- Emerging market sell-off raises specter of contagion (Reuters)
- China Bank Regulator Said to Issue Alert on Coal Mine Loans (BBG)
- Argentina to Ease FX Controls After Peso Devaluation (BBG)
- Pimco's Gross problem: who can succeed the 'Bond King'? (Reuters)
- Ukraine protesters seize building, put up more barricades (Reuters)
- Mideast Turmoil Dominates Gathering of Business Elite (WSJ)
- Central Banks Withdraw Dollar Funding (WSJ) - oh really?
- Samsung warns of weak earnings growth this quarter (FT)
- Three explosions rock Cairo, killing 5 (USA Today)
In a week that has been marked by astonishing mainstream media headlines, BFI Capital’s CEO Frank Suess happened to give an outstanding interview about the outlook for global currencies, gold and manipulation in the markets. These developments are significant and could mark a tipping point. Up until now, the currency and precious metals manipulation has been a topic associated with conspiracy theorists in the corners of the blogosphere. The interesting fact is that this news breaks out exactly at the time when most people are being trapped into the “economic recovery” news. With the markets hanging at the lips of the central bankers, it is fair to say that “the central banks are the markets.” Frank Suess points out that, for several decades now, central banks around the world, with the US Federal Reserve in the lead, haven’t allowed business and credit cycles to happen anymore. In fact, they have been fighting consistently every sign of recession with more money, resulting in a race to the bottom of world currencies. The effect of this on world currencies is that they are shuffling each other down in a see-saw pattern...
UPDATE: The Argentine Trade Balance missed surplus expectations by the most in 3 years (and 2nd most on record).
As those who follow Zero Hedge on twitter know, we have recently shown a keen interest in the collapse of the Argentine currency reserves - most recently at $29.4 billion - which have been declining at a steady pace of $100 million per day over the past week, as the central bank desperately struggles to keep its currency stable. Actually, make that struggled. As of today it is not just the collapse in the Latin American country's reserves, but its entire currency, when this morning we woke to learn that the Argentina Peso (with the accurate identifier ARS), had its biggest one day collapse since the 2002 financial crisis, after the central bank stopped intervening in currency markets. The reason: precisely to offset the countdown we had started several days back, namely "an effort to preserve foreign exchange reserves that have fallen by almost a third over the last year." Oops.
Have we all bought into gang-mentality?
It's not all ponies and unicorns in Davos today. Paul Singer's dismal views on financial fragility were followed up by a panel, as The Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reports, that poured cold water on the claims that the European crisis is over. Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff said the launch of the euro had been a "giant historic mistake, done to soon" but EMU leaders are still refusing to take the necessary steps, and is squandering the "scarce resource" of its youth, badly needed to fortify an aging society as the demographic crunch sets in. But it is ex-Buba head Axel Weber that unleashed the ugly truth: "Markets are currently disregarding risks, particularly in the periphery...Europe is under threat. I am still really concerned."
Citi's credit group is bullish; but, as they admit, for all the wrong reasons. Bullish, because they still believe that the extraordinary liquidity environment which has dominated the last four years will remain in place this year (despite tapering) and for the wrong reasons because aside from their doubts about the foundations of much of the economic recovery itself, nearly all the factors that they would normally base their view on the markets on seem to be pulling in the opposite direction. In their own words, "everything is expensive; and the market is driven purely by a variant of the Greater Fool's Theory."
Dedicated readers of The Wall Street Journal have recently been offered many dire warnings about a clear and present danger that is stalking the global economy. They are not referring to a possible looming stock or real estate bubble. Nor are they talking about other usual suspects such as global warming, peak oil, the Arab Spring, sovereign defaults, the breakup of the euro, Miley Cyrus, a nuclear Iran, or Obamacare. Instead they are warning about the horror that could result from falling prices, otherwise known as deflation. Get the kids into the basement Mom... they just marked down Cheerios!
Dispassionate update on digital currencies.
2013 was an absolutely seismic year for gold, but, as Grant Williams details in his latest letter, the way in which the tectonic plates shifted has yet to be fully understood. Simply put, the gold in every central bank's possession around the world is the property of the citizens of that country - not of the incumbent politicians or central bankers. Consequently, if the people want it audited, there shouldn't be any reason to say no ... unless... Williams firmly believes that in the years to come, when we look back at the great game being played in gold, we will pinpoint January 16, 2013, as the day when it all began to unravel - the day the Bundesbank blinked and demanded its gold...
Physical gold for delivery at the Comex is at record lows. Demand for delivery of the precious metal may just push the gold price manipulation scheme over the precipice.
Dan Loeb Goes Activist On Dow Chemical, Reveals DOW As Largest Position, Urges Spin Off Of Petrochem BusinessSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/21/2014 09:58 -0400
In a letter posted moments ago on Hvst.com, activist Dan Loeb announced that currently the largest investment of his Third Point is Dow Chemical, where he proceeds to use the usual hack-attack "spin off" proposal , and urges Dow to sell its upstream and downstream Petrochemical businesses (as Dow Petchem Co), about which it says, "the benefits from a spin-off far outweigh the supposed integration benefits." The reason: "Dow shares have woefully underperformed over the last decade, generating a return of 46% compared to a 199% return for the S&P 500 Chemicals... in April 1999 an investor could have purchased Dow shares for the same price that they trade at today." Now imagine where those shares would trade without $10 trillion in liquidity pumped by the central banks. We wish Loeb all the best: recall that precisely this strategy did not quite work out with Sony. The good news: George Clooney will hardly give a rat's ass what Dan Loeb does with some obscure "chemical" company, and thus Loeb's invites to the Hollywood party circuit are secure.
There are definite limits to what QE can do. Now that even Bill Dudley and other Fed officials admit that the Fed doesn’t understand QE, it’s only a matter of time before the market begins to crumble.
On December 24, we posted an update on Germany's gold repatriation process: a year after the Bundesbank announced its stunning decision, driven by Zero Hedge revelations, to repatriate 674 tons of gold from the New York Fed and the French Central Bank, it had managed to transfer a paltry 37 tons. This amount represents just 5% of the stated target, and was well below the 84 tons that the Bundesbank would need to transport each year to collect the 674 tons ratably over the 8 year interval between 2013 and 2020. The release of these numbers promptly angered Germans, and led to the rise of numerous allegations that the reason why the transfer is taking so long is that the gold simply is not in the possession of the offshore custodians, having been leased, or worse, sold without any formal or informal announcement. However, what will certainly not help mute "conspiracy theorists" is today's update from today's edition of Die Welt, in which we learn that only a tiny 5 tons of gold were sent from the NY Fed. The rest came from Paris.
The Central Bank rig of the last five years appears to finally be ending.
Five years after the 2008 crisis hit, economies are more financialised than ever. If the politicians and regulators ever had any balls they have been amputated by the casino managers, under the anaesthesis of perceived self-interest. They have become the casino eunuchs. An apparent early consensus on the systemic problems of over financialisation has melted away into a misconceived search for ‘business as usual’.