Central bank credibility is at all-time highs. As a consequence, we suggest, equities are near all-time highs too while gold is scraping multi-year lows. A change though may be in the offing with all three. Not today, nor tomorrow. But perhaps sooner than most think. Here’s how we see it...
"The time to liquidate a given position is now seven times as long as in 2008, reflecting much smaller trade sizes in fixed income markets. In part the current liquidity illusion is a product of the risk asymmetries implied by the zero lower bound on interest rates, excess reserves in the system, and perceived central bank reaction functions. However, interest rates in advanced economies won’t remain this low forever. Once the process of normalization begins, or perhaps if market perceptions shift, and it is expected to begin, a re-pricing can be expected. The orderliness of that transition is an open question."
Precious metals have taken a horrible beating over the past month. They were suppressed to levels not seen since 2010. The result of this price depression was a massive increase in demand from individual investors and nations alike.
After describing this week's prior two bond auctions as "blistering" and "scorching", we were concerned we would run out of hyperbolic adjectives to describe today's last for the week 7 year auction. As it turns out, our concerns were unfounded, because moments ago the Treasury announced it sold $29 billion in 7 Year paper at a 1.96% yield, a small 0.4 bps tail to the When Issued in an auction that was just modestly weaker than the prior two, relatively speaking, even if in absolute terms the high yield, down from 2.02% last month, was still the lowest since October 2013, and as can be seen on the chart below, is continuing to drop. The Bid to Cover also showed a substantial pick up in interest, jumping to 2.635, the highest since February, and well above the 2.54 TTM average.
Gold spiked higher in many price feeds overnight and was $270 higher or more than 22% higher to $1,467.50/oz at one stage in what appears to have been some form of computer glitch. It was not manipulation, a short squeeze, or a modern Chinese or Russian ‘Goldfinger’ sending a pointed message to Washington.
Is the price of oil today driven more by global growth and supply/demand factors or by monetary policy factors? We hope it doesn’t surprise anyone when we say that we think monetary policy dominates ALL markets today, including the global oil market. What’s the ratio? Our personal, entirely subjective view is that oil prices over the past 3+ months have been driven by 3 parts monetary policy to 1 part fundamentals. How do we come up with this ratio? For the past 3+ months the oil Narrative has been dominated by public statements from influential answer-suppliers talking up the oil price dynamic of a rising dollar and monetary policy divergence. That’s the source of our subjective view of a 3:1 dominance for monetary policy-driven factors over fundamental-driven factors. However – and this is the adaptive part where we play close attention to Narrative development and dissemination – the noise level surrounding this Thursday’s OPEC meeting is absolutely deafening.
"Bearish" Mark Spitznagel Profiting Strongly Since 2009, Warns "Only So Much Debt An Economy Can Take"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/25/2014 21:07 -0500
Mark Spitznagel, author of "Dao of Capital" and among Wall Street's most bearish investors, is (profitably) holding out for a disaster. Despite noting that "The Fed has taken it further than it has ever taken it before," NY Times reports that Spitznagel's fund Universa has profited strongly even as stocks hit record highs. Large pessimistic bets usually lose a lot of money when stocks are rising, but Universa is saying that its investment strategy has been able to produce consistent gains since then, including a 30% return last year. While ackowledging Fed policy is capable of driving stock prices higher, Spitznagel warns, it will ultimately be self-defeating, "there is only so much debt that an economy can take on."
A “YES” vote for the gold referendum is a first step towards redressing the imbalance that exists between the SNB and the people of Switzerland. A “YES” vote will begin a process to restore restraint, accountability, and transparency on an institution that took advantage of the removal of its previous gold holding constraint already once before to explode its balance sheet, reinvent itself as a hedge fund, and significantly expand into areas of policy far beyond its original remit. Central banks should be lenders of last resort and systemic regulators. In a direct democracy, decisions regarding taxation, membership in trade / political unions, and the autonomy of the national currency should be determined by popular vote not decreed or circumvented by central bank edict.
“Ordinary people are unnerved about how money works in a bottomless cyber space. Gold seems tangible, clear and timeless”
A Tale Of Two Credit Markets: New Auto Loans Highest In 9 Years As New Mortgages Slump Near Record LowsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/25/2014 12:38 -0500
Remember when three weeks ago, everyone was stunned as the Manufacturing ISM soared to new 3 year highs, continuing this summer's trend of blistering manufacturing, which was largely attributed to a burst of automotive production? Now, courtesy of the latest Q3 household credit report by the NY Fed, we know just how it was funded. According to the report, some $105 billion in new car loans were issued is the third quarter, the highest amount since 2005, and just $20 billion shy of an all time high. That's the good news. The bad news as Equifax reported two months ago, new subprime loan origination is trending at about 31% and rising. And what's worst, is that recently both Moody's and Fitch joined forces in making up for their past oversights, and "slammed subprime auto bonds" suggesting this latest bout of subprime driven euphoria boosting the US manufacturing sector may not last. Or it may: after all the central banks are always on the lookout for new things to monetize.
Since moral hazard - the disconnect of risk and consequence - is the fundamental cause of the global meltdown of 2008, the only solution is to eliminate moral hazard. By this we mean de-institutionalizing moral hazard. But de-institutionalizing moral hazard means smashing the vested interests' primary engine of wealth and political power. Playing monetary games has done nothing to eliminate moral hazard; indeed, playing monetary games cannot possibly eliminate moral hazard, as monetary policy enforces moral hazard.
First Germany, then the Netherlands, perhaps Switzerland this weekend, and now the French right-wing Front National, which shockingly came first in May's European parliament elections, and whose leader Marine Le Pen is currently polling in first place in a hypothetical presidential election (in both a first and run off round), ahead of president Hollande, has sent a letter to the governor of the French Central Bank, the Banque de France, demanding that France join the list of nations which have repatriated, or at least tried to, their gold.
Just two months after the OECD cut its global growth outlook, overnight the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development cut it again, taking down its US, Chinese, Japanese but mostly, Eurozone forecasts. In the report it said: "The Economic Outlook draws attention to a global economy stuck in low gear, with growth in trade and investment under-performing historic averages and diverging demand patterns across countries and regions, both in advanced and emerging economies. “We are far from being on the road to a healthy recovery. There is a growing risk of stagnation in the euro zone that could have impacts worldwide, while Japan has fallen into a technical recession,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said. “Furthermore, diverging monetary policies could lead to greater financial volatility for emerging economies, many of which have accumulated high levels of debt.” And sure enough, the OECD's prescription: more Eurozone QE. As a result, futures in the US are in fresh all time high territory ignoring any potential spillover from last night's Ferguson protests, just 30 points from Goldman's latest 2015 S&P target, Stoxx is up 0.5%, while bond yields are lower as frontrunning of central bank bond purchases resumes. Oil is a fraction higher due to a note suggesting the Saudi's are preparing for a bigger supply cut than expected, although as the note says "it is unclear if the cut sticks."
As we noted here, despite record high stock prices and talking-heads imploring investors to believe CEOs are confident, they are not (consider the clear indication of a lack of economic confidence from tumbling capex and soaring buybacks), That is further confirmed today as Markit's survey of over 6000 firms showed optimism falling sharply in October, dropping to the lowest seen since the survey began five years ago. Hiring and investment plans were also at or near post-crisis lows, while price expectations deteriorated further. More worrying, perhaps, is the US is not decoupled whatsoever, with future expectations of US business activity at the lowest since the financial crisis.