Borrowing Costs

Bundesbank Blasts Draghi's QE, Fears "Monetary Policy Is Hostage To Politics"

"The concept of an independent central bank clearly focused on price stability is neither old-fashioned nor outdated," exclaimed Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann. As The WSJ reports, he criticized the European Central Bank’s decision to buy private-sector bonds and signaled his fierce opposition to purchasing government bonds, underscoring his reluctance to back additional stimulus measures to combat weakness in the eurozone economy. "There is a risk of monetary policy, especially in the euro area, being held hostage by politics," Mr. Weidmann said, tying fiscal policies together through ECB bond purchases “is a dangerous path,”

Why Stocks Just Won't Drop: "Companies Spend Almost All Profits On Buybacks"

Back in May we revealed that the "Mystery, And Completely Indiscriminate, Buyer Of Stocks", obviously a key player in a time when the Fed's own indirect monetization of stocks was fading, was none other than corporations themselves, gorging on cheap debt and using the proceeds to buy back their own stock.  And while we explained that the vast majority of companies are using up as much leverage as they can to fund said buybacks, with both total and net corporate debt levels having risen to new all time highs refuting misperceptions that corporate debt is actually declining, something even more disturbing was revealed today, when Bloomberg reported that companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, are "poised to spend $914 billion on share buybacks and dividends this year, or about 95 percent of earnings!"

Equity Futures Fail To Surge Despite Ongoing Bad News Onslaught

A quick anecdote that should quickly confirm just how broken everything is: earlier today MarkIt reported European manufacturing data that was atrocious, with both German and European PMIs tumbling to levels not seen since mid-2013, and with Europe's growth dynamo now in a contraction phase clearly signalling what has been long overdue: a European triple dip recession. So what happens? Moments later Germany sells €4.1 billion in 10 Year paper at a record low yield below 1%.... even as the Bundesbank had to retain a whopping 17.84% of the auction, the highest since June, with only €4.663 Bn in bids for the €5 Bn target, the first miss since May 21. So hurray for the central banks, boo for the economy, and as for that mythical creature, once known as bond vigilantes, our condolences: good luck figuring out what the hell just happened, and good luck recalling what a free market is.

Another Conspiracy Theory Becomes Fact: The Fed's "Stealth Bailout" Of Foreign Banks Goes Mainstream

Back in June 2011, Zero Hedge first posted: "Exclusive: The Fed's $600 Billion Stealth Bailout Of Foreign Banks Continues At The Expense Of The Domestic Economy, Or Explaining Where All The QE2 Money Went" Of course, the conformist, counter-contrarian punditry promptly said this was a non-issue and was purely due to some completely irrelevant micro-arbing of a few basis points in FDIC penalty surcharges, which as we explained extensively over the past 3 years, has nothing at all to do with the actual motive of hoarding Fed reserves by offshore (or onshore) banks, and which has everything to do with accumulating billions in "dry powder" reserves to use for risk-purchasing purposes. Fast, or rather slow, forward to today when none other than the WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath debunks yet another "conspiracy theory" and reveals it as "unconspiracy fact" with "Fed Rate Policies Aid Foreign Banks: Lenders Pocket a Spread by Borrowing Cheaply, Parking Funds at Central Bank"

The Hong Kong Protest: What It's All About

Considering that as recently as 3 weeks ago the leader of the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong decided to throw in the towel, after admitting that his civil disobedience movement’s pursuit of democracy had “failed” as a result of waning public support, many are shocked by how aggressively Hong Kong's students took up the baton: almost as if the mystery sponsor behind the ISIS blitz-ascent from obscurity had decided to "destabilize" yet another region. Tongue-in-cheek kidding aside, for everyone confused about the context of this weekend's at time very violent student protests, here is Evergreen GaveKal with its wrap up of the "Hong Kong Democracy Protests."

New Global Crisis Imminent Due To “Poisonous Combination Of Record Debt And Slowing Growth", CEPR Report Warns

A “poisonous combination” of record debt and slowing growth suggest the global economy could be heading for another crisis, a hard-hitting report will warn on Monday. It warns of a “poisonous combination of high and rising global debt and slowing nominal GDP [gross domestic product], driven by both slowing real growth and falling inflation”. The total burden of world debt, private and public, has risen from 160 per cent of national income in 2001 to almost 200 per cent after the crisis struck in 2009 and 215 per cent in 2013. “Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to delever and the global debt to GDP ratio is still growing, breaking new highs,” the report said. Luigi Buttiglione, one of the report’s authors and head of global strategy at hedge fund Brevan Howard, said: “Over my career I have seen many so-called miracle economies – Italy in the 1960s, Japan, the Asian tigers, Ireland, Spain and now perhaps China – and they all ended after a build-up of debt.”

It's The Dollar, Stupid!

To claim that this is the market at work makes no sense anymore. Today central banks, for all intents and purposes, are the market. Our overall impression is that the Fed has given up on the US economy, in the sense that it realizes – and mind you, this may go back quite a while - that without constant and ongoing life-support, the economy is down for the count. And eternal life-support is not an option, even Keynesian economists understand that. Add to this that the "real" economy was never a Fed priority in the first place, but a side-issue, and it becomes easier to understand why Yellen et al choose to do what they do, and when. When the full taper is finalized next month, and without rate rises and a higher dollar, the real US economy would start shining through, and what’s more important - for the Fed, Washington and Wall Street - the big banks would start 'suffering' again.

 

The Fed Kills Emerging Markets For Profit

The Fed, by raising its rates and relinquishing its downward pressure on the US dollar, is about to kill off most of the emerging markets. That’s a whole lot of misery in one pen stroke. That’s a whole lot of millions of people who will see their dreams of better lives shattered, just as they were beginning to think they had a chance. It’s how the game is played. The weak must be sacrificed so the strong be stronger.

G-20 Post Mortem: Hopes, Fears, & Dashed Exepctations

We, like Bloomberg's Richard Breslow, were bemused this weekend by the communiques from the wisest men in the room at the G-20 meeting. On one side of their mouths they warned of "excessive risk-taking," in markets noting that there were "mounting economic risks" also. On the other hand, stories continue to print of US equity strength implying optimism over global growth - despite the ongoing collapse in consensus GDP expectations. However, away from this hope and fear, it was the almost coordinated responses of the PBOC (Chinese Finmin Lou Jiwei signaling not to get carried away with stimulus expectations), ECB (Visco saying may not need additional QE step since EUR had dropped 'enough'), and finally the BOJ (Iwata saying Abenomics misunderstood, USDJPY 90-100 'fair); all dashing market expectations of a smooth hand over from a feckless Fed to a free-printing rest-of-the-world. Stocks (and carry) responded by selling off.

USDJPY Opens At 6-Year Highs, Extreme 'Relative Strength' Signals 30% Drop Potential

USDJPY has been on a tear in recent weeks. Since China unleashed QE-lite, JPY and CNY have greatly diverged with USDJPY breaking above 109 and pushing six-year highs. This recent 'relative strength' is the most extreme overbought for the currency pair since early 2001 - which saw USDJPY plunge 30% in the following six months. The tick-for-tick rise in Japan's stock market also broke a 9-month almost-perfect analog with the last time the nation raised its consumption tax. Perhaps even more worrying in the world of FX trading, ECB Governing Council member Ignazio Visco told the G-20 that it may not need to add stimulus measures after steps in the past three months pushed down the euro.

Quantitative Proof The Fed Is Destroying The Middle Class

The Fed’s strategy of targeting higher stock prices to boost economic growth has done the exact opposite. This strategy has pulled money away from effective macroeconomic investments and into ineffective macroeconomic albeit effective short term microeconomic investments. The end result is that we have all time high stock prices but no economic growth. We will be stuck in this economic lull until the Fed is ready to admit defeat and allow for a new more effective strategy to be implemented.

China Launches CNY500 Billion In "Stealth QE"

It has been a while since the PBOC engaged in some "targeted" QE. So clearly following the biggest drop in the Shanghai Composite in 6 months after some abysmal Chinese economic and flow data in the past several days, it's time for some more. From Bloomberg:

  • CHINA’S PBOC STARTS 500B YUAN SLF TODAY, SINA.COM SAYS
  • PBOC PROVIDES 500B YUAN LIQUIDITY TO CHINA’S TOP 5 BANKS: SINA
  • PBOC PROVIDES 100B YUAN TO EACH BANK TODAY, TOMORROW WITH DURATION OF 3 MONTHS: SINA

Just as expected, the Chinese "derivative" currency, the AUD, goes vertical on the news, and the S&P 500 goes vertical alongside:. As for those confused what the SLF is, here is a reminder, from our February coverage of this "stealth QE" instrument.

Same $#!%, Different PIIGS

Desperate governments call for desperate measures. Unfortunately for us, citizens often end up paying for the mistakes of their governments. That’s not how it should be but, sometimes, that’s how it is. If and a when a government is no longer able to meet its obligations, capital controls, broad wealth confiscation measures, and other extreme burdens are often considered. Spanish bond yields just fell to their lowest levels in history but does that mean that your money is safe there? Absolutely not. It means that investors are complacent, not that Spain’s political risk has diminished. Portugal is in the same boat. While its borrowing costs continue to fall, its prospects for economic growth and its financial position continue to worsen. If you’ve got assets in Portugal then now would be a good time to contemplate how safe they really are. Unless you like bail-ins, that is.