On occasion of the publication of his new gold report (read here), Ronald Stoeferle talked with financial journalist Lars Schall about fundamental gold topics such as: "financial repression"; market interventions; the oil-gold ratio; the renaissance of gold in finance; "Exeter’s Pyramid"; and what the true "value" of gold could actually look like. Via Matterhorn Asset Management.
Ultimately, the surge in demand for gold reflects one thing alone: distrust of the increasingly messy, interconnected, over-leveraged and fraudulent financial system. Whether it is China — fearful of dollar debasement — loading up on bullion, or retail investors in the United States or Europe — fearful of another MF Global (or PFG, or Lehman Brothers) — stacking Krugerrands in their basement, demand for gold reflects distrust in finance, distrust in the financial establishment, distrust in banks, distrust in regulators, distrust in government and distrust in the financial media. And it is that distrust — not (by any stretch of the imagination) central bank interventionism — that is the force moving demand for gold. There will be no bear market for physical gold until trust in the financial system and regulators is fixed, until markets trade fundamentals instead of the possibility of the NEW QE, until governments represent the interests of their people instead of the interests of tiny financial elites.
In an extended interview with Bloomberg TV, Nouriel Roubini lives up to his doom-saying reputation and goes where few have as he opines on Lieborgate that: "bankers are greedy and have been for 1000 years" and "nothing is going to change" unless there are criminal sanctions; to which he follows up - briefly silencing the interviewer, "If some people end up in jail, maybe that will teach a lesson to somebody - or somebody will hang in the streets". The professor goes on to note that the EU "summit was a failure" since markets were expecting much more and warns that without full debt mutualization, debt monetization by the ECB, or a quadrupling of the EFSF/ESM 'bazooka'; Italian and Spanish spreads will continue to blow out day after day - leading to a crisis "not in six months but in two weeks". The only entity capable of stopping this is the ECB which needs to do outright unsterilized monetization in unlimited amounts which is 'politically incorrect' to talk about and claimed to be constitutionally illegal. 2013 will be a very difficult year to find shelter as policy-makers ability to kick-the-can runs out of steam as he sees the possibility of a 'Global Perfect Storm' of a euro-zone collapse, a US double-dip, a China & EM hard-landing, and a war in the Middle East. Dr. Doom is back.
If you are reading this, you are probably a member of what the sociologists would term middle class (albeit at the upper end). This is precisely the segment of society which is poised to come off worst from what is coming. Here is a very disturbing idea. As this crisis develops, if you are an equity portfolio manager and you want to outperform the market, you are going to have to position your portfolio so that it benefits most from your own wealth destruction and that of your family, friends and colleagues. Almost everybody is going to lose and there aren’t many places to hide. This is deeply unpleasant but you can blame the central planners. I’ve written about my own investing, e.g. gold and silver, equities in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, etc. In this Thunder Road Report (below) and going forward, I will discuss this middle class theme and highlight positions I have in individual stocks, etc. The only good thing that can come out of this is a rise in awareness. It’s just awful.
Between 'Twist+', his belief that Germany will 'blink' leaving any eurozone breakup/exit unlikely this year, and confidence that the US (Fed) and China (fiscal and monetary) will attempt once again to pump things up, Bob Janjuah (of Nomura) expect to see a risk-on phase that lifts the S&P - possibly climbing the wall of worry back up to the 1400s by late July or early August. His stop-loss (which would be very bearish in his view) is a weekly close under 1267 for the S&P. And then? He would look to position for an extremely bearish risk-off phase over late August through to November or December. The drivers of this extremely bearish expected phase are not new: overly bullish positioning and sentiment; weak global growth, not just in the eurozone but also in the US and the BRICs; the next leg of crisis in the ongoing eurozone debacle in my view; and of course the looming US fiscal crisis, which in Bob's view is not even ‘slightly’ priced into markets, but where he feels the probability of a crisis is close to 75%. His forecast for this extremely bearish risk-off phase over late Q3 and Q4 is that the S&P 500 trades below the low of last year, perhaps as low as 1000. Into 2013-14, I am still concerned that my long-standing 800 S&P500 target will be hit, but it will not be a straight line - QE3 will provide a short but sharp risk-on relief to markets. But as the bearded bear forecasts, once its ‘benefits’ subside (in weeks) it will be the failure of this QE3 to ‘fix’ things that, I fear, will open the door to 800 S&P.
Nothing exemplifies the ghetto status of the U.S. economy more than the success of Wal-Mart in the face of the ongoing destruction of what was once a vibrant and strong middle class. In case you missed it, Marion Nestle, Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU, came out with some interesting tidbits regarding the food stamp program. One of them is extraordinarily disturbing. She shows that Wal-Mart’s gets as much as 25% to 40% of revenue at some stores from food stamp dollars. This says it all folks. Food stamps are or course the perfect business for Wal-Mart and JP Morgan, which as I pointed out previously makes a lot of money running the program and keeping the populace in perpetual serfdom. Meanwhile, guess what another of the best performing stocks this year is? Corrections Corp of America, ticker CXW, up 41% YTD! Guess what they do? Yep, you guessed it. They lock up the serfs that get out of line.
The dollar exclusion list is becoming bigger and bigger with every passing day as China gets ready.
"Unlike other financial instruments, gold doesn't produce interest. But given its symbolic presence and usefulness as a safe haven in times of crisis, the BOK needs to buy more. We may do so this year," he said.
- With big conditions, China Offers $43 Billion for IMF Crisis War Chest (Reuters)... US offers $0.00
- Mexico is not Spain: Mexican Yields Drop to Record as Spain’s Borrowing Costs Soar (Bloomberg)
- And live from Las Ventanas al Paraiso: G-20 Leaders Focus on Banks as Spain's Woes Challenge Merkel (Bloomberg)
- German Constitutional Court Gives Victory to Opposition in ESM Suit (WSJ)
- EU Europe’s Leaders Urged to Resolve Crisis (FT)
- Backing Grows for One EU Bank Supervisor (FT)
- Greek Leaders Close to Coalition, Aim to Ease Bailout (Reuters)
- China Economy Improves in June, Commerce Minister Chen Says (Bloomberg)
- China Looks for Loan Boost (WSJ)
Relief in the markets, after the worst case scenario from the Greek elections was averted, proved to be decidedly short-lived. Although the pro-bailout New Democracy party came in first with 129 seats (with an additional 50 seat bonus) the markets still await confirmation of an actual working coalition given a caretaker government has been in place now for approximately two months. A degree of uncertainty in regards to the demands the new coalition will place on negotiating the country's bailout terms has resulted in many investors being unwilling to get their toes wet just yet. Away from the election fever, rising Spanish yields continue to spook the market with the 10yr yield breaching the 7% level, prompting aggressive re-widening of the 10yr government bond yield spreads. The move comes at a crucial time for Spain as they look to come to market tomorrow in 12 and 18 month bills followed by three shorter dated bonds to be tapped this Thursday. Meanwhile, the FX markets have reflected the shift in sentiment with EUR/USD well off its overnight highs and the USD index firmly supported by the prevailing flight to quality bid. However, the biggest currency move of the day came in the early hours after the rupee (INR) weakened substantially following the RBI's decision to leave rates on hold, this coupled with Fitch changing the country's outlook to negative from stable has kept the currency under pressure throughout the day.
My stop loss over the next 4-6 weeks while I expect this risk-on phase to play out is simple: a weekly S&P close below 1267 would for me be very bearish and likely change things. But as mentioned, instead I expect to see markets struggle with headlines and volatility, but ultimately climb the wall of worry up towards 1400, perhaps 1450 S&P....
And then?... My forecast for this extremely bearish risk-off phase over late Q3 and Q4 is that the S&P500 trades below the low of last year, perhaps as low as 1000 +/- 20. The iTraxx Crossover index should over that period widen from around 550/600bp (my end July/early August risk-on target) out all the way to certainly 800bp, and more likely closer to 1000bp. And we should see core bond yields rally hard – I expect 10yr UST yields to rally from my 2.35%/2.45% end July or early August target, all the way down to 1.5%, maybe even lower.
Equity markets have traded with moderate volatility so far today as peripheral news concerning Spain and Italy continues to be keenly watched by market participants. Overnight the Italian PM Mario Monti said he does not see any need for a bailout either now or in the future with the Italian and Spanish 10yr yields seen off their highs yesterday, lower by 9.8bps and 7.6bps respectively. On a sector breakdown tobacco stocks saw some slight support after US firm Philip Morris announced a new USD 18bln 3yr share buyback program, however, industrials have lagged as a whole following a profit warning from Swedish firm SKF. In terms of fixed income, the bund has continued yesterday's slide with the Bundesbank coming to market with a July 2022 tap. In initial reaction to the results, bunds saw a 20 tick spike higher, off session lows, following what was perceived to have been a "smooth" auction despite some concerns about the eventual credit worthiness of Germany given the recent bailout of the peripheral nations. Meanwhile, the long end of the EUR curve steepened in early trade as reports from the Danish government who have agreed to change the discount rate that pension funds estimate liabilities being noted. In FX, EUR/USD trades higher into the N.American cross-over with an Asian sovereign name being a touted buyer this morning. In other news the AUD also caught a bid shortly after comments from the German central bank who said that they are considering buying the antipodean currency.