There's no way to sugarcoat the dismal performance of the precious metals in recent months. But a revisitation of the reasons for owning them reveals no cracks in the underlying thesis for doing so. In fact, there are a number of new compelling developments arguing that the long heartbreak for gold and silver holders will soon be over.
What do NYU Stern School of Business, world renknown professors of risk and analytics, and BoomBustBlog have in common? Wild horses couldn't drag a penny of our money through the French banking system!
Four days ago we timed the Nikkei short perfectly: after all we had the irrefutable top indicator - a Goldman "buy" recommendation, which hit the tape on Sunday night when the Nikkei was at 13250. Here is what Goldman said. "Nervousness over local bond market volatility, amplified by concerns about Fed tapering, has raised fears about whether QE policies can be effectively delivered. We think those fears are overdone and are recommending long positions in Nikkei September futures (NKU3) with a target of 14,500 and a stop on a close below 12,700." We, in turn, were cautiously optimistic on the imminent collapse in the Nikkei which however surpassed our wildest expectations, plunging by 800 points in under 4 days and hitting 12400 a few hours ago where the Nikkei closed. One would think that following this horrible trade, whose catalyst never panned out ("Our central expectations for Tuesday’s BOJ meeting are relatively modest – we expect the term period for fund-supplying operations against pooled collateral will be extended to two years"), Goldman would have the dignity to spare the muppets further losses. Alas, no such luck.
Let's start with the oldest economics joke in the book: "assume there is a housing recovery."
This past March, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the finance ministers of the eurozone, shocked the markets with seemingly off-the-cuff comments suggesting that the Cyprus banking solution will, “serve as a model for dealing with future banking crises.”1 Depositors across Europe took a collective gasp of horror – could banks possibly confiscate depositors’ funds in a form of daylight robbery? Indeed they could, and last week the Bank for International Settlements (“BIS”), the Central Bank's Central Bank, published what we have referred to as ‘the template’; a blueprint outlining the steps to handle the failure of a major bank and the conditions to be met before ‘bailing-in’ deposits.
"The Market Would Have Collapsed" Had The PBOC Drained: Chinese Liquidity Shortage Hits All Time HighSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/13/2013 09:41 -0400
Those who have been following our coverage of the bipolar Chinese liquidity situation (most recently here and here) are well aware of the unique position the world's fastest (if only on paper) growing economy finds itself in: on one hand, it is the target of massive external hot money flows from both the Fed and the BOJ, which are pushing select inflation in the country higher, manifesting itself best in the real-estate market now higher for 12 consecutive months. On the other hand, the local banking system is in such dire need of liquidity, that not only have various short-term SHIBORs soared to multi-year highs but as Market News reported last week, China Everbright Bank failed to repay 6b yuan ($977m) borrowed from Industrial Bank on time yesterday because of tight liquidity, leading to “chain effect” borrowing in the market overnight and almost ushering in the first bank failure in China. The unprecedented liquidity shortage in China is seen best on the overnight SHIBOR chart below which just hit an all time high. In a nutshell there is zero free liquidity in the system. So what would have happened if the PBOC had continued on its merry way of withdrawing liquidity from the interbank market? Very bad things. “If the PBOC sold repos or bills today, the market would have collapsed.”
Liquidity overcame common sense and economic fundamentals for a time. A lot of money was made and a huge amount of leverage was put on. Everything rose with the tide. Look around you though; look carefully. We think the tide is beginning to go out. We believe recession in Europe will spread to America as the severity of the European crisis becomes more and more apparent. Upcoming economic data in France is also going to be quite troubling in my opinion and the contagion will become apparent in the United States.
Apple bond buyers, after paying a premium to bathe in the Steve Jobs RDF (Reality Distortion Field), consequently get bathed with a 9% loss within weeks. I suppose an "I told you so" would be inappropriate here?
In the brief but tempestuous fight between Abe and the "deflation monster", the latter is now victoriously romping through an irradiated Tokyo, if last night's epic (ongoing) collapse in the Nikkei is any indication: down 6.4%, crushing anyone who listened to Goldman's "buy Nikkei" recommendation which has now been stopped out at a major loss in three days, and now well in bear-market territory, it would appear that a neurotic Mrs. Watanabe is finally with done with daytrading the Pennikkeistock market, and demands Shirakawa's deflationary, triumphal return to finally clam the market. Only this time the Japan's selling tsunami is finally starting to spill, if not to the US just yet (it will) then certainly to Asia, where the Shanghai Composite which was down 2.7%, and is once again well down for the year, and virtually all other Asian stock markets. Except for Pakistan - the Karachi Stock Exchange is an island of stability in the Asian sea of red.
In 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 we saw 10Y bond yields surge into June only to peak and turn lower aggressively; and in 2010, 2011 and 2012 we saw a 'mini rally' in yields into June that was not sustained, so, as Citi FX's Tom Fitzpatrick notes, while we regularly hear the mantra for the Equity market of "Sell in May and go away" maybe we should have one for the Bond market - "Buy in June after the swoon."
The Bank of England's Andrew Haldane is not a man to mince his words (see here and here) but perhaps the excess truthiness in his latest testimony to British MPs may have many questioning his ability as a central-banker (unable to lie when it is required). "Let's be clear. We've intentionally blown the biggest government bond bubble in history," Haldane said. "We need to be vigilant to the consequences of that bubble deflating more quickly than [we] might otherwise have wanted." As Canadian Carney steps into the BoE head shoes, it seems Haldane has some (indirect) advice there also, as The Guardian reports his comments that the committee had not been "entirely free" of political interference during the crisis; and that he hoped to "improve decision-making," in a less hierarchical, more diverse, somewhat humbler organization." The "biggest risk to global financial stability... would be a disorderly reversion in the yields of government bonds globally." he said, adding that there had been "shades of that" in recent weeks.
"The opposite of currency wars is not necessarily currency peace; it can easily be interest rate wars," is the warning Citi's Steve Englander sends in a note toda, as EM and DM bond yields have relatively exploded in recent weeks. The backing up of yields represents an increase in risk premium, so this will likely have negative effects on asset markets and the wealth effect abroad as well. It is difficult to explain the magnitude of the yield backup in terms of normal substitution effects, and broadly speaking, if you were to compare the backing up of bond yields with the beta of the underlying economy and asset markets there would be a good correspondence. So, Englander adds, it is fear, not optimism that is driving bond markets.
Following yesterday's ugly 3 Year auction, some were worried the bond market weakness could spill over to today's benchmark 10 Year reopening of $21 billion in paper. It prices just through the When Issued of 2.210%, or at 2.209%, a little better than expected, although the highest yield since October of 2011. So while the demand on the surface was sufficient, the Bid to Cover, which dropped to only 2.53, below last month's 2.70, well below the TTM average of 2.92, and the lowest since August of 2012 when the BTC came at 2.49. Nonetheless, the downward slope in the BTC curve in both the 3 and 10 Year auctions is quite visible. In terms of takedown, there was a surprise as the Indirects took down a whopping 51.7%, the highest since December of 2011 when they were left with 61.9%. And while Dealers ended up with just 36.6% it was the Directs that had the smallest allocation, or 11.7%, since September of last year. Perhaps Dealers are now masking as Indirect. Either way, the good news is that with the reopening, dealers should have some additional collateral for a while, or at least until the Fed monetizes it. Look for this CUSIP - VB3 (On The Run) to remain on the POMO exclusion lists for white a while.
A month ago, Bill Gross stirred up a storm in rates with his tweet that the "Bull bond market was dead" which caught us by surprise because just in the preceding month, PIMCO's flagship Total Return Fund raised its allocation to government-related (read TSY) bonds to the highest in three years, with a net exposure of 40% of AUM, or about $117 billion. Of course, the data was backward looking so it was possible that the firm had changed its opinion entirely and in the following two weeks proceeded to purge its TSY holdings. It didn't. In fact, as of the May TRF holdings update, PIMCO's TSY holdings, which many expected to collapse, declined by a whopping... 2% of total from 40% (net of agency and swaps) to 38%. So much for the great Newport Beach rotation.
Dare 'Ye Test the Analysis To Ascertain It's Virility? Madness, I say! Sheer, Utter Madness! In other words - SYSTEMIC RISK is here, NOW!