Journalism is about asking questions that corporations, governments and establishments don’t want to answer. It’s about reporting the full-story, no matter how many toes you step on. It’s about opening up power to real scrutiny. And that is something that the propagandists in big media are often incapable of — which of course is why big media is slowly dying. We need to know the depth and width of Fast and Furious and the programs which preceded it: how was it authorised, how was it designed, how did it go wrong, who was to blame for it going wrong. We need to know whether or not the widely-spread allegation that the Obama administration has sold guns directly to Los Zetas is true. We need to know whether or not El Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel are working with the DEA and the Mexican government. (Both of these allegations are widely accepted as fact in Mexico). We need to know why Obama has chosen to continue the failed drug war, even in spite of overwhelming evidence that the illegality of drugs is the very thing that empowers the criminal cartels, and in spite of the fact that Obama is a former drug user.
How should we say this: we are shocked, shocked, that the DOJ won't prosecute itself.
BREAKING: DOJ says it won't prosecute Attorney General Holder after the GOP-led House voted to hold him in criminal contempt of Congress - Fox
And now, back to the far more important news of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorcing.
With everyone scrambling to buy into the bathsalts rally, and shorts rushing to cover with a panic bordering on a QE-announcement, it is somewhat ironic that today's voice of muted reason comes from none other than Liebor expert extraordinaire: Barclays, whose suggestion is simple: lock your profits: "We remain bearish on EURUSD, expecting it to grind slowly down to 1.15 over the next 12 months. We therefore suggest investors look to fade this morning's European currency strength versus the USD and non European commodity currencies such as the AUD and CAD." Why? They have their listed reasons. The unlisted ones are the same that every other bank has for becoming bearish recently (we have recently listed Citi, Goldman, SocGen and DB to name but a few): for a real fiscal and monetary policy intervention to take place (i.e., a rescue package that lasts at least a few months, as opposed to today's several day max rally): the market has to be tumbling. That, as we have explained repeatedly, is the only way to get a powerful response. Everything else is (quarter end) window dressing.
The EU summit to save the Euro (the nineteenth, or thereabouts) has, quite remarkably, agreed to do something to try and save the Euro. As UBS' Paul Donavan notes "As ever with a Euro summit there are unanswered questions. Grandiose statements are what heads of government specialise in – the details are left to later" - it is one of the reasons why Maastricht produced a monetary union that was flawed from the outset. Once “create a single currency” had been agreed, politicians lost interest. The statement from the summit itself was woefully inadequate, but below UBS lays out what additional questions need to be answered. Always keep in mind though, "Going into this summit we had a monetary union in Europe that clearly did not work. Coming out of this summit we have a monetary union that still does not work."
Say what you will about JPM's soon to be former employee (once the IG trade complex is fully unwound... sometime in 2013) Bruno Iksil, but you don't get to run up a several hundred billions notional CDS book (and blow it up) by being stupid. No, Bruno was certainly not stupid. In fact, he has reportedly exhibited precisely the very same brilliant trait that Europe's also very smart central-planners, as well as all other people in positions of power under the current status quo regime, demonstrate day in and day out: "Baffle With Bullshit."
Initially presenting the potential problems of our current healthcare environment, the creator of 'the bears that explained Quantitative Easing' provides much food for thought on the unintended consequences of Obamacare (in all its 2700 page glory). For everything you need to know about how it devolved to this ("To understand healthcare in America, you have to think about bananas") and how to think about the new tax's potential implications (e.g. lower quality of service, capped hiring rates among employers), seven minutes well spent.
Last week it was Merkel promising she would die before she allowed Eurobonds (technically this has not been refuted: all she has done is allowed... uhmm... err... we don't really know - lots of confusing headlines out there, lots of chatter, a big short squeeze and no actual details). And now, here comes...
- GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER SCHAEUBLE SAYS NO EURO BONDS IN HIS LIFETIME EITHER WITHOUT COMMON FINANCIAL POLICY
And by common financial policy of course they mean "joint sovereignty" or at least all European gold pledge at Geld4Gold. Time to send Goldman's ambassador to Germany to investigate.
Everyone knows that Italy's unelected PM, Mario Monti, is a former Goldman Sachs International 'advisor.' As such, it is only natural that being part of the banking cartel he would do everything in his power to promote an inflationary agenda, one that seeks ECB bond monetization intervention, (another central bank headed by a former Goldmanite of course), perpetuates the status quo, and one that naturally contravenes everything that German citizens have been pushing for in their desire to avoid the risk of another hyperinflationary episode. Especially if, as is well-known, resolving Europe's problems, however briefly, facilitates an Obama re-election campaign because as conventional wisdom is also catching on, should Europe implode before November, Obama's reelection chances plunge accordingly. And yet, even as Goldman's tentacles had spread all over Europe (as seen here), conventional wisdom was that Goldman's influence in Germany was relatively muted.
Following a 3-sigma fall yesterday, WTI crude has rebounded exuberantly amid the European ecstacy and the Iran Oil Embargo. Up almost 9% from late yesterday's lows (a 6-sigma jump), it appears yet another squeeze is in play (perhaps from demand-pull on the back of Hillary's unyielding national policy - oh yeah apart from China and Singapore). While the WSJ notes: "There's no material price premium from the Iran issue", it seems the potential for an epic short-squeeze - as Iran's largest importer of Oil (cough China cough) is now exempt (and continuing to hoard) leaving refiners potentially tight on supply - as macro tail-risk is seemingly removed from the downside by the 'nothing' summit we just experienced.
This week may very well go down as 'connect the dots' week. Things have been moving so quickly, so let's step back briefly and review the big picture from the week's events. When you connect the dots, the next steps lead to what may soon be regarded as an obvious conclusion: the system, as it exists right now, is crumbling. No amount of self-delusion can make this go away. Rational thinking and measured action, on the other hand, can make the consequences go away... turning people from victims into spectators of the greatest bubble burst in modern times.
... Nothing more (or less) than NYSE short interest as of June 15 (at 14.7 billion shares) soaring to the highest since October 2011, just before the mega ramp on the previously mentioned October 26, 2011 Greek "Bailout" started on another total non-event as history would show (as would be the ensuing global central bank interventions, and LTROs 1+2). This is also tied for the 3rd highest short interest since July of 2009. Which brings us to the following question: we know that over the past month the only stock "market" catalysts have been small groups of "educated" central-planners: the Fed, SCOTUS, and Eurocrats, with the only upside catalyst being taxpayer cash. Does the chart below mean that the only technical item that matters is Short Interest (as well as short interest in the highly levered and beta-rally inducing EUR), and every time this number rises above a given threshold the various Wall Street repo desks will merely engage in forced buy-ins and cause epic short squeeze like the one today? We don't know. However, we do know that with both long-side and short-side trading becoming meaningless and everything now just an HFT-facilitated stop hunt, this is the surest way to make sure nobody is left trading these markets anymore, something which relentless ongoing cash outflows from equity funds confirm every single week. The good news: once the weak hands have covered, a new wave of shorts can reenter, only to be burned as well on the next overhyped non-event out of Europe or anywhere else.
Exuberance rules and it seems everyone and their mum believes that something significant just happened in Europe in terms of a 'game-changer'. We suspect this is anchoring bias writ large - we've been down so long that any up feels great. While every asset class jumped dramatically on the day - EURUSD 4-sigma surge, stocks up 3 to 4%, Credit snapping tighter, Europe's VIX plunging, and Sovereign bond yields gapping down - the truth of the matter is that if this were truly a 'game-changer' then would it not be likely that risk assets would be higher than they were just a week ago? Between the total uncertainty of the actual plan's implementation and Merkel still pouring cold water timelines on things; we note that Spanish and Italian bond spreads end the week practically unchanged; Corporate and financial credit spreads are at 6/21 high levels (but not beyond); Europe's VIX has compressed dramatically in our favor for relative to US VIX but remains at 6/21 levels; and only stocks are above those 6/21 highs in their typical high beta excited hopeful manner. Into a thinly traded weekend ahead of July 4th, we would have expected a little more from this nouveau-deal.
In this bizarro world, in which beggars have practically convinced themselves, and certainly the S&P500, they are now choosers, the latest escalation is actually biting the hand that feeds you. Below is today's front page of Italian Libero. It is self-explanatory.
The global economy is now addicted to debt. Once debt stops expanding, the economy shrivels. But expanding dent forever is unsustainable. Welcome to the endgame. Regardless of whether you call it debt saturation or diminishing return on new debt, the notion that taking on more debt will magically enable us to "grow our way out of debt" is not supported by data.
It's official: all those rumors of unprecedented deposit withdrawals in May as Greece was heading into one then another parliamentary election were true. According to just released NBG data, May deposit outflows were €8.5 billion, or the highest on record, bringing the local banks' total private sector deposit base to just €157 billion, the lowest since January 2006, and represents a massive 5% outflow of the entire deposit base as of the end of April. And keep in mind rumors of epic bank jogs and trots did not really pick up until weeks into the second Greek election two weeks ago. At this rate of outflows the entire Greek banking system will have zero deposit cash left in under two years. So aside from the 'details', Europe is all fixed and stuff.