This time the global slowdown has fewer places to hide. Perhaps we can “thank” monetary policy for that, highlighting deficiency wherever “extraordinary” policies have been proclaimed as highly “necessary.” In other words, the very fact that a central bank has “had” to institute something as disruptive as QE is not much of a solution but rather a marker of everything wrong. Nowhere is this reality more evident than in the evolution of at least credit market thinking on the subject, viewing the decrepit state of the actual economy now more appropriately; moving in the “wrong” direction. There is, again, perhaps something to that sharp bearish turn in December.
Who says the Russians, increasingly isolated by the west (Europe and the US threatened over the past 24 hours to escalate sanctions yet again) and increasingly more welcome by China, India and the rest of the non-western world, don't have a sense of humor? Days after the speaker of the Russian Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, faced scathing criticism of Russia's annexation of Crimean peninsula when he spoke at the Parliament Assembly of Europe, he has come up with a novel suggestion when he asked a committee to study a proposal to condemn the reunification of Germany in 1990.
But they said it was over...
Remember how exuberant yesterday's small gains in Crude Oil were perceived to be? Yeah - that's all over, with WTI back near a $44 handle - following a large 12.7 million barrel inventory build according to API (EIA reports the 'main event' at 1030ET today - which Saxo Bank warns "a bigger-than-expected build would likely push the mkt over the cliff edge.") Additional weakness overnight is also likely due to Goldman's shift to a 'sell' for the next 3 months.
Greek default risk has surged in recent days and today as it becomes clear what Syriza expects from Europe, short-term CDS are at post-crisis highs with 5Y CDS implying a 76% probability of default (based on standard recovery assumptions - which may be a little high in this case). Given the domestic bank dominance in the buying of domestic government debt, Greek banks are getting hammered as everyone's favorite hedge fund trade is an utter bloodbath. Greek stocks overall are down and GGBs are tumbling once again - back at 16 month lows (given back all the ECBQE hope bounce). Perhaps not surprising moves, given new Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis reality-exposing comments yesterday, "the problem with the bailout is that it wasn’t really a bailout... it was an extend and pretend, it was a vicious cycle, a debt-deflationary trap, which destroyed our social economy."
Several days after a Japanese hostage held by the Islamic State was executed, with a second Japanese hostage, freelance journalist Kenji Goto likely awaiting the same fate unless the Jordan releases an ISIS prisoner, the middle eastern US-ally is about to dramatically breach western protocol of not negotiating with terrorists, and as the newswires reported earlier, is prepared to exchange said imprisoned ISIS would-be suicide bomber, however not for the Japanese captive of ISIS but for one of its own pilots held by the Islamic militants.
Forget The Hindenburg Omen and The Hilsenrath Omen, today we have the real deal as The Baltic Dry Index hits the ominous 666 level - the lowest print for this time of year on record. Of course, just like with oil - this is brushed off as over-supply (not under-demand) and we are sure someone will opine how positive this drastic deflation of shipping rates is for global business... but still - this is the lowest print since September 2012 (and practically the lowest since the recession).
Two weeks after FXCM was on death's door, and only a last minute vulture investment by Jefferies prevented the company from filing, FXCM has decided that it can't afford to blow up the bulk of its clients who traded the EURCHF on the wrong side, and as the company reported moments ago, will forgive their negative balances. In other words, another bailout for HFTs, and the rich and those habitually addicted to gambling in rigged markets, who just happen to be the lifeblood of companies like FXCM.
Who can forget the farce conducted by Canada's labor statistics office back in August when, as we reported, "Canada Releases Atrocious Jobs Data; Then Revises It Above The Highest Estimate Following Public Outcry." It was then that we got our first hint that when it comes to massaging data, Canada is on par with China and even the US. Well, Statistics Canada just outdid itself moments ago when it reported that those 185,700 jobs gains it had previously reported for all of 2014... well, it was only kidding, and after a second look, the number has been revised a whopping 35% (!) lower to only 121,300. How long until a lightbulb goes over the BLS' head and the US department of seasonal adjustments decides to do the same?
Shortly after yesterday’s open, the S&P 500 was down nearly 2% and off its recent all-time high by 3.5%. But soon the robo-machines and day traders were buying the “dip” having apparently once again gotten the “all-clear” signal. Don’t believe it for a second! The global financial system is literally booby-trapped with accidents waiting to happen owing to six consecutive years of massive money printing by nearly every central bank in the world.
If the Fed stick to their script then the market could be in for a small shock. Market-based measures of the first Fed hike place it at around the October meeting. This is already one meeting later than was being priced in at the start of the year. After this the second hike is priced in for around March 2016, whilst we entered the year pricing in the second hike for December 2015. So there is room here for volatility as we approach the summer FOMC meetings if the Fed’s message remains unchanged. It has long been our view that the Fed will struggle to hike as soon as it wants to given global growth and inflation issues, however there's no doubt they are keen to pull the trigger so something will have to give at some point. So any evidence either way today will be interesting.
- Fed seen remaining patient with rate guidance amid global turmoil (Reuters)
- National Weather Service apologizes for blizzard forecast miss (CBS)
- Greek PM Tsipras pushes on with radical change, markets tumble (Reuters)
- Obama Drops Plan to Raise Taxes on ‘529’ College Savings Accounts (WSJ)
- Hard Choices on Easy Money Lie Ahead for Fed Chief (Hilsenrath)
- Debt That Once Boosted Its Cities Now Burdens China (WSJ)
- Skymark Said to File for Bankruptcy After Airbus Deal Flops (BBG)
- Heavy Fighting Drains Ukraine Government’s Options and Finances (WSJ)
While all the algos are programmed and set to scan today's FOMC statement for whether both "patient" and "considerable time" are still there (as it did last time when it supposedly sent a pseudo-hawkish message while telling Virtu and Getco to buy, buy, buy), the market is torn between the trends observed in recent days: on one hand finally succumbing to the adverse impact of USD strength, which overnight also saw the Singapore Dollar admit defeat in the ongoing currency wars, is crushing both revenues and EPS, as well as outlooks, for the bulk of US companies, even as millennials - long since given up on buying a house - allocate their meager savings to the annual incarnation of Apple's flagship product as seen in yesterday's record, blowout numbers by AAPL which is up 8% in the premarket and sending Nasdaq futures soaring compared to the stagnant DJIA or S&P. And then there is Europe where the mood is decidedly sour this morning, with Greece imploding on fears Tsipras really means business and concerns the Greek "virus" may spread to other peripheral nations whose bonds have also seen a lack of a bond bid this morning.
In the two days after Syriza's dramatic victory in the local Greek election, global investors assumed this loud cry against European policies would mean... more of the same, and as a result not much changed in the risk assessment of Greek assets. Then, overnight, following the previous report that not only does Syriza mean business but it is actively pivoting away from Europe (and toward Russia?), and everyone started paying attention, with a waterfall of selling engulfing not only the Greek stock market but also its bonds, which are crashing in the process sending the 3 Year yield to 16.4%, the highest since the restructuring, and the 10 Year either below or above 10%, depending on which data source is used (Bloomberg has them slightly below, others reporting 10-year bond yields up 50 basis points at 10.30%).
"Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is due in Brussels on Thursday to discuss possible additional sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Before the cabinet even meets for the first time tomorrow, the Greek government said that it disagreed with an EU statement in which President Donald Tusk raised the prospect of “further restrictive measures” on Russia." The punchline: In recent months, Kotzias wrote on Twitter that sanctions against Russia weren’t in Greece’s interests. He said in a blog that a new foreign policy for Greece should be focused on stopping the ongoing transformation of the EU “into an idiosyncratic empire, under the rule of Germany.” And when it comes to the natural adversary of any German imperial ambitions in recent history, Europe has been able to produce only one answer...