Tomorrow the Battle of Frankfurt begins. Make no mistake in your thinking as America ends its holiday weekend; it will be a battle and there will be bodies littering the field of engagement. Spain and the rest have aims, plans, schemes if not hopes and ambitions in direct opposition to Germany and her side. The outcomes prayed for are a demand for money and a resistance to those demands. The pleas of Spain are about to be answered; first from the ECB and then from Germany’s acceptance or rejection of the Draghi plan. The “Game of Muddle” will be ended and real answers to real insistences will be given. It all comes down to this; money and how much of it and under what circumstances and whether the nations with capital are willing to hand it to their neighbors and watch their credit ratings, their own cost of funding, their standards of living decline to a mean for all of Europe.
With the US closed today, the rest of the world is enjoying a moderate rise in risk for the same old irrational reason we have all grown to loathe in the New Normal: expectations of more easing, or "bad news if great news", this time from China, which over the weekend reported the first official sub-50 PMI print declining from the magical 50.1 to 49.2, as now even the official RAND() Chinese data has joined the HSBC PMI indicator in the contraction space for the first time since November. Sadly, following today's manufacturing PMI update, we find that the rest of the world is not doing any better, and in fact of the 22 countries we track, 80% are now in contraction territory. True, Europe did experience a modest bounce from multi-month lows of 44 in July to 45.1 in August (below expectations of 45.3), but this is merely a dead cat bounce, not the first, and certainly not the last, just like the US housing, and now that China is officially in the red, expect the next shoe to drop in Europe. Also expect global GDP to eventually succumb to the manufacturing challenges faced by virtually every country in the world, and to post a negative print in the coming months.
We don't need recession
Or means of repression
Just give us some money
Our life could be sunny too...
A new and important bullish indicator for the gold market is that gold calls are at highs not seen since the October 2008 low as option traders go long gold in the belief that it will go higher. It suggests that option traders believe that U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will hint at or announce additional money printing and monetary easing at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, symposium. Alternatively, it suggests that they are bullish on gold due to the risks posed to the dollar and the risk of inflation taking off. The ratio of outstanding calls to buy the SPDR Gold Trust versus puts to sell jumped to 2.69 to 1 on August 24th and reached 2.76 earlier this month, the highest level since October 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ownership of calls is up 26% since the July 20th options expiry. Ten of the most owned actively owned ETF option contracts are bullish. Option traders are regarded as savvier and tend to be more sophisticated then the more speculative futures traders.
The Spanish bank run has started - as was explicitly warned about 6 months ago!
- Hurricane Isaac Whips Storm Surge on Path to New Orleans (Bloomberg)
- Republicans Vow to Transform Obama’s U.S. With Low Tax, Freedom (Bloomberg)
- Little-known Ryan to take center-stage at Republican convention (Reuters)
- An $800 billion stimulus tempest in a teapot: China State Researcher: Local Govt Investment Plans Largely Symbolic (WSJ)
- China Says Payment Delays, Defaults May Worsen (Dow Jones)
- G-7 Countries Call for Increased Oil Output to Meet Demand (Bloomberg)
- Creeping Socialism: Clegg calls for emergency tax on rich (FT)
- United Airlines computer problem delays 200 flights (Chicago Sun Times)
- Paulson, Investors Avoid Fireworks Despite Brutal Run (Bloomberg)
- Occupy Sets Wall Street Tie-Up as Protesters Face Burnout (Bloomberg)
- The nostalgic grass is always greener: Serbia Joblessness Swells as Milosevic-Era Leaders Return (Bloomberg)
- Ringing endorsement: Lithuania to Adopt Euro When Europe Is Ready, Kubilius Says (Bloomberg)
- Credit Agricole net plunges 67% on losses in Greece and a writedown of its stake in Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (Bloomberg)
- Europe finally starting to smell the coffee: ECB Urging Weaker Basel Liquidity Rule on Crisis Concerns (Bloomberg)
- Japan Cuts Economic Assessment (Reuters)
- France’s Leclerc Stores to Sell Fuel at Cost, Chairman Says (Bloomberg)
- China Eyes Ways to Broaden Yuan’s Use (WSJ)
- Berlin and Paris forge union over crisis (FT)
- Brezhnev Bonds Haunt Putin as Investors Hunt $785 Billion (Bloomberg)
- Republicans showcase Romney as storm clouds convention (Reuters)
- ECB official seeks to ease bond fears (FT)
- German at European Central Bank at Odds With Country’s Policy Makers (NYT)
Yesterday, Spain was kind enough to advise those who track its economy, that things in 2010 and 2011 were in fact worse than had been reported, following an adjustment to both 2010 and 2011 GDP "historical" data. Today, we learn that Q2 data (also pending further downward adjustments), contracted by 0.4% sequentially in Q2, in line with expectations, but somehow, and we have to figure out the math on this, the drop on a Year over Year basis was far worse than expected, printing at -1.3% on expectations of just a -1.0% decline. However, while its economic collapse is well known by all, the surprise came in the deposits department which imploded by a whopping 5% in July, plunging to 1.509 trillion euros at end-July from 1.583 trillion in the previous month. Keep in mind this is after the June 29 European summit which supposedly fixed everything. Turns out it didn't, and the people are no longer stupid enough to believe anything Europe's pathological liar politicians spew.The good news: Greek deposits saw a dead cat bounce after collapsing by ridiculous amounts in the past several years: at this point anyone who puts their money in Greek banks must surely realize that the probability of getting even one cent back is equal odds with going to Vegas and at least having a good time while watching one's money burn.
While there are many answers to this rhetorical question, a key one is the schism that exists between the two media behemoths when it comes to the topic of the NEW QE, elsewhere incorrectly called QE3. While the now virtually daily missives from Fed mouthpiece Jon Hilsenrath, whom once has to wonder whether he is more of a part time worker at the WSJ or the New York Fed, are there to force markets ever higher each day, with promises that Bernanke will not sit idly by if the S&P were to ever close red (the S&P being a multi-year highs notwithstanding), and that as he stick saved the European close on Friday, the Fed has lots of additional capacity for more QE, Bloomberg actually has the temerity to ask: why do we need any more QE: after all so far all previous iterations have been a disaster. Sure enough, a few hours after Hilsenrath did his latest Fed planted piece in which he amusingly pretended to be objective about more QE and "sized up" costs of more QE, here comes Bloomberg in its daily Brief newsletter, with a far simpler question: why the hell do we keep doing the same idiocy over and over, hoping and praying to generate inflation, knowing full well if we do get inflation, with global central banks soon to hold half of the world's GDP on their books, it will promptly deteriorate to the "hyper" kind.
While every business and industry implicitly believes in its meaningless acronyms and language, nothing compares to the financial services sector. This industry, the one who gifted us APR, ISM, RSP as well as Core CPI calculated to the 3rd decimal point, is the unchallenged king of senseless terms only a risk manager would love. In response to these unnecessary complications, IceCap is introducing a necessary yet simplified tool for measuring the state of the World’s leading economies – "The Flounder Meter." This new metric considers the combination of money printing, bank bailouts, debt levels, government spending and borrowing costs for a given country. The Flounder Meter will finally allow everyone to see through the smoke and mirrors and decide for themselves whether a country is in good financial health.
Gold’s remonetisation in the international financial and monetary system continues. LCH.Clearnet, the world's leading independent clearing house, said yesterday that it will accept gold as collateral for margin cover purposes starting in just one week - next Tuesday August 28th. LCH.Clearnet is a clearing house for major international exchanges and platforms, as well as a range of OTC markets. As recently as 9 months ago, figures showed that they clear approximately 50% of the $348 trillion global interest rate swap market and are the second largest clearer of bonds and repos in the world. In addition, they clear a broad range of asset classes including commodities, securities, exchange traded derivatives, CDS, energy and freight. The development follows the same significant policy change from CME Clearing Europe, the London-based clearinghouse of CME Group Inc. (CME), announced last Friday that it planned to accept gold bullion as collateral for margin requirements on over-the-counter commodities derivatives. It is interesting that both CME and now LCH.Clearnet Group have both decided to allow use of gold as collateral next Tuesday - August 28th. It suggests that there were high level discussions between the world’s leading clearing houses and they both decided to enact the measures next Tuesday. It is likely that they are concerned about ‘event’ risk, systemic and monetary risk and about a Lehman Brothers style crisis enveloping the massive, opaque and unregulated shadow banking system.
European bourses are down at the North American crossover, all ten sectors in the red, on thin volumes and a distinct lack of data and news flow from the EU and the UK. The risk-off tone in part attributed to the much wider than expected Japanese trade deficit for July, whose exports also fell the most in six months, raising investor concern once again that Asian economy as a whole is stalling. Elsewhere, investor caution over the Greek debt crisis is once again mounting, as EU’s Juncker visits Athens today to meet with the Greek PM Samaras. Overnight it was reported that Greece would present EUR 13.5bln in budget cuts today, higher than the previous EUR 11.5bln, and whilst the country is not asking for more money, Samaras might request more time to implement them. Lawmakers in Netherlands remain critical of providing more aid for the country and continue to push for more reforms, such as spending cuts and privatization, with the Dutch Finance Minister de Jaeger commenting earlier that it is not a good idea for Greece to get more time.
- German central bank warns country’s financial health not a given (WaPo)
- Secret Libor Committee Clings to Anonymity After Rigging Scandal (Bloomberg)
- Peru Declares State of Emergency to Quell Violent Mining Protests (Dow Jones)
- Euro-Area Economic Adjustment Only Half Complete, Moody’s Says (Bloomberg)
- Wall Street Leaderless in Rules Fight as Dimon Diminished (Bloomberg)
- China Swaps Drop From Three-Month High as PBOC Adds Record Cash (Bloomberg)
- China invest $1 billion in U.S. Cheniere's LNG plant, Blackstone to act as intermediary buffer (FT, Reuters)
- Romney Offers Lukewarm Support for Fed Audit - Hilsenrath (WSJ)
- U.K. Unexpectedly Posts Deficit as Corporation Taxes Plunge (Bloomberg)
- Obama issues military threat to Syria (FT)
- Merkel Allies Signal Concessions on Greece Before Samaras Visit (Bloomberg)
- Chinese banks warned of foreign exchange risks (China Daily)
Why doesn't anyone see this ass contagion?
Sugar pill will not last long.