Since Jeb Hensareling is opening a criminal probe into the Fed for leaking material, non-public information because Congress is “committed to holding the Federal Reserve accountable for its actions and omissions, and to ensuring transparency in its operations”, it is also time to finally hold none other than former Treasury Secretary and then-Fed Vice Chairman Tim Geithner criminally accountable for his actions.
Closing out another whirlwind week, which has seen the biggest S&P 500 intraday plunge and surge in months, futures are taking a breath (if not so much the Nikkei which closed over 19,000 for the first time since 2000 - one wonders how many direct equity interventions it took the BOJ to achieve that artificial "price discovery"). In lieu of any notable macro news, the most significant update hit less than an hour ago when Goldman piled on the EUR pressure, when it released a note in which it further revised down its EURUSD forecast.
While the dollar strength this morning, which has pushed it to a fresh 13 year high and has accelerated the EURUSD plunge to under 1.06 - a drop of over 300 pips since the start of the week - has been a recap of yesterday's trading action, the main difference is that unlike yesterday, the USDJPY has managed to find a strong bid in the overnight session, pushing not only the Nikkei up by 0.4%, but also lifting US equity futures as the entire global marketplace is now merely a sandbox in which the central banks try to crush their currencies as fast as possible.
"In September, the Dallas County Commissioners Court nearly approved a contract of its own with Securus that would have explicitly eliminated all in-person visits at the Lew Sterrett Jail in favor of video visitation."
It turns out that the next best thing to Greek contagion in this bizarro, centrally-planned world is... anti-contagion.
As had been leaked in advance, earlier today Jeroen Dijsselbloem first reported that Greece had submitted a request to euro-area creditors to extend the availability of bailout funds for six months, i.e., an extension to the "Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement" not an extension to the Greek "bailout programme" aka the Memorandum per se, which has been the sticking point in all Greek government public addresses in recent days. Greece further asked for best use of flexibility in "current arrangement", which supposedly means an unconditional extension with Greece given the liberty to determine what happens in the next 6 months without Troika intervention. But was it a bailout extension or just a loan extension? GREECE DENIES HAS REQUESTED EXTENSION OF 'BAILOUT'-OFFICIAL: MNI
In short, confusion reigns once more.
Last week, German equities soared to record highs with the Dax surpassing 11K, not only on the imminent arrival of the ECB's Q€ which provides a risk-less bid to all asset classes, but on news that a second Ukraine ceasefire had been achieved in Minsk. Well, just like the first Minsk "ceasefire", one can promptly forget the just as "successful" second one, because overnight, after a several week siege, the Ukraine town of Debaltseve finally fell to rebel forces with "troops of Ukraine’s Armed Forces laying down arms en masse,” according to Donetsk rebel official Maxim Leschenko says, cited by Tass news service.
A couple of days ago a Café member sent me some of the latest commentary by Martin Armstrong of Armstrong Economics, formally of Princeton Economics International. As you will read, he continues his rant against "the gold promoters," a rant that seemed more than vaguely familiar.
What an understatement!
Google Trends and Bloomberg News Counts show that interest in "Grexit" is at its highest since mid-2012 - the peak of the previous European crisis before Draghi said "whatever it takes" and Juncker said everything is awesome. However, as the following chart shows, not everyone cares about Grexit (especially when there's Kim Kardashian on TV)...
It never fails: every time redenomination risks and the specter of the (New) Drachma rear its ugly heads, Greeks, like dutiful Austrian economists, realize that Neoliberal economics is nothing but a steaming pile of drivel that only works when everyone is "confident" and gets deeper in debt with a smile on their face while failing in every other instance, and decide that the time has come to convert their paper wealth into hard assets. It happened in 2010, in 2012, and now that Greece is on the verge of its third Grexit in the past 5 years, it is happening again. "The one thing everyone knows about gold is it is a good thing to hold if your currency is about to devalue,” Matthew Turner, an analyst at Macquarie Bank Ltd., said via phone. “It would be understandable for Greeks to buy gold because they are afraid of losing their money.”
Needless to say, Greece is only the poster child. The McKinsey numbers above suggest that “peak debt” is becoming a universal condition, and that today’s Keynesian central bankers and policy apparatchiks are only pushing on a giant and dangerous global string. So now we get to ground zero of the global Ponzi. That is the monumental pile of construction and debt that is otherwise known on Wall Street as the miracle of “red capitalism”. In truth, however, China is not an economic miracle at all; its just a case of the above abandoned Athens stadium writ large.
The Abe administration nominated a major proponent of reflationary monetary policy to the central bank’s board, buttressing Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s efforts to save the nation from the dread of deflation. As Bloomberg reports, economist Yutaka Harada, who will replace Ryuzo Miyao, has said Japan can beat deflation by printing money in a 2013 book "Reflationary Policy Revives Japan’s Economy." So far that is not working so try harder... “The nomination is a good news for Kuroda... he will keep a majority on the board and win what he wants." Why such good news? As deputy director at the finance ministry’s Policy Research Institute, Harada exclaimed, "we just need to print money."
Russell Napier: "The Most Dangerous Thing In Finance Is The Thing That Never Ever Moves - Until It Moves"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/06/2015 16:39 -0400
Taking interest rates so negative that they threaten a run on bank deposits should not be seen as success --- it is failure. Creating bank reserves at that pace should not be seen as success --- it is failure. The next failure may well be some government-inspired restriction on capital inflows. Well, you could call such restrictions, and risking the liquidity of banks, monetary success if you like, but then you probably also think it’s a success to throw the ball one yard from the touchline.
Chinese Corruption Probe Pivots To Bankers As Manufacturing Contracts At Fastest Pace Since August 2012Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/01/2015 13:29 -0400
With all eyes on China as the great Eastern hope for putting a floor under crude oil prices, last night's dismally disappointing Manufacturing PMI print looks set to remove that last pillar of 'demand' - artificial or not. Having fallen 6 months in a row and printing 49.8, missing expectations of 50.2 (3rd of last 4 months) and down from the prior 50.1, this is the first official contractionary signal for Chinese manufacturing since September 2012. With Industrial Enterprises in China seeing profits collapse at 8% YoY along with the slowest GDP growth (7.3% of magic unicorns and credit expansion) since Q1 2009, the PMI components' broad-based weakness show significant signs of a cyclical slowdown. What is perhaps most worrisome though is that with cries for more RRR cuts or government-sponsored largesse, the banking system has, it appears, become the new focus of the nation's corruption probes as the President of China Minsheng Bank was taken away by the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.