The August Personal Income and Spending report is out and while there were some modest surprises in the data, namely a drop in Personal Income of -0.1%, on expectations of an increase of 0.1% (and an adverse revision for July data from 0.3% to 0.1%) - the first drop in two years, while Personal Spending was in line with expectations at 0.2% (previous revised from 0.8% to 0.7%), the biggest news of the day is that the US consumer is getting tapped out, with spending coming entirely from savings: the savings rate dropped from a revised 4.8% (previously 5.0%), to 4.5%, the lowest since December 2009.
The high yield bond market is in worse shape than most people realize. HYG looks extremely rich relative to what is going on beneath the surface, and this liquidation is occurring into quarter end, when bond investors have just as much incentive to “window dress” as stock investors do. And it isn’t just domestic high yield. Emerging Markets, and Asian Property companies in particular, are seeing their bonds getting crushed. It may be more fun to watch the EU contort itself and find some way to lend money to itself that makes the markets happy, but in the depths of the credit world, there is a problem, and it is getting worse.
Today’s session has been a quiet one so far as markets digest yesterdays German EFSF vote and trading has seen light volumes heading into the month and quarter end. Weakening in the Euro currency was observed after higher than expected Eurozone CPI, which led to market participants further questioning whether the ECB will now be cutting interest rates in their monthly Governing Council meeting next week. As European bank fragility has remained in focus in recent times, news came from the EU Commission that they have temporarily approved state aid worth EUR 4.75bln to recapitalize three Spanish savings banks, although little reaction was seen in the markets. The largest moves have been seen in crude futures today with WTI and Brent trade down around USD 1, extending their quarter losses which remain on track for their biggest drop in 15 months. We’ve also seen the German upper house now approve EFSF expansion, and are awaiting final approval from Austria at today, although no time has been given. Looking ahead to the US cash open, focus will be on the US Chicago PMI data which is expected to show a slightly lower than previous reading at 55.0, plus the final University of Michigan Confidence number 10 minutes later. Hope will be that these readings add to yesterday’s indication of some recovery in the US economy.
Last year the ECRI index was the bete noir leading indicator of the market: while the index clearly indicated the US had entered a recession, its creator Lakshman Achutan consistently refuted the findings of the index, instead pushing a contrary view that the US was in fact growing. Then came QE2 and with it s 9 month suspension of reality. That time is over, as is Achutan's ongoing attempt to deny facts. As of a minutes ago, the ECRI's head told Bloomberg Radio that the U.S. is "tipping into a new recession." "He added: "We don’t make these calls lightly. When we make them, it’s because there’s an overwhelming objective message coming out of our forward-looking indicators. What is going on with the leading indicators is wildfire; it’s not reversible.” As Zero Hedge first said months ago, when it finally extracts its head from between its gluteui maximus, we expet the NBER to proclaim the re-recession as having started in June/July.
While all eyes this morning are on Chinese CDS (with about an 18 month delay: about par for a centrally planned market), which has finally blown out, the shifting of attention has done nothing to fix the situation in Europe, where CDS is once again wider across the board.
While the deranged, schizophrenic market could not care less about actual facts and data, and continues to trade purely on month end liquidations, and the now traditional bailout rumors, here is what to expect in terms of scheduled releases today: Personal income and spending, Chicago NAPM and consumer sentiment indexes. Also today the Fed will announce the first Operation Twist schedule which will consists of 13 bond purchases in October, as well as 6 sales.
The scariest news out of the IMF overnight is not that the scandalized bailout agency telegraphed that the global sovereign debt crisis is about to get into even higher gear after the Dow Jones reported it is "exploring" ways to double its gross lending power to $1.3 trillion (which means that in addition to the EFSF's proposed $3 trillion expansion, global bailout capacity will soon hit $5 trillion), nor is it that the US middle class will soon be on the hook for tens of billions more in real European-facing exposure (over an above the hundreds of billions in USD FX swaps that the Chairman is about to unleash on the world), but that the IMF is in fact considering issuing its own bonds. The reason why this is disturbing to the G-7/8/20 is that such a move would take the SDR one step closer to being an alternative gold-backed reserve currency, an dilute the hegemony of the Western axis much to the delight of Russia and China (which however may be having problems of their own). Well, that's bad, but we take it back - just as bad is that the IMF is about to have $1.3 trillion in bailout power. And yes, they wouldn't scramble to get it if they didn't need it. What next: unlimited rescue capacity, and unlimited exposure for US taxpayers?
Greek Banana Republic Status Upgraded To AAA After Sit-Ins At Eight Ministries Prevent Troika InspectionsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/30/2011 - 04:46
A day after we learned that the Greece tragicomedy just gets better and better after it had run out of ink to print tax forms, and hence is unable to collect taxes, and were forced to got over a minute long bout of hysterical laughter having learned that Greece plans on refinancing its rolling debt (which trades at over 100%) with Century Bonds, no seriously and this under the sage advice of BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Lazard, we now get the latest update in this progression of relentless Banana Republic upgrades after learning that the Troika is unable to conduct its much needed inspections of Greek deficit cut progress due to sit ins by protesting government workers at 8 ministries. From Kathimerini: "The troika has been in Athens since Wednesday but its monitoring of Greek finances is running into a variety of problems, as besides the disagreement with the government on a number of issues, the representatives of the country’s international creditors had to deal with sit-ins at the building they were about to visit on Thursday. Public sector employees blocked the entrance to the Finance Ministry and the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) in protest at the planned measure of putting thousands of them on labor standby status." Seriously what else? News that government workers start shredding debt indentures for fun? In the meantime the Troika is having official meetings with what's left of the government at the local Starbucks...
Update: CDS now over 200 bps, or over 7 bps since this artice was posted.
This is an emergency announcement for bubble watchers: China CDS has soared to 194.5 bps, +14.5 in the past few hours (a trend first noted here about a week earlier), the biggest relative mover in the sovereign realm, which has just hit the widest it has been since March 2009. Ironically the incremental newsflow was mildly positive after the Final September HSBC PMI came at 49.9, still contractionary, but modestly better than the Preliminary 49.4, and unchanged from the August print. That however brought little solace to China bulls, who have seen their local stock holdings drop significantly in the last few days now that the China "Hard Landing" scenario is becoming widely accepted. Not helping is a just released UBS report which now expects Q1 2012 GDP to drop to below stall speed at 7.7%. Whether or not the country can land softly, or hardly, or at all, with that kind of growth drop, is certainly unknown. Look for more widening in CDS spreads as the China crash thesis permeates the vigilante community which has now picked its next target.
We’ve updated our chart of the sources of financing of the U.S. budget deficit from the Fed’s Flow of Funds data released on September 16th. The chart illustrates how the Fed and foreign central banks have been indirectly fully funding the massive U.S. budget deficit for the last three quarters. It will be interesting to see the data for the quarter ending today as no doubt there will be less yellow with the end of Q2 on June 30 and more “flight to quality” blue (domestic) and red (rest of world).
As the rapacious rally of this afternoon glides into a sulky sell-off, Goldman's global economics team provide a little more kindling on top of further Kiwi downgrades to help us on our way. The Goldman Sachs Analyst Index (GSAI) fell below the 50 mark (signifying more analysts see contraction in their sectors than expansion) for the first time since AUG09. Combine that with the new orders index registering the largest decline in the index's history (plummeting 22.5pts to 28.6) and the subdued growth outlook remains firmly in place.
We round off the early evening with this must watch interview by Tommy Humphrey of Cambridge House International with Casey Report's Doug Casey, familiar to all regulars of Zero Hedge, in which all the usual suspects are discussed: systemic downfall, alternative investments and flight to real, not mainstream media inspired, safety.
REEs are found in everyday products, from laptops to iPods to flat screen televisions and hybrid cars, which use more than 20 pounds of REEs per car. Other RRE uses include phosphors in television displays, PDAs, lasers, green engine technology, fiber optics, magnets, catalytic converters, fluorescent lamps, rechargeable batteries, magnetic refrigeration, wind turbines, and, of most interest to the Pentagon, strategic military weaponry, including cruise missiles. Technology transfer is the essential overlooked component in China’s economic rise, and Beijing played Western greed on the subject like a Stradivarius, promising future access to China’s massive market in return, an opium dream that rarely occurred for most companies. You want unimpeded access to Chinese RREs? Fine – relocate a portion on your production lines here, or…Which brings us back to today’s topic.Rare earths and investment – where to go?
The big news this morning, aside from the relatively strong economic data out of the US (of course, we’ll have to wait for the downward revision on jobs to see the real number, which is an ongoing statistical aberration for the record books but anyway) is the news that the German parliament overwhelmingly passed the measure to support the EFSF. In reality, this wasn’t really that newsworthy as passing this particular legislation had been expected since Germany originally agreed to the deal in principal earlier this summer. This was not the leveraged, CDO^2 like structure that failed NY Federal Reserve President cum Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had been pitching recently in Europe. No, that idea has been dismissed out of hand and Mr. Geithner properly ridiculed for recommending that the already over-taxed European people be further Major Kong-style strapped to the ticking atom bomb that is the European banks’ leveraged balance sheets.
In case you haven’t noticed lately, the market doesn’t move on good or bad earnings or economic data, it moves on political rumors and innuendo about government’s willingness to continue the TARP/cheap money/QE lifeline to the terribly over-leveraged banking sector. It’s especially troubling when you consider the faith most members of Congress place in Ben Bernanke and the other Oracles of Delphi at the Fed. One area that’s going to come home to roost very soon is the zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) that has been in place since late ‘08/early ’09.