"Herein lies our dilemma with bonds. We've been a member of the lower yields for longer camp for a number of years now due to our near-term growth and inflation outlook and our belief that financial repression is rife. However we also think that debt restructuring or inflation will eventually be the only way of successfully reducing debt burdens for many countries with the latter route the most likely. As such whilst bonds are a near-term safe haven they are also likely to be very poor real investments longer term. Timing the big switch in view on this will be one of the defining investment moments of the next few years. Let's hope we're lucky."
"We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5. You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian "invasion" of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the "intelligence" seems to be of the same dubious, politically "fixed" kind used 12 years ago to "justify" the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the US State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine."
While yesterday everyone was focusing on the ongoing escalation in Ukraine, or BBQing, the real story was the sudden and quite dramatic collapse, or as we called it, "bloodbath" in global manufacturing as tracked by various PMI indices. Here is the summary.
As we explained previously, the market appeared woefully under-priced for the potential risk of a Scottish "yes" vote. However, this weekend saw the margin between 'yes' and 'no' voters narrowed dramatically (53% "No" vs 47% "Yes" - a 6-point spread now versus a 14 point spread just 2 weeks ago). UK Gilt yields are higher, GBP is falling (its lowest since March) and implied volatility has spiked by the most since 2008 as hedgers pile in, now suddenly fearful.
Eric Cantor Sold For $3.4 Million: Former Head Republican Joins M&A Investment Bank As Vice ChairmanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/02/2014 - 08:02
Back in June, when the political career of Eric Cantor came to a sudden, stunning end at the hands of an unknown "tea-partier", we commented that the biggest losers from Cantor's ignoble fall from Congressional grace were his biggest donors. Less than three months later, their loss is Cantor's gain, who after a long auction process has finally, and very expectedly, sold himself off to the highest bidder which as the WSJ reported overnight was none other than boutique M&A advisory firm, Moelis & Co. Per the WSJ, "Mr. Cantor, 51 years old, will be a vice chairman and board member at the firm, effective this week, he and Moelis founder Ken Moelis said in a joint interview on Monday.
- Ukraine Shifts to Defense Against Russian Incursion (WSJ)
- U.S. forces carry out operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia (Reuters)
- Bond Markets Tilt Toward Frankfurt as Draghi Negates Fed (BBG)
- Another "unexpectedly" - Swiss Economy Unexpectedly Stalls as Euro Area Takes Toll (BBG)
- Japan's 'Abenomics' feared in trouble as challenges build (Reuters)
- Germany Imposes Nationwide Ban on Uber's Cab-Hailing Service (WSJ)
- Japan's 'forward guidance', the GPIF, has "already begun a highly anticipated portfolio reshuffle" (WSJ)
- Detroit Brings Bankruptcy Plan to Court With Billionaires (BBG)
- Burger King has maneuvered to cut U.S. tax bill for years (Reuters)
Just when we thought centrally-planned markets could no longer surprise us, here comes last night's superspike in the USDJPY which has moved nearly 100 pips higher in the past few trading days and moments ago crossed 105.000. The reason for the surprise is that while there was no economic news that would justify such a move: certainly not an improving Japanese economy, nor, for that matter, a new and improved collapse, what the move was attributed to was news that Yasuhisa Shiozaki, who has been advocating for the GPIF to reduce allocation to domestic bonds, may be appointed the Health Minister when Abe announces his new cabinet tomorrow: a reshuffle driven by the fact that the failure of Abenomics is starting to anger Japan's voters. In other words, the GPIF continues to be the "forward guidance" gift that keeps on giving, even if the vast majority of its capital reallocation into equities has already long since taken place. As a result of the USDJPY surge, driven by a rumor of a minister appointment, the Nikkei is up+1.2%, which in turned has pushed both Europe and Asia to overnight highs and US equity futures to fresh record highs, with the S&P500 cash now just 40 points away, or about 4-8 trading sessions away from Goldman's revised 2014 year end closing target.
With China's property developers slashing prices, piling on incentives, and still seeing sales slump; it is no surprise that demand from the top to the bottom across Asia is falling. As Reuters reports, even Singapore's Sentosa Cove (the man-made island resort billed as Asia's Monte Carlo) is eerily silent as the billionaires seem to be staying away with prices down over 20-30% in the past year. New mortgage business is down over 40% as "the rential can't even cover the mortgage anymore." As one analyst notes, "the tables have turned," adding rather ominously that, "The way prices have fallen, it's as if there is a global financial crisis."
And for tonight's menu of disastrous Japanese economic data, we have (drum roll please)... Auto sales. Overall auto sales fell 9.1% YoY to 333,471 - the lowest in 3 years. Minicars dropped a stunning 15.1% YoY according to the Japanese auto dealers association. The response - rather obvious by now - to this terrible news... a 35 pip vertial ramp in USDJPY which can mean only one thing - the Nikkei 225 rallied 150 points... On a side note, following disappointing PMIs, China fixed the Yuan at 4-month lows.
Capitalism gets into deep trouble when the price of financial assets becomes completely disconnected from economic reality and common sense. What ensues is rampant speculation in which financial gamblers careen from one hot money play to the next, leaving the financial system distorted and unstable - a proverbial train wreck waiting to happen. That’s where we are now.
...subject to change indeed...
A lack of strategy is a glimmer of hope. Perhaps the president will finally stop listening to the neocons and interventionists whose recommendations have gotten us into this mess in the first place! Here’s a strategy: just come home.
If after months of Eurasian axis formation, one still hasn't realized why in the grand game over Ukraine supremacy - not to mention superpower geopolitics - Europe, and the West, has zero leverage, while Russia has all the trump cards, then today's latest development in Chinese-Russian cooperation should make it abundantly clear. Overnight, following a grand ceremony in the Siberian city of Yakutsk, Russia and China officially began the construction of a new gas pipeline linking the countries. The bottom line to Russia - nearly half a trillion after China's CNPC agreed to buy $400bn in gas from Russia's Gazprom back in May. In return, Russia will ship 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually over a period of 30 years. The 3,968 km pipeline linking gas fields in eastern Siberia to China will be the world's largest fuel network in the world.
While NATO is happy to provide Russia with geographical advice, we thought the following map of "the world" will help explain President Obama's increased use of the term "isolated" when it comes to Russia...