The dollar exclusion list is becoming bigger and bigger with every passing day as China gets ready.
Ray Dalio: Don't Assume That Germany Will Bail Europe Out; Consider The "Fat Tail" A Significant PossibilitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/26/2012 - 19:54
Lately, more and more professional investment "advisors" and newsletter recommendations boil down to just one catalyst: wait for either Germany, the ECB or the Fed to step in, as usual, and bail the world out, because, well, they have to, and any additional thought is rendered moot as fundamental analysis is meaningless under central planning (plus it is actually more work than just repeating the same stuff over and over while charging $29.95/month for it). Of course, when these same snakeoil salesmen are asked the simple question: what if said bailout does not happen, or if it happens late (for the purposes of this exercise let's assume one is not a central bank that can print its own money, have an infinite balance sheet, and can afford to be wrong almost into perpetuity), they give a blank stare, start mumbling something and walk away, especially if one mentions Lehman brothers and the simple detail that, oh, it failed. Which is why if Ray Dalio, head of the world's largest hedge fund, is correct, it may time to summarily fire and stop subscribing to each and every broken record Oracle whose template is "X will bailout Y" for the simple reason that it is wrong.
In light of the zombification that now exists in Japan and also America (and coming soon to every single QE and bailout-heavy Western economy) — zombie companies, poorly managed, making all the same mistakes as before, rudderless, and yet still in business thanks to government intervention — it is clear that the liquidationists grasped something that Keynesians are still missing. Markets are largely no longer trading fundamentals; they are just trading state intervention and money printing. Why debate earnings when instead you can debate the prospects of QE3? Why invest in profitable companies and ventures when instead you can pay yourself a fat bonus cheque out of monetary stimulus? Why exercise caution and consideration when you can just gamble and get a bailout? Unfortunately, Mellon and his counterparts at the 30s Fed were the wrong kind of liquidationists — they could not heed their own advice and leave the market be. Ironically, the 30s Fed in raising interest rates and failing to act as lender-of-last resort drove the market into a deeper depression than was necessary (and certainly a deeper one than happened in 1907) and crushed any incipient recovery.
Liquidation is not merely some abstract policy directive, or government function. It is an organic function of the market.
In a detailed discussion with Bloomberg TV's Tom Keene, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg addresses everything from Europe's "inability to grow its way out of the problem" amid its 'existential moment', Asian 'trade shock' and commodity contagion, and US housing, saving, and fiscal uncertainty. He believes we are far from a bottom in housing, despite all the rapacious calls for it from everyone, as the over-supply overhang remains far too high. "The last six quarters of US GDP growth are running below two percent" he notes that given the past sixty years of experience this is stall speed, and inevitably you slip into recession". He is back to his new normal of 'frugality' and bearishness on the possibilities of any solution for Europe but, most disconcertingly he advises Keene that "when you model fiscal uncertainty into any sort of economic scenario in the U.S., what it means is that businesses raise their liquidity ratios and households build up their savings rates. This comes out of spending growth. And that's the problem - you've got the fiscal uncertainty coupled with a US export 'trade shock'."
Forty five years after the War on Poverty began, there are 49 million Americans living in poverty. That’s a solid good return on the $16 trillion spent so far. It’s on par with the 16 year zero percent real return in the stock market. We have produced a vast underclass of ignorant, uneducated, illiterate, dependent people who have become a huge voting block for the Democratic Party. Politicians, on the left, promise more entitlements to these people in order to get elected. Politicians on the right will not cut the entitlements for fear of being branded as uncaring. The Republicans agree to keep the welfare state growing and the Democrats agree to keep the warfare state growing -bipartisanship in all its glory. And the middle class has been caught in a pincer movement between the free shit entitlement army and the free shit corporate army. The oligarchs have been incredibly effective at using their control of the media, academia and ideological think tanks to keep the middle class ire focused upon the lower classes. While the middle class is fixated on people making $13,400 per year, the ultra-wealthy are bribing politicians to pass laws and create tax loopholes, netting them billions of ill-gotten loot. These specialists at Edward Bernays propaganda techniques were actually able to gain overwhelming support from the middle class for the repeal of estate taxes by rebranding them “death taxes”, even though the estate tax only impacts 15,000 households out of 117 million households in the U.S. The .01% won again.
Slow Day. S&P 500 e-mini futures, stumbled early on by some 'reality' from Merkel, recovered to the magical 1315 level that has seemed so important in the last few weeks. Broadly speaking risk-drivers were either weaker or went sideways in narrow ranges as Energy, Financials, and Discretionary high beta pulled stocks higher. From yesterday's equity day-session close, oil is unch, copper down modestly, Gold down more and Silver down the most as the USD limped very quietly lower on the day (interestingly divergent as AUD and GBP strength was enough to balance the EUR weakness). Treasuries went sideways to modestly higher in yields by 2-3bps. Stocks outperformed (once again) from around the European close - pulling notably away higher from CONTEXT-based broad risk perspective but, just as with the last few days, financial weakness into the close led the broad indices into a decent nose-dive back towards VWAP right into and beyond the bell (on heavy volume and larger average trade size). It's getting old. VIX fell less than 0.5 vols and surged up to nearly 20% at the close (as stocks dumped giving up almost half its day-session gains) as total day volume was weak, average trade size low, and intraday range the lowest in 2 months. HY and HYG underperformed stocks (we suspect as the LT convergence reduces the push into HYG) and we are seeing IG-HY decompression pick up a little.
In the aftermath of the recent escalation in tensions between Turkey and Syria, whereby Syria was accused of hostile behavior for firing and taking down a Turkish fighter jet that supposedly spent at least 5 minutes in its airspace, today was a quiet day. At least until recently we saw the following footage in a clip uploaded to YouTube. Supposedly, Turkey has sent troop reinforcement to the Syrian border, after Erdogan's warning that soldiers approaching the border will be treated as targets, the clip explains, citing Turkish daily Zaman reported citing the Cihan news agency. This is unverified, nor is the statement that 15 military vehicles, including tanks and cannons, were dispatched to the border from Diyarbakir. We are skeptical of the validity of the above especially since earlier today Russia said that Tuesday's Syrian shooting down of a Turkish warplane should not be seen as a provocation and warned world powers against using the incident to push for stronger action against Damascus. It was Moscow's first official reaction which made it quite clear that Russia will not just stand idly by awaiting for NATO to unilaterally take a decision to punish the middle eastern nation for daring to defend itself. But then again, this may be merely misreading Russia's resolve, in collaboration with China, to defend its own national strategic interests.
Every time we get too bogged down by details, minutae, nuances, footnotes, rumors, lies, or, at the very bottom of the bullshit pyramid, Eurocrat promises, and think that maybe, just maybe, there is a way to fix the mess we are in, we take a quick look at what is in store (most recently recapped by Deutsche Bank in the form of the following two charts) and quickly realize that all concerns about a happy ending have been for nothing.
The American Chemistry Council's chief economist Kevin Swift created a 'Chemical Activity Barometer' which tracks chemical production and prices, hours worked at producers, and manufacturing output among other factors. As indicated in today's Bloomberg Chart-of-the-Day, this indicator, based on its 'earliness in the supply chain' provides a signal that "the outlook for the economy is slowing during the next six to nine months" since 96% of manufactured goods are derived in part from materials produced by the US chemical industry. Three-month declines of 3% or more have preceded all but one recession since 1947 and it is currently down over 2.5% from its highs in March suggesting sub-par growth is coming.
Things appear to be going from worse to worserer as the failure of Light-Squared appears to have been a 'harbinger' of pain to come for the man who was 188th richest in the US. As Bloomberg notes:
- *SEC SAID TO AUTHORIZE LAWSUIT AGAINST HARBINGER'S PHIL FALCONE
- *SEC SAID TO PLAN TO SUE FALCONE OVER TAX LOAN, GOLDMAN DEAL
- *SEC MAY FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST FALCONE AS EARLY AS THIS WEEK
- *FALCONE LAWSUIT MAY INCLUDE CLAIM OF MARKET MANIPULATION
Back in August 2010 we asked: "Is Phil Falcone's Mega Bet On SkyTerra Going To Be His Last?", turns out it was. Soon the only betting Phil may be doing is whether or not the soap slips in the common shower bathroom, or how many divorce attorneys might be waiting on patrol outside his multi-million dollar mansions; but we only have one thing to add now: "Got Pre-Nup?"
With any and every European leader talking unilaterally (and only one worth listening to, given the market's reactions), we ask and answer what should investors expect from the forthcoming EU Summit and what are the investment implications? Morgan Stanley's Arnaud Mares offers a succinct analysis of the three key axes being debated around the 'banking union' premise: a European Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS); a Common rule book and European level bank supervisor; and a federal resolution regime (and, in some proposals, a federal recapitalisation vehicle). The base-case view is that the current set of EU banking union proposals, whilst directionally helpful, are too long-term or too timid to address the 'crisis' with supervision stratified and insufficiently federal leading investment implications of little meaningful relief in Eurozone banking and sovereign credit markets. Recent comments from European ministers suggest that the path to federalized Banking Union will be far from an easy one, given the tightly interconnected federal debate.
There is a certain irony to the fact that John Taylor, he of the infamous 'Taylor Rule' policy tool, conjures Hayek and the need for policy-makers to base decisions on 'rules' as opposed to the whim of short-termist solutions and band-aids. In an excellent discussion starting from Hayek and the foundations of Austrian economics 'rules-based-policy', Santelli and Taylor opine that 'policy must be more predictable' as fiscal cliffs, monetary uncertainty, and policy confusion weighs on both sentiment and businesses willingness (or ability) to make plans. Critically, they point out the dilemma that the short-cuts to solve immediate problems are in and of themselves unpredictable and so a longer-term rules-based strategy - which empirically has led to re-election (which may come as a surprise to many who see palliatives as populist vote-buying) - is a far better solution both politically and economically. The two go on to discuss the inability (or unwillingness) to enforce existing legislation (as opposed to new regulatory pressures) and the Hakeyian suggestion that those in power feel the need to do something different (or 'fine-tune') as opposed to enforce and continue strong rules-based policy which leads to short-term 'confusing' interventions.
Hours ago, in addition to making Cypriot sovereign bonds no longer eligible as collateral at the ECB, the European Central Bank also announced something that received less attention, namely that its balance sheet rose by €31 billion in the past week (due to an increase in the MRO) to a new all time record high of €3.058 trillion. In other words, even as the Fed's balance sheet continues to be flat, or is even modestly declining, the ECB continues to pick up the monetary slack with all new fiat ending up to benefit the US capital markets. Now as frequent readers know, this latest shift in the relative size of the two critical CB balance sheets also means something else: that the fair value of thje EURUSD implied purely on balance sheet correlation, a relationship that historically worked perfectly, yet in recent months has broken down due to the market's conviction that more QE is coming any minute now, is now just above 1.16, or just shy of 900 pips lower from here.