While Wilfred Hahn's latest Global Spin has some original ideas, the bulk of its reads like the contrarian's guide to the universe, whereby he takes every prevailing "wisdom" theory and disputes it, simply because, well, that's the contrarian thing to do. Which is great, but that in itself does not make conventional wisdom wrong. In fact, flipping a thesis on its head with a less than convincing counterargument only underscores the possibility, however remote, that the crowd may in fact be right. Anyway, Hahn's latest spiel is to compare 5 supposedly accepted views and "Hale Bopp" them or attempt to expose them for the fallacies they are (for those seeking extended contrarian arguments, we urge readers to refer themselves to many of the other true skeptics so frequently highlighted on Zero Hedge). His 5 peeves are: i) China will continue to boom; ii) Emerging markets forever, iii) The world will run out of commodities; iv) An inflationary blow-off is surely underway, and v) The US dollar will fall to oblivion. While we certainly agree with Hahn's prevailing view that a "growth slowdown is underway" we do hope that in his next quarterly review he will take the time to validate and justify why any of the above will in fact not occur instead of merely using the presented strawman arguments which come out of the generic deflationist's handbook.
Following the previously reported news that Germany is sacrificing its political leadership, not to mention credibility, to bailout its banks, futures are currently ripping. As the chart below indicates, ES is surging right now, even as the broader risk basket is left far behind, since the markt realizes the "Brian Sack" pod at Citadel will be double taxpayers doubletime.
Like clockwork, hours before the US market reopens, we get another Greece bailout. Since last week's Chinese white knight "rescue" of Portugal helped the EUR for about 18 hours, it is now time to get the biggest guns possible out: the WSJ reports that Germany, contrary to populist demand which has indicated that another German bailout of Greece would mean the end of Angela Merkel, has decided to allow Greek bailout round two to proceed. Per the WSJ: "Germany is considering dropping its push for an early rescheduling of
Greek bonds in order to facilitate a new package of aid loans for
Greece, according to people familiar with the matter.Berlin's concession that it must lend Greece more money, even without burden-sharing by bondholders in the short term, would help Europe overcome its impasse over Greece's funding needs before the indebted country runs out of cash in mid-July." The end result: the EURUSD surged by 70 pips from the closing print of 1.4270 to a high of 1.4350, although the half life of even that innuendo appears to have peaked and the pair is now on the way down, as it does absolutely nothing, except to destroy any credibility Merkel may have had, to resolve the impasse which is that, well, Greece is bankrupt.
In a TV slip caught by Al Jazeera, yet another Zero Hedge prediction has been confirmed: namely that it was only a matter of time before NATO "boots on the ground" would promptly replace the CIA's "sandals on the ground" in a fully Western-backed land invastion of Libya. Since it is too early to predict the nationality of the armed invaders, we will assume they are British as Al Jazeera speculates, because otherwise Congress is about to find itself in an unprecedented scandal for completely ignoring its duty to impose the War Powers Act, which in turn would mean that the President now has a unilateral right to enforce the invasion of any country he so chooses. We will leave the bitter implications of what this could mean, as America celebrates, and remembers the lives of so many who died for this once great country, to others.
RANsquawk Market Wrap Up - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 30/05/11
Despite Preemptive Gold Margin Hike In Shanghai, Gold Is Poised To Close May Near Record On Sovereign Risk WorriesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/30/2011 - 15:50
After a near epic margin driven collapse in silver, which appears to have been largely forgotten as the metal has resumed it upward climb, it is gold which has once again regained the crown in the fiat substitute race. As Reuters reports: "The speculators are coming back, mainly driven by the European debt crisis," said a Singapore-based trader. "Gold is likely to slowly move up during the summer unless we see big headlines, such as the U.S. raising interest rates earlier than expected." Of course, where some see "speculators" others see rational investors who are already discounting the inevitable next step by the central planner cartel, which forced to deal with a slowing economy will have no choice but to inflate the global adjusted monetary base (and dilute outstanding fiat) by another several hundred billion. Elsewhere, in preparation for another gold breakout, the Shanghai Gold Exchange hiked gold and silver margins once again, this time preemptively. "The Shanghai Gold Exchange said
on Monday it will raise margin requirements on gold forward
contracts to 12 percent from 10 percent from the June 2
settlement, a move to help ward off excessive volatility in
global markets during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday on June
6. The bourse will also hike silver forward contracts to 17
percent from 15 percent. It will also set gold daily trade
limits to 9 percent and silver at 12 percent from June 3." Still, the gold fixing at the close of NYMEX trading was $1,539.1, $30 away from all time nominal highs. Incidentally, would it be too much to ask of the exchanges to provide the general public with just what the formula is that they use to make their margin hike (and, reduction) decisions? They would be amazed how quickly any allegations of collusion with the administration would disappear if only a little transparency was introduced to the "system."
It seems like it was just yesterday (and the day before, and the day before that) that we linked to the live feed from Athens' Syntagma square. Oh yes it was. Having narrowly avoided the midday sun, another balmy evening sees the exodus of tens of thousands of Greeks to the front patio of the parliament, where they will now chant in protest of a minimum retirement age of 58 for a few hours, go back to work tomorrow, then repeat the whole spectacle all over again. And while not so desperate Atheneian housewives bang on pots and pans, the Santorini-for-Ibiza-for-confetti asset swap is currently being finalized.
The recent sluggishness in equity markets has certainly affected industrial commodities over the past few months, if not gold, which as pointed out earlier is just 2% below its nominal highs and rising despite the 4th margin hike on the Shanghai Gold Exchange overnight - once again gold is seen at the apex of the fiat currency replacement pyramid. So what could cause a rally in industrial commodities in the near term? Sean Corrigan lists the four key catalysts, whose occurrence listed in order of probability, could rekindle the recently faltering rally.
Following electoral upheavals in Portugal, Germany and Finland, it is time to add Italy to the list, after Silvio Berlusconi's center-right coalition appears to have lost the critical election in Italy's financial capital, Milan, which also happens to be the center of the Bunga Bunga man's business and media empire. And while the mayoral election is merely symbolic for now, its outcome has substantial consequences for Italian governance (and thus stability): "With most votes already counted, leftist Giuliano
Pisapia was set to capture Milan city hall with some 55 percent of the
vote against around 46 percent for outgoing center-right mayor Letizia
Moratti. The local elections were seen as a referendum on the billionaire prime minister. "This is the first defeat for Berlusconi's center-right coalition since they came back to power, and it sends a clear signal of voters' disillusionment," said Maurizio Pessato of pollsters SWG. "These results make early elections more likely, possibly next year, and I don't see any chance of meaningful economic reforms being implemented by a lame duck government." As is by now known, while Spain has recently reentered the bond vigilante's scope after its bonds have continued to traded near record highs, Italy has so far been spared. That will change soon: "Italy is the only euro zone economy in which, taking account of inflation, citizens are poorer on average than they were 10 years ago. Berlusconi's government last month cut its growth forecast for this year to 1.1 percent from 1.3 percent and cut next year's outlook to 1.3 percent from 2.0 percent. S&P's lowered its credit outlook on Italy this month due to its weak growth and failure to adopt reforms, although worries of an immediate impact on the markets eased after the Treasury sold long-term bonds near the top of its target range Monday." Will this be the catalyst that is seen as "change" to the status quo by enough bond holders that Italy becomes that last peripheral European domino to fall?
Our descendents will surely look back on this time and wonder how we could have been so foolish– to let these people rob our freedoms; destroy our economies; kill foreigners on their home soil; and shower themselves with Peace Prize medals… all while keeping society quietly subdued with games, tricks, and bombastic patriotism. They tell us to wave the flag, to buy yellow ribbon bumper stickers, and to remember the fallen on days like today. Truthfully, though, the memories of the fallen would be much better honored if the government quit making more of them… and stopped destroying the freedom that they supposedly died to defend.
Turkish daily Hurriyet, which paraphrases German Bild, which in turn references a CIA report, warns that Greece could face a military coup if the "tough austerity measures and the dire situation" escalate any further. On the other hand, one can avoid this belabored hypertextual chain and simply look at what happens practically every day on Syntagma square where yet again we are witnessing record numbers of people protest against what everyone now realizes is a dead end regime (luckily, in a peaceful manner, for now). More Captain Obviousness (thank you Grant Williams) from Hurriyet: "According to the CIA report, ongoing street protests in crisis-hit Greece could turn into escalated violence and a rebellion and the Greek government could lose control, said Bild. The newspaper said the CIA report talks of a possible military coup if the situation becomes more serious and uncontrolled." Luckily, following last year's Athens mob-inspired flash crash, and 2011's MENA revolutions, the market is rather desensitized to this sort of thing, and nothing short of fat-finger driven invasion of Greece by Turkey, in its humanitarian bid to reestablish the Ottoman Empire 2.0, could dent the /ES or EURUSD by more than 0.01%.
In an almost verbatim repeat of Carl Icahn's words of caution which we noted yesterday, Templeton's legendary chairman Mark Mobius said that "another financial crisis is inevitable because the causes of the
previous one haven’t been resolved" during a luncheon (menu included herb crusted chicken breast with cheese and tomato sauce, mashed potato and green vegetables, seasonal salad) at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo. Bloomberg reports: "There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner because we haven’t solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis,” Mobius said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo today in response to a question about price swings. “Are the derivatives regulated? No. Are you still getting growth in derivatives? Yes." Unlike Icahn, Mobius stopped short of calling for a return to Glass-Stegall and a repeal of the abominable Gramm-Leach-Bliley which unleashed the era of zero margin derivatives and financial system neutron bombs. On the other hand, it is nice of Messrs Icahn and Mobius to speak up now, two years after the ongoing systemic instability transferred $3.5 trillion in capital from current and future taxpayer generations to the present financial elite. We do, however, forgive them because in their better late than never contrition, they join the likes of Zero Hedge who since January of 2009 have warned, over and over, that nothing in the structure of capital markets has changed, and that the market could any day open not only bidless, but broken beyond even Brian Sack-ian band aid repair.
China SAFE Reports Monetary Gold Holdings Increased By $11 Billion, Or 30%, In 2010, As Gross Foreign Financial Assets Pass $4 TrillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/30/2011 - 09:09
China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has released its breakdown of 2010 international investments. In summary: financial assets abroad rose 19% last year to $4.126 trillion from $3.457 trillion. That includes the country's $2.914 trillion of foreign reserves at the end of 2010 as well as other assets such as direct investments, securities, and gold. As for gold, it increased by $11 billion from $37.1 billion to $48.1 billion, or a 29.6% increase (it is unclear if this number is at a fixed gold price or accounts for MTM). On the liabilities side, which increased from $1.946 trillion to $2.335 trillion, the biggest change was as a result of a surge in Foreign Direct Investment into China which increased by $162 billion to $1.476 trillion. Netting liabilities against assets leads to a net position of $1.79 trillion in external net assets.
EU Holds Unannounced Emergency Talks With Greece Over Weekend To Draft Second Bailout As Two Year Greek Bonds Pass 26%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/30/2011 - 08:35
Another weekend, another secret, and failed, meeting between the EU and Greece to find a bailout solution that simply does not exist. Reuters reports that while America was out camping, barbecuing and all around vacationing, the European Union was feverishly working on a second bailout package, holding another round of emergency talks with the Greek government, to prevent a June 29 default by Greece when money runs out. Alas, it is now too late: with austerity protests now a daily event, the political opposition has the upper hand and it seems that Greece's conservative opposition has demanded lower taxes as a condition for reaching a political consensus with the Socialist government on further austerity measures, a move which Brussels would not agree to, since unlike in America, cutting revenues does not lead to an reduction in the deficit, and anyone with a 2nd grader's education is aware of it. Punctuating that Europe's idealist unitary vision is about to be torn to shreds, even as the US and UK are out for the day, is the Greek 10-year Bund spread which rose by 20 basis points to 1,387 while two-year yields were up 58 bps to 26.23%.
EU Debt Contamination Deepens In Greece, Portugal And Ireland - Gold Just 2% From Record Nominal HighSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/30/2011 - 08:00
Gold and silver are flat in US dollars but higher in euros this morning. Trade is thin with the UK and US markets closed for spring holidays. Gold and silver were 1.75% and 8% higher last week and the precious metals and especially gold appear to be on solid footing due to the continuing debt crisis in Europe and concerns about a slowdown in the US and global economy. Despite gold being only some 2% away from the record nominal highs seen at the end of April ($1,563.70/oz), sentiment remains lackluster at best with little or no coverage of gold in the international financial press and media over the weekend. In the last two weeks we have experienced a lot of sell orders and the ratio of sell to buy orders has been the highest since our foundation in 2003. Value buyers emerged last week but much of the buying was by existing clients adding to their holdings. The threat of sovereign default and contagion increases by the day.