Friday The 13th Futures Tread Water On Rising Iraq Fear, Crude Surge Continues

Believe it or not, the main driver of risk overnight had nothing to do with Iraq, with the global economy or even with hopes for more liquidity, and everything to do with a largely meaningless component of Japan's future tax policy, namely whether or not Abe (who at this pace of soaring imported inflation and plunging wages won't have to worry much about 2015 as he won't be PM then) should cut the corporate tax rate in 2015. As Bloomberg reported, Abe, speaking to reporters in Tokyo today after a meeting with Finance Minister Taro Aso and Economy Minister Akira Amari, said the plan would bring the rate under 30 percent in a few years. He said alternative revenue will be secured for the move, which requires approval from the Diet.

12 Numbers About The Global Financial Ponzi Scheme That Everyone Should Know

The numbers that you are about to see are likely to shock you. They prove that the global financial Ponzi scheme is far more extensive than most people would ever dare to imagine. The truth is that our financial system is little more than a giant pyramid scheme that is based on debt and paper promises. It is literally a miracle that it has survived for so long without collapsing already. But at some point a day of reckoning is coming, and when it arrives it is going to be the most painful financial crisis the world has ever seen.

Iraq Update: Kurds Take Kirkuk, Al Qaeda Surges Toward Baghdad

Now that 25 year old math PhD HFT programmers have finally figured out what this thing called Iraq is, and why headlines around it should factor into algo trading signals, here, for their benefit is a summary of the latest events in Iraq, and also for everyone else confused why crude is back to levels not seen since last summer.

Oil Surges To Highest Since September As Algos Finally Find Iraq On The Map

With another day of little otherwise completely irrelevant macro news (because following last night's abysmal Australian jobs data one would think the AUD would be weaker; one would be wrong), market participants - all 3 of them - and algos (which have finally uncovered where Iraq is on google maps) are finally turning their attention to the latest conflict in Iraq (because they obviously no longer care about the martial law in Thailand or the civil war in Ukraine), where the Al Qaeda spin off ISIS overnight seized at least 310K B/D in refinery capacity in northern Iraq according to the Police, and what is more concerning, is now less than a 100 kilometers away from Baghdad. Will ISIS dare to venture further south? Keep an eye on crude for the answer.

Economic "Hope" Vs. Indicators Of Economic Reality

There is much hope that after a dismal Q1 GDP report of -1% annualized growth in the domestic economy, that Q2 will see a sharp rebound of between 3-4% according to the bulk of economists. The Federal Reserve is predicting that the U.S. economy will grow as strongly as 2.8% in real terms for the entirety of 2014. The achievement of the Fed's rather lofty goal would require a real 4% annualized growth in each of the next three quarters. The problem with this assumption is that the last time that the U.S. economy grew at 4% or more, over three consecutive quarters, was in 1983.

Will Spain Default?

With 10Y yields trading below those of US Treasuries, asking the question of Spain's rising default risk seems risible but as Bloomberg's Maxime Sbaihi notes, the longer the euro flirts with deflation, the higher the risk that the heavily indebted (and becoming more so) countries will be tempted to default. Of course, this 'concern' is entirely ignored by the 'market' as Draghi has promised enough liquidity to soak up every short-dated bond but as the European Union's so-called "1/20 rule" suggests - requiring states to reduce excessive (over 60% Debt/GDP) by 1/20th every year or face a fine of 0.2% of GDP - Spain, it appears has 5 options to escape this vicious circle... and one of those is restructuring...

Frontrunning: June 11

  • World Bank Cuts Global Growth Forecast After ‘Bumpy’ 2014 Start (BBG)
  • Al-Qaeda Offshoot Threatens Iraq Oil Site After Taking Mosul (BBG)
  • Fed Prepares to Keep Record Balance Sheet for Years to Come (BBG)
  • EU investigates tax rulings on Apple, Starbucks, Fiat unit (Reuters)
  • Cantor Loss Shocks Republicans, Dims Immigration Changes (BBG)
  • More surveillance: Google to Buy Satellite-Imaging Startup for $500 Million (WSJ)
  • Tea Party activist who defeated Cantor focused on budget, immigration (Reuters)
  • Airbus Suffers Worst Order Loss as Emirates Deal Scrapped (BBG)
  • plans local services marketplace this year (Reuters)
  • Amazon Stops Taking Advance Orders for ‘Lego’ and Other Warner Videos (NYT)

Sharp USDJPY Overnight Sell Off Pushes US Equity Futures Into The Red

Yesterday's market action was perfectly predictable, and as we forecast, it followed the move of the USDJPY almost to a tick, which with the help of a last minute VIX smash (just when will the CFTC finally look at the "banging the close" in the VIX by the NY Fed?) pushed the DJIA to a new record high, courtesy of the overnight USDJPY selling which in turn allowed all day buying of the key carry pair. Fast forward to today when once again we have a replica of the set up: a big overnight dump in USDJPY has sent the dollar-yen to just over 102.000. And since Nomura has a green light by the BOJ to lift every USDJPY offer south of 102.000 we expect the USDJPY to once again rebound and push what right now is a weak equity futures session (-8) well above current levels. Unless, of course, central banks finally are starting to shift their policy, realizing that they may have lost control to the upside since algos no longer care about warnings that "volatility is too low", knowing full well the same Fed will come and bail them out on even the tiniest downtick. Which begs the question: is a big Fed-mandated shakeout coming? Could the coming FOMC announcement be just the right time and place for the Fed to surprise the market out of its "complacency" and whip out an unexpected hawk out of its sleeve?

Overnight USDJPY Selling Gives Algos An Early BTFATH BTFD Opportunity

The tidal patterns of this market have become so well-known to even the least observant: push the USDJPY (or other JPY carry pairs) higher starting around 6am Eastern, then ramp it just before US open to launch cross-asset momentum ignition algos in FX which then carry over to spoos and the broader "market." In the meantime, overnight selling of USDJPY allows a reset before ensuing buying during the US daytime session. Rinse. Repeat. Sure enough, just after 6 pm Eastern, the same USDJPY which catalyzed yet another all time high close had been sold off, leading to a 0.85% drop in the Nikkei and US equity futures which are showing an unprecedented ungreen color. Don't worry though: the pattern is too well-known and practiced by now, and we fully expect USDJPY levitation to pick up shortly, which is the only signal ES-algos need, trampling over any kind of newsflow both good and bad, and leading to yet another all time record high which it goes without saying is completely detached from any underlying reality at this point and at any time over the past 5 years.

Frontrunning: June 9

  • Attorneys Known for Large Civil Settlements Line Up to Sue GM Over Company's Handling of Defective Ignition Switches (WSJ)
  • Pakistani Taliban attack airport in Karachi, 27 dead (Reuters)
  • U.S. Official: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Has Declined to Speak to His Family (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Gas Talks Resume in Brussels to Avoid Cut-off This Week  (BBG)
  • China's Central Bank Flexes Muscle (WSJ)
  • China says Vietnam, Philippines' mingling on disputed isle a 'farce' (Reuters)
  • World Needs Record Saudi Oil Supply as OPEC Convenes (BBG)
  • Kraft Raises Prices on Maxwell House, Yuban U.S. Coffee Products (BBG)
  • United Continental: One Sick Bird (WSJ)

Single-Digit VIX Imminent As Slow News Week Set To Depress Trading Even More

With the VIX smashing last week to levels not seen since early 2007, the S&P rising to all time highs, and European core and peripheral bond yield this morning touching historic lows, it would appear that the "market" has priced in every possible negative outcome. Which, as Goldman showed over the weekend is clearly not the case at least as investors are concerned who continued to sell stocks across the board in May even as the market broke out to record levels making many wonder who is buying stocks (for more read here)? Expect more of the same, and with some luck we will get a single digit VIX in the coming days as newsflow slows down following payrolls week and ahead of the world cup start in Brazil.

PBOC Hits Panic Button: Strengthens Currency By Most In 20 Months

On the heels of growing contagion concerns regarding shadow banking collateral and the "rehypothecation evaporation" and this weekend's 'odd' Chinese trade data (big drop in imports, no doubt impacted by dramatic commodity invoicing swings), the PBOC has fixed the Chinese currency 0.36% in the last 2 days... the biggest strengthening in the currency since October 2012. It is unclear for now exactly what is going on but we suspect the panic button outflows as banks pull credit and unwind CCFDs are forcing China's hand to offset CNY selling pressure... and of course China does it in grand style.

Visualizing The Allied Invasion of Normandy

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada launched the largest seaborne invasion in history by landing nearly 160,000 troops on the beaches of Normandy in a single day...