Despite yesterday's lackluster earnings the most recent market levitation on low volume was largely due to what some considered a moderation in geopolitical tensions after Europe once again showed it is completely incapable of stopping Putin from dominating Europe with his energy trump card, and is so conflicted it is even unable to impose sanctions (despite the US prodding first France with BNP and now Germany with the latest DB revelations to get their act together), as well as it being, well, Tuesday, today's moderate run-up in equity futures can likely be best attributed to momentum algos, which are also rushing to recalibrate and follow the overnight surge in the AUDJPY while ignoring any drifting USDJPY signals.
With the German economy already suffering (and AMD cutting its outlook), it appears Putin's promise to ensure Obama's action will see retaliation are starting to weigh as much on the rest of the world as Western media suggest US sanctions are weighing on Russia. This time, after blocking foreign cars and Intel/AMD chips, Bloomberg reports the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, is drafting a bill to require government agencies and state-run enterprises to give preference to local providers of software and hardware. For some context, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Cisco, Oracle, and Germany’s SAP SE had combined revenue of 285 billion rubles ($8.1 billion) from Russia (with 77% coming from government and SOEs). “This all has to do with sanctions,” warned one Russian politician.
For a centrally-planned market that has long since lost the ability to discount the future, and certainly respond appropriately to geopolitical events, yesterday was a rough wake up call with a two punch stunner of not only the MH 17 crash pushing the Ukraine escalation into overdrive, but Israel's just as shocking land invasion of Gaza officially marking the start of a ground war, finally dragging global stocks out of their hypnotized slumber and pushing risk broadly lower across the globe, even if the now traditional USDJPY and AUDJPY ramp algos have woken up in the past few minutes and will be eager to pretend as if nothing ever happened.
BREAKING NEWS: A large IDF force has just launched a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. A new phase of Operation Protective Edge has begun.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 17, 2014
One can't help but wonder just how concerned the powers that be are becoming when such an esteemed mainstream media outlet as Bloomberg News would deem fit to defend the almighty US Dollar. "There are always people who say the dollar is going to be replaced, but it hasn't happened," chides one strategist (clearly forgetting that nothing lasts forever). As growing concerns of "exorbitant privilege" spread from the usual anti-imperialist foes (Russia and China's de-dollarization) to close allies like France and now to the world's growth engine - BRICS, it seems defending what was previously unquestionable itself should be grounds for alarm...
Now that the World Cup is over, and following last week's global macro reporting slumber (aside for the Portuguese risk flaring episode of course), things pick up quite a bit in the coming week. Here are the key events.
To complete the French triple whammy offensive against the US Dollar this weekend (first, French central banker Noyer suggesting de-dollarisation; second, French oil major Total's CEO "seeing no reason for the Petrodollar"), French finance minister Michel Sapin says "now is the right time to bolster the use of the euro" adding, more ominously for the dollar, "we sell ourselves aircraft in dollars. Is that really necessary? I don’t think so." Careful to avoid upsetting his 'allies' across the pond, Sapin followed up with the slam-dunk diplomacy, "This is not a fight against dollar imperialism," except, of course - that's exactly what it is... just as it was over 40 years ago when the French challenged Nixon.
What this chart shows is that when it comes to core manufacturing and service trade, that which excludes petroleum, the US trade deficit hit some $49 billion dollars in the month of May, the highest trade deficit ever recorded! In other words, far from doubling US exports, Obama is on pace to make the export segment of the US economy the weakest it has ever been, leading to millions of export-producing jobs gone for ever (but fear not, they will be promptly replaced by part-time jobs). It also means that the collapse in Q1 GDP, much of which was driven by tumbling net exports, will continue as America appear largely unable to pull itself out of its international trade funk, much less doubling its exports.
A recent court ruling giving cities and towns in New York State the authority to ban hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) represents an enormous blow to the shale gas industry, which has been hoping to expand operations into the state for several years.
While New Zealand's stock market is the 3rd smallest among AsiaPac exchanges, it is not immune from the "glitches" even the largest exchanges have become used to in the new normal era of 'liquidity providers'. For the 2nd time this month, equities trading in New Zealand (the entire market) is halted after a "technical fault" at the operator of the exchange. As one trader noted understatedly, "there seems to be a reasonably regular occurrence of issues, which is a bit of concern."
Anxiety over the Qingdao port and warehouse probe is slowly but surely creeping through all the commodities that were used in China's commoditty-financing-deals (as we noted here). With Copper hurting (and gold picking up), Iron Ore prices have tumbled to 21-month lows (near the lowest since 2009) as 'real' demand slows as the economy slows and 'financial' demand is crushed as "banks are more vigilant about iron ore financing." As Bloomberg reports, investigators are trying to determine if individual batches of commodities were used multiple times to secure loans. This is making banks nervous (shadow and non-shadow) and while iron ore inventory is falling, prices are adjusting lower rapidly as traders anticipate "financing problems forcing traders to dump ore."
Brazil wins the world cup... according to Bloomberg, 171 economists, and Goldman Sachs. They beat Spain, Germany, or Argentina in the final respectively but as one survey participant noted, "It’s kind of hard to bet against Brazil -- they have home advantage, the climate, crowd and recent record." Goldman's 'model' implies a 48.5% chance that Brazil wins it all (with Argentina 2nd most likely to win at 14.1%). While all eyes will be on Ronaldo, Goldman's Dream Team is dominated by 3 Brazilians (including Neymar of course) but based on the 6-factor Poisson distribution-based regression model, Goldman predicts the scores of every game (and Bloomberg's interactive graphics allow to create your own bracket). If only the Brazilian people were so certain about their futures...
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.
As we have heard numerous times this year already, tomorrow may be 'another' most important day of the year/cycle as Mario Draghi and his band of merry men at the ECB appear to be finally cornered (by market exuberance, macro weakness, and excess positioning) into "doing" something as opposed to just talking about it. While we have discussed the ins and outs of the potential for a small focused ABS bailout QE, negative rates, and why whatever Draghi does tomorrow will have minimal impact on the real economy; Bloomberg provides a quick and easy guide to the five things to watch for from Mario Draghi tomorrow...
La banque d'un monde qui KLEPTMANE!