It's gotten beyond silly: with less than a day to go until the first X-Date, beyond which if Jack Lew is correct (he isn't) all hell will break loose if the US doesn't have a debt deal in place, stocks couldn't care less, Bills continue to sell off, carry traders only care how big the central banks' balance sheets are, all news are generally shunned and yet stocks have soared 600 DJIA points on Harry Reid's relentless optimism a deal will get done, even though so far none has. Today, as we observed on Monday, we expect more of the same: stocks and futures will ignore the reality that the midnight hour will come and go with no deal in place, but will continue to explode higher as Harry Reid's latest set of "optimism" headlines hits the tape in low volume trading. We expect the first big hope rally around POMO time, then shortly after Senate comes back in Session, around noon. Then for good measure, another one just before market close. Why not: it's not like the "market" even pretend to be one anymore. Keep an eye on today's 4-Week bill auction before noon. It should be a far bigger doozy than yesterday's longer-dated bills.
The only thing exceptional about the USA is "its the largest debtor nation in the history of the world" is how Jim Rogers begins this brief interview with RT and he doesnt back away from the rhetoric. The sad truth, he notes, is that the US "has been kicking the can down the road for years..." how do you think we got so much debt, he chides. "Every year that goes by we go deeper and deeper into debt," adding, rather ominously, that it "will be solved one way or another." They will kick the can once more; then next week, we will be told that the problem is fixed and compromise is here. However, Rogers warns, eventually the market is going to turn away; "this is going to end badly... and the rest of the world knows it."
Understanding the complexities of the sovereign CDS market is tricky... so we are constantly bemused by the mainstream media's constant comment on it as if they have a clue. The fact is that the USA CDS market is indicating a higher risk of imminent technical default now than in 2011. As we explained in painful detail previously, you cannot compare a 71bps (+8 today) 1Y USA CDS spread to a 1200bps JCPenney CDS spread - they are apples and unicorns. Having got that off our chest, the fact that the cost of 1Y protection is at 2011 extremes (implying around a 6.5% probaility fo default) and has been higher (inverted) relative to 5Y now for 3 weeks is a clear indication that investor anxiety is very high this time (just look at T-Bills!).
Citi Misses Across The Board On Plunge In Mortgage Banking, Trading Revenues Despite $675MM Reserve ReleaseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/15/2013 07:09 -0500
First we had JPM confirming what we all knew about the third quarter: it was a disaster for anyone who originates mortgages, whose balance sheet relies on Net Interest Margin, and whose income statement is dependent on trading volumes. Now, it is Citi's turn. Moments ago the bank reported uberadjusted EPS of $1.02 missing expectations of $1.04, unchanged from a year ago, and revenues, ex CVA/DVA, of $18.2 billion, down 5% from Q3 2012, and missing expectations $18.71 billion, by over $500 million. Citi EPS also included the now traditional fudge factor of $675MM in loan loss reserve releases, although well below the $1.502BN from a year ago, offset by $204MM in benefit and claims provisions and some $635MM in incremental mortgage charge offs.
If mere hope of an "imminent" deal starting on Thursday and continuing through Monday, with no actual deal but who cares about details, was enough to push the DJIA up by 600 points, then all it would take to set a new record market high today, is for another day to pass - one day before the October 17 X-Date when one Senator can filibuster the US through the deadline on their own, and when the House still has to have a voice on what the Senate has been doing - without an actual debt deal. After all, the market is so "centrally-planned" all that is needed is knowledge that Bernanke will get to work, and is getting to work to the tune of $85 billion a month, mixed in with some hope. And with today's "market for idiots" facilitating POMO of over $5 billion which guarantees a green close, all that is needed is a complete failure in talks for the SPX to go limit up on even more hopes things will be fine any second now... if not right now.
On Saturday, millions of Americans across 17 states found themselves in an unfamiliar situation: they couldn't rely on the US government for their daily foodstamp-funded bread. The result was anger, confusion and sometimes, outright panic, as shoppers left their full shopping carts in stores, and departed their favorite general retailer in a daze. However, while most outlets that accepted EBT were experiencing a one-day, non-recurring hit to their EPS, several Walmart stores in Louisiana decided to brave through the Xerox-induced blackout for several hours by eliminating the spending caps on EBT cards, leading to nothing short of shopping stampedes. The result, as CBS reports, is that "Walmart and local police ... were called into the stores to help maintain order Saturday as shoppers swept through the aisles at two stores and bought as much as they could carry."
The ongoing government shutdown will continue to affect the quality and/or the release schedule of official macro data. In the meantime, survey data is probably the best set of indicators to follow. The Empire (NY) and Philly Fed surveys are likely the highlight for this week. The US TIC data will get released as scheduled on Wednesday. Given the evidence of large capital outflows in recent months it will be interesting if this trend has abated. Data that will likely not be released this week includes September CPI, Housing Starts, and Industrial Production. It's ok: one can just draw a trendline and extrapolate. That's what the BLS does.
- Headline of the day: U.S. Risks Joining 1933 Germany in Pantheon of Deadbeat Defaults (BBG)
- As Senate wrestles over debt ceiling, Obama stays out of sight (Reuters)
- The "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" that threatened to gum up traffic in the capital was a dud as of Friday afternoon (WSJ)
- China New Yuan Loans Top Estimates as Money-Supply Growth Slows (BBG)
- Vegetable prices fuel Chinese inflation (FT)
- China Slowing Power Use Growth Points To Weaker Output Data (MNI)
- London Wealthy Leave for Country Life as Prices Rise (BBG)
- Gulf oil production hits record (FT)
- Every year like clockwork, analysts start out bizarrely optimistic about future results, then “walk down” their forecasts (WSJ)
- Weak Exports Show Limits of China’s Growth Model (WSJ)
In a world devoid for the past two weeks and certainly for foreseeable future of most US economic data (this week we get no CPI, Industrial Production and New Home Sales among others), markets are now reliant on China for an indication of how the economy is doing, which is why this weekend's weaker than expected Chinese exports (ignoring the fact that China trade data is largely made up) and higher than expected consumer price inflation (driven by higher vegetable prices), even as new yuan loans soared to CNY787 billion, well above the CNY675 billion estimate despite broader M2 slowing from 14.7% in August to 14.2% in September, means the Chinese economy is once again in a vice and following the summer's liquidity driven boost, is set to roll over. Which in turn means that once again the PBOC is flying blind: unable to inject more liquidity without risking broader inflation, while most indicators are already rolling over. In short, ugly and certainly rolling over Chinese economic indicators for the market to mull over on Columbus day, even though all this will be promptly forgotten once the Washington debt ceiling song and dance resumes and the now traditional 10:30 am surge grips the algotrons as the latest set of "imminent deal" rumors is unleashed.
It’s a Myth that the U.S. Has Never Defaulted On Its Debt
There are two characteristics of a currency that make it useful in international trade: one, it is issued by a large trading nation itself, and, two, the currency holds its value vis-à-vis other commodities over time. These two factors create a demand for holding a currency in reserve. Of course, psychological factors entered the demand for dollars, too, since the US was seen as the military protector of all the Western nations against the communist countries for much of the post-war period. Today we are seeing the beginnings of a change. The Fed has been inflating the dollar massively, reducing its purchasing power in relation to other commodities, causing many of the world’s great trading nations to use other monies upon occasion. President Obama’s imminent appointment of career bureaucrat Janet Yellen as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is evidence that the US policy of continuing to cheapen the dollar via Quantitative Easing will continue. As we noted before, nothing lasts forever... (especially in light of China's earlier comments)
Big picture and dispassionate discussion.
Yesterday millions of "shoppers" living on the government dole left their shopping carts in droves in checkout counters, exited countless foodstamp-accepting stores, and made Wal-Marts and other general merchandise stores into veritable ghost towns, after a power outage at Xerox Corp, made EBT usage in 17 states for most of Saturday impossible, and left tens of millions of poverty-level Americans unable to engage in one of their favorite pastimes: shop with other people's money. In short: the Walfare States of America were probably closer to a state of outright revolution than at any time before in history. And had the EBT stoppage continues into today, things would have certainly spilled out from the shopping aisle to main streets where the people's anger may have culminated in an violent expression of disgust at a state which gives with one hand and a xerox company that takes with the other.
We now appear to be close to the day of reckoning that likely determines what the coming weeks/months hold.
- Do we step back from the brink, see our politicians reach an agreement and carry on? Although to be fair, in 2011 the break below supports that led to accelerated losses in the equity markets actually took place once an agreement was reached.
- Do we break lower thereby causing the negative feedback loop/concerns that feed back into the economy, kill any possibility of tapering and sees the Fed re-establish its dovish credentials (Like 1998 and 2011)
- Do bond yields push higher after an agreement thereby increasing concerns about a negative feedback loop into the economy, housing, emerging markets, Europe (Like 2011) and ultimately the equity market?
Time will tell us the answers to the above questions, but whatever happens, Citi notes it looks like the price action in the near future is at pivotal levels that need to be watched closely.
In the past five years it has become apparent that America can survive a near-fatal financial system collapse, an economy teetering on the edge and kept ticking only thanks to the Fed's now perpetual QE, a collapsing standard of living for everyone but the wealthiest 0.1%, declining wages, zero interest rates, surging food, energy, rent, tuition and welfare costs, and pretty much everything else, as long as the welfare state keeps humming along. Any be welfare state we mostly mean providing the daily bread to the nearly 50 million Americans living in poverty and surviving only thanks to the only thing to have exploded to epic record highs under Obama (in addition to the Fed's balance sheet of course): foodstamp usage. However, the true stability of the US may be tested very soon following reports that due to a "possible computer glitch" the Electronic Benefits Transfer System, aka EBT, ala Foodstamps, is offline. Cue mass panic among the best-weaponized population in the world. Naturally, this latest fiasco involving a country that has grown accustomed to sucking on the government's teat was immediately blamed on a "glitch" - just like everything else that is slowly but surely breaking in the New Normal.