Bank of England
- Fed’s Yellen: Stock Valuations ‘Generally Are Quite High’ (WSJ)
- Britain's dead-heat election 'down to the wire' on polling day (Reuters)
- European Markets Roiled by U.S. Fed Chief Janet Yellen’s Comments (WSJ)
- Stocks Drop With German Bonds to Extend $2 Trillion Global Loss (BBG)
- Oil heads toward 2015 highs despite ample supply (Reuters)
- Wary of bond 'cliff,' Fed plans cautious cuts to portfolio (Reuters)
- Saudi Arabia mulling land operations on Yemen border (Reuters)
The UK General Election will be held tomorrow. The polls close at 10 pm. We should have a pretty clear picture of the overall seat count by 5 to 6 am on Friday morning. The result, as SocGen notes, is almost certain to be a hung parliament. Then the fun will really start. However, at the macro level the implications of the election may be less pronounced than many anticipate. Monetary policy has been de-politicised through the BoE’s independence, the formation of a coalition government is likely to involve convergence towards centrist positions, and a minority administration that pursues policies outside the mainstream would be unlikely to survive given its fragile parliamentary basis. In either case, the political system is unlikely to deliver radically different macroeconomic outcomes.
“[W]e have placed the exclusive custody of our entire banking reserve in the hands of a single board of directors not particularly trained for the duty - who might be called 'amateurs'... But still there is a faith in the Bank, contrary to experience, and despising evidence.”
- Win or lose, Cameron's political career hangs by a thread (Reuters)
- Greece aims for deal with lenders, IMF hard on reforms: minister (Reuters)
- Greek Jobless Legacy Adds Danger for Tsipras as Funds Dry Up (BBG)
- U.S. Will Change Stance on Secret Phone Tracking (WSJ)
- China April HSBC PMI shows biggest drop in factory activity in a year (Reuters)
- Goldman Sachs in Talks to Sell Its Coal Mines (WSJ)
- Takeover Fuel Begins to Flow as S&P 500 Bull Run Makes History (BBG)
Until the advent of the BIS, gold held by central banks came in one version. Physical. It was only after the BIS arrived on the scene did gold's macabre doppelganger, so-called paper, registered or "earmarked", gold emerge for the first time. Here is a brief history of how earmarked gold came into being...
With London, Paris, and Basel’s compliance, Nazi Germany had just looted 23.1 metric tons of gold without a shot being fired.
"The effects on underlying inflation have so far been tepid. What is worrisome is that market participants still do not see consumer price inflation returning to the ECB’s 2% target on a sustained basis, let alone going above it, over any reasonable time horizon," Goldman says. And while the bank is ultimately confident that the Goldmanite in charge of the ECB will succeed in driving up inflation over time, the market would be wise to note that the US and Japanese experience with QE don't provide much in the way of empirical support for that contention.
With US Q1 GDP set to be a huge disappointment to initial estimates of 3% growth set at the beginning of the year, and since plunging to 1% or lower when it is reported later this week because, well, it inexplicably snowed in the winter for the second year in a row, earlier today we learned that US harsh weather cross the Atlantic and landed in the UK where ONS reported that the economy grew at a tepid pace of just 0.3% in the first quarter, well below consensus estimates of 0.5%, and at the lowest pace since Q4 2012 when GDP posted a 0.3% drop.
The worldwide commodity glut is not a surprise to Austrian school economists - It is a wonderful example of the adverse consequences of monetary repression to drive the interest rate below the natural rate.
Germany had lost the war, the Nazi industrialists agreed, but the struggle would continue along new lines. The Fourth Reich would be a financial, rather than a military imperium. The industrialists were to plan for a “postwar commercial campaign.” They should make “contacts and alliances” with foreign firms but ensure this was done without “attracting any suspicion.”... The State Department’s efforts on Schacht’s behalf worked. He was initially found guilty but was then acquitted, to the fury of the Soviet judge.
"The global economy is awash as never before in commodities like oil, cotton and iron ore, but also with capital and labor—a glut that presents several challenges as policy makers struggle to stoke demand," WSJ notes, suggesting yet again that QE can cause deflation when those who have access to easy money overproduce but do not witness a comparable increase in demand from those to whom the direct benefits of ultra accommodative policies do not immediately accrue.
With everyone's attention pegged on the Grexit, what everyone appears to be forgetting is a nuanced clause buried deep in the term sheet of the second Greek bailout: a bailout whose terms will be ultimately reneged upon if and when Greece defaults on its debt to the Troika (either in or out of the Eurozone). Recall that as per our report from February 2012, in addition to losing its sovereignty years ago, Greece also lost something far more important. It's gold: To wit: "Ms. Katseli, an economist who was labor minister in the government of George Papandreou until she left in a cabinet reshuffle last June, was also upset that Greece’s lenders will have the right to seize the gold reserves in the Bank of Greece under the terms of the new deal."
The trio of macro-prudential policy, the onset and evolution of shadow banking, and the nebulous concept of financial stability may have become a toxic cocktail which can be instrumental in moving forward the Federal Reserve’s timeline for lift-off zero bound rates. The intuition here is stooped in concepts of volatility and how market structure evolution may contribute or detract from asset volatility. Volatility is the square root of time. Financial repression times time equals volatility. Financial repression and/or macro-prudential policy times time equals the inverse of financial stability. Financial stability inverted equals volatility squared.
Today is shaping up to be a rerun of yesterday where another frenzied Asian session that has seen both the Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei close higher yet again (following the weakest Chinese HSBC mfg PMI in one year which in an upside down world means more easing and thus higher stocks) has for now led to lower US equity futures with the driver, at least in the early session, being a statement by the BOJ's Kuroda that there’s a "possibility" the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target will be delayed and may occur in April 2016.
Whether it is in sympathy with the now relentless surge in the Shanghai Composite which tacked on another 2.44% overnight to close at a fresh multi-year high just shy of 4400, well more than double from a year ago, or because Mrs Watanabe was unable to read the latest Japan trade data whose first trade surplus in 3 years hinted that there will be no new easing by the BOJ any time soon, but overnight the Nikkei closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years, with "makers of chocolate, mayonnaise, potato chips and household appliances" helping lift the Tokyo market according to the WSJ. The now daily Asian euphoria however did not last long in the European session, and after opening higher, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped into negative territory just an hour into trading, and was down 0.4% by midmorning, lead by a near 1% decline on Athens' mains stock index, which has since recouped losses stemming from the overnight report that the ECB is considering an up to 50% haircut on Greek bank collateral, a move that would wipe out the Greek financial sector with ease.