For all the endless talk of a recovery during the past five years, there is a very tangible reason why for most people this is nothing but spin, propaganda and lies: when one strips away the retroactively adjusted GDP, the seasonally adjusted (and politically mandated) counting of temp jobs, the constantly upward revised jobless claims, the Fed's $4+ trillion balance sheet of course, and even the declining (yes, declining) real disposable income per capita, what one is left with is the lowest loan creation out of a recession (or depression) in history, and is at indexed levels last seen during the Lehman collapse over five years ago!
While the full impact of CMHC on the Canadian housing and banking sector remains debatable, one thing can be said: next to the Bank of Canada, it is perhaps the most critical entity in preserving the nation's financial stability. And with a key player responsible for the perpetuation of the status quo having departed Canada recently, namely Goldman's Mark Carney leaving the BOC and heading to the Bank of England, some were wondering just who would supervise thing up north if and when things turned sour. Those questions were answered on Friday, when Canada named the next chief executive officer of the government-owned housing agency. His name is Evan Siddall, and, what we assume will came as a surprise to nobody, he was formerly a banker at, drumroll, Goldman Sachs.
In a world in which the Chief Risk Officer of the formerly free capital markets, Ben Bernanke, has made any downside hedges obsolete (and as a result hedge funds have posted 5 years of returns without outperforming the S&P500), the first casualty has emerged: fund of funds. These parasitic, fee-soaking institutions, which merely collect a fee on top of the fees already charged by hedge funds, are rapidly on their way to extinction as the following charts from Eurekahedge prove conclusively. Naturally, the FOF industry which generates massive fees for its "value adding" managers, will not go down without a fight. And as Pensions and Investment reports, the FOFs have found a way to strike back: convert hedge funds into long only, idiot money, and we do enjoy the irony that in this centrally-planned market the idiot money is outperforming the smart, nimble asset managers by orders of magnitude.
FX outlook through the end of the year...
- China cash injection fails to calm lenders (AFP)
- European Union Stripped of AAA Credit Rating at S&P (BBG)
- Last-Minute Health-Site Enrollment Proves a Hard Sell (WSJ)
- Bernanke’s Recession-Fighting Weapon Developed by 1900s Banker (BBG)
- Asia Stocks Are Little Changed Amid China Funding Concern (BBG)
- Regulators' Guidance on Volcker Rule Gives Banks Little Relief on Debt Sales (WSJ)
- On one hand: Man Who Said No to Soros Builds BlueCrest Into Empire (BBG); on the other: Michael Platt's BlueCrest Capital Poised for Rough Close to 2013 (WSJ)
- BOJ Keeps Record Easing as Fed Taper Helps Weaken Yen (BBG)
- Bank of England becomes more cautious on economic predictions (FT)
- Gold Climbs From Lowest Close Since 2010 as Goldman Sees Losses (BBG)
... we learned what the difference between $85 billion and $75 billion is in the grand scheme of things. Or, in case we haven’t, here is a chart showing just how “vast” the impact of today’s announcement will be on the Fed’s balance sheet at December 31, 2014 when instead of printing well over $5 trillion at its old monetization pace, the Fed’s balance sheet will be only $4.9 trillion.
For many commentators there are two distinct camps in the gold market: investors in bullion and speculators in the paper market. With the two markets pulling in different directions some dealers think it is only a matter of time before derivatives fail completely and the price of gold will rocket on physical demand. However, the key to future gold prices comes down to the point in time at which central banks stop supplying the market; not some sudden crisis between value investors in the East and momentum chasers in the West. That is to confuse cause with effect.
The quarterly Flow of Funds report by the Fed has been released and the latest household net worth numbers are out. While not nearly quite as dramatic as last quarter's wholesale dataset revision, which saw all of America suddenly worth $3 trillion more primarily due to a change of how "pension entitlements" (formerly "pension reserves") are calculated (more more in the full breakdown from September), with the resulting total net worth rising to a total of $74.8 trillion, according to the just released data, in the third quarter, US housholds, or rather a very tiny subset of them, saw their net worth rise once again, this time to $77.3 trillion from a revised $75.3 trillion.
Just out from the NYT's Fed watcher Appelbaum:
Fed’s Plan to Taper Stimulus Effort Not Expected Until Next Year
At the same time, out from the WSJ's Hilsenrath:
Fed Closes In On Winding Down Bond Purchasing
Who is right? Are both right? Are both wrong? Does anyone even care? Far more relevant is what is the Fed's price target for the Monday and year end close.
While some may think trading these manipulated capital markets has become a leading cause of premature death over the past year, that is not the case. At least not yet. Instead, the leading causes of early death are shown on the chart below compiled by Wired. It maps "the global cost of early mortality - some 1.7 billion years of potential human life forefited annually - sorted by cause of death."
Western central banks have tried to shake off the constraints of gold for a long time, which have created enormous difficulties for them. They have generally succeeded in managing opinion in the developed nations but been demonstrably unsuccessful in the lesser-developed world, particularly in Asia. It is the growing wealth earned by these nations that has fuelled demand for gold since the late 1960s. There is precious little bullion left in the West today to supply rapidly increasing Asian demand, and it is important to understand how little there is and the dangers this poses for financial stability.
JGB Futures prices are dropping in a manner eerily reminiscent of the May period of debacle before the BoJ started to regain control. The catalyst for today's biggest bond price drop in 3 months is Takatoshi Ito's comments demanding the Government Pension fund starting greatly rotating from bonds to stocks: "Now is the right time to sell, while the BOJ is buying.”
*JAPAN'S GPIF NEEDS TO START SELLING BONDS, SHOULD REDUCE LOCAL BONDS TO AS LITTLE AS 35%, RAISE JAPAN STOCK HOLDINGS TO 18% NOW, ITO SAYS
Stocks bounced higher initially but are losing most of those gains as bonds hit low prices of the session (and fears re-arise that the BoJ is not in total control after all). As we warned before, the JGB market is "dead" for all intent and purpose and there is simply not enough liquidity to support any significant selling pressure. JGB 10Y Yields are the highest since Oct 1st.
Following Kyle Bass' earlier comments on Herbalife's ability to tap the capital markets for a major buyback: HERBALIFE WILL BE ABLE TO BORROW AS MUCH AS $2B, BASS SAYS; An HLF spokesperson has noted that Carl Icahn will not be selling (following the stock's close above a key level that enables him to sell). This has sent the stock to $77.39 - an all-time high. HERBALIFE SAYS ICAHN HAS NO PRESENT INTENTION TO SELL SHARES. We can only imagine how Ackman feels as day after day of theta is sucked out of his puts...
On December 5 2013, George Osborne will deliver the Autumn Statement, providing an update on the state of the UK economy. In the address, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will detail the coalition’s plans to reduce the budget deficit and extend the UK economic recovery into 2014. Saxo Capital Markets latest infographic outlines the changes in the economy since the coalition government formed in 2010. In 2010, the Chancellor projected that the coalition would slash the structural budget deficit to zero by 2016. Three years on, net public debt has risen as a consequence of the government’s measures to reduce the deficit. While there is some hope in the figures - and we are sure they will be projected in nothing but glowing glorious ways, Brits are drawing down savings at record rates to cover soaring costs of living and the UK's debt-load is surging. What happens if/when Carney lifts his foot even a little?
- EU Fines Financial Institutions Over Fixing Key Benchmarks (Reuters)
- Euro-Area Economic Growth Slows as Exports, Consumption Cool (BBG) - someone has a very loose definition of growth
- Ukraine Officials Scour Globe for Cash as Protests Build (BBG)
- Oops: Franklin Boosted Ukraine Bet to $6 Billion as Selloff Began (BBG)
- Japan Plans 18.6 Trillion Yen Economic Package to Support Growth (BBG) - or about 2 months of POMO
- How Peugeot and France ran out of gas (Reuters)
- Iran threatens to trigger oil price war (FT)
- Abe Vows to Pass Secrecy Law That Hurts Cabinet’s Popularity (BBG)
- Brazil economy turns in worst quarter for 5 years (FT)
- Australia’s Slowdown Suggests RBA May Need to Do More (BBG)
- Biden calls for trust with China amid airspace dispute (Reuters)