default. And in what is very good news for longs in the Drachma black market (which is already offered on an "when issued" basis by several large financial institutions), the Bundesbank's president Jens Weidmann just announced that “If the [Greek] commitments are not met, that cancels the basis for further funds from the aid package,” Weidmann told the newspaper. “This would be Greece’s decision, and the country then would have to bear the surely dramatic economic consequences of a default. I don’t think this would be sensible, and it would surely put partner countries in a difficult situation. But the euro would even in this case remain stable.” Translation: we now believe our banks are well enough reserved for what comes next. It also means that the rift with the ECB, which will be exposed as near-insolvent courtesy of using Greek collateral for tens of billions of loans that will have to be impaired, is now terminal. As for the far trickier, and now answered, question where the money to withstand this upcoming systemic shock comes from, just read this expose on the Fed's use of QE2 reserves.
These are serious challenges Beijing’s now facing and seems to lack adequate policy tools to tackle...Hedge funds and Fed’s QE2 are not all to blame for all these. The Chinese economy already stands close to the edge. What speculators do is to push it over and profiteer handsomely from the chaos. While the US enjoys the luxury provided by the dollar’s world currency status and diplomatic alliance with many major trade partners to export its liquidity and inflation, China enjoys none of that. They should look at the dollars in their hands with fear and doubt. So called Beijing consensus makes little sense, because the world is fast changing, pegging a country’s growth to a certain set of policy tools or a certain reserve currency(the US dollar) is equally dangerous. The battle between Keynes and Friedman has long proven the only consensus is to adapt and change. Right now China needs to adapt and change fast. Or this will be the best time in history to short China.
Exclusive: The Fed's $600 Billion Stealth Bailout Of Foreign Banks Continues At The Expense Of The Domestic Economy, Or Explaining Where All The...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/12/2011 - 00:25
Courtesy of the recently declassified Fed discount window documents, we now know that the biggest beneficiaries of the Fed's generosity during the peak of the credit crisis were foreign banks, among which Belgium's Dexia was the most troubled, and thus most lent to, bank. Having been thus exposed, many speculated that going forward the US central bank would primarily focus its "rescue" efforts on US banks, not US-based (or local branches) of foreign (read European) banks: after all that's what the ECB is for, while the Fed's role is to stimulate US employment and to keep US inflation modest. And furthermore, should the ECB need to bail out its banks, it could simply do what the Fed does, and monetize debt, thus boosting its assets, while concurrently expanding its excess reserves thus generating fungible capital which would go to European banks. Wrong. Below we present that not only has the Fed's bailout of foreign banks not terminated with the drop in discount window borrowings or the unwind of the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, but that the only beneficiary of the reserves generated were US-based branches of foreign banks (which in turn turned around and funnelled the cash back to their domestic branches), a shocking finding which explains not only why US banks have been unwilling and, far more importantly, unable to lend out these reserves, but that anyone retaining hopes that with the end of QE2 the reserves that hypothetically had been accumulated at US banks would be flipped to purchase Treasurys, has been dead wrong, therefore making the case for QE3 a done deal. In summary, instead of doing everything in its power to stimulate reserve, and thus cash, accumulation at domestic (US) banks which would in turn encourage lending to US borrowers, the Fed has been conducting yet another stealthy foreign bank rescue operation, which rerouted $600 billion in capital from potential borrowers to insolvent foreign financial institutions in the past 7 months. QE2 was nothing more (or less) than another European bank rescue operation!
I think charts tell a story that allows you to disregard the lies being spewed by those in power. Below are four charts that tell the truth about our current predicament. The first is from http://www.mybudget360.com/. The austerity and debt reduction storyline being sold by the MSM is a crock. The total amount of mortgage debt outstanding peaked at $14.6 trillion in 2008. The total amount of consumer debt (credit cards, auto loans, student, boats) outstanding peaked at $2.6 trillion in 2008. Today, mortgage debt outstanding stands at $13.8 trillion, while consumer debt stands at $2.4 trillion. Therefore, total consumer debt has declined by $1 trillion in the last three years. The MSM and talking heads use this data to declare that consumers have been paying down debt. This is a complete and utter falsehood. The banks have written off more than $1 trillion, which the American taxpayer has unwittingly reimbursed them for. Consumers have not deleveraged. They have taken on more debt since 2008. GMAC (Ally Bank) is handing out 0% down 0% interest loans like candy again.