Last Friday we pointed out that Chinese 7-Day SHIBOR had hit a fresh all time high just days after pundits thought that the year end liquidity shortage was temporary and things would be back to normal. This morning it appears that the PBoC is scrambling to restore some form of liquidity in suddenly frozen interbank market, especially with the traditionally liquidity draining Chinese new year coming up, as the central bank is said to have injected CNY300 billion of liquidity via reverse repos. To those who are concerned that the PBoC is playing an increasingly more volatile game, with liquidity either in big excess or completely absent, and with a very limited arsenal of measures, you are not alone.
The week ahead will have interesting GDP prints out of the UK and the US in store. The market has recently shifted to price in a stronger US recovery and a higher probability for BOE hikes – so both prints will be watched closely and will inform investor decisions. Also worth watching are the German and Eurozone PMIs and if they confirm the signs of ongoing strength by the IFO. Against the strong growth back drop in the Eurozone, political events always the potential to increase uncertainty and the prospect of earlier Irish elections than the previously scheduled March date could be a concern. The US FOMC is expected to acknowledge the improvement in the macro data but not to change its policy stance. President Obama’s state of the Union address will likely focus on budget consolidation and policy to support employment. Hungary’s and Israel’s central banks are both expected to raise base rates on Monday, and so is India’s on Tuesdsay. The minutes from the recent MPC meeting in the UK should continue to indicate that the MPC will likely see through the volatile nature of the commodity price pressures which have led to higher CPI inflation against the drag that fiscal consolidation may pose on domestic demand ahead.
RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 24/01/11
Al-Jazeera Releases "The Palestine Papers": Thousands Of Documents Detailing A Decade Of Secret Israeli Palestinian NegotiationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/23/2011 - 18:00
Al-Jazeera has released thousands of previously classified documents which due to their content will likely bring the already sensitive situation in the Middle East to a boil once again. While the document progenitor could well be Wikileaks, the TV network refuses to disclose the source: "Because of the sensitive nature of these documents, Al Jazeera will not reveal the source(s) or detail how they came into our possession. We have taken great care over an extended period of time to assure ourselves of their authenticity." As for what is contained: "The material is voluminous and detailed; it provides an unprecedented look inside the continuing negotiations involving high-level American, Israeli, and Palestinian Authority officials." Apparently, the disclosure is so sensitive that the ISP of the Palestinian authority has just blocked the Aljazeera site containing the early releases. We look forward to reading the documents as they are released between January 23 and 26. Judging by the prompt retaliation they will be worth the read: according to the Palestinian Authority, Al-Jazeera has just declared was on Palestinians, which intuitively makes little sense.
"Bond Recoveries Or Chocolate": Ivory Coast Issues Ultimatum With Cocoa Export Ban, As Chocolate Prices Set To Surge MondaySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/23/2011 - 15:43
When a week ago we observed the Onionesque reality of life in the Ivory Coast, where deposed president Gbagbo is threatening to wipe out bondholders of $2.3 billion in debt (Corporate Ticker: NUTZ) unless he becomes formally recognized, we made the following bold prediction: "we are sure that Blythe Masters and her team were recently in
Yamoussoukro discussing the most effective way to corner the cocoa
market (paper Cocoa ETF?), thus getting the price of the sweet powder up
by a few trillion percent (in exchange for a nice 25% of all upside
going to Jamie Dimon's firm of course)." Sure enough, when it comes to our track record of macabre predictions we continue to be near 100%. The FT has just reported that Alassane Ouattara, Laurent Gbagbo's opponent in the presidential election (and the man formally acknowledged by the UN as the country's president) has just imposed a one-month export ban of cocoa, ostensibly in an attempt to oust Laurent Gbagbo. In other words, the international community has to choose: bond recoveries or chocolate. That said, we are certain that it is none other than noted commodity market cornering expert JPM that can claim league table advisory credit for what according to the FT will be a 10% jump in the price of cocoa on opening Monday. The immediate retaliation by Gbagbo will most certainly be to force a technical default on the country's bonds which are already in their grace period, and start a localized mini liquidity (and solvency) crisis in Africa... As if the developed world did not have enough of those as is. And in the meantime, we sense a great disturbance in the inflationary Force, as if millions of fatty voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced: prepare for the next round of food inflation worldwide.
In lieu of a credible macroeconomic data reporting infrastructure in America, increasingly more people are forced to resort to secondary trend indicators, most of which have zero economic "credibility" within the mainstream, yet which provide just as good a perspective of what may be happening behind the scenes in this once great country. A good example was a recent Gallup poll, which contrary to all expectations based on a now completley irrelvant and thoroughly discredited ADP number, which led some br(j)okers such as the Barclays Insane Predictions Team to speculate a 580,000 NFP number was in the books, indicated that the jobless situation barely improved in December. Sure enough, this was promptly confirmed by the January 7 NFP number. And so, in looking for a variety of other "off the grid" economic indicators we read a recent report by Nicholas Colas, which proves to us that we are not the only 'nerdy' entity out there increasingly searching for metrics that have some rooting in reality, and not in the FASB-BLS-Census Bureau joint ventured never-never land. And while we recreate the key points from the report, the one item that should be highlighted is that, as we have suspected for a while, the social undertow of fear, skepticism and anger is coming to a boil, as Google queries of the "Buy A Gun" search querry have just hit an all time high. How much of this is due to the recent events from Tucson, AZ is unclear. What is clear is that the trend is most certainly not your friend (unless you are of course the CEO of Smith and Wesson).
Since the Fed has now purchased $320 billion in Treasurys since QE Lite (more than in all of QE1 combined) and $244 billion since QE 2, and the latest, but certainly not last, round of quantitative easing is more than a third done, it is once again time to provide a summary recap of what the Fed has purchased to date, as well as an advance frontrunning preview of both Monday's immediate POMO as well as of all POMO operations in the near future. Also, since the Fed no longer even cares about the optics of direct monetization as we disclosed first last week when we pointed out that Sack-Frost had monetized half of the Primary Dealer takedown from the just completed 3 year auction, the game is obviously starting to get quite dirty, and the FRBNY boys are fully convinced they can do whatever they want with impunity. Obviously, with all of a subservient puppet Congress bought off, they are absolutely right.
It has been a while since we had one of those "before Asia opens" kind of Sundays. Today just may be one. BBC has just reported that the Irish Green party has pulled out of the ruling coalition with Fianna Fail which is "expected to bring forward the general election from 11 March." In other words suddenly the entire Irish "rescue", taken for granted for over a month, will have to be reexamined, once the new ruling party, which will certainly be from the current opposition reevaluates the terms. Elections are now expected to come some time in mid-February. Look for peripheral bond spreads to go whooosh tomorrow.
An analysis of world-wide clean tanker spot fixture volume in 2010 characterizes a sobering picture of developed-world economic health. A significant 8.3% contraction in total reported fixtures from 2009 marks a downturn from what had seemed to be a market on the mend from the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. Although many pundits point to a rapidly-growing eastern
demand for tonnage in crude tanker markets as reason for optimism, nearly all market participants are left scratching their heads looking for any similar signs of optimism in the product shipping market.
Demonstrating Humankind's remarkable ingenuity with financial and philosophical innovation, Non Sequitur's Stone Age geniuses Ook and Mook invent money, wealth and Taoism with only sticks and stones...
Egypt Proactively Preparing For Tunisian-Style Rioting: Airport Intercepts 59 Outbound Gold Shipments Worth Tens Of MillionsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/22/2011 - 15:41
After a week ago we learned that the central bank of Tunisia had parted with 23% of its gold stash courtesy of now deposed president who fled the country with a 1.5 ton shipment of gold, it appears that Egypt is preparing for a comparable spike in revolutionary activity. Only unlike the now former Tunisian president whose gold sequestering actions were retroactive and thus, quite lucky to succeed, Egypt has taken proactive measures. According to Egypt News, the country's airport has intercepted 59 shipments of gold directed for the Netherlands "worth tens of millions." The gold, as well as an indeterminate amount of foreign currencies, was hidden in pillow cases: uh, cotton may not show up on X-Rays, but gold sure does. We eagerly await to learn how big the decline in the country's official holdings 75.6 tonnes of gold will be after this most recent episode confirming that gold is precisely money. And all this happening despite gold's complete and thorough inedibility.
Over the past twenty years, few people have been as discredited in their worldview as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. The thorough fall from pedestalized grace of the Pulitzer Prize winner, whose latest book, "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century," not at all surprisingly won the inaugural Goldman Sachs/Financial Times Business Book of the Year award, can only be compared to that other New York Times columnist who will go down with the debt-leaking titanic, kicking and screaming, that no matter the impending global default, he is right. And as the premise of globalization goes through its own death rattle, just like the ridiculous Keynesian notion that only more debt can save us from record debt, globalization's biggest advocate is monetizing his last remaining ounces of credibility. Below, we present Fora TV's recently released Asia Society interview with Friedman who discusses at length his view on the parallels and differences between China and the US. Note: absolutely nothing of significance will be learned in this presentation, which is merely a rehash of stale, faulty and thoroughly discredited assumptions yet it is a good starting point to learn about all that is flawed in the prevailing view of how the two countries are supposed to coexist in the future. In other words: take verything Friemdna says and flip it 180 degress, and you will be on the right path.
The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments fell 37,000 in the week ended Jan. 15, the biggest decline since February 2010, to 404,000, figures from the Labor Department showed today. The four-week moving average dropped to 411,750 from 415,750. While the trend in claims is no doubt headed in the correct direction, it is important to stress that the current level of initial unemployment claims is still above the trailing 10 year average of 396,486. That fact is amazing given the massive number of layoffs which occurred during the last 3 years. So layoffs are still above trend and hiring is below trend. Those are the facts.
The schizophrenia at Goldman continues. After one part of the FX trading desk told clients last week to chase the EURUSD up to a 1.37 stop limit, in John Noyce's most recent update on his EURUSD views he notes: "The ST structure is not particularly clear, but we are certainly uncomfortable chasing the recent bounce and are watching for signs of the market again peaking/turning to the downside." Uh... So one part of Goldman says to chase the EUR, while another part says it is not comfortable chasing it. Well, win win. Too bad the rest of us don't have access to the discount window and if all that 5,000x margin does not work out our way, we can't go running to our former co-worker Bill Dudley (not to mention our subordinate Brian Sack who personally came over to us and introduce himself) and demand another bail out.