When a central bank says it is effectively LBOing Keynesianism, you know it is over. Which is precisely what Guido Mantega, Brazil's finance minister has promised to do. The Latin American country which has been caught in the crossfire of developed world central bank wars, in which it is every last man for himself and he who defects first wins, has just stated it is about to defect (and just in case it is unclear, Mantega clarified that "Brazil's would act on the currency, not just a promise"). And to confirm he means business, Mantega also added that the Brazil Central Bank has no limit to buy dollars. But here's the twist - as reported by Bloomberg, Mantega, speaking to reporters in Brasilia, said the Treasury can sell more debt to increase liquidity to buy dollars. You heard that right: debt-financed currency intervention. At least the trade surplus countries use capital generated from excess exports. Brazil is threatening to do something never before seen, which is to lever up in its FX intervention. Surely, this has to be the last boundary of Keynesian insanity.
The Portuguese auction earlier today was a smashing success, of one considers a rise in the Bid To Cover at the expense of an interest rate increase by over 1%, smashing. The 4 Year bond came at 4.695%, while the 10 Year priced at 6.242%, both printing 100 bps wider than previous. This mirrors the deterioration seen in the recent Ireland bond auction, where the same dynamic was observed. The European periphery is paying ever more to roll its maturing debt. Just wait until these countries have to refi short-term debt at 2%+ differentials: not even the ECB will be able to save the countries from that particular toxic debt spiral.
Irish Bond Auction Completed Courtesy Of ECB Backstops, As Europe Now Lives Paycheck To Paycheck And Auction To AuctionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/21/2010 06:48 -0500
Today's market ripping false strawman (as if the ECB would let the Irish bond auction fail) was the issuance of €1.5 billion in 3.5 and 8 year bonds out of Dublin. And with yields a full percentage point higher than before, ECB backstopped banks using the newly purchased Irish bonds as collateral with the ECB, and/or the ECB picking up who knows how much itself, today's auction was a smashing success, if one can calls paying 6% for 8 year bonds success. But the market apparently loves ECB interventions so much it has tightened Irish CDS by 15 points on the day. Full results are as follows.
Just headlines for now, but this likely means the Greek bond roadshow has been cancelled as not even the world's best underwriters were able to generate enough interest for the imminent disaster that will be Greek bonds. One can only imagine how much horror must have gotten uncovered during the roadshow process if investors, even with the backstop of the ECB's endless guarantees, have said "no mas." Luckily, Moody's earlier gave a provisional rating of AAA to the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), which it now appears will be used imminently, first for Greece, then Ireland, and then everyone else who comes to the trough. If this news doesn't send the S&P over 1,220, nothing will.
Stocks are headed for a big multiple compression. Go long the beneficiaries of the relentless running of the printing presses in Washington. Once the spike in interest rates starts, it will be “a big, big bear market,” that could go on for decades. An exclusive interview with the legendary hedge fund manager, Bill Fleckenstein, on Hedge Fund Radio. (GLD), (NEM), (AEM), (GG), (TBT), (TMV), (VZ), (AAPL), (FXC), (CYB), (CU).
Last week, the municipal bond Crisis began in earnest when the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, dropped $3.3 million worth of municipal bond payments for the month of September.
This is just the beginning. Collectively US states continue to face massive budget short-falls in spite of massive Federal Aid. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, US states are expected to run deficits of $144 billion and $119 billion in FYs 2011 and 2012 respectively, unless they can cut spending further or raise taxes dramatically to close these gaps.
The 3 1/2 point sell off in the futures for the 30 year Treasury bond (TBT), at the end of last week was the sharpest drop in 18 months. All it took to set was for Q2 GDP to come in at 1.6%, and for Ben Bernanke to remain silent about any plans to flood the markets with more liquidity. After yields bottomed in 1956, bonds suffered negative returns for 30 years! Here come the 18% mortgages. One more equity puke out in September could easily give us the real thing. (TBT), (TMV), (TIPS).
Financial shills often use the term “bubble” to conjure up images of imminent collapse. Thus, if the “bubble” doesn’t burst within two weeks of someone’s “bubble” proclamation, then this non-event provides loads of verbal ammunition for the financial shills to improperly validate their erroneous viewpoint that a bubble does not exist. And this guerilla tactic works for those that truly don't understand the definition of a Central Bank, artificially engineered "bubble."
Today, “bond funds” ranked with “Miss Universe” and “Lindsey Lohan” among Yahoo’s top ten search terms. Outflows from equity mutual funds over the last two years totaled $232 billion, while inflows into bond funds soared to a staggering $559 billion. The last time yields were this low in 1955, ten year bonds brought in an annual return of only 1.9% for the following decade. Are the Chinese calling the top in the market? (TBT), (TMV), (TIPS)
While there is nothing to suggest a fundamental improvement in the economy, and judging by the latest batch of data the economy is in fact continuing to deteriorate, we have so far seen a substantial sell off in bonds across the curve, with the 2s10s steepening by 11 bps (just in time for the bull flattener bandwagon to enjoy some out-of-steepener rotation pain). So what is the catalyst for the selloff? Francesco Garzarelli's note to Goldman clients titled "Forecast Reached, Risks Now Balanced", in which he implicitly advises to take profits on USTs, sent earlier may provide some clues...
Faber and Schiff on CNBC talked aobut the U.S. Treasury bubble trouble
The 10 year T-Note is currently yielding 2.5%, and the fed`s latest quantitative easing initiative is becoming counterproductive to their stated purpose of trying to stimulate the economy by encouraging more risk taking. The issue is that Mr. Ben Bernanke and the Fed governors although great academicians have failed to take account for how traders and financial markets impact and take advantage of Fed policy.
The debate over whether bonds are in a bubble is very much the topic du jour, and while some deflationists like David Rosenberg believe that not only is there no bubble, but the 10 year will soon slide inside of its all time tights at under 2.1%, others believe the 30 years bull run in Treasuries is the dumbest thing since the dot com bubble, and that if anyone is hoping to make money, it should be on the countertrend. Two such Treasury bears are Marc Faber and Peter Schiff, both of whom were on CNBC tonight, and both were dissecting what in their view is the fallacy of the long-UST trade. As for the Faber-Schiff view, no surprise: Peter encapsulates it best: "the bond market is the mother of all bubbles right now, and when it bursts the losses will dwarf the combined losses of the stock market bubble and the real estate bubble. There is no way for the government to pay this money back." And echoing a topic Zero Hedge has been warning on extensively, namely the maturity of trillions in short-term debt that rolls every month, Schiff notes: "I am afraid is that when people realize we can't pay this money back, we aren't going to be able to roll over all this short-term debt. And so it's not just paying the interest, we are going to have to retire the principal." Peter Schiff is correct that inflating our way out of this debt bubble is a lose-lose proposition. Schiff also notes the stupidity of crowds, by highlighting that 10 years ago everyone was chasing risk, by piling into stock market funds, followed by everyone knows what. The outcome for bond investors is clear: "this decade is going to be the worst decade for bonds in US history. Bond holders are going to get wiped out. Either the government is going to default, or it is going to inflate, but either way the people holding the bonds, are holding the bag."
Need a 100 year inflation outlook? The market has spoken, and courtesy of the liquidity glut, it appears the outlook a century down the line, is for a 5.95% inflation give or take (yes, yes, we know this is not scientific: we are hoping the soon to be released 100 Year swap spreads will give a better read). One wonders what happens to this yield if the Fed's trillions in free money sloshing around the markets are eliminated.
Full pricing grid, courtesy of sole manager (and recent deflationist) Goldman Sachs:
Norfolk Southern Corp "NSC" Baa1/BBB+/BBB+ (s/s/s) upsized USD250m (up from $100m) 100y reopening of 6.00% March 2105 sr fixed rate notes launched at 5.95%. GS (sole books). Co-mgrs: Barclays. UOP: GCP. Pricing today. Original USD300m issue priced March 7 2005 (6.00% at 100).
As more and more pundits, and amateurs, debate the endless futility of the bond bubble, as in does one exist or are nominal rates, in addition to swap spreads, going negative, the one real asset - gold - is surging to highs last seen in early July. Of course the bond debate is silly: it merely indicates a flight to safety in a time when stocks continue to live in a fantasy neverland of "timid" inflation, when the reality is accelerating deflation for levered goods, and rising inflation for goods "for the rest of us." As for those who never see a bond auction failure (and no, explaining the dynamics of a ponzi dutch auction is neither necessary nor sufficient), they will be absolutely correct- until they are wrong. And since we have gotten to a quantized state where even a rise in rates (due to the Fed's stance on liquidity) is virtually equivalent to a failed auction, the distance from the base orbital to the energized level, to keep the quantum analogy, is far closer than most believe. But such is the way in a ponzi non-gold standard system, in which endless credit is chasing extremely finite cash flows. Ssince we have now moved past the point where incremental debt creation can fund viable, cash flow generating assets, any incremental debt serves no role save for window dressing. Whether or not there is a formal announcement by the UST of a failed auction is irrelevant. In the meantime, gold is brushing all these pointless discussions aside and doing its thing. However, gold likes to keep it complicated, and has once again inverted its 120 day correlation with stocks, hitting the lowest level since March 2009. In other words, if stocks are correlation to inflation, gold is now a deflation benefiting asset. Which is also wrong, as gold merely is seen increasingly as an alternative to the great alchemy experiment in the bottom of the 9th being conducted by the Central Banks of the world, which is the last hope to preserve the status quo. In other words, gold is merely the hedge to whether either side in the bond bubble debate is right.