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Frontrunning: October 31

  • Azumi Pledges More Action After Yen Intervention (Bloomberg)
  • Japan to buy more EFSF bonds-Europe fund chief (Reuters)
  • Draghi in Battle Mode From Day One at ECB (Bloomberg)
  • Berlusconi Stays Defiant as Europe’s Crisis Focuses on Italy Reform Effort (Bloomberg)
  • Hu starts key trip to Europe (China Daily)
  • Europe will not offer China concessions for aid: Juncker (Reuters)
  • Europe Might Have Blown Last Chance to End Its Crisis (Bloomberg)
  • Schäuble calls for EU lead on Tobin tax (FT)
  • UK faces "economic suicide" if on EU margins – Clegg (Reuters)

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New York Fed Statement On MF Global, Or How 22 Primary Dealers Became 21 Primary Dealers

Statement Regarding MF Global Inc.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has informed MF Global Inc. that it has been suspended from conducting new business with the New York Fed.  This suspension will continue until MF Global establishes, to the satisfaction of the New York Fed, that MF Global is fully capable of discharging the responsibilities set out in the New York Fed’s policy, “Administration of Relationships with Primary Dealers,” or until the New York Fed decides to terminate MF Global’s status as a primary dealer.

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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: October 31

Despite measures to tackle the Eurozone debt crisis from last week's EU leaders' summit, the implementation details remained unclear and there remained uncertainty about the Chinese contribution in solving the crisis, which dented the appetite for risk. Furthermore, the OECD and UBS cut their respective growth forecast for the Euroarea, which also weighed on the sentiment, and led European equities to trade lower, with underperformance seen in the Italian FTSE MIB and Spanish IBEX 35 indices. Weakness in equities provided support to Bunds, whereas the Eurozone 10-year government bond yield spreads widened across the board, with particular widening seen in the Italian/German spread on the back of debt and political concerns surrounding Italy. In the forex market, Japan intervened in the FX market overnight, which resulted in the weakening of JPY across the board. In other news, strength in the USD-Index weighed on EUR/USD, GBP/USD and commodity-linked currencies. Moving into the North American open, markets look ahead to economic data from the US in the form of Chicago PMI, and NAPM-Milwaukee, together with the Canadian GDP figures.

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MF Global Shares Halted For News

Is this the way MG Global ends, not with a bang, but a T.1 trading halt (although not in Europe, where shares are down 60%)? Stay tuned as we find out if, as we expect, we are about to see a prepack MF bankruptcy, with Interactive Brokers as a lowball stalking horse bidder, ala what Barclays was to Lehman when that bank filed. We will also find out if indeed all the contagion risk from a MF filing is non-existant, very much like Paulson thought when, yes, Lehman filed. In other news, can Jon Corzine become CEO of Bank of America next please? Or at least America's next president? It's not like Goldman does not need a few more competitors taken out...

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EU Deal and Hell Freezing Over

So the EU finally reached a debt deal and hell (or at least New York City) froze over. Thursday's meteoric rise was followed by a relatively calm Friday but is losing steam as more and more nagging doubts set in. Italian and Spanish bond yields have failed to participate in the rally and in fact Italian yields are reaching yields not seen in decades. The EFSF has morphed into an incredibly complex entity and there is no indication that Regling is up to the task of running their various programs optimally. The Asian trip seems ill advised at best and a debacle at worst. What is he asking China to invest in? China has money, and I don't doubt that under the right terms will invest in Europe. But they need terms. What terms is the EFSF getting on the bank recap portion? Do they even know or have they even thought about it? Are they even willing to let China invest in banks on a big scale? What about buying bonds? Since there are no details on the new first loss protected bonds, what can Regling be asking them to invest in? At some point China has accumulated these reserves because they understood it matters what you invest in. I wonder if not only did this trip annoy China but has actually increased their concern that European leaders are way in over their heads on this financial crisis. Even Japan was only willing to say they would take some more of the German/French backed good EFSF bonds, albeit at a slower rate of purchase. Does anyone really doubt the AAA bonds backed by the 6 AAA countries still have a bid?

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European Implosion Resumes With Italy Firmly In The Vigilantes' Sights

The duration of the European bailout was 48 hours give or take. And now reality is back in the form of the following headlines:

  • Italian 10 Year BTP Yield surges to all time high 6.153% before ECB intervention takes it back to ... 6 122%
  • Expressed in price, they have dropped to a record 90.697
  • Italian-German 10 year yield passes 400 bps
  • Italy CDS soar 22 bps to 427 bps
  • Italy 5 Year yields bonds join drop, yield rises  to over record 5.91%

See a trend? The one thing Europe was trying to avoid, contagion spreading to Italy, has happened.

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As CNYJPY Jumps To QE2 Levels, What Odds Are Markets Implying Of A China Hard Landing?

With tonight's multi-year record CNY fixing and trillions being flushed at maintaining an arbitrary JPY line in the sand, it seems appropriate to re-consider how to hedge a China hard landing and what probabilities various asset classes are assigning to it occurring. While many are pointing to what seems an entirely capricious level of 79.20 JPY to the USD as the 'new normal' being defended, we were curious at the strange coincidence that the CNYJPY cross implied by tonight's CNY fixing and the 79.2 JPY was exactly the average CNYJPY level during the QE2 period. It seems the Japanese are hedging their tail-risk against the Chinese and a recent note by Morgan Stanley points to how various asset class traders might consider hedging their own version of a hard-landing scenario and notably they agree with us that China sovereign CDS remains among the 'best' hedge.

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EURUSD Breaches 1.4000 Support

And with that we can put the highly semantic debate over which direction the European currency opened pre-market to rest. To all who were caught wrong way for the past 160 pips, better luck during the next centrally planned intervention. The next catalyst will be BTPs opening for trading in a few brief hours. We are very curious whether the ECB will more focused on preserving the Italian stability falacy or the EURUSD overvaluation myth: perhaps both? After all, "there is a (completely unfunded) EFSF for that."

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Please Welcome The Latest Currency Peg

For the last 45 minutes, USDJPY has been unable to shake loose of 79.2 by more than a pip or two. Following the SNB and their efforts with EURCHF, which as far as we recall is technically pegged at 1.20, is Azumi now pushing another of our freely floating foreign exchange currencies to a peg, as he soaks up any and all USDJPY offers under 79.20? Gold is down a little (in its knee-jerk response to USD strength reflecting off the JPY intervention) but one has to wonder if slowly but surely we are being reverted to the 'rigidity' of a gold standard? Lastly, we eagerly await to hear the justification for this unilateral defection by a G-X member 5 days ahead of the G-20 meeting in Cannes this Friday (and we can't wait for Schumer and Geithner to proclaim Japan a currency manipulator). Lastly, to all those who so vehemently were debating whether the EURUSD is down or not earlier (when it opened lower), feel free to take a look at the EURUSD chart right...about...now - 150 pips that worthless semantics will never get you back.

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After Six Standard Deviation Jump, USDJPY Intervention Loses 38.2% In 30 Minutes

UPDATE: USDJPY now +4.5% - over 7 standard deviations - almost 400pips (and 450 pips in EURJPY). ES still hovering at Friday's lows though!

Thanks to Mr. Azumi's clearly unique (and Halloween-centric) perspective on Japanese currency fundamentals, USDJPY managed to peak with a six standard deviation move, bested only by 10/28/08 (what a weekend for a 3 year anniversary!!) before all the way back to 1995. However, as always with his unilateral decisions, the market seems to know best and we have already given back over 38% of the drop. Interestingly, broad risk markets have not enjoyed this move at all as correlations are not helping the Japanese cause and ES continues to leak lower.

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Yentervention Time

Update - It's Official:

AZUMI SAYS INTERVENTION WAS DUE TO STRONG SIGNS OF SPECULATION - thank god Mrs Watanabe is not speculating on the short side.

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Clearinghouses, Regulators Told To Prepare For MF Bankruptcy, Risk Off

Just out from Bloomberg, citing the WSJ:


The EURUSD has tumbled 50 pips in the aftermath of the news as risk just moved to the Off position

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Is Gold Over Or Undervalued? How About The EFSF (Europe = Fastow, Skilling & Fuld)

In an opinion piece of our own, instigated by the gentlemen at Gold Money, we were asked how we work out whether gold is over or undervalued at any given minute. What a question at the best of times, much less now! What we came up with was the following, something which encapsulates a theme about which we have written much of late: "What is ?value? in a world where the single goal of the powers that be is to deny the market the ability to have its constituents? underlying ordering of wants accurately reflected in the price structure? We have no proper market in capital; severely impaired markets in any number of basic goods; false markets in real estate; distorted markets in labour (hence why so many poor souls are still without jobs); and no certainty about anything except the awful certainty that nothing is off?limits to those who are desperately trying to put Humpty Dumpty together again in time for the next turn of the electoral cycle rather than accepting that he has shuffled off this mortal coil and that it would be better now to see whether at least we can salvage a half?decent omelette out of the remains?" And that pretty much sums up our commentary on the EFSF—the 'Excruciating Folly of Suspending Finality’ or ‘Endorsing Falsity to Succour the Few’, or perhaps just ‘Europe = Fastow, Skilling & Fuld’.

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Presenting The Capeless Crusader: The Deficit (Non) Super Committee

While the soap opera in Europe lurches from one extreme to another, in the process creating substantial market knee jerk reactions, even though the final outcome is quite clear to most with cognitive bias blinders, the next major catalyst in the macro spectacle will come not from across the Atlantic, but from these here United States, in the form of the Super Duper Committee tasked with finding the $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts needed in order to make the August debt ceiling hike legitimate. As a reminder the debt back then was $14.4 trillion - tomorrow it will officially surpass $15 trillion for the first time ever, meaning that even as the Super Committee squabbles, half the benefit from its "successful" conclusion has already been implemented. And here is where Morgan Stanley's David Greenlaw comes in with a piece in which he makes it all too clear that the Super Committee may be Clark Kent, but it sure is no Superman. "Press reports continue to suggest that the so-called Super Committee, established as part of the compromise agreement to hike the debt ceiling, is foundering. In recent days, Democrats and Republicans have offered competing plans that have little common ground. Republican members appear to remain committed to a no new taxes pledge, which will make it very difficult for the Committee to come anywhere close to its $1.2 trillion target." In other words, just as nothing material or actionable (suffice for some grandiose delusions) came out of Europe, precisely the same will happen in the US, after our own dire fiscal situation is exposed for the naked emperor it is.

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