Meet Grgeor MacGregor, "New World" explorer, who in 1822 started the world's first emerging market frenzy selling a current equivalent $5 billion bond at 6% - twice the rate that British government bonds were going for at the time - for a nation that did not exist: Poyais. But there is a nation today that stands just as little chance of paying back its debt as the imaginary Poyais...
There can be only one bond king. And with Gross in cross-asset limbo, that means that the undisputed fixed income crown, for now, goes to the one true monrach Jeffrey Gundlach. And in a few moments, said fixed income royal will be discussing the economy, the markets and his outlook for what he believes may be the best investment strategies and sector allocations, in his latest webcast titled, to borrow Barron's latest headline, "This Time It's Different."
With interest rates near their lowest levels on record, they have nowhere to go from here "but up." This is the consensus of virtually all of the analysts and economists on Wall Street which currently suggests that rates will rise to 3.88% next year on the 30-year treasury. Is everyone still wrong?
VIX has been unable to make lower lows as stocks made higher highs in recent weeks as it appears managers protected these insane gains of the last few weeks rather than piled in - beta-chase-style - as financial media would have us believe. VIX has broken back above 16 this morning adding to its biggest 2-day surge in 2 months and suggesting notably more downside for stocks from here. We suspect credit hedgers are spilling over into the equity protection markets as bond liquidty dries up and protection costs soar.
As the sun sets in Athens, we thought a moment of reflection was worthwhile. Greek stocks are now down 13% - the biggest single-day drop since (drum roll please) the crash of 1987... led by total carnage in Greek banks (down 15-25% on the day). Greek bond yields exploded, 3YR +183bps to a new post-bailout high at 8.32% (and inverted to 10Y).
Europe's banks are vulnerable in 2015 due to weak macroeconomic conditions, unfinished regulatory hurdles and the risk of bail-ins according to credit rating agencies ... Oh what a tangled web, we weave ...
Bond prices in Venezuela have totally collapsed this morning - at 45c on the dollar, they are the lowest since 1998 - as the realization of the "abyss" they are staring into sparks an exodus from all credit positions in the country. VENZ 5Y CDS rallied 130bps which signals hedgers unwinding and the simultaneous sale of the underlying bonds implies broad-based capital flight (and profit taking) as 1Y CDS surges to record highs at 4830bps.
High-yield energy bond spreads are crashing-er. Up 15bps to 880bps today, these are record wides and massively impact the economics of these firms - no matter how much investors want to ignore it. This is contagiously spreading across the broad high yield and even investment grade credit markets as high yield bond prices crash below the mid-October Bullard lows...
Amid the collapse of the global carry trade, no nation on earth has benefited more (and is now suffering more) from the dash-for-trash, buy-the-pig-sty trade than Greek stocks and bonds. Combining carry unwinds with uncertainty over snap Presidential elections (which could usher in a left-wing anti-EU party into power) and a 'technical-only' extension of its handouts from Troika and Greek capital markets are in freefalll. The Athens Stock Index is down over 11% on the day, destroying 3 weeks of gains; the Greek 3Y bond price has collapsed (as the carry-traders pile out through small doors) inverting the yield curve - never a good sign.
Those who have been following the ridiculous moves in the Shanghai Composite in recent months, knew it was only a matter of time before yet another major stock market (one which recently surpassed the Nikkei for the second largest spot in the world) crashed violently, further eroding faith in the centrall-planned "price discovery" process. The only question was when. Tonight we got the answer.
It wasn't just China's long overdue crash last night. In addition to the Shanghai Composite suffering its biggest plunge since August 2009, there has been a sharp slide in the USDJPY which has broken its uptrend to +∞ (and hyperinflation), and around the time Chinese gamblers were panicking, the FX pair tumbled under 120, although since then the 120 tractor beam has been activated. Elsewhere, the Athens stock exchange is also crashing by over 10% this morning on the heels of news that the Greek government has accelerated the process to elect the next president and possibly, a rerun of the drama from the summer of 2012 when the Eurozone was hanging by a thread when Tsipras almost won the presidential vote and killed the world's most artificial and insolvent monetary union. And finally, the crude plunge appears to have finally caught up with ground zero, with ADX General Index in Abu Dhabi plunging 3.5%, also poised for the biggest drop since 2009. In fact the only thing that isn't crashing (at least not this moment), is Brent, which did drop to new 5 year lows earlier under $66, but has since staged a feeble rebound.
Back in June, the world was speechless when Goldman's head of the ECB, Mario Draghi, stunned the world when he took Bernanke's ZIRP and raised him one better by announcing the ECB would send deposit rates into negative territory, in the process launching the Neutron bomb known as N(egative)IRP and pushing European monetary policy into the "twilight zone", forcing savers to pay (!) for the privilege of keeping the product of their labor in the form of fiat currency instead of invested in a global ponzi scheme built on capital market so broken even the BIS can no longer contain its shocked amazement. Well, the US economy may be "decoupling" (just as it did right before Lehman) and one pundit after another are once again (incorrectly) predicting that the Fed may raise rates, but when it comes to the true "value" of money, US banks have just shown that when it comes to spread between reality and the economic outlook, the schism has never been deeper.
Enter US NIRP.
PBOC Tries To Pop Equity Bubble, Tightens FX & Slashes Collateral/Margin Availability; Yuan Crashes Most Since 2008Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/08/2014 22:29 -0500
Unlike the Federal Reserve - which openly encourages speculative wealth creation/redistribution and has never seen an equity bubble it didn't believe was contained - the PBOC appears, by its actions tonight, to be concerned that things have got a little overheated in its corporate bond and stock markets as hot money ripped into the nation's capital markets on hints of further easing and QE-lite a few months ago. In a show of force, the PBOC simultaneously fixed CNY significantly stronger (implicit tightening) and enforced considerably stricter collateral rules on short-term loans/repos. With Chinese stocks concentrated is even fewer hands than in the US (and recently fearful of the surge in margin trading), it appears the PBOC is trying to stall the acceleration is as careful manner as possible. The result, as Bloomberg notes, is a major squeeze in CNY (biggest drop since Dec 2008), interest-rate swaps ripped higher along with corporate bond yields, and most Chinese stocks sold off (with two down for every one up) though the latter is stabilizing now.
Both short-term and long-term, the large liquid US stock market indices have become massively decoupled from the bond and credit markets. Since the former is supposed to discount a combination of the latter (macro growth/de-growth from bonds and micro business-risk/cash-flow-sustainability from credit), one has to wonder which reality will come to pass...
Not long ago, we wrote Ten Reasons Why High Oil Prices are a Problem. If high oil prices can be a problem, how can low oil prices also be a problem? In particular, how can the steep drop in oil prices we have recently been experiencing also be a problem? In our view, a rapid drop in oil prices is likely a symptom that we are approaching a debt-related collapse. Underlying this debt-related collapse is the fact that we seem to be reaching the limits of a finite world. There is a growing mismatch between what workers in oil importing countries can afford, and the rising real costs of extraction, including associated governmental costs. This has been covered up to date by rising debt, but at some point, it will not be possible to keep increasing the debt sufficiently. At some point the debt situation will eventually reach a breaking point.