Each Day Without Debt Deal Costs Greek Economy €22 Million And 613 Full-Time Jobs

It’s no secret that the protracted negotiations between Athens and its creditors are taking a toll on the Greek economy in general, on the Greek banking sector more specifically, and on Greek citizens most tragically. Now, thanks to a new report from the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Enterprises, we can quantify the daily economic toll of failed negotiations.

Spot The Housing Starts Outlier

Earlier today, housing starts shocked to the upside when they printed at 1.135MM, smashing estimates of 1.015MM, and representing the single biggest monthly jump since 1991. The entire surge was due to one single number.

WTF Chart of The Day: China Suspends Chinese Lottery Firm, CEO Resigns; Stock Rallies 25%

Filed under WTF - 500.com Limited (WBAI) - the Chinese online sports lottery firm - announced today that the Chinese Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Civil Affairs, demands they temporarily suspend accepting online purchase orders for lottery products. This means 500.com is not cuirrently generating any revenue at all. The CEO and another Director of the firm resigned. The result... a 25% surge in the stock price!!!

Over 200,000 Greeks Apply For Humanitarian Crisis Relief

UPDATE: Greek Default Would Mean Poverty Trap, Dijsselbloem Tells VN

The Humanitarian Crisis Relief program was one of the top priorities of the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition government and it was pushed forwards despite the Troika-Institutions objections. After the EU leaders Summit end of March, EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker had announced to release 2 billion euro to tackle the Greek humanitarian crisis. While it is not clear if Juncker sent the money or not, As KeepTalkingGreece reports, 212,897 Greeks have so far submitted requests to be part of the Humanitarian Crisis Relief Program. 1st world or 3rd world?

Commodity Carnage

The surge in the USDollar and "good" housing data has created carnage in commodities. Silver, crude, copper, and gold are all getting hammered this morning as the S&P is unchanged as moar Q€ was trumped by hawkish "good" data...

The European Central Planning Bank Unhappy With Analysts' Euro Forecasts

Things are getting more surreal by the moment. First the ECB leaks material, market moving information to hedge funds 12 hours before disclosing it to the entire world, and now the central bank that has taken central planning to the next level, is revealing its displeasure with how the quote unquote "market" has responded to the Euro. Via BBG:

  • PRAET: SOME ANALYST FORECASTS ON THE EURO'S DEPRECIATION HAD GONE BEYOND WHAT ECB EXPECTED: WSJ

Oddly no comment if the ECB's stealthy selling of Bunds to open up capacity for 15 more months of purchases also moved the massively illqiuid market too far in the opposite direction.

ECB Blames Leak To Hedge Funds On "Internal Procedural Error"

Shortly after 6pm London time yesterday, The ECB's Benoit Coeure told a non-public audience of hedge funds in London that "the central bank would moderately front-load its purchases in its quantitative easing program because of the seasonal lack of market liquidity in the summer." The reaction was a 50 pips drop in EURUSD... but this was inside information was not released to the trading public until around 8am London time - and resulted in a 150 pip plunge. In other words, a select private group of head funds in London were leaked ECB front-loading news 14 hours before The ECB deemed it 'correct' to publicly release the comments... due to what The ECB calls "an internal procedure error."

"Good" Housing News Spark Stock/Bond Selling, USD Surge

It appears 'great' housing data is bad news for stocks. In what can only be seen as the rate-hikes-are-coming trade, as soon as the starts and permits data hit, the USDollar rally accelerated, bond yields spiked, and stocks tumbled... why oh why can't we get some more poor data...

 

Housing Starts Surge to Highest Since Nov 2007, Permits At 7 Year Highs

Following two ugly months of dramatically missed expectations, Housing Starts exploded to 'recovery' highs (highest since Nov 2007) jumping 20.2% MoM to 1.135million (against 1.015 exp.). This is the 2nd biggest MoM jump in history. Both single-family (3rd biggest MoM surge since the crisis peak) and multi-family starts surged. Permits also surged in April (jumping 10.1% MoM - the most since 2012) to 1.143 million (well above expectations) and the highest since June 2008.  and  Well these huge mal-investment spikes make perfect sense in light of the collapse in lumber prices (and thus demand).

US Taxpayer On The Hook As Ukraine Prepares Moratorium On Debt Repayments, Increases Military Spending

It appears, thanks to the generous backing of US taxpayers, Ukraine is about to get its cake and eat it too. On the same day as Ukraine's government unleashes a bill enabling a moratorium on foreign debt repayments - implicitly meaning default "in case of an attack from dishonest lenders" - the defense ministry unveils a plan to increase military spending by 17 billion hryvnia this year statuing that will “make efforts to find possibilities to finance needs” to secure country’s defense. Ukraine bonds are tumbling.

Oil Prices Will Fall: A Lesson In Gravity

Our present situation is like that of the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote. The oil price collapse is not over yet. It is more likely that the Brent price could fall back into the mid-$50 range than that it will continue to rise toward $70 per barrel. That is because oil prices have risen based on sentiment alone. The fundamentals of supply and demand indicate a dismal reality: oil prices will fall and may fall hard in the near term.

 

Merkel Faces German Parliament "Revolt" On Greece

Angela Merkel is attempting to head off staunch opposition from lawmakers concerning further coddling of what they perceive to be a belligerent Greek government. As we reported earlier this month, the German Chancellor has been under pressure from members of her Christian Democratic bloc to essentially cut Greece loose. Now that pressure is building, leaving Merkel with the unenviable task of selling yet another Greek bailout to an increasingly hostile audience.

Frontrunning: May 19

  • China’s Record Capital Outflows Spark Financial Stability Fears (FT)
  • U.K. Inflation Falls Below Zero for First Time Since 1960 (BBG)
  • Islamic State Solidifies Foothold in Libya to Expand Reach (WSJ)
  • Judge sentences 11 Afghan police over lynching of woman in Kabul (Reuters)
  • The $18 Trillion Global Economic Boost If Everything Went Right (BBG)
  • Eurozone Prices Confirmed Flat Year-on-Year in April, Core Inflation Inches Higher (Reuters)
  • Greek Finances to Stagger On Longer Than You Think (BBG)
  • Athens sees EU deal soon, Greeks' approval of government stance dwindles (Reuters)

Walmart Sales, Comps Miss; Operating Income Tumbles; Runs Out Of Scapegoats

In what may be the most cryptic press release from Walmart yet, the company just issued an 8-K which consisted all of 5 bullet points, a few charts, and precious little else. Perhaps the reason for the pithy transmission is that WMT had nothing good to say: Revenue declined from $115 billion to $114.8 billion, missing expectations of a jump to $116.2 billion, EPS also missed at $1.03, vs $1.05 expected, operating income tumbled 8.3% from $6.2 billion to $5.7 billion, and finally comp store sales also missed at 1.0%, below the 1.5% expected. With these results, anyone would be short and to the point.

Stocks, Bonds Spike After ECB Pledge To Accelerate QE Ahead Of "Slow Season"

Less than a week ago, fresh from the aftermath of the recent dramatic six-sigma move in German Bunds, one of Europe's largest banks openly lamented that so far the ECB's QE had done absolutely nothing: "two months of QE for nothing." And lo and behold, as if on demand, overnight the ECB confirmed it had heard SocGen's lament when just before the European market open, ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure delivered a speech at the Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis (appropriately named after a hedge fund) at Imperial College Business School (not to be confused with the July 26, 2012 Mario Draghi "whatever it takes" speech which also took place in London) in which he said that the ECB intends to "frontload" i.e., increase, its purchases of euro-area assets in May and June ahead of an expected low-liquidity period in the summer.

Why Did The IMF Leak The Greek Default Details?

Whenever secret or confidential information or documents are leaked to the press, the first question should always be who leaked it and why. That’s often more important than the contents of what has been leaked. And since there’s been a lot of hullabaloo about a leaked document the past two days, here’s a closer look.

SocGen Bosses Knew 'Rogue Trader' Kerviel Was Taking Massive Risks

Bosses at French banking giant Societe Generale were aware of the activities of "rogue trader" Jerome Kerviel, a top detective working on the case reportedly told an investigating judge, according to France24. The French investigative news website, Mediapart, quoted Nathalie Le Roy as telling judge Roger Le Loire she was "certain" that Kerviel's superiors "could not have been unaware" he was taking wildly risky bets on derivatives. However, as Bloomberg reports, SocGen, in a statement released on Monday, that several judicial decisions have assigned exclusive criminal responsibility to Kerviel, adding "it’s just the opinion of a person and not based on the discovery of new documents."