- Markets remained nervous ahead of a teleconference between Greece and the Troika, which has already been delayed until 1700BST today
- ECB’s Liikanen said that Eurozone growth risks are substantially on the downside, adding that sovereign debt crisis is not just individual countries' problem, but is a systemic Eurozone crisis
- According to a study by the DIW research institute, Germany's 10 biggest banks need EUR 127bln of additional capital
- According to Japan’s Economic Policy Minister, the country may announce outlines of measures to counter the strong JPY as early as tomorrow
- Moody's said it would finish reviewing Italy's sovereign credit rating for a possible downgrade within the next month, adding that Italy faces a challenging economic and financial environment
- Greece Seeks Further Cuts (WSJ)
- No new China stimulus - former deputy central banker (Reuters)
- Obama to propose "Buffett Tax" on millionaires (Reuters)
- Greece-Troika Conference Tonight To Decide Next Steps (Market News)
- China Slowdown Looms as Inflation Limits Stimulus, ex-PBOC Official Says (Bloomberg)
- Bernanke Joins King Tolerating Inflation (Bloomberg)
- Swiss Cash blockade against German tax evaders (Spiegel)
- Moody's stays negative on states, local governments (Reuters)
- Germany Rejects Using ECB Leverage to Increase European Rescue Fund’s Size (Bloomberg)
- Merkel and Eurosceptic allies beaten in Berlin (Reuters)
Gold rose on Friday on the news that private participation in the Greek bond swap would miss the required 90% level, gold then climbed a robust $58. The Eurogroup/Ecofin meeting has disappointed the market as little or nothing of substance came from the meeting. If anything it has underscored the deep level of disunity in Europe as to how to manage this crisis going forward. This week's U.S. Federal Open Market Committee meeting may give a clue as to what quantitative easing initiative awaits the market this year. FOMC watchers are indicating that a recognisable increase in rhetoric on the topic will become evident. Paper and ink futures are sure to soar from here.
Something about the news-flow over the weekend seems scripted. All of the comments and actions and "leaks" seem to be following a plan. The comments are too consistent. For the first time in months it seems that they have managed to contain people willing to speak to the media to just a few senior ministry of finance officials at the largest countries. Merkel and Sarkozy have been very quiet about the Finance Minister meetings, though Merkel was busy losing another election, so that may have something to do with it. This all started after a Friday trading session that was described by many corporate bond traders as not just quiet, but as "eerily" quiet. In any case the big question is guessing how this play will end. Is it an attempt to allow Greek to default with as much dignity as possible? The Greek's can say that the new plans were pushing things too far too fast and it was unfair. The US says they need stimulus to grow, we could not continue on a plan of austerity. The other countries would then say that they gave Greece every opportunity to remain current and they would do so with other countries that were more commited to plans. Or they could be setting us up for Greece to announce some new commitment to a plan. Then the European leaders can tell their citizens that they pushed Greece to the edge of default and are only providing taxpayer money with the certainty that Greece will live up to its obligations.
The Eurozone crisis will remain on top of the agenda with a Monday conference call scheduled between the Greek Finance minister and the Troika to assess if the conditions have been met for the disbursement of the next tranche. Also on Monday, Chancellor Merkel will face the press after weak regional election results in Berlin. Likely, the Eurozone crisis will be on the agenda. The developments in Greece will remain important throughout the week, with speeches by German Finance Minister Schaeuble and the ECB's Mr. Stark potentially important at the end of the week, during the IMF/Worldbank/G20 meetings, which start at the end of the week. At the Washington gathering we expect plenty of public comments on the Eurozone crisis by global policymakers, giving the currency market an opportunity to move on every headline. The other main event this week is the FOMC meeting, where Goldman expects “Operation Twist”. Some investors have started to wonder if there will be a QE3 surprise with additional asset purchases.
Fear is quite obviously rearing its ugly head once again tonight and Belgium's ever-ready-for-an-understatement finance minister Reynders told La Tribune that the euro area may need as much as two years to overcome the sovereign debt crisis. We think it will all be over one way or another by then. As the US Treasury market opens for business tonight, yields are reflecting the fearful action seen in futures markets and dropping notably. The 2Y has just traded at its lowest yield ever at 15.12bps and the 10Y is trying its best to hold above yet another Maginot line at 2.0026%. Credit markets are also starting to crack wider as they open for trading with financials and non-financials notably wider already. While risk-assets in general are offered and safe-haven TSYs are bid, we are seeing PMs gently glide higher and note an interesting article in today's FT that asserts European Central Banks have resumed net-buying Gold after 20 years of consistent selling.
FX markets opened first and gapped down 100pips in EURUSD only to retrace back to fill the gap and then drop all the way back down again - all within the first hour. European credit markets (early CDS runs) are trading very marginally wide of their European closing levels from Friday and that is where US equity futures have pulled back to - 11/12am ET Friday levels - extinguishing the late-day hopium-inspired melt-up. We noted Friday that the late-day jump higher in stocks was not supported by any other asset class and sure enough, ES has retraced it all.
While the trope of US "short-termism" has been significantly discussed in recent months, in an attempt to explain why the capital markets no longer align with the 7-11 year duration of the business cycle, but with the duration of the elected term of the US president or of various congressional and senatorial critters, and in many cases, with the lock up period at various prominent hedge funds (nowadays as short as 1 month), little has been said about the comparison between the "political imperatives" that define Europe's economic growth dynamo: Germany. And as last week demonstrated, when it comes to the US attempting to impose its "imperatives" on Europe (read Germany) in the form of the one and only "solution" available to the US (namely print, print, print) any such venture ends in mockery, ridicule and general disparagement of TurboTax experts. So just what is it about Europe that makes the two regimes so incompatible? Well, for one thing the fact that unlike the US, Germany has already suffered through a period of hyperinflation, seen the disastrous impact of central planning in the form of a totalitarian regime and it subsequent dissolution with the fall of the Berlin Wall, and experienced an economic "miracle" or the period between 1948 and 1955, in which Germany denied central planning and unleashed a golden age predicated by free and fair capital markets, and the abolition of all rules and regulations established by the occupying powers. But that is not all: aside from the purely empirical perspective that Americans so acutely lack, Germany also has a vastly different political system which explains why the prerogatives behind the German ruling party are so vastly different than those for the US, and why Europe will almost certainly never embark upon a path comparable to that of the US. The Privateer's Bill Buckler does the perfect comparison of the "political imperatives" that shape, define and most importantly, distinguish the US from Germany, and which we believe should receive far greater attention in the mainstream media than they currently do.
Tomorrow at 10:30 am Obama will present the balance of the details from his latest tax hike proposal, which obviously has no chance in hell of passing, but which will provide for substantial theater and hopefully deflect from the fact that Europe is closing an hour later. Courtesy of Reuters, here are some of the tax measures Obama has either already proposed, or may be looking at, to raise more tax revenue to help reduce the deficit, according to analysts, and what he will likely focus on tomorrow.
Same Sunday, Different Day. As the FX market opens, the accrued rumors from this weekend, once again focusing squarely on Greece have come to a fore. The immediate result: a EURUSD which is down 100 pips from the Friday close. Gold and ES opens in 2 hours, Asia in 4, the European bailout rumor mill shortly thereater, the central bank global liquidity pumpathon just after that, and so on. We have seen this all play out before and frankly it is getting boring.
Funny how all it takes for people to tell the truth is to no longer be part of the status quo. Yesterday, former UK PM and gold trader extraordinaire Gordon Brown said the 2011 financial crisis is worse than that of 2008, and now we have the man who until 5 months ago was head (it just never gets old) of the IMF, saying that Greece is finished.
- STRAUSS-KAHN SAYS GREECE CAN'T PAY BACK ITS DEBTS
- STRAUSS-KAHN SAYS EVERYONE MUST ACCEPT LOSSES ON GREECE
Think Ron Paul is the only person asking questions about the actual gold supposedly backing the currency in circulation. Think again: the "ask your central banker where his gold is" tour just went global after the Dutch the Dutch Socialists Party (SP)’s spokesman for financial affairs, Mr. Ewout Irrgang, asked the Dutch Secretary of the Treasury 10 detailed questions about the gold supposedly held by the Dutch Central Bank. Questions vary from: where is the gold? why are gold and gold receivables one line item? how much gold is loaned out? As Dutch website Vrijspreker.nl points out, "This is potentially a big breakthrough for global awareness on how central banks hide crucial info from the public and the disastrous effects central banks have on society." Is Belgium next to ask the same question in a vain attempt to understand just how much of its gold is permanently "lent out"? And after Belgium, everyone else with a central bank perhaps?
Sean Corrigan, of Diapason Commodities Management, outdoes himself this week. At one fell swoop, and in his usual eloquent manner, he dismantles Krugman's Keynesian war-mongering, Bernanke's bafflement at a lack of recovery, Trichet's stable instability, and Hildebrand's god-like control of markets. Along the way he destroys every six-year old girl's (and sell-side/academic economist's) dreams - quite a read for a Sunday afternoon.
This it NOT what you would expect from a traditional valedictorian speech. Hopefully people, especially young people, are starting to wake up to just how corrupt and broken at its core, the US educational system is. Alas, tangentially, as the following data from Stone McCarthy indicates, there is little danger that the revelations captured in this video are anywhere near widespread, courtesy of record after record rise in the next big bubble: student loan debt, which is nothing but even more voluntary indentured servitude in hopes that the latest piece of paper certifying one is "smart" will make one's resume more attractive to potential employers. Alas, if they only knew...