How did our financial system weaken to the point where a quarter of a percent increase in rates is more than it can handle?
Earlier today, Jefferies which is now a part of Leucadia, provided this much anticipated glimpse into how the rest of Wall Street is doing. The answer, if Jefferies is any indication, is "quote horribly" because just like two of the past four quarters, Q3 was also a disaster and indicative of nothing short of a trading bloodbath on Wall Street in the past three months of trading and especially August. In fact, it was so bad for Jefferies, it reported a massive 31% plunge in total revenues down to $579 million resulting in net income of a tiny $2.5 million as a result of what may be only its first negative fixed income revenue print since the financial crisis.
The long awaited day is finally here by which we, of course, mean the day when nobody has any idea what the Fed will do, the Fed included. Putting today in perspective, there have been just about 700 rate cuts globally in the 3,367 days since the last Fed rate hike on June 29, 2006, while central banks have bought $15 trillion in assets, and vast portions of the world are now in negative interest rate territory.
With a complex and disaster-prone system of interdependence causing social strife and chaos, why not just simplify everything with a global currency and perhaps even global governance? The elites will squeeze the collapse for all it’s worth if they can, and a Fed rate hike may be exactly what they need to begin the final descent.
Tomorrow's FOMC decision is the dominant topic for investors and traders across all asset classes, with FX, perhaps, the most sensitive to perceived changes (and instigator of trades via carry). As Credit Suisse details, FX volatility remains notably elevated and along with the uncertain flows surrounding so-called "risk parity" trading strategies, and the fact that 2y Treasury yields at around 0.80% are at their highest levels since 2011 - despite the less than 30% chance of a Fed hike priced in for tomorrow - only adds to the sense of uncertainty about the Fed's reaction function. In this light, how do we see the various possibilities that could emerge from tomorrow's FOMC? Here are Credit Suisse's 5 scenarios...
Will Janet Yellen proudly put the Fed on the side of the angels, announcing that she and her crew have decided to move the Fed’s key interest rate to a more normal level… regardless of how much it costs the cronies? No, she won’t. Once you begin manipulating markets, it’s a hard habit to break. After nearly seven years of emergency financial policies, we are now in a permanent emergency..."What if they say it’s my fault? What if they call it the Yellen Depression? Oh, no... It’s not fair... It’s not fair... Boo-hoo... sob... sob... I should have stayed at Harvard. I’d have tenure. I’d have a nice pension. George and I could go the Martha’s Vineyard in the summer. It would be such a nice life."
- Contrarian CEOs tell the Fed: Go ahead, raise my rates (Reuters)
- Goldman Warns Markets Unprepared for Fed as Treasuries Seesaw (BBG)
- Investors Look Beyond Fed Meeting, See Low Rates (WSJ)
- Volatility seen lingering no matter what the Fed does (Reuters)
- What Rising Interest Rates Would Mean for You (BBG)
- China Stocks Jump in Last Hour of Trading on State Support Signs (BBG)
- No Escape for China Hedge Funds Overwhelmed by Stocks Crash (BBG)
- Hedge Fund Bridgewater Defends Its ‘Risk-Parity’ Strategy (WSJ)
Ffor whatever reason starting in the last hour of trading and continuing until the close, the Shanghai Composite - after trading largely unchanged - went from red on the day to up 4.9% after hitting 5.9% minutes before the close - the biggest one day surge since March 2009 - and nearly erasing the 6.1% drop from the past two days in just about 60 minutes of trading, providing a solid hour of laughter to bystanders and observers in the process.
Who would have thought that decades of ZIRP, an aborted attempt to hike rates over a decade ago, and the annual monetization of well over 10% of sovereign debt would lead to a toxic debt spiral, regardless of how many "Abenomics" arrows one throws at it? Apparently Standard and Poors just had its a-ha subprime flashbulb moment and moments ago, a little over 4 years after it downgraded the US from its legendary AAA-rating which led to angry phone calls from Tim Geithner and a painful US government lawsuit, downgraded Japan from AA- to A+. The reason: rising doubt Abenomics is working.
Chinese equity markets are holding modest 'bounce' gains after two days of carnage. After 3 days of stronger fixes PBOC devalued the Yuan but the Ministry of Finance made it clear that "devaluation is not aimed at boosting exports," which makes us wonder, is it aimed at selling Treasuries? No additional direct liquidity injections but anxiety grows as China National Erzhong Group Co. may miss an interest payment later this month after one of its creditors filed a restructuring request, putting it at risk of becoming the second state-owned company to default in the nation’s onshore bond market.
News That Matters
Going into Thursday, everyone - and we do mean everyone - is scrambling to predict which asset classes are most susceptible to a Fed hike. Amid the rampant confusion, BofAML asked fund managers to weigh in. Here are the results.