Is it about to be deja vu all over again? The FT reports that "oil markets were braced on Monday for the impact of the loss of up to 15 per cent of US crude after a pipeline leak forced BP, the UK-based oil company, to shut down 95 per cent of production from North America’s biggest field...The leak is in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which carries 14-15 per cent of US crude oil production 800 miles to Valdez, where it is shipped out in tankers. It is the only line carrying oil to market from Prudhoe Bay." And yes: BP will be blamed again: "Prudhoe Bay is jointly owned by BP, with 26 per cent; ConocoPhillips, with 36 per cent; ExxonMobil, with 36 per cent; and others with 2 per cent. BP is the operator of the field." And just as the authorities had managed to put a temporary lid on oil prices: "The cause of the leak is being investigated by state and federal regulators, as well as the company itself, but if it is not fixed within a few days, the incident could put upward pressure on oil prices once more." Time to go through the list of all BP CDS counterparties all over again?
For all seeking a reason why China will never voluntarily drop its CNYUSD peg, and why it will now actively buy PIIGS debt indefinitely, in its attempt to keep its currency low against the EUR and fixed against that ultimate debaser of currencies, just take one look at the December trade surplus. Even as gross trade surged to an all time high with total imports and exports just shy of $300 billion, at $295.2 billion, December's trade surplus plunged from $22.9 billion in November to just $13.1 billion, the lowest since March and April when China actually had a stunning trade deficit, and a nearly 50% miss to consensus which was at $21.4 billion. The total 2010 trade surplus was $183.1 billion, down from $196.1 billion in 2009 and $295.5 billion in 2008. This means China has increasingly less linen (primarily dollars) to recycle in purchasing such items as copper and gold, and, to a much lower degree, US Treasurys. As the charts below demonstrate, the drop in exports was largest to the US (down 16.4% sequentially), the EU (down 11.5%) and, to a lesser degree, the Rest of the World (- 9.1%). Bottom line: should the EUR hit parity with the USD, and should the CNY continue appreciating vs the USD, this trend will get increasingly uglier, slowing down the Chinese economy even more, which in turn will continue to make the case for a China-led rebound ever weaker, and the case for increasing Fed UST monetization ever stronger (in the absence of Chinese purchasing power). Welcome to the connected world, where monetization is really an indication of weakness.
China SAFE Official Warns Fed Monetary Policies Are Creating Inflationary Bubbles, Stimulate Global FX InterventionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/10/2011 - 06:19
Liu Wei, a director with China's State Administration of
Foreign Exchange, the foreign exchange reserve manager responsible for administering $2.6 trillion in FX reserves, told Caing.com today that "Quantitative easing carried out by the U.S. Federal
Reserve could exacerbate global currency interventions, hurt the
developed countries and fuel flows of speculative capital into emerging
market economies." Additionally, and contrary to all those who believe that commodity prices have in some cases tripled over the past year based purely on goodwill and not excess money, Wei also said that the Fed's quantitative easing program may have some
stimulus impact on the U.S. in the short term, but also that it could
add to global inflation pressure and fuel asset bubbles "so that the
global economic recovery and growth face greater uncertainty." Pretty much as we have been claiming all along.
The Silver Bears Are Back For Round Three, Explaining Two Key Recent Developments In The World Of SilverSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/09/2011 - 19:47
Confused by the recent downdraft in the price of (paper) silver... Even more confused by what is happening with the record open interest in the metal? Have no fear. The bears are here, and explain things in their traditionally simple and sound effect-filled way.
The WaPo shares the full criminal complaint with all 5 counts, as well as the affidavit by FBI special agent Tony Taylor which discloses that according to documents seized from 7741 N. Soledad Avenue in Tucson, Arizona, where Lougner resides, that there was an envelope recovered with "handwriting on the envelope stating "I planned ahead," and "My assassination" and the name "Giffords," along with what appears to be Loughner's signature." There goes the temporary insanity defense.
Biggest US Pension Funds Get Into Fraudclosure Fray, Demand Banks "Immediately Examine Foreclosure Practices"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/09/2011 - 19:13
More bad news for the BofA/Wells syndicate. After on Friday two of the biggest mortgage lenders in the world were hit with bad news out of the Massachusetts supreme court, today it is seven of the nation's major pension funds, between them representing nearly half a trillion in capital, which are demanding that "the boards of directors of Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo immediately undertake independent examinations of the banks’ mortgage and foreclosure practices." The coalition of pension funds called for the banks’ Audit Committees to launch independent examinations of their loan modification, foreclosure, and securitization policies and procedures. “This will help to prevent future compliance failures and restore the confidence of shareholders, regulators, legislators and mortgage markets participants,” the coalition advised in its letter. The coalition members’ insistence on immediate action reflects the urgency of their concerns over mishandled mortgages. But Jim Cramer on Friday said there was no urgency, and no reason to be concerned, and that this is nothing but a buying opportunity for the lemmings which jut got one step closer to the cliff.
Keeping track of the pace of US recovery will probably be the main focus of markets. The key US data releases are retail sales, industrial production and CPI, which are all out on Friday. We expect a robust retail sales print for both headline and ex-autos, after the indications from the autos and the same store sales report last week. For CPI (and PPI the day before), we expect a relatively sharp rise on a headline basis, but much more muted gains ex food and energy. As mentioned, concerns in the Eurozone continue to rumble in the background. The Portuguese and Spanish bond auctions planned for this Wednesday and Thursday respectively will be important to monitor.
When it comes to providing analytical perspectives and empirical insights into the realm of sovereign deterioration, few come close to the work of Reinhart and Rogoff. Citi’s Willem Buiter is one such man. In his latest summary piece describing in excruciating detail just how bad things are at the sovereign level (and judging by tonight's opening print in the EURUSD more are starting to realize this), Buiter provides a terrific country by country guide of what is now an insolvent world, starting with the merely extremely risky, going through the backstop-baiters, and finishing with the time bombs that have already gone off and everybody pretends not to care. For those who do care, this is a definitive guide to what each individual European (and not only) country can look forward to in an age of global moral hazard. The only open question: with China's interest now to preserve the Euro's viability, how will Beijing act in the next few months as the eurozone finally starts unraveling.
Salon provides some unpleasant additional information on yesterday's headline news, which many had already suspected: namely that Loughner likely did not act alone. "Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said at a news conference in Tucson on Saturday that authorities may have a photo of another suspect." Unfortunately, with a nation increasingly on edge, this possibility will likely turn out to be true. We can only hope that other like-minded individuals do not take this event as an escalation signal, and proceed to take vigilante "justice" into their own hands.
Four years ago to the day from Saturday, a team of "experts" from ACA Management took the elevators to the 29th floor of 590 Madison, the then address of Paulson & Co., and sat down to discuss the structuring of a CDO. For both firms, this was supposed to be a by the numbers transaction: ACA, which had the financial acumen of any borderline retarded rating agency, was going to provide the wraparound insurance and be the portfolio selection agent in a synthetic CDO, while Paulson & Co. would be the transaction sponsor, and which, through Goldman Sachs, would indicate on various occasions, that it was a beneficially interested party, and represent direct and indirectly that it was long the equity tranche: an indication that it was beneficially inclined for the success of the portfolio. Little did ACA know that Goldman would assist Paulson in lying to investors about the fund's orientation, and the numbers in question would be one billion for Paulson and a comparable loss for everyone else. The CDO in question is of course Abacus, and has since resulted in the biggest ever SEC settlement with an investment bank, pardon, governmentally subsidized hedge fund. And while Goldman may have thought that the settlement put the embarrassing Abacus situation to rest, ACA certainly harbored no such intentions, and on January 6 filed a lawsuit against Goldman seeking monetary and punitive damages. The reason: ACA claims, and has evidence, that despite Lloyd Blankfein's representation to Congress that it was merely making markets, and did in fact nothing illegal, the reality was far different. In fact, as ACA demonstrates in the attached filing, Goldman repeatedly represented that Paulson was long the equity tranche, and neither Goldman nor Paulson did anything to debunk such an assumption. In fact, in solicitation materials Goldman misrepresented outright the economic interest of the transaction sponsor. We are confident that as many other firms that loathed doing their own due diligence (of which ACA is most certainly guilty) realize that Abacus is still a mini goldmine, we will see other such copycat lawsuits, as banks, primarily those out of Europe (and preferably still in business), attempt to collect a few hundred million here and there.
Hooray…Happy days are here again! That is exactly what the elite would have us believe with the 9.4% unemployment number in this huge CONfidence game otherwise known as the USEconomy. We were having dinner at my in-law’s house and I had overheard the TV playing in the back ground. At one point, I thought I had heard the squealing of teenagers who were fawning over Justin Beiber. Instead, it turned out that it was someone on the news reporting the new, much lower 9.4% unemployment rate. I could hear the panting of excitement spoken by the breathless reporters who were interviewing very serious economists about this new 9.4% rate. The news aired their personal interest piece about a girl who was just hired at an internet company. She commented with the utmost confidence that the economy was getting better!! You have all heard that saying, “it is a recession when your neighbor loses a job, but when you lose a job it is a depression.” Well, according to her, we are out of her depression. But alas, this is all a dream and the media is using their very best, tried and true propaganda to keep the people from getting too upset with reality.
Founder Of Brook Hunt Sees Copper Peaking In Near-Term, Plunging To "Forgotten Levels" Of $1,500 By 2016Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/08/2011 - 17:41
Simon Hunt, founder of Brook Hunt, puts a dent in the dreams of all those who expect to see a continuing surge in copper prices throughout 2011 and further. The copper specialist, who has since left the firm he founded and is now head of Simon Hunt Strategic Services which specialises in copper, global economics and China, is arguably one of the premier experts on the topic of copper. It therefore behooves the copper bulls to pay attention to his latest interim note which contains "our principal reasons why copper
prices this year won?t live up to the hopes of so many bulls." And his long-term vision is about as scary as they get: "Peak prices
for 2011 will be experienced in the first quarter of the year, if they
have not already been seen. Prices will then fall until around the start
of the fourth quarter, hitting a low of some $5500. Recovery will
follow rising parabolically in 2012 to some $14,000 by the end of next
year. This will signal the end of the gaming of copper prices. A return to
global recession, deflation and the destruction of large end uses of
copper will see prices crashing to levels long since forgotten - to
under $1500 by 2016. It will be at that point that the real
restructuring of the industry will take place. Future trend growth
rates for world refined copper consumption will be below 2% a year
implying that marginal producers will be closed down. It is not a
shortage of supply that will shape the future of copper but a shortage
of required material for furnaces." Full note attached.
And now back to finance. From John Noyce of GS FX sales, one of the better chartists out there, here are the charts that matter in the next week. Of particular note: dollar strength, silver weakness, range bound rates, rate-USD correlations, some interesting observations in a secondary pair of EURKRW, the bullish key day reversal in the USDJPY, the derivative nature of the AUDCAD as a China/US proxy, and more.
"You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers." Paul Krugman