JP Morgan has been fined the sum of $410 million due to improper practices involving price manipulation via its subsidiary JP Morgan Ventures Energy Corp today in California and the mid-west by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the US.
Far Dan Loeb, gold has finally lost its lustre: "If we finally see accelerating growth rates, yields should normalize from the unusually low levels we have seen recently. The playbook for investors in that scenario is to focus on assets that will benefit from US growth while avoiding investments that are hurt when real yields rise, such as gold, emerging markets, and fixed income – all areas where we have very little exposure today. Indeed, we sold our long-held gold position early in the second quarter at approximately $1,450."
While the market's eyes were fixed on the near record slide in Japanese Industrial Production (even as its ears glazed over the latest commentary rerun from Aso) which did however lead to a 1.53% jump in the PenNikkeiStock market on hope of more stimulus to get floundering Abenomics back on track, the most important news from the overnight session is that the PBOC's love affair with its own tapering may have come and gone after the central bank came, looked at the surge in 7 day market repo rates, and unwilling to risk another mid-June episode where SHIBOR exploded to the mid-25% range, for the first first time since February injected RMB17 billion through a 7-day reverse repo. The PBOC also announced it would cut the RRR in the earthquake-hit Lushan area. And with that the illusion of a firm and resolute PBOC is shattered, however it did result in a tiny 0.7% bounce in the SHCOMP.
With all eyes fixed on GDP and unemployment data this week (and all their revised and propagandized unreality) for more hints at if (not when) the Fed will Taper; the dismal reality that few seem willing to admit is that it is when (not if) and that the announcement of a "Taper" has nothing to do with the economy. There are three key factors driving this decision: Bernanke's bubble-blowing and bond-market-breaking legacy, the political 'clean slate' his successor needs, and, most importantly, the fear that QE will be discovered for what it is - monetization. As BoJ's Kuroda admitted last night "if QE is seen as financing debt, this could lead to rise in yields." With deficits falling, the Fed's real actions will be exposed (unless QE is tapered) and as Kyle Bass has explained before, it was out of the hands of the BOJ (or The Fed) and entirely up to market psychology.
After a slow start in the week, there is a substantial pick up with announcements from the FOMC, ECB and BOE (as well as monetary policy updates from the RBI, RBA, Israel, and Czech Republic) with the possibility, if not probability, of a Fed update on tapering expectations. On Wednesday we get the much expected wholesale GDP revision which will boost "growth data" all the way back to 1929 and is expected to push current GDP as much as 3% higher, and on Friday is the "most important NFP payroll number" (at least since the last one, and before the next one), where the consensus expects a +183K print, and 7.5% unemployment. All this while earnings season comes to a close.
At this point the Central Bank has one of two options: 1) Monetize everything OR 2) Let the bond market fall to where it deems rates are appropriate given the new default risk.
Municipal finance is in sharp focus after Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. Detroit’s filing is arguably an isolated case and its fiscal problems are not indicative of the broader municipal credit landscape; but, the outcome of the bankruptcy process will dictate whether the value of the full faith and credit pledge backing GO bonds will be diminished going forward. The global hunt for yield has probably chased new investors into the Muni market who may not fully understand that in recent years it has become an ‘ownership not rental’ market. In other words, it is unlikely holders of Munis can sell what they own, as liquidity in the secondary market is almost non-existent.
The Fed publicly claims it wants to help the economy and Main Street. However, as we are now discovering, the Fed is more than willing to sacrifice the good of the people in order to prop up a few insolvent big banks.
At precisely 4 am Eastern two opposite things happened: the German IFO Business Climate for July printed at a better than expected 106.2 vs 105.9 in June and higher than the 106.1 consensus: news which would have been EURUSD positive. And yet the EUR tumbled. Why? Because at the same time the ECB provided an update to the chart that "keeps Mario Draghi up at night" as we reminded readers yesterday - the ECB's all important credit creation update in the form of the M3, which not only missed expectations (of +3%) but declined from 2.9% to 2.3%. But more importantly, ECB lending to private sector shrank for the 14th consecutive month in June, and slid to a new record low 1.6% in June, down from a 1.1% in May.
Today average Brazilians are having trouble making ends meet paying for everyday products or household goods. Riots erupted in Brazil against the Pope’s visit to Rio de Janeiro.
"We are left in the world of Wile E. Coyote who had the habit of dashing off cliffs in the pursuit of the elusive Road Runner, before noticing the thin air below. Plenty of economists and money managers have their eyes fixed on leading indicators and tell me that Southern Europe’s economies are "stabilizing" and "prosperity is around the corner." In reality economic activity in Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain, and also France, is collapsing."
Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves IT technology. It could include diverse areas such as simply downloading illegal movies or music from the internet in its basic every format or it could extend to hacking into systems and using information or stealing.
"In the last week of June, the dollar value represented by ARM applications accounted for 16 percent of mortgage requests, the highest share since July 2008, two months before Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed, according to Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington." Oops.
- Humans Beating Robots Most Since ’08 as Trends Shift (BBG)
- Easing of Mortgage Curb Weighed (WSJ)
- European Banks Face Capital Gap With Focus on Leverage (BBG)
- Signs Suggest China Warming to Idea of Stimulus (WSJ)
- China Coal-Fired Economy Dying of Thirst as Mines Lack Water (BBG)
- Jeans and shoes show criminal underbelly of China-EU trade (Reuters)
- How U.S. drug sting targeted West African military chiefs (Reuters)
- Japan scrambles jets after China plane flies by southern islands (Reuters)
- Apple Plots Return to Growth After Coping With Aging Lineup (BBG)
- AT&T Falls Shy of Analyst Estimates as Discounts Hurt Margins (BBG)
- SAC insider trading case takes twist (FT)
With the Singapore Dollar (NEER) continuing its surge higher (+6% against the USD in 2012), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) saw a S$10.6 billion loss this year as the "FX impact exceeded the interest, dividend income and other gains from the foreign assets held." This is the 3rd loss in the last 4 years and 2nd largest on record, but of course the central bank notes, "this is not a cause for concern." As if this wasn't enough, the MAS' annual report also details 22 fixed income firms that have been fined and 7 that have been restricted for failure to comply with anti-money-laundering and terrorism-financing rules. The MAS suggested firms 'improve' their screening of customer names and sources of wealth in order to prevent the financial system from being used to harbor or act as conduit for illegal funds. It seems to us like they may be a little late.