Silver's nearly 3% surge in trading in Asia may indicate that the long expected short squeeze may be underway. Bullion banks with very large concentrated short positions may be being forced to buy back their short positions – propelling silver higher. This could see silver surge over the record nominal high of $50.35/oz in short order. At the same time caution is merited as silver has risen nearly 10% in April so far and over 33% year to date. Speculators need to be very cautious as margin requirements may be increased again and profit taking could lead to sharp falls in price. Leveraged speculation is extremely high risk and should be avoided by investors and savers. Proof of the lack of animal spirits in the silver marker is seen in the data which shows that speculative sentiment on the COMEX (as seen in the Commitment of Traders/ COT data – see chart below) is subdued. While the total silver ETF holdings increased to a record, they are not far above the levels seen in December 2010 (see chart above). Importantly, even at $41.30/oz the dollar value of the total silver ETF holdings remains very small at just over $20.5 billion. To put that number in perspective, today bankers put a prospective value of around $60 billion on Glencore, one of the world’s largest commodity trading companies. BP has set up a fund worth $20 billion to cover legal claims from the oil spill disaster.
- Obama Push to Seize Budget Initiative (FT)
- China gives all clear on bond issuance bubble: Government Boosts the Bond Markets (China Daily)
- You mean they can't use 200% debt financing? Nasdaq OMX Needs Shareholders to Embrace Rejected Bid (Bloomberg)
- Complacent Europe Must Realise Spain Will be Next (FT)
- Japan's seismic nerve center (Japan Times)
- Kan’s DPJ Suffers Election Setback One Month After Japan Quake (Bloomberg)
- Edano Says Japan Doesn't Need BOJ to Help Fund Post-Quake Disaster Relief (Bloomberg)
- State Prosecutor Summons Mubarak (FT)
- US Doubts Air Power Can Turn Libyan Tide (FT)
And you thought the EU bailouts were a mess?
The definition of collective insanity is our willingness to be destroyed as a group so long as we are not judged as individuals. Or worse that we are not forced to judge ourselves.
A month ago, Zero Hedge first reported that Bill Gross had taken the stunning decision to bring his Treasury exposure from 12% to 0%: a move which many interpreted as just business, and not personal: after all Pimco had previously telegraphed its disgust with US paper, and was merely mitigating its exposure. This time, in another Zero Hedge first, we discover that it is no longer business for Bill - it has now become personal (and with an attendant cost of carry). In March, Pimco's flagship Total Return Fund (TRF) has now taken an active short position in US government debt: -3% on a Market Value basis (or $7.1 billion), and a whopping -18% on a Duration Weighted Exposure basis. And confirming just what PIMCO thinks of US-related paper is the fact that the world's largest "bond" fund now has cash, at a stunning $73 billion, or 31% of all assets, as its largest asset class on both a relative and absolute basis. We repeat: cash is more than PIMCO's holdings of Treasurys and Mortgage securities ($66 billion) combined. To paraphrase: in March PIMCO was dumping everything related to US rates (see chart below). This is the first net short position that PIMCO has had in Government-related debt since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, and going positive in February of 2009 only after it became clear that the Fed would commence monetizing US debt one month later. This is the closest that Gross has come to making a political statement and is now without doubt putting his money where his mouth is. The only event that could possibly derail Gross' thinking is a huge market crash forcing a rush to Treasury safety. Alas, as has been made all too clear recently, US debt is no longer the safe haven it once was. Which begs the question: when will the TRF break out a "gold" asset holdings line item.
For some reason, much ado is being made about the nothing that is last night's 11th (or technically 10th) hour aversion of a government shutdown. As we pointed out last week, it is not as if this strawman outcome, or for that matter the raising of the debt ceiling was ever in doubt: "look for both of these events to be consistently spun as key positive outcomes, even though the chance of these things actually not transpiring in a non-favorable light is non-existent." And sure enough, we are confident that the spin of this outcome will be extremely bullish even if in reality it is the perpetuation of a baseline status quo, while the alternative would have been unthinkable. In the grand scheme of things, this was nothing more than a free episode of political soap opera. The markets largely shrugged, because the Treasury Department still would have been able to issue and service debt and the Fed would continues to goose markets higher courtesy of POMO. Yet as Reuters points out astutely: "The battle over the U.S. budget has ended. Now the war begins. The debate over this year's budget that took the U.S. government to within an hour of a shutdown is only a dress rehearsal for bigger spending clashes to come." Here is what to look forward to, as the beltway entertainment spigot is cranked out to the max.
Some stunning remarks from Dallas Fed's Dick Fisher: " Our duty is most distinctly not to monetize?or even
be perceived as monetizing?the debt of fiscally imprudent government.
Throughout the history of nations, monetizing the budgetary excesses of
governments has proven to be a direct path to economic perdition.
Having already peeked inside that door, I feel strongly that we must
now shut it, lock it and throw away the key." Well, thanks Dick. You are only $2.6 trillion dollars late.
A somewhat contrarian view on commodities from Global Tactic Asset Allocation: "Most commodities remain deeply overvalued. As with other assets it does not really matter in the short-term (as long as the trend is positive) but it is paramount for longer-term projections. We have little doubts that commodity long-only who buy to hold are going to experience a >50% drawdown (from current levels) on their industrial metals, crude oil and agricultural positions sometimes in the next 24 months. Demand has been artificially boosted by China strategic reserve building, infrastructure intensive fiscal stimulus, booming demand from the rest of emerging economies and, as the trend persisted, by trend followers and money managers new attraction to the sector (you know it is not correlated so you should buy them to diversify your portfolio... sorry it WAS not correlated...). The introduction of physically-based ETFs is not helping in this matter as it represents a big short-term increase in marginal demand especially when the Fed is still busy implementing QE2."
While the last time there was a major market swing minutes before POMO completion force the Fed to delay the end of that particular POMO after Primary Dealers had to make sure they are going to be guaranteed their hundreds of millions in taxpayer funded capital gains, this time around there was no such issue. Today's monetization of 5 Year Notes closed with $6.580 billion of debt bought by Brian Sack in this week's last POMO (none tomorrow). And in what should not be a surprising development to anyone, the one issue which represented over half of the total operation was the just issued 5 Year QA1 which was placed literally a week ago (highlighted on the table). And so the grand scam continues: the Fed pretends not to be monetizing, the Primary Dealers pretend not to be making millions in preferential Bid terms, and taxpayers pretend to care.
With One Day Left, Reid "Not Nearly Optimistic" Shutdown Can Be Avoided: A Run Down Through The ImplicationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/07/2011 10:32 -0400
The picture for the ongoing operation of US government is looking bleaker by the day. According to The Hill, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that he'd grown pessimistic since last night's meeting at the White House about the chances to avoid a government shutdown. During a speech on the Senate floor, Reid said that in the hours since a meeting last night at the White House with President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), he'd grown less optimistic that a deal could be reached to avoid a shutdown. "I am not nearly as optimistic -- and that's an understatement -- as I was 11 hours ago," Reid said." And while the adverse effects of a government shutdown are appreciated by all, the good thing is that such a move will likely freeze the financial picture of the government at a snapshot of Friday's terms. This will be in advance of a week of heavy bond issuance, amount to over $70 billion. If one were to add $20-30 billion in refund issuance, the debt ceiling (and we mean the real deal - based on debt subject to the limit) which now has an $84 billion buffer until breach as of yesterday, could be busted as soon as next week. What better way to prevent that than to shut down the government completely.
Goldman's Natacha Valla has compiled this useful paraphrase of the Trichet press conference conference. In a surprising turn of events, the ECB head pulled a Greenspan and left many scratching their heads just what he means. We will take a quick stab at predicting the implications of today's rate hike: once the EFSF runs out of capital, or outright fails, the ECB will be back in loosening mode right fast.
Following yesterday's bailout request by Portugal one would have expected that the Portuguese bond curve would tighten at least a little on some short covering in rates. One would be wrong. Except for a tiny tightening in the short-end (sub 1 Year), Portuguese rates have actually deteriorated across the curve with roughly a 0.075 widening in all points east of the 2Y. Is it time to pull an Ireland and start pricing in Portugal bailout #5?
Gold’s two consecutive days of nominal record highs have seen some profit taking as oil is flat, the dollar is marginally higher and the euro has fallen. The ECB’s 0.25 % interest rate hike may lead to further profit taking today but rising interest rates in an increasingly inflationary environment will be positive for gold as it was from 1965 to 1981 (see charts below). It is only when real interest rates turn positive (nominal interest rates are again above the nominal rate of inflation) that gold and silver’s secular bull markets may be challenged. Inflation in the eurozone is 2.6%. Today’s interest rate rise will leave eurozone interest rates at 1.25% well below the 2.6% rate of inflation meaning that savers continue to lose out due to very low yielding deposits. Negative real interest rates will likely lead to precious metal prices continuing to rise or rather very low yielding fiat currencies falling in value versus non yielding finite gold. Rising interest rates are bullish for gold also as they may see the primary asset classes of equities, bonds and property come under pressure again.
"Dear Dr. Paul...There are serious questions about the legality of Quantitative Easing. You are among the few who are well-qualified and well-placed to get to the bottom of it. Most people believe, and the media confirm them in that belief, that the Fed can legally create dollars ‘out of the thin air’ in any quantity, and can do with them as it pleases. This may well be the pipe dream of Dr. Bernanke who is quoted as saying that the U.S. government has given the Fed a tool, the printing press, to stop deflation — but it hardly corresponds to the truth. The Fed can create new dollars only if some stringent legal conditions are satisfied, and then, it can only dispose of them in certain ways prescribed by law." Antal Fekete
Following weeks and months of lies that Portugal does not need a bailout, that is is not Ireland, Greece, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Middle Earth, Uranus, etc, the country finally realized it is bankrupt, unless it comes, hat in hand, bagging for a bailout from Jean Claude Trichet (who now is scratching his head how to spin this latest sovereign default as bullish ahead of tomorrow's rate hike). Which it just did. Reuters has compiled the reactions by those who felt like sharing their views on this foregone conclusion.