Bad Economic News Trifecta Hits: Jobs And Core Durable Goods Worse, Savings Rate Higher As Consumers Hunker DownSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/23/2011 - 09:51
The economic data dump is here. In order of appearance, first we have jobless claims which rose from an upwardly revised (of course) 391,000 to 393,000, worse than expectations of 390,000. That is Seasonally Adjusted. Not Seasonally Adjusted claims exploded by 74,214: good thing nobody looks at the unfudged number. The bleeds from the 99 week cliff continued as a net of 7K people dropped from EUC and Extended Claims. Next we have durable goods which while on the surface were better than expected declining by just -0.7% on expectations of -1.2% (with the previous month revised massively lower from -0.8% to -1.5%), the orders ex volatile non-defense and air dropped by a whopping 1.8%, on expectations of -1.0%, and the revised September number collapsing from +2.4% to +0.9%. This means that not only will the final Q3 GDP be revised even lower, but that Q4 GDP rebound hopes have been all but dashed. Finally, in Personal Spending data, we learn that consumers spent less, with spending rising only 0.1% on expectations of 0.3%, while income increased (thank you Uncle Sam) from 0.1% to 0.4% on expectations of 0.3%. This was to be expected: after all the savings rate in September hit 3.3% - the lowest since August 2008. It had only one way to go, and so it did, with the October Savings Rate increasing to 3.5%. Expect this number to keep rising as consumer finally re-retrench yet again, in the process hitting the economy.
If the ECB will not take the hint, JPM will bring the mountain to Mohammed. Or something. In a note just released by JPM's Colun Fenton, the firm has downgraded the entire commodity complex to "underweight" (yes, that includes gold). The reasoning? It is all the Supercommittee's fault. It also likely has nothing to do with the fact that JPM was selling commodities to clients all through this run up, and is now in finally buying, in anticipation of ECB printing and Fed's LSAP. Full report attached.
First the EFSF had trouble raising money. Then EIB spreads widened. Then EXPT got crushed. And now Germany struggled to raise money. Is there a realization that all the quasi-sovereign debt and supranational debt is actually someone’s debt? Is relying on implicit or explicit guarantees as a way to raise money indirectly over? Guarantees do count. AIG never “owned” any mortgages, all it did was write insurance or CDS contracts on them. As investors get more concerned about sovereign credit and dig deeper, will some of these programs be tested?
So Whose Debt Am I?
This will come as no surprise to anyone, because as we noted previously it only took Goldman 2 days to Stolper its clients this time around. But just because the EURUSD apparently never actually "closed" below 1.35, Goldman formally kept the trade on for one more week subjecting clients to not only extra losses but much greater volatility. Today, everyone has had enough of this charade. "Closing long EUR/$ as risk sentiment failed to improve on new reform-friendly governments in Italy, Spain and Greece."
As expected, German CDS are soaring in the aftermath of the failed auction. And even UK CDS are now offered triple digits. What is ironic is that the UK is in far worse shape than Germany. That UK-Germany compression trade gets more attractive by the day.
Anyone who has not taken the pre-Thanksgiving day off may regret it as in addition to a Eurozone whose core is now officially imploding we have possibly one of the busiest economic days of the year to top it all of right into what will likely be the thinnest volume days. Expect massive manic depressive mood swings on the smallest of blocks.
- Barnier Panel to Study Break-Up of EU Banks (FT)
- Brussels Plans to Bring Eurozone to Heel (FT) - good luck with Germany
- China’s Manufacturing May Contract Most in Three Years as Housing Falters (Bloomberg)
- Merkel Backs ECB, Warns on Greek Aid Tranche (Reuters)
- Obama Reopens Debate on US Stimulus (FT)
- Germany Fails to Receive Bids for 35% of 10-Year Bunds Offered at Auction (Bloomberg)
- To the Eurozone: Advance or Risk Ruin (Martin Wolf - FT)
- Australia Lower House Passes Mining Tax (Bloomberg)
It just goes from bad to surreal in Europe where the latest moment of pure Greek "gods kill titans" tragicomedy, comes from French rating agency Fitch threatening to cut... France? Excerpts via Bloomberg:
- FITCH: FRANCE CAN'T ABSORB MORE SHOCKS WITHOUT UNDERMINING AAA
- FITCH: FRENCH AAA WOULD BE AT RISK IF CRISIS INTENSIFIES
- FITCH: ADDED MEASURES LIKELY NEEDED FOR FRANCE '13 DEFICIT GOAL
- FITCH PROJECTS FRANCE DEFICIT IN '13 ABOUT 4% OF GDP
Earlier today Germany tried to sell €6 billion of 10 Year bunds. It "sold" €3.644 at a 1.98% yield. Which meant the German debt agency had to retain, i.e., not sell, the 39% balance, or €2.356 billion. Said otherwise the offering was a complete disaster and as Reuters points out, one of Germany's worst bond sales since the launch of the euro, and that much higher Bund yields are coming very soon to a neighborhood near you. The sale "prompted concerns the debt crisis was even beginning to threaten Berlin on Wednesday, with the Bundesbank forced to buy large amounts of the bonds to ensure the auction did not fail. The low yields offered on the 10-year paper deterred investors from the auction, especially because of growing concerns over the cost to Germany of the escalating crisis." So what was otherwise formerly sacrosanct has just become reviled: welcome to fiat's greatest hits. The resulting 10 Year yield chart should surprise nobody. As for next steps: first the UK, then Japan, and finally the US...
The overnight news of worries over Dexia's bailout deal and the weak Chinese PMI print did nothing to help the generally poor sentiment as the US closed on the stress test news. Equity and Treasury Futures (as cash was closed in Tokyo) were in risk off mode but stabilized with ES around 1170 (-1% from US close). With Europe opening and TSYs trading once again, CONTEXT shows that the sell-off is broad based and supports equity weakness for now. European sovereigns are opening generally higher in yield and spread across the board with Ireland the stand-out currently. France and Belgium are also weak performers (Dexia?) followed by Italy and Spain. European credit has gapped down on the open with senior and sub financials worst performers (+7bps and +14bps respectively) followed by XOver and Main (+11bps and +3.5bps) - in line with US underperformance for now. Bloomberg's BE500 equity index just opened gap down around 1% but is outperforming credit for now as EURUSD touches 1.3440 again.
From IceCap Asset Management: "Before we go any further, we feel it is important to share our long-term view of the USD. In short, it’s going to stink. Just as Europe is facing an enormous debt problem, the US is also facing a difficult fiscal squeeze with no easy way out. However, unlike the Europeans the Americans do have a plan to get out of their debt crisis – after all, they didn’t develop into the World’s sole superpower without one. Forget about trying to be like the Europeans and creating some sort of confusing bailout fund – the Americans already have their bailout fund in the form of the US Federal Reserve. Plain and simple. While others often say the US will default on its debt at some point, we have a somewhat different view. Yes we believe a default will occur, however it won’t be the typical default whereby the US simply stops making interest & principal payments. The US Federal Reserve has the capacity to print unlimited amounts of USDs and they will use this capability to eventually make the USD considerably less than it is today. After all, a cheaper USD means America’s products are cheaper for foreigners to purchase, and these cheaper goods means more jobs in the long run – and who doesn’t want to work? The alternative is to watch (in horror) as long-term interest rates rise which is a sure economy killer if there ever was one. You can bet a box of Krispy Kremes that the Federal Reserve will do everything possible to prevent that from happening. In the end, the Federal Reserve has been very clear with their strategy – expect plenty more USD weakening policy moves. When you consider the American’s debt crisis (above Chart 1) and the condition of their banks (above Chart 2) the outlook for financial stability and economic growth is low. At the end of the day, we see the US Federal Reserve continuing with USD devaluing policies – in their eyes, it’s their only way out of this mess."
The last six months have been anything but 'normal' in terms of market movements. Whether equity, bond, or FX markets, the high correlations and crashing disconnects have at times been incredible - leaving every risk manager's VaR calculation and desk-quants gamma-hedging program sorely lacking. Goldman specifically surveys the largest moves across asset-classes of the last six months and finds that it is policy announcements that have been far larger drivers of outsize market moves than economic data. This is a significant departure from the previous six months and while neither policy or economic outcomes are specifically harder to hedge, it is the Knightian uncertainty of the desparate policy-makers that is perhaps most worrisome going forward - especially given the lack of resolution anywhere in the world.
Adding Asian insult to European injury we just got the Preliminary HSBC China November PMI reading which posted the first drop since July, tumbling from 51 to 48, which is a 32 month low. Expect risk to be solidly off for the balance of the night... and then the BTPs will resume trading. Only this time they will be accompanied by the OATs which will likely spike to record yields on fears of an imminen French downgrade courtesy of the Dexia debacle.
Though late to the party as usual, the proverbial man on the street – along with members of mainstream media and Wall Street heavyweights – is finally waking up to the decade-long, 700% increase in the price of gold, joining a growing buzz around the monetary metal. From questions whether gold is in a bubble to predictions that soaring prices are just around the corner, one thing is clear: a new phase of awareness for gold is upon us. How far might it move before these troubling times are over?