December 27th, 2011
UPDATE: And then Dallas Fed manufacturing misses (at -3.0 vs +4.8 expectations) as expectations for future finished goods plunge as do current inventories.
As if we needed yet further evidence of the dichotomous macro data that seems to provide as much bearish fodder as bullish decoupling confidence, today sees a near-record two-month jump in conference board confidence at the same time as S&P/Case-Shiller prints at a seasonally-adjusted 103 month low. With the Richmond Fed also missing expectations (though positive), we remain in the miasma of CONfidence uninspiring macro data as the underlying sub-indices of the conference board data show little to no shift in purchasing decisions despite some seemingly incredulous ramp in confidence that incomes will rise more than they decline in the next six months.
America Maxes Out Its Credit Card Again - Treasury To Raise Debt Limit By Another $1.2 Trillion On December 30Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/27/2011 11:22 -0400
You didn't think US consumer confidence could be bought for free now did you?
- U.S. TREASURY SAYS DEBT LIMIT TO BE RAISED BY $1.2 TRILLION
- U.S. DEBT TO BE $100 BLN WITHIN LIMIT ON DEC. 30, TREASURY SAYS
- STEPS FOR INCREASING DEBT LIMIT UNDER 2011 BUDGET CONTROL ACT
And the piece de resistance that 100% debt to GDP brings:
- OBAMA ON DEC. 30 LIKELY TO ASK CONGRESS TO RAISE DEBT LIMIT
Just as we thought the circus was over if only for a few weeks. Also, this means that in a few days, the US debt ceiling will be raised from $15.194 trillion to $16.394 trillion. As a reminder, US GDP was just revised down to $15.176 trillion.
In addition to the current Euro crisis, Japan, the world's third largest economy, could have its own debt crisis bigger than the Euro Zone as early as 2012.
One in a series of financial discussions of a more conversational nature.
Readers often ask me to post something hopeful, and I understand why: doom-and-gloom gets tiresome. Human beings need hope just as they need oxygen, and the destruction of the Status Quo via over-reach and internal contradictions doesn't leave much to be happy about. The most hopeful thing in my mind is that the Status Quo is devolving from its internal contradictions and excesses. It is a perverse, intensely destructive system with horrific incentives for predation, exploitation, fraud and complicity and few disincentives. A more human world lies just beyond the edge of the Status Quo. I know many smart, well-informed people expect the worst once the Status Quo (the Savior State and its corporatocracy partners) devolves, and there is abundant evidence of the ugliness of human nature under duress. But we should temper this Id ugliness with the stronger impulses of community and compassion. If greed and rapaciousness were the dominant forces within human nature, then the species would have either died out at its own hand or been limited to small savage populations kept in check by the predation of neighboring groups, none of which could expand much because inner conflict would limit their ability to grow. The remarkable success of humanity as a species is not simply the result of a big brain, opposable thumbs, year-round sex, innovation or even language; it is also the result of social and cultural associations that act as a "network" for storing knowledge and good will--what we call technical and social capital.
Despite it being a holiday shortened week, and volume already abysmal, there still are some robotic kneejerk reaction inducing economic datapoints, both today and Thursday. Here is what the consensus expects today, even as US economic data is once again irrelevant as Italy has taken front and center following the Zero Hedge report that ECB deposit facilities hit an all time record, leading to Italian BTPs widening to over 7% yet again, an a margin hike by LCH imminent.
My thoughts on the coming year.
Thanksgiving Day Massacre: Sears Slaughtered On Collapsing Margins, To Shutter Hundreds Of Stores, Provides Revolver UpdateSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/27/2011 07:24 -0400
That retailer Sears, aka K-Mart, just preannounced what can only be described as catastrophic Q4 results should not be a surprise to anyone: after all we have been warning ever since the "record" thanksgiving holiday that when you literally dump merchandize at stunning losses, losses will, stunningly, follow. Sure enough enter Sears. What we, however, are ourselves stunned by is that as part of its preannouncement, Sears has decided it would be prudent to provide an update on its credit facility status... and availability. As a reminder to anyone and everyone - there is no more sure way of committing corporate suicide than openly inviting the bear raid which always appears whenever the words "revolving credit facility" and "availability" appear in the same press release. Just recall MF Global. And here, as there, we expect shorting to death to commence in 5...4...3...
Anonymous' Barrett Brown speaks: "Stratfor was not breached in order to obtain customer credit card numbers, which the hackers in question could not have expected to be as easily obtainable as they were. Rather, the operation was pursued in order to obtain the 2.7 million e-mails that exist on the firm's servers. This wealth of data includes correspondence with untold thousands of contacts who have spoken to Stratfor's employees off the record over more than a decade. Many of those contacts work for major corporations within the intelligence and military contracting sectors, government agencies, and other institutions for which Anonymous and associated parties have developed an interest since February of 2011, when another hack against the intelligence contractor/security firm HBGary revealed, among many other things, a widespread conspiracy by the Justice Department, Bank of America, and other parties to attack and discredit Wikileaks and other activist groups. Since that time, many of us in the movement have dedicated our lives to investigating this state-corporate alliance against the free information movement. For this and other reasons, operations have been conducted against Booz Allen Hamilton, Unveillance, NATO, and other relevant institutions."
LTRO "Bazooka" Is Epic Disaster As Banks Scramble To Redeposit "Free Carry" Cash With ECB, Lose Money On "Inverse Carry"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/27/2011 05:54 -0400
When on Friday we penned "And This Is Where The LTRO Money Went" we said that the final nail in the "Carry Trade" theory was that instead of using the LTRO "Bazooka" cash to collect meaningless pennies in front of a steamroller, Europe's banks turned around and deposited it right back with the ECB after the bank's deposit facility soared to a 2011 record €347 billion, €82 billion more than the day before. Today, any residual doubt of where the LTRO cash proceeds went is eliminated, as the ECB has just confirmed that what goes out of one pocket comes back in the other, as the ECB's deposit facility has just exploded to not a 2011 record, but an all time record high €412 billion, a €65 billion increase overnight, and €167 billion higher in the past two days alone, which effectively accounts for practically all of the LTRO's free €210 billion... But the biggest slap in the face of Sarkozy is that instead of banks pocketing the "guaranteed" 2-3% in carry trade between the 1% LTRO rate and the soveriegn bond yield, banks are losing 75 basis point on this inverse carry trade, where they take LTRO cash and deposit it with the ECB where it yields... 0.25%!
It appears the PBoC is stepping up the monitoring and management of their gold reserves. Headlines, via Bloomberg, suggest controls tightening on the trading of gold away from official channels:
- *CHINA TO INCREASE MANAGEMENT OF GOLD TRADING, PBOC SAYS
- *CHINA GOLD TRADING RESTRICTED TO SHANGHAI EXCHANGES, PBOC SAYS
- *CHINA ORDERS UNAUTHORIZED GOLD TRADING PLATFORMS TO STOP: PBOC
- *PBOC ASKS SHANGHAI GOLD, FUTURES EXCHANGES TO BOOST MANAGEMENT
Despite more ramblings from Juncker this morning, the overnight session in Asia saw comments on downside risks from the BoJ drive risk assets modestly lower. Led by Japan, Asia-Pac equities were down around 0.3%. While EURUSD is higher by 25pips or so from Christmas Eve's close (and implicitly USD weaker), commodities are broadly underperforming with Copper worst (-1.3%), Gold (under $1600) and Silver in line -0.8%, and Oil just underwater from 12/23 close. European credit markets just started trading and are a smidge tighter - though liquidity is questionable for now - but sovereigns are leaking wider in spread with Italian 10Y worst for now +13bps (and BTP yields now breaking 7% again). US TSYs are 1-2bps lower in yield from the afternoon surge on Christmas Eve's discorrelated action. Given the markets that are open so far, CONTEXT (a broad risk market proxy for where ES - the e-mini S&P futures contract - should trade) is practically unchanged, which given the late-day surge on 12/23, leaves us looking for modest weakness when it re-opens later today.
It is difficult to know what the health affects to Americans and Canadians really are, given that governments are trying to cover it up
Did bankers use the MF Global bankruptcy to suppress gold and silver prices and create the panicked appearance of collapsing precious metals to give themselves additional precious time to delay the crash of the Euro and the US Dollar? As crazy as this sounds, a closer investigation of some key data seems to imply this possibility.
In an interesting analogy to the 'tragedy of the commons', Philipp Bagus, of Madrid's Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, explains how European governments have 'outfished' their respective pools of spending/borrowing capabilities as the enforcements of the Maastricht Treaty were entirely impotent. After addressing his perspective on how Europe got here, he discusses, with Alasdair Macleod of the GoldMoney Foundation, possible solutions to (and consequences of) the euro crisis. Bagus points out that there are basically three different ways to go about it. Firstly, governments could make drastic cuts in public spending and privatise public assets in order to balance their budgets. However, there will be – and is – strong political resistance to such proposals. Secondly, the eurozone could disintegrate, driven by a reluctance of German citizens to pay for other countries’ expenditures. And lastly, central banks and governments could decide to print their way out of the crisis, leading to high inflation. The thought-provoking professor provides some interesting color on the dichotomy between the official opinion in Europe and the sentiment on the street. Amid the ongoing expansion of the money supply and persistent deficits, Bagus can’t see the dollar gaining in value over the medium to long term. He also says that ECB policies are a lot more pragmatic than the ones undertaken by the US Federal Reserve. Talking about sound money, Bagus explains different ways to go about its introduction. One way would be to back all the money in existence by gold, adjusting the price of gold accordingly.