Following disappoingly un-dovish commentary from Bank of England and ECB, it appears a dearth of monetary exuberance (over and above the current insanity) is prompting capital flight from Europe. EURUSD tumbled to a 1.09 handle this morning, near post-Brexit lows...
Sterling plummeted nearly 200 pips this morning, after rising in early trade to just shy of 1.33, when the latest July Markit flash PMI surveys suggested the UK is heading for a quick recession in the form of a 0.4% GDP contraction in the third quarter. As Markit reported, "July saw a dramatic deterioration in the economy, with business activity slumping at the fastest rate since the height of the global financial crisis in early-2009."
After breaking a multi-year stretch of 9 daily record highs in the Dow Jones, overnight global markets saw some early weakness with Asian stocks retreating after BOJ chief Kuroda dashed hopes for so-called helicopter money, triggering yen’s steepest rally in a month and pulling the Nikkei lower by 1.1%. This however did not last long, and around the European open the traditional ramp in the USDJPY helped European equities shrug off early downside, while US equity futures have already recovered half of yesterday's losses.
Norges Bank continues to hold rates at .5%, signaling an upward bias but willing to cut if needed, depending on unforeseen external shocks like BREXIT. In my opinion, they really don’t know what to do while the country heads for stagflation (simultaneous rising unemployment and inflation). They are in a “damned if they do and damned if they don’t situation.”
The tremendous rally of the past 4 days that has sent global stocks soaring in recent days has finally been capped and European shares, S&P futures are all modestly lower following a deadly terror attack in Nice, France. Meanwhile Asian stocks rose as Chinese economic data beat estimates, with Q2 GDP rising by 0.1% more than the estimated 6.6% on the back of stronger housing data.
It appears the machines were not expecting Mark Carney to disappoint this morning. When the Bank of England decision hit at 7amET, US equities instantly tumbled but VIX flash-crashed to almost an 11 handle, before reversing almost instantly back above 13. Having run all the stops lower, it appears the machines have run out of VIX stomping ammo as stocks roll over at the open...
The global meltup continues with the S&P set to open at new all time highs, some 20 points higher from yesterday's close, however the driver for the latest rally is not so much the imminent BOE announcement which is expected to cut rates by 25 bps from 0.50%, but a dramatic surge in the USDJPY just after 1am Eastern when Bloomberg revealed more details about Ben Bernanke's masterplan for Japan's helicopter money.
The idea (now being pushed by a surprising number of people who ought to know better) that governments should take advantage of historically low interest rates to “invest” with borrowed money has an obvious fatal flaw. That is, accumulating even more negative or zero-rate debt will make it functionally impossible to raise rates to “normal” levels, which is to say levels where markets can once again function as mechanisms for moving savings into productive investments. It’s not a stretch to call this the end of capitalism and the beginning of a new Dark Age.