The 'Hilsenramp' is here. As US equities look set to test previous all-time highs and important support (100DMA), the mouthpiece of the Fed proved his worth:
*WSJ's HILSENRATH: Analysis: Overlooked 'Dovish' Signals In Bernanke Press Conference
*WSJ's HILSENRATH - Analysis: Markets Might Be Misreading The Fed's Messages
Apparently, everyone messed up - there is nothing but good news for the money-printing-addicts. Hilsenrath's "New York Fed" sources have yet to leak the 2013 year-end price target for the S&P 500 (though we expect that next).
Dive! Take cover! Or, at least, hold on to your pants in the scramble. The Chinese bubble has just burst. It looks like the world is going to have egg on its face and elsewhere as Chinese banks are scrambling to get the hands on cash.
With China’s credit-to-GDP ratio over 200%, it appears, as Barclays notes, that the PBoC is acting in line with the government’s efforts to deleverage, rebalance and position the economy towards a path for sustainable growth. Though they expect that the PBoC is likely to stabilize the interbank market in the near term (perhaps by more of the same 'isolated' cash injections), short-term rates are likely to remain elevated, at least for a while, possibly leading to the failing of some smaller financial institutions. With the small- and medium-sized banks having grown considerably quicker than the larger banks, having been more aggressive on interbank business (i.e. alternative channels to get around lending constraints), the following banks are at most risk of major disturbance of the funding markets remain stressed leaving the potential for retail bank runs or greater fragmentation in the commercial bank market.
The first phase of the boom has already taken place, the pullback seems to have run its course and Phase II is set to deliver fortunes.
The Fed has created a Doomsday Machine. The Fed has nurtured moral hazard in every sector of the economy by unleashing an abundance of cheap credit and low interest mortgages; the implicit promise of "you can't lose because we have your back" has been extended from stocks to bonds (i.e. the explicit promise the Fed will keep rates near-zero forever) and real estate. An abundance based on the central bank spewing trillions of dollars of cheap credit and free money (quantitative easing) is artificial, and it has generated systemic moral hazard. This is a Doomsday Machine because the Fed cannot possibly backstop tens of trillions of dollars of bad bets on stocks, bonds and real estate. Its power is as illusory as the abundance it conjured. This loss of faith in key institutions cannot be fixed with more cheap credit or subsidized mortgages; delegitimization triggers a fatal decoherence in the entire Status Quo.
In one month, the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage has jumped by over 60 basis points. What does this mean for net purchasing power? Well, as the chart below shows, assuming a $2000/month budget to be spent on amortizing a mortgage (or otherwise spent for rent), it means that suddenly instead of being able to afford a $425K house, the average consumer can buy a $395K house . This means that, all else equal, housing just sustained a 7% drop in the average equlibrium price based on what buyers can afford. But assuming the current selloff in rates continues, things are going to get much worse: we may be seeing 5%, 5.5% even 6% and higher mortgages in the immediate future. It also means that a buyer who could previously afford a $506K house with a $2,000 monthly budget at an interest rate of 2.5% will be able to afford only $316K if and when the average 30 Year fixed hits 6.5%: a 40% drop in affordability based on just a 4% increase in interest rates!
In a world in which every commercial and investment bank has become a FDIC-backed hedge fund with no risk and unlimited leverage/return, it means that what used to be a November 30 fiscal year end for the financial industry has been rebased to a December 31 FYE. Except one bank still valiantly clinging to the title "largest independent investment bank" (and blasts CNBC with commercials claiming the same): the high-yield underwriting and trading midcap - Jefferies. And courtesy of its May 31 quarter end, Jefferies always provides an early glimpse into bond trading dynamics for the quarter. Said volumes (and thus revenues), represented by both total principal transactions, as well as just pure Fixed Income Sales and Trading, are shown on the chart below and are self-explanatory.
The global liquidation wave started with Bernanke's statement yesterday, which was interpreted far more hawkishly than any of his previous public appearances, even though the Fed had been warning for months about the taper. Still, markets were shocked, shocked. Then it moved to Japan, where for the first time in months, the USDJPY and the Nikkei diverged, and despite the strong dollar, the Nikkei slumped 1.74%. Then, China was swept under, following the weakest HSBC flash manufacturing PMI print even as the PBOC continued to not help a liquidity-starved banking sector, leading to the overnight repo rate briefly touching on an unprecedented 25%, and locking up the entire interbank market, sending the Shanghai Composite down nearly 3% as China is on its way to going red for the year. Then, India got hit, with the rupee plunging to a record low against the dollar and the bond market briefly being halted limit down. Then moving to Europe, market after market opened and promptly slid deep into the red, despite a services and mfg PMI which both beat expectations modestly (48.6 vs 47.5 exp., 48.9 vs 48.1 exp) while German manufacturing weakened. This didn't matter to either stocks or bond markets, as peripheral bond yields promptly soared as the unwind of the carry trade is facing complacent bond fund managers in the face. And of course, the selling has now shifted to the US-premarket session where equity futures have seen better days. In short: a bloodbath.
The global capital markets are seeing large moves in response not only to the Federal Reserve, though clearly that is a key impetus, but also to developments elsewhere. Here is a dispassionate review.
Following Part 1's exposure to the faux-prosperity of the post-2009 'recovery' and the precariousness of the Bernanke bubble, Part 2 of the series explained the dismal internals of the jobs numbers the utterly politicized calculation of the “unemployment rate” that disguises the jobless nature of the rebound (as breadwinner jobs languish). In Part 3, David Stockman (from his new book "The Great Deformation") starts an explanation of the why. As he notes, the Fed’s post-crisis money-printing polices gifted Wall Street speculators, as intended, but they also delivered an utterly botched recovery on Main Street. The reason the Main Street economy refused to follow the Keynesian script, however, could not be found in the texts of the master or any of the vicar’s uncles. The Keynesian catechism has no conception that balance sheets matter, yet Main Street America is flat broke, and that is the primary thing which matters.
China is snugging, trying to rein in its financial system and shadow banking system.
The 20th century could be categorized as THE century when communications took off and we started living in each other’s pockets. Lives had been ruined by war, trouble and strife. Wealth had been redistributed beyond belief. There were no longer just a few that were making the profits, but there were growing classes of people that wanted recognition.
Goldman Slams Abenomics: "Positive Impact Is Gone, Only High Yields And Volatility Remain; BOJ Credibility At Stake"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/18/2013 11:16 -0400
While many impartial observers have been lamenting the death of Abenomics now that the Nikkei - essentially the only favorable indicator resulting from the coordinated and unprecedented action by the Japanese government and its less than independent central bank - has peaked and dropped 20% from the highs, Wall Street was largely mum on its Abenomics scorecard. This changed overnight following a scathing report by Goldman which slams Abenomics, it sorry current condition, and where it is headed, warning that unless the BOJ promptly implements a set of changes to how it manipulates markets as per Goldman's recommendations, the situation will get out of control fast. To wit: "Our conclusion is that the positive market reaction initially created by the policy has been almost completely undone. At the same time, a lack of credible forward guidance for policy duration means that five-year JGB yields have risen in comparison with before the easing started, and volatility has also increased. It will not be an easy task to completely rebuild confidence in the BOJ among overseas investors after it has been undermined, and the BOJ will not be able to easily pull out of its 2% price target after committing to it."
There was non-Fed news in the overnight market. Such as Nikkei reporting that Germany's Angela Merkel was the first G-8 member to be openly critical of Japan's credit-easing policy "that has led to the yen's weakening against major currencies" in what was the first shot across the bow between the two export-heavy countries. Not helping risk in Asia was also news that China May new home prices rose in 69 cities over the past year, compared to 68 the prior month, thus keeping the PBOC's hands tied even as the liquidity shortage in traditional liquidity conduits continues to cripple the banking system and forcing the Agricultural Development Bank of China to scale back the size of two bond offerings today by 31% "as the worst cash crunch in at least seven years curbs demand for the securities." Rounding up Asia were the latest RBA meeting minutes which noted the possibility of further weakness in AUD over time, adding downside pressure on the currency and pressuring all AUD linked equity pairs lower. Still, the USDJPY caught a late bid pushing it above 95 on some comments by the economy minister Amari who said that the government would not be swayed by day-to-day market moves and the BOJ "should continue making efforts to convey its thinking to markets" adding the government was not making policy to pander to markets, confirming that Japan is making policy solely to pander to markets.
President Obama announced late last week that the US intelligence community had just determined that the Syrian government had used poison gas on a small scale, killing some 100 people in a civil conflict that has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives. Because of this use of gas, the president claimed, Syria had crossed his “red line” and the US must begin to arm the rebels fighting to overthrow the Syrian government. The process was identical to the massive deception campaign that led us into the Iraq war. That is exactly what the Obama Administration is doing with Syria: fixing the intelligence and facts around the already determined policy. And Congress just goes along, just as they did the last time. The president has opened a can of worms that will destroy his presidency and possibly destroy this country. Another multi-billion dollar war has begun.