Israel's 25bp cut in its policy rate earlier in the week was the 514th reduction worldwide since June 2007 (and Serbia this morning the 515th). As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, Eastern European countries have made the biggest cuts this year as their economies struggle to grow. With the ECB's cut taking its 'real' rate to -0.7%, Belarus has cut borrowing costs by an impressive 500bps in 2013 (more than any other central bank) followed by Poland and Hungary. As we noted last week, it seems the Einsteinian repetition of failed actions is not a fool's errand, instead it appears the domain of the smartest people in the room - or simply fighting the hot money flow drivers with their own weapon (but as Bernanke told us - its not competitive devaluation if we all do it).
In what may be the strangest story we have seen in a while related to the gold market, it appears $982 million worth of gold has left JFK international airport in New York to some undisclosed location in South Africa. While it remains unclear what purpose this gold serves, it seems the most likely explanation is to fulfill demand for Krugerrands (South Africa’s popular gold bullion coin) to meet elevated demand in the face of constricted mine production.
When we look at the entire summation of elitist efforts to remake the world, all we see is a naïve reorganizing of a much greater work of art. Life is not perfect, at least, not by our definition, but life is also not a science; it is an emotional creation, with an emotional and spiritual brand of “logic”. In reality, they believe in engineering future trends. The elites want godlike power, but the greatest power of god is to create from nothingness. Technocrats do not create. Instead, they violently scoop up what already exists and fumble with it wildly, stupidly, fancying themselves omnipotent, like children lording over the ocean while pretending it’s a fish tank. They do not comprehend the substance of what they meddle in, and this is their greatest downfall. You cannot improve on something you do not understand. Fundamental unknowns derail the pursuit of full knowledge, and thus, full control. The universe has its own checks and balances in place to counter the ambitious, striking down thirsty faux gods who reach too high for what they do not respect, and will never deserve.
Thanks to POMO (and the simple explanation of what everyone already knows from David Tepper), the 18th Tuesday in a row has closed with a bright green shade across the screen. Trannies gained 2% but the 25 point gain off overnight lows for the S&P 500 is the most impressive... with gains sustained by more short covering. As predicted first thing today, when we said the S&P 500 EPS multiple will increase by at least 0.15x on the back of POMO, we were not surprised to see the closing print result in precisely this amount of multiple expansion:
Today's POMO: $2.75 - $3.50 billion. Should be enough to expand S&P multiples by 0.15-25x
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) May 14, 2013
A QE-unwind theme was modestly evident in other asset-classes: Treasuries (snapping higher after EU Close); Oil, gold, and silver all down; and credit spreads notably rolled over. But of course, equities don't care; why would they?
With home prices rising at near-record paces in SoCal, corporate debt yields at record-lows, equity markets surging at near-record rates, and high quality assets dwindling by the minute under the heel of a central bank jack boot; it is perhaps no surprise that investors have switched from finding leverage through the balance sheet (i.e. crappy quality firms) to finding leverage through the instrument (i.e. structured credit). The trouble this time is that yields (and spreads) being so low, the creators of the new-normal ABS, CDOs, and CLOs have to stoop to the old tricks to make their money (as we noted here). As Bloomberg reports, bond issuers are once again exploiting the credit rating agency pay-for-performance business model to create "high-quality" collateralizable assets from utter garbage - such as auto loans.
It has become difficult to keep track of all the different "-gates" the Obama administration has suddenly found itself embroiled in: perhaps an appropriate name would be Gate-r-gate? And with the just concluded farce in which Jay Carney passed off all AP-related questions to Eric Holder, who in turn recused himself and told the media to please crucify the Deputy AG instead, it is unlikely that any material new information will be disclosed any time soon. However, courtesy of The Hill, we at least have some insight into the first gross offense by the administration revealed last week: the targeting of one political group over another by the supposedly impartial IRS. Specifically, attached below is the full 7 page questionnaire sent by the IRS to the Liberty Township Tea Party containing a list of 35 questions.
History never changes. Or, at least it changes very slowly indeed. So here we are, like those before us, warning of our own Great Depression, of our own World War, or of even larger cycles like the fall of the English, Spanish, or Roman empires. And so far as we can tell, few listen and nothing changes. Why? Because it isn’t time. Understanding long-term cycles, and how they shape our spectrum of responses in periods of crisis and transformation is key to comprehending what is to come (and how we will allow it to affect us). Do you really think your ancestors didn’t see the Depression coming in 1921 or in 1929? Of course they did. The Balloon Option-ARM mortgage had just been invented, creating a housing boom larger and even more groundless as our own, immortalized by the Marx Brothers in The Cocoanuts. They warned the world then just as we do now, and no one listened then, just as they don’t now. Why? It wasn’t time.
Despite efforts by the government to quell the black-market (or blue-dollar) for Argentina's foreign exchange, the unofficial rate surged yesterday to 10.45 Pesos per USD. This is now double the official rate of 5.22 Pesos per USD. This implicit 50% devaluation comes amid the growing realization that there is no savings option to maintain the purchasing power of the peso in the context of sustained high inflation (no matter what the officials say) and negative real interest rates. The government is not amused, suggesting the devaluation won't happen (just as Mexico did right up until the day before they devalued), "those who seek to make money at the expense of devaluations must wait for another government." Perhaps the government should be careful with their threats? And of course, this could never happen in the US or Japan, right?
From one farce to another:
- *HOLDER SAID TO RECUSE HIMSELF FROM AP PHONE RECORDS CASE
- *HOLDER SAID TO RECUSE HIMSELF BECAUSE HE WAS QUESTIONED IN CASE
Yesterday, the Associated Press revealed the Department of Justice had been secretly monitoring both the personal and work phones of numerous AP editors and reporters. So just what did Holder know? For now, it is not known if Holder authorized or even knew about the investigation.
Yesterday was another less than convincing session. Indices off recent tops and Europe weaker. Treasuries tumbled then rallied part way back on less than stellar retail sales report. It rather feels like we are going through the motions with little conviction one way or another (even with today's mini-melt-up). Markets crave direction. What I'd like to see is the JGB curve bull-flatten to restore faith in Global easing and the asset grabathon. Don’t fight Kuroda – it will happen.. but when? That's the macro-trade. But the short-term trade may be to hedge some risk, like the Nikkei's recent gains, and think about how to hedge bursting bubble risks in the credit markets. Or is there something bigger going-on just behind the horizon? A "No-See-Em" that is about to confirm a particular market direction? After all... the global economy is either growing, is set for growth, or this recession is becoming a long-term depression. So let’s take a look at what's going on for signs of the hidden menace...
The US Student Loan Bubble Broken Down By State, And Why Washington D.C. Sticks Out Like A Sore ThumbSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/14/2013 - 12:45
Curious how the student loan bubble, just shy of $1 trillion, and now the largest debt portion of the US household non-mortgage wallet, bigger than credit card and auto loan debt - affects your state? Then the following three charts just out from the NY Fed are for you. What the data shows is that less than 12% of the population in Hawaii has student loans, while the record is in D.C. at over 25%. All those "students" in the nation's capital. Really? But that's not all. While the average loan balance is under $21,000 in Wyoming, it is once again highest in D.C., with the average loan balance over $40,000. It is almost as if D.C. "students" have learned how to game the system.
Will it be Benghazi? or the IRS Witch-Hunt? Or the AP Hack? Or how great the economy must be doing since stocks are surging? Or will anyone who asks questions be subject to immediate audit? Or are all questions moot? After all the White House knows precisely what will be asked long in advance...