November 2nd, 2011
It seems like history is accelerating. Momentous events have been occurring regularly since 2007. Our political and financial leaders are blindsided on a daily basis by each new crisis. The majority of the American public continues to be apathetic, willfully ignorant, and constantly absorbed by their array of electronic gadgets and mindless drivel spewed at them by media conglomerates. Rather than think critically, most Americans allow left wing and right wing mainstream media to formulate their opinions for them through their propaganda and misinformation operations. Linear thinkers, who make up the majority of the political, social, media and financial elite in this country, believe the world progresses and moves ever forward. In reality, the world operates in a cyclical fashion, with generations throughout history reacting to events in a predictable manner based upon their stage in life. The reason the world has turned so chaotic, angry and fraught with danger since 2007 is because we have entered another Fourth Turning. Strauss & Howe have been able to document a fourfold cycle of generational types and recurring mood eras in American history back 500 years. They have also documented the same phenomenon in other countries.
With Tim Geithner having proven repeatedly and beyond a reasonable doubt he has insurmountable intellectual challenges, many have wondered just who it is that makes the real decisions at the US Treasury? The answer is, The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, or the TBAC in short, chaired by JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, which meets every quarter, and in which the richest people in America (here is its composition) set the fate of the US for the next 3 months in the form of a very much irrelevant report to TurboTax (link). What is of huge importance, however, are the minutes, which unlike the FOMC, are released immediately following the meeting. Below are the full minutes from the latest TBAC meeting held yesterday, just released by the US Treasury (and yes, the issuance of FRN Treasurys, corporate cash hoarding as well as the resumption of the SFP program are both discussed - like we said: these guys run the world) as well as the critical associated powerpoint.
First Fukushima made a repeat appearance last night with news of a repeat fission incident, a topic which has gotten absolutely zero media coverage as discussing beta, let alone gamma decay, is considered uncouth in refined society; now it is time for the fallback geopolitical hotbed to enter the stage. Sky News has reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to rally support in his cabinet for an attack on Iran, according to government sources. "The country's defence minister Ehud Barak and the foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman are said to be among those backing a pre-emptive strike to neutralise Iran's nuclear ambitions. But a narrow majority of ministers currently oppose the move, which could trigger a wave of regional retaliation. The debate over possible Israeli military action has reached fever pitch in recent days with newspaper leader columns discussing the benefits and dangers of hitting Iran. Mr Lieberman responded to the reports of a push to gain cabinet approval by saying that "Iran poses the most dangerous threat to world order." But he said Israel's military options should not be a matter for public discussion." Which makes one wonder: why is Sky News reporting on this, and why is it a matter for public discussion?
The pulled EFSF bond sale, IIF's desperate hope to keep their 50% haircut, and the potential for Greece and China 'side-meetings' all add up to much more worrying signals than the market seems to be discounting currently.
The October ADP Private Payrolls report, which is the butt of all jokes when it comes to accurate NFP predictive ability, has come and gone, printing at 110K on expectations of 100K, and down from a revised 116K in September. For those who actually care about the quality of jobs, services added 114K of the total 110K jobs, while good-producing jobs subtracted 4K, and manufacturing jobs as a subset declined by 8K. And then they complain that China is making everything in the world...
- Market talk that China may contribute towards the EFSF. Meanwhile, Japanese PM Noda said Japan will consider continued buying of EFSF bonds
- According to an EFSF spokesman, the EFSF is putting off the sale of its 10-year securities
- Weakness in the USD-Index boosted EUR/USD, GBP/USD and commodity-linked currencies
- According to the German foreign minister, the Greek rescue plan cannot be renegotiated
- Markets look ahead to the FOMC rate decision followed by Fed’s Bernanke press-conference
Paul Krugman’s latest post is extremely bearish and he warns that “things are falling apart in Europe; the center is not holding” Krugman warns that this could lead to a “gigantic bank run” and “emergency bank closing”. Not only does Krugman warn of a massive bank run and emergency bank holidays but he warns of the euro breaking up and Italy returning to the Italian lira and even warns of similar problems confronting France. “The question I’m trying to answer right now is how the final act will be played. At this point I’d guess soaring rates on Italian debt leading to a gigantic bank run, both because of solvency fears about Italian banks given a default and because of fear that Italy will end up leaving the euro. This then leads to emergency bank closing, and once that happens, a decision to drop the euro and install the new lira.” “Next stop, France.” Uber Keynesian Krugman, has been one of the most vocal gold bears in recent years and his opinion on gold has been biased and uninformed. It will be interesting to see if his attitude towards gold has changed given the appalling vista he is now warning of. An important question we have posed for some time – is what price gold in drachma, lira, pesetas, escudos and punts? What should the ordinary people in European countries do to protect themselves from currency debasement and devaluations? Unfortunately, we may find out the answer to these questions in the coming months.
While as usual only headlines will be market moving, today we get the always completely irrelevant and very much worthless October ADP report, followed by the FOMC statement and press conference this afternoon.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said a referendum on Europe’s rescue package will confirm the nation’s membership of the euro as he stuck to plans to hold the vote amid signs his government may collapse.
Uhm, what was that? The Bund-OAT spread just soared by 7 bps to an all time record 129 and widening, which we expect is due to the EFSF bond pull. Expect a 130 handle any second...So Europe now has France to add to the Greek and Italian communicating vessels? Good work.
Latest China Bailout Rumor Crumbles As EFSF Pulls Bond Due To "Market Conditions", France-Bund Spread At RecordSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/02/2011 07:24 -0400
Once again the desperation level is high as seemingly the core driver of overnight strength was a rumor that China would inject €700 billion in the EFSF, coupled with the even more desperate expectation that in a few short hours Ben will launch the LSAP version of QE: something that is virtually impossibly unless stocks drop to triple digits, and a fact that the market with its constant attempts at Fed frontrunning makes practically impossible. Yet this was good enough to tighten the all critical Italy-Bund spread to 422bps overnight (recall it hit the catastrophic 455 bps yesterday). However some news since then have put a major damper on sentiment, notably another recessionary data point from Europe, where the October Manufacturing PMI printed at 47.1 on expectations of 47.3, and German unemployment posting a rare disappointing miss printing +10K on consensus of -10k. Yet the nail in the coffin for today's European action was that the EFSF, which as we noted already reduced its €5 billion Irish bailout package to €3 billion on subpar market demand, pulled the entire issue citing the trusty old fallback "market conditions" confirming that not only is the latest China bailout rumor a complete fabrication yet again (as explained both here and here). What is more troubling is that the EFSF has set off on its path to raise €1 trillion+ with an epic failure and an inability to raise even €3 billion. That realization has finally spread to the market and not only is the Italy-Bund spread back to morning wides at 438, but, just as disturbing, the French-Bund spread is back to all time wides of 123 bps! That the European interbank liquidity market just collapsed again with ECB deposit facility usage hitting a three week high of €229 billion, coupled with Euribor-OIS spread jumping +6 bps in a week to 0.86% and just off the 3 year highs of 0.89%, is certainly not helping things. Look for more mayhem out of Europe as the G-20 meeting slowly unwinds over the next day, and the complete lack of organization in Europe is exposed for all to see all over again.
- The FOMC is expected to keep the Fed funds rate unchanged in the range of 0%-0.25%
- Policymakers may consider large-scale purchases of MBS to help the housing sector
- The FOMC may cut its growth and inflation projections for 2011 and 2012
This week's MoF intervention in the FX markets, while not quite unprecedented (trailblazer Hildebrand aside), was certainly sizable, surprising, and potentially sustained - no matter how many times we were told by Mr. Azumi that he was 'watching' closely. Our question, and one discussed in a Bloomberg story this evening, is it possible to change the course of USDJPY via intervention - and perhaps more presciently (given growing global interest in capitalist/Keynesian spending escalation), was the expected $512bn loss that the country faces on these FX positions alone worth it? Tohru Sasaki, of JPMorgan's Global FX Strategy group, address his concerns at both the unilateralism and the worrying perspective that the Japanese might try to emulate the SNB - which he sees as almost impossible to achieve - especially since the ceiling on CHF leaves JPY and USD as the only anti-cyclical currencies.
“It’s difficult to change the trend of the currency market.
Even if the action can stem the currency’s gains temporarily, the yen will eventually appreciate.”
Since obviously nobody in charge has learned anything at all, and all the old school games will continue until they no longer can, and demand for US paper, already plunging at the international level, disappears (aside from the Fed of course: the Fed will always be a happy last ditch monetizer of one-ply US paper), here is the Treasury's just released schedule for bond issuance for Fiscal Q1 (Oct-Dec 2011), and Q2 (Jan-March 2012), which amounts to $305 billion and $541 billion, respectively, or a total of $846 billion in 6 months, a $141 billion run rate per month. This compares to a total of $628 billion issued over the comparable period a year ago (although granted the Treasury did burn a whopping $225 billion in cash in Q1 of 2010). In other words, the US Treasury is planning on issuing 35% more in the first half of the fiscal year than a year previously, even though this time last year the Fed was monetizing all gross issuance, and even though the European EFSF was not about to ramp up issuance and soak up hundreds of billions of excess fixed income targeted capital. Now we only have some vague, ineffectively sterilized duration transfer operation which is doing nothing to lift belly demand, and merely takes care of the long end (while the Fed's promise to keep rates at zero until 2013 makes all bonds 2 years and less to be off zero effective duration). We doubt this schedule is even remotely sustainable without some imminent form of Large Scale Asset Purchase program being implement (with or without MBS monetization: for a definitive answer on this issue, please call 949-720-6226), and none of that Nominal GDP targeting mumbo jumbo. Unlike Europe, the Fed knows that money talks, and bullshit targeting walks.