- Euro Crisis Makes Fed Lender of Only Resort as Funding Dries Up (Bloomberg)
- Germany Slams 'Stupid' US Plans to Boost EU Rescue Fund (Telegraph)
- US Inflation Expectations Lowest for a Year (FT)
- Chinese Banks Raise Cash to Cushion Against Bad Debts (WSJ)
- Banks Wary of Financing Big Projects (FT)
- German Ruling Coalition Faces Tricky Bailout Vote (WSJ)
- Health Insurance Costs Deal Blow to Obama (FT)
- China Warns Asia Not to Hide Behind U.S. Military (Bloomberg)
- Japan Ruling Party Proposes $120B Tax Increase (Bloomberg)
Peter Tchir writes in: "After a recent trip to Disneyland the kids decided we should move there. The vote amongst the children was unanimous. So, are we moving to Disneyland? No! There votes don't count. They are not the decision makers. What does this have to do with anything going on in the markets? I think everything. I think it may provide the best lens with which to watch the noise out of Europe....I think the European leaders should go to some management bonding exercise and spend a weekend with a psychologist who tries to talk them out of their fear of default. Their fear of default is bordering on irrational, and maybe they need to be reminded of it. Maybe they should also be reminded that they represent their people and have some shred of responsibility to do what their citizens want.Anyways, back to the headlines, but I think if you filter out who to listen to, the outcome becomes more clear. In the meantime, it seems like 3% daily moves with big intraday volatility will be the norm."
If you thought that last night's news that Greece had been consulting (and paying) the far more "stable" Irish Central Bank on how to, oh, avoid bankruptcy, this may jus top it. In an FT article describing the new set of austerity measures most of which are very loud threats that Greece will very soon (really) take austerity seriously (they promise), we stumble across the following gem: "The conservative opposition New Democracy party said a shortage of ink had prevented the computerised tax centre at the finance ministry from sending out claims to taxpayers over the last 10 days. There was no response from the finance ministry to the claim."...
When it comes tho the stock market we have two things to focus on: very relevant unsubstantiated bold, double underlined headlines, rumors, lies, innuendos, and month end window dressing, and extremely irrelevant facts and economic high frequency updates. Here is the run down of what to expect in the latter category today. Yes it is completely irrelevant but for those who collect economic trivia, it may be useful.
Former Chief ECB Economist Tells It Is Inevitable Greece Will Leave Eurozone And The Greek Debt Haircut Will Be 50%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/28/2011 - 07:13
While futures soar on whatever the latest rumeur de l'heure is (soon to be refuted by Germany although with month end window dressing to be done, nobody will care) the relevant facts are once again being largely ignored. In this case, Otmar Issing, former chief economist of the massively undercapitalized hedge fund known as the European Central Bank, has told Stern magazine that "Greece will find it “impossible” to get back on its feet even after the country implements austerity measures and it is inevitable that Greece will have to leave the euro-zone. He added that Greece needs a debt haircut of at least 50%, and even so preventing contagion will be very complicated. His biggest warning pertains to the deus ex machina which everyone knows is the last thing up Europe's sleeve: the prospect of issuing Eurobonds (aka the suicide button for any German ruler at the time when these are implemented). To wit: "Eurobonds will prove the gravedigger of a stable euro." Luckily, that is already priced in, as is the subsequent resurrection, which explains why the EURUSD is back to one week highs on nothing but, well, rumors.
It was fun while the Liesman rumormill lasted:
- Italy CDS +12 bps to 460
- Spain CDS + 8 bps to 375
- Portugal CDS + 10 bps to 1,110
- Ireland CDS + 18 bps to 736
- Greece CDS: Many points upfront but running joke
And in other news Germany just barely auctioned off E5 billion in 5 year bonds (Bobls) at the lowest Bid To Cover since the inception of the Euro.
Yes, we have written and written on the topic of the levered-EFSF / Geithner-fest / EuroTALF seemingly ceaselessly, and still some are confused. So here, in a brief 3 minute video, is an explanation of how the ECB plans to make money appear out of thin air, and how all shall be well. Alas, if you are right now thinking that this plan relies on nothing but credibility, and are confused because the ECB has none left...you are correct.
An intriguing research note from Goldman's Global Economics team tonight brought up the subject of 'unconventional' unconventional policies and how they ended the 'first' Great Depression. This gentle push towards softening the inflation leg of the Fed's mandate 'stool', while interesting in its own right given Goldman's policy-leading record, reminded us, by contrast, of a paper discussing how deflation is perhaps the more likely outcome when one shifts perspective from Keynesianism to a more Austrian view of the Fed's options. We are not choosing sides but for a quiet evening following a hope-shattering sell-off in risk assets, we thought it worth reflection.
In what will assuredly be the punchline to many jokes over the course of the next few weeks, The Irish Times is reporting tonight that the Central Bank of Greece sought the advice of the Central Bank of Ireland in July and early August "to share experiences gained". We can only assume it was the double-bluff of figuring out what really didn't work since from what we have seen in the last few years, Ireland's decision to backstop/guarantee the entire Irish banking system during the crisis was perhaps what drove them into the mess they find themselves in today. While nothing surprises us with European (and indeed global) central bankers and politicians, this is perhaps the most astounding evidence of blind-leading-the-blind we have seen, especially given the focus on the stress tests which were wildly inaccurate at best in Ireland's expectations of capital/costs required.
Is Dick Fuld running this show? The Eurozone bailout, now being referred to as Euro TARP, is doomed to fail. While nothing has been officially announced the markets are rallying broadly on the back of a news article published by CNBC on Monday. The details are lacking as to the actual structure but speculation is already running rampant across the financial markets as to what it might look like. What is presumed is that Euro TARP will follow the proposal originally proffered by Tim Geithner on his European trip recently. That proposal had been widely dismissed by the G20 as they couldn't come to terms on any type of structure. The current idea outlined by CNBC will bypass the G20 entirely and allow the European Investment Bank (EIB), a bank owned by the member states of the European Union, to take money from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and capitalize a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that it will create. The SPV will then issue bonds to investors and use the proceeds to purchase sovereign debt of distressed European states, which will hopefully alleviate the pressure on the distressed states (PIIGS) and the European banks that already own their sovereign debt. If alarm bells aren't already going off they will be in just moment as you get the gist of the rest of this disastrous plan.
HSBC has just released their latest weekly hedge fund return compilation report. There is no sugarcoating this: it is a complete bloodbath. It is no surprise why hedge funds are desperate to pull off any sort of month end rally. Without it we fear the hedge fund space, which at last check was approaching $2 trillion in AUM, will collapse by 25% after the new year when the full carnage of the redemption requests is made public. And while we know that Paulson is a, well, liquidator is such a harsh word, but if the word fits (unless of course he makes whole all of his more "senior" investors with his personal cash, something which has been vaguely rumored), we certainly had no idea just how pervasive the decimation within the hedge funds ranks was until we saw the mid-September results. We really, really hope the collusive short squeeze-cum-month end rally works out for the hedge fund community, becuase it really will be "or else."
I'd say the world's biggest bubble is real estate in China, but real estate bubbles are just starting to deflate elsewhere, too—in Australia and Canada, for example. It's relatively hard to short real estate, of course. Shorting bank stocks is an indirect way to play it. I'd say bonds are the short sale of the century. They're going to be destroyed. Bonds pose a triple threat to capital because:
- Interest rates are artificially low, and as interest rates rise—which they must—bonds will fall.
- Bonds are denominated in currencies, and most currencies, let's say dollars, are going to lose a lot of value.
- The credit risk of most bonds, certainly those issued by governments, is high.
On the long side, mining stocks are very cheap relative to the price of gold right now. I'd say there's an excellent chance of a bubble being ignited in gold mining stocks, especially the small ones; in fact, I'd put my finger on that as likely being the easiest way to make a killing.
Following the FT's news that (totally un-shockingly) there is disagreement among European member countries over pretty much everything, equities (and broader risk assets) rolled over and accelerated to the downside. We had been pointing to the early weakness in credit markets (especially European financials) as a signal that the rumors were made of nothing and that the rally in equities was starting to get ahead of itself - having been jump-started yesterday by a small cap short-squeeze (and potentially some asset allocation decisions which may have also impacted equities)but the velocity of the retracement was still surprising. The S&P lost 30pts from its highs, HY ended wider on the day (risk appetite seems low given new issue concessions) and financials in the US managed a small bounce off unchanged right before the close after giving up over 3%.