With all the equity excitement from China to Europe to the US, it was easy to forget that the US has some $24 billion in budget deficit and debt rollovers to find in the form of 3 Year paper. And moments ago the US Treasury priced the first of the week bond issue when it sold 3 Year notes at a 0.932% yield, the lowest since April, and stopping through the When Issued 0.936%. While the Bid to Cover came in at a lowish 3.156, the weakest since last August, the internals made up for it, as the Direct take down jumped from 9.7% to 13.9%, and Indirects ended up with 47.7% of the issue leaving 38.4%, or 3% below the TTM average of 41.3%.
Among all the mindless blather served up by the talking heads of bubblevision is the recurrent claim that “its all priced-in”. That is, there is no danger of a serious market correction because anything which might imply trouble ahead—-such as weak domestic growth, stalling world trade or Grexit——is already embodied in stock market prices. Yep, those soaring averages are already fully risk-adjusted! Nothing to see here, it will be argued. Today’s plunge is just another opportunity for those who get it to “buy-the-dip”. And they might well be right in the very short-run. But this time the outbreak of volatility is different. This time the dip buyers will be carried out on their shields.
The Big Crisis, the one in which entire countries go bust, has begun. It will not unfold in a matter of weeks; these sorts of things take months to complete. But it has begun.
With near record shorts in Treasuries once again, yields are collapsing as both a flight to safety and short squeeze send 30Y back below 3.00% for the first time in a month...
After hiking the haircuts on Greek banks' ELA collateral, the ECB decided it was time to apprise the market of its "risk management" procedures. The result: an epic display of central banker hypocrisy.
Greece (or China) matters again...
FX markets are roiling today, US and German bonds are surging (yields are tumbling), and European stock and bond markets are ugly again. Between all of this we are seeing 'jerky' moves in many disparate instruments as it appears margin calls are mounting and forced unwinds accelerate across markets, the latest of which is gold (and silver) which just saw someone decide to dump almost $1 billion notional instantly into the open market.
When it comes to Greece, and Europe in general, "hope" continues to remain the driving strategy. As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow summarizes this morning, "if you were looking for a word to describe the general feeling of equity markets today, you might well pick hopeful. U.S. equity futures opened higher and have been up all day. European bourses opened cautiously higher as they await word, any word, from the European finance ministers or more importantly, Chancellor Merkel. Equity markets will continue to be very reactive to European headlines, but so far, no news has been taken as a reason for hope." Which incidentally, has been the general investment case for the past 6 years: "hope" that central banks know what they are doing.
Brussels has been dead wrong. The stupid idea that the euro will bring stability and peace, as it was sold from the outset, has migrated to European domination as if this were “Game of Thrones”. Those in power have misread history, almost at every possible level.
Perhaps the more important catalyst for asset price changes of late is Chinese economic slowing rather than fears of Grexit?
April 10th 2014 will live on as a day of infamy as hopes of Greece's 'recovery' were proven 'correct' as it issued a 5Y bond in the public markets in what some commentators called a "triumphant return." As recently as last Friday that bond still traded at aroun 70c on the dollar (a 300% collapse from the issue price) but for all those who stuck to their guns and denied-denied-denied reality, today's collapse shows that a 'No' vote was anything but priced in...
Greece is not the real issue for Europe. The entire Greek debt market is about €345 billion in size. So we’re not talking about a massive amount of collateral… though the turmoil this country has caused in the last three years gives a sense of the importance of the issue.
The Fed understands that economic cycles do not last forever, and we are closer to the next recession than not. While raising rates would likely accelerate a potential recession and a significant market correction, from the Fed's perspective it might be the 'lesser of two evils. Being caught at the "zero bound" at the onset of a recession leaves few options for the Federal Reserve to stabilize an economic decline. The problem is that they may have missed their window to get there.