And we have NEW QE liftoff, just as we predicted yesterday: "That the ADP would miss today's expectations of 150K is no surprise: after all as we have been explaining for a while, the only way the Fed will have a green light to proceed with NEW QE if it so chooses at the June 19-20 meeting, is if the economic data suddenly turn horrendous. Which means tomorrow's NFP data is make or break: in fact, as far as markets are concerned, the worse the better - should a -1,000,000 NFP print come in, stocks will soar." It may take a little while for the realization to soak in. The actual number of +69,000 was a massive miss to both the expectation of 150,000, and the whisper number 100,000, and a drop from the massively revised April 77K, which was 115K before. And that is with a 204,000 addition from Birth Death. Just a total disaster for Obama who has decided to sacrifice the perception of an improving economy just so he can give Bernanke a green light to goose the stock market.
“Gear up!” That is what I say to you this morning. Open your closet door, drag out the flak jacket from 2009, lace up your boots, unlock your guns, bring out the ammo and get ready to go at it one more time because the placid fields of Verdun, long silent, finds the Germans and the French at it once again and we are all about to be dragged back into it; like it or not. There is quite serious business afoot and, just like in war, the political statements made are nothing more than propaganda to mislead the enemy and the enemy is YOU.
- Germany shifts, gives Spain more time on deficit (Reuters)
- Europe must prepare an emergency plan (FT)
- EU Spain reveals €100bn capital flight (FT)
- Spain’s Guindos says future of Euro at stake in Spain (Bloomberg)
- ECB, EU officials warn euro’s survival at risk (Reuters)
- China can ‘cope’ if Greece exits Euro, NDRC Researcher says (Bloomberg)
- Japan Warns Against Rising Yen (WSJ)
- Global stocks investors head for exits (FT)
- Hot Copper Shorts Burning Commodity Firms (Caixin)
Just about an hour before the US non-farm payroll number is expected to print, and finally resolve the lingering question whether the Chairman will print in 3 weeks, things in Europe have gone from horrible to zombie. A series of horrendous economic reports out of Europe including record Eurozone unemployment, a confirmation of the final European PMI plunge including the second largest monthly decline on record in UK manufacturing, and various soundbites from Syriza's Tsipras, have pushed the EUR to fresh two year lows, Spanish CDS to new all time wides German 2 Year bonds joining Switzerland in negative terriroty, and finally, Bloomberg, as noted earlier, to be "testing" a placeholder for a post-Euro Drachma. As BBG summarizes: "European markets fall, led by consumer & tech stocks with the German market underperforming. The euro falls against the dollar and German 2-yr yields drop into negative territory. Chinese manufacturing PMI data below expectations, though above the 50 level; European manufacturing PMI in line with expectations, below 50. Euro-zone unemployment met expectations and seems likely Irish voters endorsed the EU fiscal treaty. Commodities fall, led by oil & natural gas. U.S. nonfarm payrolls, unemployment data due later." In summary - all data today fits with Raoul Pal's less than optimistic presentation from yesterday.
Short of the complete destruction of a fiat currency, there is nothing that can demonstrate beyond doubt the shallowness of the promise to protect purchasing power that is being made on any day. There is no bright line separating performance from talk. With a gold standard, deception is much more difficult. Creating too much money will lead to redemptions that drain away the official gold stockpile. Everyone can see the inventory shrinking. If it shrinks to zero, then the managers of the system have failed, period. There is no ambiguity about it, and the politicians in charge at the time have little room for denial. The formal adoption of a gold standard holds no magic. It's just another promise. But it is a promise that carries an assured potential for egg-on-face political embarrassment if it is broken, and the only way for the people in charge to avoid that embarrassment is to refrain from recklessly expanding the supply of cash. That's why a gold standard protects the value of a currency, and that is why the politicians don't want it.
Color us not stunned at all. China's Manufacturing PMI finally reverted to the reality that HSBC's Manufacturing PMI has been arguing for and fell for the first time in six months. The drop is the largest since February 2010. While still above 50 (though the lowest level of expansion in five months), or 50.4 technically, down from 53.4, and missing expectations of 52.0, it seems another engine of global growth just sputtered finally - as the real impact of a European depression and fiscally challenged US hit home.
Was it just a week ago that we suggested buying Burlington Northern CDS (credit protection) as the cheapest Black-Swan bet against Buffett and Bernanke's ebullience? The answer is yes. And from the start of May the cost of protection has doubled from around 15bps to just over 30bps - quite a surge as it seems more than a few funds thought this a worthwhile trade to tuck in the back pocket at a minimal carry cost. At 32bps mid (31/34), it remains cheap still from a carry perspective and while we are approaching the initial profit target, the reason for buying this low cost, long vol trade is the huge convexity upside should things go a little more pear-shaped for the Octogenarian-of-Omaha - or more specifically for the US equities in general. We do note that if this keeps pushing past our other profit-targets then some should be covered since counterparty risk will rapidly become an issue (unless the Fed officially becomes a CCP).