September 11th, 2011
Two years ago we first covered the flip side of the Chinese real estate "boom" story by presenting the ghost city of Ordos. Today, on the two year anniversary of China's Keynesian miracle being exposed for the whole world to see, Al Jazeera goes back to Ordos to see if anything has changed. And while Paul Krugman may be shocked, shocked, that the Keynesian approach of building for the sake of building does not work not only in the US but pretty much everywhere, it will be no surprise to anyone, that as Al Jazeera concludes, "it's still pretty quiet, but here's the remarkable thing - the building has't stopped, somehow people are convinced that if you keep building, people will come. If not in a few years, then... eventually." And somehow we keep bashing the Fed as the only source of Einsteinian insanity, when it is the same cretins from the Princeton economics department in both the monetary and fiscal arena, who know one thing and one thing only - do whatever ultimately fails, just keep on doing it.
It is a messy situation Trichet will be handing over to Draghi on October 31st. After the unnecessary rate hike in spring, what do you do: i) Cut rates in one of the remaining 3 meetings (see table), presenting Draghi with (almost) no room left to cut? ii) Leave rates unchanged and risk being seen as a lame duck as the Euro debt crisis escalates? iii) Agree to be removed early so Draghi can announce “his” first interest rate cut?
We may never gain our sense of security back, but at least the world is able to move on and remain resilient in the face of terror.
"Can the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set of a tornado in Texas?"--Edward Lorenz
German Economy Minister: "Greek Default Can't Be Ruled Out" And "We Need A Bankruptcy Procedure For Countries"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/11/2011 12:33 -0400
Greece may not file for bankruptcy this weekend... But its time is coming - it is a 100% certainty. And throwing just that little more fuel into the fire is Germany's Economy Minister Philipp Roesler who in an op-ed posted in Die Welt, is once again planting the seeds for the inevitable day when that perpetual transgressor Greece (which just announced yet more tax hikes, and as a result can now shut down its economy as the tsunami of 24 hour strike will be unprecedented) is finally kicked out of the union. The question then, as now, will be: what next?
Goldman Calls For QE In Europe: "How Far Can The ECB Go In Using Its Balance Sheet. The Short Answer Is: A Lot Further"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/11/2011 12:01 -0400
Even as the eyes of the world are currently frozen in a spot in time from ten years ago, and Wikileaks is making doubly sure of this by releasing the entire record of Metrocall pager (remember those?) intercepts starting at 9:55 am on 9/11/01, the world itself continues onward, and especially those who determine its global policy of "Prevention of Harm to The Status QuoTM" are busier than ever this weekend. Chief among these is and always has been the one financial firm which has infiltrated "sovereign" decision-making more than anyone in history: Goldman Sachs, whose alumnus, incidentally, is about to replace Jean Claude Trichet at the helm of the world's largest and most undercapitalized central bank (yes, a central bank can be undercapitalized - read on). Which is why the following note just released by Goldman's Dirk Schumacher is of particular attention. Mere hours after Goldman economist Sven Jari Stehn said that FOMC "easing at the September meeting is very likely—around 75% according to our model", Goldman is now taking on European monetary policy, and specifically the question of further quantitative easing, across the pond, where printing money has always been a far more touchy subject than in the US, courtesy of the German experience with hyperinflation. As a result, the key line in the Schumacher note is the following: "How Far Can The ECB Go In Using Its Balance Sheet. The Short Answer Is: A Lot Further." To be sure, this is not surprising: after all Zero Hedge first predicted that following the latest market trouncing on Friday, in the aftermath of the ECB's admission of failure on Thursday (who can forget Ze Price Stabeeleetee), see "ECBCTRL+P: The Next Steps In The European Implosion", but we are nothing but a simple blog, which predicts what will happen but certainly does not set policy for a corrupt and failed regime. That's Goldman's job. And what is stunning is the brazenness with which it does it now. To sum up: to Goldman both the Fed and the ECB have to engage asap in yet another episode of bonus-preserving currency debasement, middle class be damned. And, we have very little doubt, they will.
Something is brewing on this story. I can smell it.
No doubt September 11, 2001 changed everything. But the business of actually measuring those changes has been as overlooked by most as the nationalities of the hijackers. The following is presented in the interest of truth, justice and the American way.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
- Scientist and writer Arthur C. Clarke
Like many people I have difficulty with thinking about 9-11 because when I do it seems too fresh in my mind. And as we all know that is painful. I go back to a man whom I respect, William Edelen, a Christian minister [I am not religious], an intellectual, a thinker, and very definitely an iconoclast. He wrote the following piece right after 9-11.
As regular readers may recall, back on June 14, before it became an even bigger pariah in the thoroughly discredited rating agency space due to its refusal to downgrade the US, Moody's placed French megabanks SocGen, BNP and Credit Agricole on downgrade review, which means that at some point in the future the rating agency would have to cut the banks' rating from its existing Aa1-2, to Aa3 or even a single A. It is true that when it comes to downgrade reviews the rating agencies are notorious for being as unpredictable in their timing as they are conflicted in their rating: for example even though Belgium was supposed to be downgraded months ago due to the fact that it continues to be the longest running modern anarchy, nothing has occurred, as political interests are obviously pushing the raters to do as paying clients request, not as reality demands. Alas, for France, which is very sensitive to any inkling it may have a less than sterling rating (due to its sovereign AAA requirement without which the EFSF/ESM falls apart), the luck may have run out. Bloomberg reports that the abovementioned banks "may have their credit ratings cut by Moody’s Investors Service as soon as next week because of their Greek holdings, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Bull versus bear. Greed versus fear. Smart money versus dumb money. Depression versus transitory soft patch. Credit versus equity. In one corner is the credit market, a rather mighty opponent where $1 million defines an odd lot. Credit has spoken loudly. They have priced in a severe recession, depression whatever you want to call it. In the other corner stands the equity market and although fierce is smaller than its opponent where 100 shares defines an odd lot (a mere $700 in the case of BAC). Also known as the contrarian equity has priced in a transitory soft patch, the opposite of credit. Equity hopes to bounce back from a recent loss where they completely failed to price in the 2008 Great Recession. We are now on the eve of yet another showdown. Both corners are far apart and yet only one can be proven correct. The other must accept defeat. The stakes are large and the reward to those on the right side even larger. History will be the judge and time is all it asks.
Is the Market about to break down totally as Intervention and Manipulation destroy Market Mechanisms?
The uptick in credit spending is entirely attributable to subprime auto loans and government-backed student loans, both of which are a mere extension of the same Ponzi-finance scam that put the global economy into cardiac arrest.
It is at times like these that we in the financial sector are humbled in the presumption of our own importance and of the meaning of our works. Daily, we chase the ebb and flow of symbols and numbers across the screens and ticker tapes of the world, seeking to distill from them a fleeting pattern, or to recognize within them some more enduring form. Rarely, if ever, amid the hubbub of the trading room or the raw intensity of the Pit, do we reflect on the power of such symbols. We crane for each flickering change in a terse alphanumeric—USZ1, DELL, CPI +0.2%, DAX +150—each of us striving uselessly, but compulsively, to see it before our peers do, or, with a little more purpose, to interpret it more quickly than they. These electronic lights represent a stock, a bond, a currency; of that much we remain aware. But the stocks or bonds themselves are but symbols: a claim to the ownership of a minuscule fraction of some sprawling enterprise, or a right to receive payment from it in days to come. Again, that payment—in dollars, or euros, or yen—is another symbol: a sign that men have "laboured the earth," in Jefferson’s trenchant phrase, and that they seek to exchange the fruits of those labours for our own. This is where the chain of ciphers and sigils leads us at last, then—to the efforts of ordinary men and women going about their daily lives, working at one thing, the thing at which they are most competent, in order to swap their efforts for other things, for a whole diversity of things, made, in turn, by countless, faceless others doing what they are good at, too. This is the majesty of the free market, of capitalism, this self-organizing scheme that most fully utilizes our jewelled planet’s greatest resource—humanity itself—so that the masses of today live better than all the fearsome khans and haughty emperors of old. But on Tuesday, out of a clear autumnal sky, all this was put at deadly hazard by earnest men, albeit men whose earnestness had been twisted into suicidal hatred by the potent brew of fanaticism and despair. By their intricate assault on the good people of the U.S., these men showed that they were versed in the power of symbols all too well.