- China Cuts Interest Rates for First Time Since 2008 (Bloomberg)
- New Risk to Europe's Growth: Banks Cut Lending to Cities (WSJ)
- Labor Faces New Challenge - Losses in Wisconsin, California Come as Ranks of Government Unions Decline (WSJ)
- Yellen argues for more Fed easing amid Europe risk (Reuters)
- Americans Cling to Jobs as U.S. Workforce Dynamism Fades (Bloomberg)
- Japan’s LDP Agrees to Talks With Noda’s DPJ on Sales Tax (Bloomberg)
- Korean Buying Spree Boosts Brent Price (FT)
- China Delays Bank Capital Rule Tightening as Economy Slows (Bloomberg)
- China CIC Chief Sees Rising Risk of Euro Breakup (WSJ)
Update: 9:00 am has come and gone... and no global bailout unlike November 30, 2011. Not a good sign for those expect a central-bank D-Day.
While minutes ago the Bank of England followed in the ECB's footsteps, it was the China central bank that stole England's thunder, announcing an unexpected rate cut moments before 7 am, and thus finally joining the global easing party: this was the first Chinese interest rate cut since 2008. As a reminder, hours before the global central bank intervention on November 30, China announced its first (50 bps) reserve requirement cut since 2008. Is today's PBOC move, which is the first cut of deposit and 1 year lending rates also since 2008, a harbinger of something much bigger to come any second now?
The video below is a great a preview of things to come in Greece. Per Bloomberg, Greek police on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for the spokesman of far-right party Golden Dawn for assaulting two left-wing politicians on live television. Ilias Kasidiaris was shown on a live morning show jumping out of his seat and slapping Communist Party member Liana Kanelli three times after throwing a glass of water at leftist SYRIZA party member Rena Dourou. Golden Dawn, which was elected for the first time to parliament in a May 6 election, is accused of carrying out violent attacks against immigrants. Surely, being captured on live national TV beating up women will do wonders for restoring the party's image as that encouraging pacifism and peaceful resolution of problems.
On the surface, the overnight Spanish bond auction, in which the country sold a tiny €2.1 billion of 2, 4 and 10 year bonds was a success, simply because it wasn't a failure. Anywhere below the surface and things get fishy. The Treasury sold €638 million of a 2-year bond, €825 million of a four-year bond and €611 million of a benchmark 10-year bond. And while the bid-to-cover ratios were higher than at recent auctions, with the 2012, 2014 and 2022 bonds covered 4.3, 2.6 and 3.3 times respectively, so were the yields: the 2014 bond was issued at a yield of 4.335 percent, the 2016 bond at 5.353 percent and the 2022 bond at 6.044 percent, a lower price than the 6.14 percent the same maturity bond trades at in the secondary market. In other words, Spain is back to using the same tricks it did back in the fall when bonds would magically price well over 10 bps inside of fair value. Just don't ask why. More notably, as Bloomberg reminds us, this was the lowest amount allotted to a 10 year note since 2004. In other words Spain sold the bare minimum of the longer-bond just to keep up with appearances: an amount likely recycled by its broke banks, which scrambled to get the last remaining LTRO cash and to show just how strong the demand for the country's debt is. In fact as Nicholas Spiro of Spiro Sovereign said, "If it wasn't for its banks' continued support at auctions, Spain would be unable to sell its debt. Right now confidence in Spain is at an all-time low." Either way, the good news is that according to Spain it has now covered 58% of its borrowing needs for 2012. the bad news: 42% remains uncovered. Especially in the aftermath of an EU announcement that not only has it not received an aid request from Spain, but that there is no EU rescue plan for Spanish banks. Europe has now completely lost the script and is making up day by day.
While LeBeau et. al. have sung the praises of a renaissance in Auto companies and their manufacturing recovery supporting what woeful growth we have seen, we have mournfully noted the ever-increasing builds of inventory (or 'channel stuffing') at auto-dealerships and most recently pointed to China's 'debilitating price cuts to come' three weeks ago here. Bloomberg this evening is reporting that the situation is getting worse, much worse, as Chinese dealership inventory levels have exploded from under 45 days to over 60 days supply as "dealers can't shoulder the burden anymore... Their backs are broken". This should come as no surprise to ZeroHedge readers but this is forcing dealers to deepen discounts and sell cars at a loss to meet mandatory sales targets. As GM just this week crowed of its 21% rise YoY in 'sales' in China, local analyst channel checks show two-month levels of inventory for foreign brands and even worse 60-80 days worth of inventory for domestic brands adding that this much inventory "is pretty dangerous for the industry". China's largest distributors of autos are canceling debt issues and their views are scarily summed up (by them not us): "The picture we have is very different from what the automakers are painting. The sales increases they’re reporting are achieved by loading dealers with stock."
"Crowds Cheer Queen On Last Day of Jubilee" So ran the headline from Time. Yesterday marked the end of the “Diamond Jubilee” of Queen Elizabeth II of the British monarchy. The four day celebration was is honor of her ascendancy to the throne sixty years ago. Monarchies are supposed to be antithetical to freedom. Under feudalistic monarchism, the notion of personal liberty took a backseat to loyalty to the king. Those who weren’t part of or close to the nobility were referred to as subjects. These peasants were to serve without question. Today, the only difference between the systematic malfeasance and plunder that existed under the rule of monarchs and that which defines the state is the ballot box. Voters in a sense get to choose a small portion of their rulers. This gives them the mirage of freedom when the nation-state they inhabit is no less than a contemporary field of serfdom lorded over by kings. Too much of the public still behaves with the mindset of servants. They are pathetically docile to those who hold the keys of their shackles. What the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s sixty year rule showed is that the people of Great Britain never really escaped from monarchy.
A month and a half after the SEC took a much-deserved break from watching taxpayer-funded pornography, and stumbled on the scene with its latest pathetic attempt to scapegoat someone, anyone, for its years of gross incompetence, corruption, and inability to prosecute any of the true perpetrators for an event that wiped out tens of trillions in US wealth, by suing Egan-Jones for "improperly" filing their NRSRO application in what was a glaring attempt to shut them up, the only rating agency with any credibility has done what nobody else in the history of modern crony capitalist-cum-socialist America has dared to do: fight back. We have only three words for Sean Egan: For. The. Win.
Remember when the retail investor was the butt of all jokes, abused by the "smart money" hedge funds and prop desks to soak up hot potatoes and even hotter grenades? Well, to quote Matthew, those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last: because the dumb money just got very smart. As the latest update from ICI shows, in the last week of May, when all the "smart" money was selling hand over fist, it was the retail investor who bottom-timed the market perfectly.
Fed Vice Chair Yellen Says Scope Remains For Further Policy Accommodation Through Additional Balance Sheet ActionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/06/2012 - 19:08
That former San Fran Fed chairman Janet Yellen would demand more easing is no surprise: she used to do it all the time. That Fed Vice Chairman, and Bernanke's second in command, Janet Yellen just hinted that she is "convinced that scope remains for the FOMC to provide further policy accommodation either through its forward guidance or through additional balance-sheet actions", and that "while my modal outlook calls for only a gradual reduction in labor market slack and a stable pace of inflation near the FOMC's longer-run objective of 2 percent, I see substantial risks to this outlook, particularly to the downside" is certainly very notable, and confirms everyone's worst dream (or greatest hope assuming they have a Schwab trading platform or Bloomberg terminal) - more cue-EEE is coming to town.
Now that stocks are back to reflecting nothing more than expectations of how many times the Chairsatan dilutes the existing monetary base in a carbon copy replica of not only 2011 but also 2010... and 2009 (because contrary to what purists may believe, the only way to inflate away unsustainable debt in a growth-free economy is by destroying the currency), and manic pattern chasers have crawled out of their holes proclaiming the death of the bear market after a two day bounce, what is happening in the actual economy, no longer reflected by the market, has once again been pulled back to the backburner. Which is sad, because while ever fewer people reap the benefits of artificial, centrally-planned S&P rallies, the rest of the population suffers, and what is worse: hope for a quiet, middle-class life is now an endangered species. Nowhere is this more evident than in the following list from David Rosenberg which summarizes how, quietly, the US labor force slipped back into a full-blown depression.
It may feel like I'm out of touch with the precious metals markets to broach the subject of a mania today, but I think the table is being set now for a huge move into gold and silver. There are, however, very valid reasons to reasonably expect a mania in our sector. For one thing, manias have occurred many times before, but the main issue is that a mania in gold and gold stocks is the likely result of the absolute balloon in government debt, deficit spending, and money printing. Saying all that profligacy will go away without inflationary consequences seems naïve or foolish. Inflation may not attract investors to gold and silver as much as force them to it. Now, one could make the argument that any rush into gold and silver will be muted if no one has any savings, especially given that demographers say a quarter of the developed world will soon be retired. But even if individuals are wiped out, the world's money supply isn't getting any smaller, and all that cash has to go somewhere. I wanted to look at cash levels among various investor groups to get a feel for what's out there, as well as how money supply compares to our industry. Data from some institutional investors are hard to come by, but below is a sliver of information about available cash levels. I compared the cash and short-term investments of S&P 500 corporations, along with M1, to gold and silver ETFs, coins, and equities. While the picture might be what you'd expect, the contrast is still rather striking.
Despite the failure of the generous offer of Spiderman towels from the recently 'stress-test'-proof-but-now-busted Bankia, today's market suggests there is still hope. The public estimate of loan losses for Spanish banks stands around EUR225 billion (EUR 125bn known and an additional EUR100bn estimated) which, as Charles Biderman of TrimTabs notes "is so big as to be practically unsolvable" as he details the total and utter lack of trust of Spain and Spanish banks that is spreading not just across Europe but around the world. The installation of six of the largest global consulting firms (and the IMF) to begin audits of the Spanish banks, as Reuters reports today, should tell everyone (especially those who bid them up 7-10% today) just how terrible the situation is. Biderman begins to go ultrasonic as he expects real losses for Spain to be in excess of EUR300 billion and this is just Spain! Who knows how big the losses are for the rest of Europe? He does not believe Germany, or anyone else, will put up the EUR300 billion for Spain (or a trillion for the rest of Europe) and sees at best a 50% chance that the entire Euro banking system will go down leaving a much smaller Euro-zone behind (and a 25% chance of a non-panic mode restructuring).
Today, short-term interest rates are set by the diktats of the central bank. And long-term interest rates are set in a “market” in which the central bank is obliged to keep coming back to buy ever more bonds, and speculators front-run the central banks to buy ahead of them. The result has been that, for 30 years and counting, the bond price has been rising, which is the same as to say that the rate of interest has been spiraling into the black hole of zero. When it gets there (and probably sooner) the entire monetary system will collapse. This is the terminal stage of the disease of irredeemable paper currency. They have banished money (gold) from the monetary system, and the result is a positive-feedback-loop that destabilizes the rate of interest. The rate of interest has a propensity to fall, just like the value of the paper currency itself. This leads to the question of how interest rates are set by a free market under a gold standard. This is a non-trivial question, and the answer is profoundly important as we debate what sort of role gold ought to play and evaluate the various gold standards being proposed.