Overnight markets have been a continuation of the relative peace observed yesterday before the onslaught of key data later in the week, with the biggest mover standing out as the USDJPY, which briefly touched 102 before sliding lower then recouping losses. This sent the Nikkei 225 up 0.57% despite absolutely atrocious Japanese household spending data, coupled with a major deterioration in employment: at this rate if Abenomics doesn't fix the economy it just may destroy it. Aside from that the last 24 hours could be summed as having a lot of noise but not a lot of excitement. This was best illustrated by the S&P500’s (+0.03%) performance which was the second smallest gain YTD. And while the SHCOMP is starting to fade its recent euphoria and China was up only 0.24%, Europe continues to cower in the shade of Russian sanctions as both German Bund yields rose to record highs, and Portugal's BES tumbled by 10% once again to 1 week lows. Today Europe is expected to formally reveal its latest Russian sanctions, which should in turn push Europe's already teetering economy back over the edge.
As multiple entities of one of Europe's largest banking dynasties rapidly crumble into bankruptcy, there are bound to be ramifications. With even the Portuguese President fearing Espirito Santo's systemic impact, we thought the following chart from Thomson Reuters would highlight the fact that is far more than just a Portugal thing... it has notable consequences for large businesses from Brazil to Mozambique.
Ten dark suited men entered the premises of FBME bank in Cyprus on Friday afternoon and took it hostage. The men were from the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC). And they commandeered FBME because an obscure agency within the US government recently issued a report accusing the bank of laundering money. It just so happens that FBME... and Cyprus in general... is where a lot of wealthy Russians hold their vast fortunes. Bear in mind, there has been no proof that any crime was committed.
?Economics is like a Monet painting. Stand too close and all you see is a bunch of seemingly random paint strokes. Back up a few steps and an image emerges. The painting of bubblenomics started with the Plaza Accord, September 1985, where five nations agreed to manipulate the dominant currencies at the time. Japan enjoyed a 50% devaluation of the US$ vs the yen, artificially enriching its citizens so they could travel the world in busloads with eighty pounds of cameras around their necks. The consequences of that bubble have yet to be corrected. Based on healthy guidelines, the price of real estate is far too expensive today, or, more precisely, the cost of housing is too high but we may need another crisis before the market will wake up to the needed changes. In the meantime, money printing and hype will continue.
Day after day, headlines from Argentina implore Judge Griesa to do the "fair, responsible" thing and lift his judgment that holdouts get paid before current bondholders receive their payments... and day after day Argentina's demands are met with silence or denials. Today, though, with 1 week left until Argentina must put up or shut up, Judge Griesa has come out swinging...
*U.S. JUDGE SAYS OF ARGENTINA RULINGS: 'JUDGMENTS ARE JUDGMENTS'; ARGENTINA'S 'INCENDIARY` RHETORIC `UNFORTUNATE,'
*U.S. JUDGE URGES 'SENSIBLE STEPS' TO AVOID ARGENTINA DEFAULT
While CDS spreads have surged once again, bonds trade with default probabilities around only 50% which, according to Jefferies "are expensive on underestimating the risk of default."
Today we’re going to explain what the “final outcome” for this process will be. The short version is what happens to a cancer patient who allows the disease to spread unchecked (death).
As the world slowly turns against US Dollar hegemony, it appears the BRICS are pressing to fill any gaps. Having created the BRICS Bank "alternate to The West-controlled IMF or World Bank," Xinhua reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes the BRICS mechanism has been fully developed and can now transform into a political alliance to "reform the international financial system."
Reflecting on the growing anti-dollar alliance (especially among the BRICS as we noted here), Jim Rogers exclaims "The US dollar is an extremely flawed currency... we have serious problems... and the world needs something else." His perspective is that maybe (just maybe) a combined China, Russia, Brazil joint-currency can battle the dollar's dominance. Rogers goes on to discuss the rationale for the increased cooperation between these 5 nations with multi-billion populations but notes while Russia has lots to add, "I would throw India out" of BRICS.
"Sanctions have a boomerang effect and without any doubt they will push U.S.-Russian relations into a dead end, and cause very serious damage, and it undermines the long term security interests of the US State and its people."
"This means that U.S. companies willing to work in Russia will lose their competitiveness next to other global energy companies." Putin said the sanctions will hurt Exxon Mobil Corp which has been given the opportunity to operate in Russia. "So, do they not want it to work there? They are causing damage to their major energy companies." Putin said the sanctions will hurt Exxon Mobil Corp which has been given the opportunity to operate in Russia. "So, do they not want it to work there? They are causing damage to their major energy companies."
This week, 70 years after Bretton Woods, leaders from China, Russia, India, Brazil, South Africa, and several other nations are hard at work in Fortaleza, Brazil creating a new development bank that will compete against the US-controlled World Bank. This is a major step in an obvious trend towards a new financial system. Every shred of objective data is screaming for this to happen. It’s a different world. Everyone realizes it except for the US government, which is still living in the past where they’re #1 and get to call all the shots.
The sell off was greeted by Chinese buyers as Chinese premiums edged up to just over $1 an ounce on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE).
Gold price drops this year have led to a marked increase in demand for gold as seen in very large increases in ETF holdings (See chart - Orange is Gold, Purple is absolute change in gold ETF holdings). The smart money in Asia, the West and globally continues to use price dips as an opportunity to allocate to gold.
"We are pleased to announce the signing of the Treaty for the establishment of the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) with an initial size of US$ 100 billion. This arrangement will have a positive precautionary effect, help countries forestall short-term liquidity pressures, promote further BRICS cooperation, strengthen the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements. We appreciate the work undertaken by our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. The Agreement is a framework for the provision of liquidity through currency swaps in response to actual or potential short-term balance of payments pressures." - The BRICS
As Pepe Escobar explains, way beyond economy and finance, this is essentially about geopolitics - as in emerging powers offering an alternative to the failed Washington consensus. Or, as consensus apologists say, the BRICS may be able to "alleviate challenges" they face from the "international financial system".
Three months ago we discussed in detail the growing anti-dollar hegemony alliances that were building across the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Their efforts at the time, to create a structure that would serve as an alternative to the IMF and the World Bank (which are dominated by the U.S. and the EU), appear to be nearing completion. As AP reports, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and Russia's Vladimir Putin have discussed the creation of a development bank to promote growth across the BRICS and hope to produce an agreement on the proposed institution at this week's BRICS Summit. As Rousseff concluded (rather ominously), the five countries "are among the largest in the world and cannot content themselves in the middle of the 21st century with any kind of dependency."
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.