Just when the jawboning from Europe is reaching its climax that Portugal is fixed again, Greece is fixed, and the core is showing green shoots from the near-depression, Germany (the corest of the core) comes out with its worst exports data since 2009. While imports remained stable - suggesting domestic demand is sustained for now - YoY export growth collapsed 3.2%, the worst tumble since November 2009 "illustrating that Germany's economy still has difficulties shifting into higher gear." The details are a horror-story. Exports to the euro-zone, where 40% of Germany's exports are sent, fell by a stunning 9.6% (while exports to the rest of the world dropped 1.6%). To add to the misery for the 'things are getting better' crowd, Germany's industrial production data missed expectations are dropped back into the negative YoY following the 'hope' inspiring positive YoY print in April that signaled all-is-well. Of course, none of that matters, the DAX is up a stunning 2.4% today on the back of this dismal-is-great data. So much for those green shoots...
The central bank "reason" goal-seeked for today's US overnight ramp - because it sure wasn't fundamentals with both German exports (-2.4%, Exp. +0.1%) and Industrial Production (-1.0%, Exp. -0.5%) missing - was the weekend Spiegel story that despite the unanimous decision by the ECB last week to keep rates unchanged, ECB chief economist Peter Praet and Mario Draghi himself had insisted on a 25 bps rate cut. They were, however, stopped by seven council members from the northern euro states, including Weidmann, Knot and Asmussen. As a result, Draghi was steamrolled in the final vote. Yet somehow this is bullish for risk, pushing equity futures higher and peripheral debt spreads lower, even as the EURUSD has drifted higher. Of course, one can't have an even more dovish ECB as a risk on catalyst alongside a rising Euro, but who cares about news, fundamentals, or logic at this point. All that matters is that US futures are higher, which was especially needed following yet another rout in the Shanghai Composite which dropped 2.44% back under 2,000 following news that China's Finance Ministry has told central government agencies to cut expenditures by 5% this year, and a 1.4% drop in the PenNikkeiStock225 on a weaker USDJPY. Remember: all is well in the global economy (whose forecast is about to be cut by the IMF) if the US is generating a record number of part-time jobs.
This week's events placed in a broader context.
Following the most recent shift 'away' from a USD-centric world (with the China-Australia direct currency convertibility), it seems the possibility of China's Yuan as the next global reserve currency is getting closer. The Brits, Germans, and now the Swiss (who just signed a free-trade-agreement with China) are all actively vying to become Europe's Yuan trading hub as it seems the long line of developments to internationalize the currency over the past two years. As Bundesbank board member Joachim Nagel noted in a speech entitled "Reniminbi as a potential reserve currency" this week, "the Chinese currency is well on its way to becoming one of the future global reserve currencies." He noted that, although the USD is still the most commonly-used currency for settling trade with China; from virtually zero in 2010, the Yuan is used to settle over 12% of trading transactions now - and is likley to increase further.
"In this respect the Gini coefficient had apparently reached in 2006 the previous high seen in 1929, prior to the Great Depression. This is a reminder that capitalism’s natural way of dealing with excesses is via business failure and liquidation; which is why wealth distribution would have become much less extreme as a consequence of the 2008 crisis if losses had been imposed on creditors to bust financial institutions, for example owners of bank bonds, in line with capitalist principles; as opposed to the favoured ‘bailout’ approach pursued for the most part by Washington. This means, unfortunately, not that the problem has been avoided but that the ‘great reckoning’ has been deferred to another day as the speculative classes have continued to game the system by resort to carry trades actively encouraged by the Fed and other central bankers, which is why fixed income markets freak out when they see signs of an exit."
Free Advice Is Sometimes Worth More Than You Paid for It. On That Note, Irishman... Take Your Money And Run!!!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 07/05/2013 10:46 -0400
Don't consider this investment advice, but if you leave your money in this bank after reading this article then your a fool who deserves to lose every euro that gets confiscated. Just my personal opinion, of course.
While it was not surprising that the BOE did nothing to change its rate or QE program, it was surprising (to some) that in the first official statement following the appointment of Goldman's Mark Carney as head of the Bank of England, the bank did mention that forward guidance and intermediate thresholds would likely be considered at the August assessment. Which, of course, is code for expect a major change in monetary policy. And now we also know the date, meaning that some time in August Goldman's latest central bank head will proceed doing what Goldman central bank heads do best: crush currencies in order to boost nominal, not real, returns and ensure another record Goldman bonus pool.
We were promised by the cognoscenti of PhD economists that higher mortgage rates would not affect the so-called housing recovery. They devoutly prayed to the god of momentum that "rates were still low historically" and "housing is on a self-sustaining path" and numerous other truisms that always fail at the turning points. Well, it appears from mortgage application data that things are not looking so hot. Whocouldanode that smashing interest rates higher at the margin (remember its the marginal impact - not absolute since the majority who can have refi'd or purchased down to new low rates with their fixed cash flow and this bid up house prices via their new found affordability) would crush the dreams of an organic (not 'hedgie-driven flip-dat-house REO-to-Rent'-based) recovery. And don't forget the drag from these higher rates to come, and what happened the last two times mortgage rates spiked at this pace. This collapse year-over-year in mortgage apps is as bad as that in 2006 when the last bubble burst...
And just like that things are going bump in the night once more. First, as previously reported, the $100+ WTI surge continues on fears over how the Egyptian coup will unfold, now that Mursi has a few short hours left until his army-given ultimatum runs out. But it is Europe where things are crashing fast and furious, with the EURUSD tumbling to under 1.2925 overnight and stocks sliding on renewed political risk, with particular underperformance observed over in Portugal, closely followed by its Iberian neighbor Spain, amid concerns that developments in Portugal, where according to some media reports all CDS-PP ministers will resign forcing early elections, will undermine country's ability to continue implementing the agreed bailout measures. As a result, Portuguese bond yields have spiked higher and the 10y bond yield spread are wider by over a whopping 100bps as austerity's "poster child" has rapidly become Europe's forgotten "dunce." The portu-litical crisis has finally arrived.
We have discussed the apples-to-unicorns comparisons of returns between stocks and treasuries in the past making the critical points that a) risky corporate equity returns should be compared to risk corporate equity yields/spreads (as opposed to Treasuries), and b) they must be adjusted for risk. However, as we also pointed out, and in no way suggesting one is better than the other, there is one other major real risk that is so often overlooked it is remarkable. That risk is 'drawdown'. As the following chart summarizes over the past 33 years, it's been quite a roller-coaster ride for those anchoring-biased human beings looking at their account statements. More interestingly, it is exactly this drawdown of recent days in bond markets that is supposedly setting off the great rotation - even though the order of magnitude relative to stocks is dramatically lower.
This does NOT open the door to more QE now. If the Fed tapers QE in the future then yes, it might engage in more QE later down the road. But the idea that the Fed will increase QE when it’s already running $85 billion a month is misguided.
The New York Times had the definitive take on the vicious sell off in gold. The analysis provides a good representation of the current conventional wisdom. The only twist here is that the article from which this summary is derived appeared in the August 29, 1976 edition of The New York Times. At that time gold was preparing to embark on an historic rally that would push it up more than 700% a little over three years later. Is it possible that the history is about to repeat itself?
There are two problems with the vast, sprawling legacy systems we've inherited from the past: they're dysfunctional and cannot be fixed/reformed. America's legacy systems are like stars about to go super-nova. They have increased in size to the point where their stupendous mass guarantees that once their energy source (as measured in fossil fuels and money) falls below a certain threshold, the institution will collapse inward on itself.
As of 2013, the composition of the leadership in China has changed dramatically. The engineers are gone. Today the leadership is comprised of Economists and Lawyers.
Think gold and silver were the worst performing financial asset in June? Think again: that dubious distinction falls to the Bovespa, the Shanghai Composite and the Greek stock market index, all of which tumbled more than the precious metal complex did in the past month. Yet what an odd month for hard assets - on one hand WTI, Corn and Brent were the best performing assets, while gold, silver, copper and wheat tumbled.