The dramatic rise in support for Scottish independence is nowhere more evident than in GBPUSD implied volatility, which has soared to 3-year highs as The Guardian reports a further poll showing next week's referendum is on a knife-edge with a gap of just 1 percentage point between yes and no. As one 'Yes Scotland' representative noted, "This new Scotland could be less than a fortnight away. But we must not be complacent. The scaremongering, dissembling and misrepresentation of the no campaign will be ramped up as we approach polling day." Of course, Scotland is not the only EU nation seeking separation, as we illustrate below, and as Goldman Sachs notes, there could be a broader impact on the risk premium across Europe as Scottish independence leads to other calls for more regional autonomy.
- Showtime for Apple: Big phones, smart watches and high expectations (Reuters)
- Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney Signals Spring Rate Rise (WSJ)
- Quebec Shows Scots Question Returns Even If Answer Is No (BBG)
- Hush money with a 9 year vesting period: Ex-SAC Fund Manager Martoma Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison (BBG)
- Dreams on hold, Brazil's 'new middle class' turns on Rousseff (Reuters)
- Fed to Hit Biggest U.S. Banks With Tougher Capital Surcharge (WSJ)
- Egypt court sentences Brotherhood leader, cleric to 20 years in jail (Reuters)
While overnight US equity futures have done nothing notable, what everyone's attention has been fixed on, in addition to the GBP and the read-through to all things UK-ish ahead of the Scotland independence referendum, is the sudden flare up in USDJPY trading and volatility, which exploded by some 100 pips in the past 24 hours hitting fresh post-2008 highs, on what appears to be a major capital reallocation move (it surely is not driven by any news) and/or forced squeeze. What is more perplexing is the change in correlations signals, because while until recently the USDJPY was synonymous with the E-Mini, and thus the S&P, as of late the USDJPY pair has moved tick for tick with the 10Year yield: almost as if the NY Fed's favorite HFT trading shop was instructed to change its vast array of signal inputs away from the S&P and to force a gentle levitation in the 10Y.
It seems as if the never-ending stream of American plebs being arrested for the most innocuous activities, things that were seen as completely normal just a few years ago, is continuing its irrational march forward toward peak nanny-statism, at which point everything will be criminalized.
Europe's leaders, we assume under pressure from Washington, appear to be making a big weather-related bet with their taxpayers' lives this winter. As they unleash funding sanctions on Russia's big energy producers, Europe has pumped a record volume of natural gas into underground inventories in an effort to 'outlast' Russia and mitigate any Napoleonic "Winter War" scenario. The plan appears to be to starve Russian energy firms of cashflow - as flows to Europe are already plunging - and remove their funding ability, potentially forcing severe hardship on Russia's key economic drivers. There appears to be 3 potential problems with this plan...
Theory: "Theoretically, there should be no impact from the consumption tax increase on corporate spending or long-term corporate planning," said Junko Nishioka, an economist at RBS Japan Securities in Tokyo.
Practice: "...but a large number of Japanese corporations seemed to see a large impact from the hike on final demand," as Capex collapsed 5.1%.
"...what was once a privilege is now a burden, undermining job growth, pumping up budget and trade deficits and inflating financial bubbles. To get the American economy on track, the government needs to drop its commitment to maintaining the dollar’s reserve-currency status...The privilege of having the world’s reserve currency is one America can no longer afford."
- former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, and a member of President Obama’s economic team.
Once an empire has reached this stage, it never reverses. It is a “dead empire walking” and only awaits the painful playing-out of the final three stages. At that point, it is foolhardy in the extreme to remain and “wait it out” in the hope that the decline will somehow reverse. At that point, the wiser choice might be to follow the cue of the Chinese, the Romans, and others, who instead chose to quietly exit for greener pastures elsewhere.
The PBOC strengthened the CNY fixing by over 0.3% today - its biggest fixing move since June 2010 as the Yuan strengthens to 6-month highs against the USD. This seeming 'panic' move comes on the heels of last night's record trade surplus - which as Goldman notes - was likely dominated by FX inflows thanks to over-invoicing. It is unclear the reasoning for the move in the CNY fixing but one wonders if, with industrial commodities continuing to plunge (CCFD collateral value dropping) and now PMIs rolling over, if further over-invoicing is being anticipated as cover for a notable slowdown in growth. One thing is clear - after today's surge in the USD and decoupling with US stocks, something is changing.
Inflation, defined as an expansion of the supply of unbacked money, is an elementary evil, always and everywhere that it occurs. It is the ignored and core cause of numerous problems in the economy and in society...
While Italian and Spanish political (and business) leaders are lauding Mario Draghi's plan to buy more assets and print more money, it appears not everyone is so excited. As Reuters reports, Christian Social Union chairman and Bavaria state premier Horst Seehofer (who is well known as an ally of Angela Merkel), blasted the ECB's plan: "It's only going to frighten a lot of people when ECB chief Mario Draghi opens up the central bank's money tap and at the same time buys junk paper," somewhat breaking the political taboo of criticizing the potential independence of the central bank.
"Washington is absolutely correct, in my opinion, to want to boost American consumption, but the Fed seems to be trying to boost consumption by igniting another asset bubble in the hopes that, like before 2007, Americans will feel “richer” and so will consume more. This isn't sustainable, however, and will leave us, as Paul and Druckenmiller fear, even more heavily indebted and more dangerously exposed to the underlying weakness in demand."