Venezuela's central bank has begun negotiations with the suddenly troubled Deutsche Bank to carry out gold swaps "to improve the liquidity of its foreign reserves as it faces heavy debt payments this year", payments which it won't be able to fund unless it manages to "liquify" its gold. "One of the sources said the central bank has taken an unspecified amount of gold out of the country so that it can be certified, which is required for gold that is used in such swaps."
Despite a collapse in yields and implicit plunge in the odds of a rate-hike anytime soon, asset-gathering, commission-taking talking-heads continue to spew unrealities about the economy and where it goes next as excuse after excuse (low oil is good, services trump manufacturing etc) are discarded. What is worse is that none other than The Fed's "owners" - the primary dealers - refuse to play along with The Fed's transitory narrative as their Treasury Bond position is the longest since 2013.
A multi-decade Credit Bubble is coming to an end. The past seven years has amounted to an incredible blow-off top and the ongoing worldwide collapse in financial stocks provides powerful support for the bursting global Bubble thesis. Few are yet willing to accept the harsh reality that the world has sunk back into crisis as mal-investment, over-investment and associated wealth destruction remain largely concealed so long as financial asset inflation persists. This is true as well for wealth redistribution. The unfolding adjustment process will deflate asset prices so as to converge more closely with deteriorating underlying economic fundamentals.
It seems monetary policy is exhausted and the next exogenous lever to pull would be political fiscal initiatives. If/when they fail to stimulate demand, there would be only one avenue left – currency devaluation. If/when confidence in the mightiest currency wanes, we would expect the US dollar to be devalued too - not against other fiat currencies, but against a relatively scarce Fed asset.
"The US Treasury curve is still steep by historical standards. Taken at face value, this may suggest recession odds are small. However, we argue this logic is flawed because the curve is structurally steep when the Fed Funds rate is close to zero. When adjusted for the proximity of rates to zero, the curve may already be inverted and therefore may already be priced for a recession./// Implied recession odds are as high as 64% if the adjusted OIS curve is used"
A real conundrum for bond investors
At a printing factory in the western city of Chongqing, a Reuters reporter was present when a local official visited last week to make sure the boss paid his workers before the Year of the Monkey begins. The official declined to speak with Reuters, although the boss later said it was an attempt to prevent unrest. "That's what the government is most fearful of," said the factory owner, who did not want to be named.
"We have reached that fork in the road within the monetary twilight zone, where Europe's largest bank is openly defying central bank policy and demanding an end to easy money. Alas, since tighter monetary policy assures just as much if not more pain, one can't help but wonder just how the central banks get themselves out of this particular trap they set up for themselves."
While the rest of the world's bond yields are collapsing and prices soaring (as NIRP sweeps the globe), Ukraine's 'young' implicitly-US-taxpayer-backed bonds have plunged to record lows. The reason - aside from simply disturbing economics - is, as The FT reports, the dramatic resignation of the economy minister accusing a senior presidential ally of blocking his attempts to root out graft and stymieing his plans for reform. Abromavicius exclaimed, of the Washington-installed elite at Kiev's heart, "I realised there is an intention to unwind the process of making all of this transparent."
Investment expert, Harry Markopolos, wrote detailed letters to the SEC for years, raising red flags that Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme – only to be ignored by the SEC as Madoff fleeced more and more victims out of their life savings. Today, there are two equally erudite scribes who have jointly been flooding the SEC with explosive evidence that some Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that trade on U.S. stock exchanges and are sold to a gullible public, may be little more than toxic waste dumped there by Wall Street firms eager to rid themselves of illiquid securities.
"More monetary stimulus, wherever it is in the world, isn’t the answer for a global economy still trying to find a new growth path. Pay attention to bonds and ignore the sirens of the stock market."
There has been an economic coup d’état in America and most of the world. We are now ruled by about 200 unelected central bankers, monetary apparatchiks and their minions and megaphones on Wall Street and other financial centers. Unlike Senator Joseph McCarthy, we actually do have a list of their names. They need to be exposed, denounced, ridiculed, rebuked and removed.
US futures were largely unchanged overnight, with a modest bounce after the European close driven by a feeble attempt to push oil higher, faded quickly and as of this moment the E-mini was hugging the flatline ahead of today's main event - the January payrolls, expected to print at 190K and 5.0% unemployment, however the whisper number - that required to push stocks higher - is well lower, at 150K (according to DB), as only a bad (in fact very bad) jobs number today will cement the Fed's relent and assure no more rate hikes in 2016 as the market now largely expects.
As much as economists talk about the independence that the Fed holds from Congress, remittances represent a strong link. In fact, since they enable federal spending they create a form of quasi-fiscal policy for the Fed to use, in addition to its more common monetary policy options. Without Fed remittances, retirees might see their monthly check cut by about 12 percent.
Remember the mass layoffs of 2008-2009? The US economy shed millions of jobs quickly and relentlessly, as companies died and the rest fought for survival. Then the Fed and the US government flooded the banks and the corporate sector with bailouts and handouts. The nightmare of 2008 soon became a golden era of 'recovery'. Well, 2016 is showing us that that era is over. And as stock prices cease to rise, and in fact fall within many industries, layoffs are beginning to make a return as companies jettison costs in attempt to reduce losses.