Confirming that in a world in which either commercial or central banks have to be constantly be churning out debt, and in a world in which Europe is doing neither (with European commercial loan growth posting sequential declines across the board, and the ECB's balance sheet still declining although likely not for long), "growth" as defined by conventional standards, is impossible, we got today's European Q1 GDP data. Not only was it bad, but it was even worse than most had expected.
- Once a beacon, Obama under fire over civil liberties (Reuters)
- Eurozone in longest recession since birth of currency bloc (FT)
- EU Oil Manipulation Probe Shines Light on Platts Pricing Window (BBG)
- BMWs Cheaper Than Hyundais in Korea as Tariffs Crumble (BBG)
- Stock Boom Isn't a Bubble, Says BOJ's Kuroda (WSJ)
- Struggling France strives to shake off economic gloom (FT)
- JPMorgan investors take heat off Dimon (FT)
- Private-Equity Firms Build Instead of Buy (WSJ)
- Bloomberg Saga Highlights Clash Between Two Worlds (WSJ)
- Bank documents portray Cyprus as Russia's favorite haven (Reuters)
- HSBC Signals 14,000 Jobs Cuts in $3 Billion Savings Plan (BBG)
- Argentines Hold More Than $50 Billion in U.S. Currency (BBG)
So much for Europe's "recovery." In a quarter when the whisper was that some upside surprise would come out of Europe, the biggest overnight data releases, European standalone and consolidated GDPs were yet another flop, missing across the board from Germany (+0.1%, Exp. 0.3%), to France (-0.2%, Exp. 0.1%), to Italy (-0.5%, Exp. -0.4%), and to the entire Eurozone (-0.2%, Exp. 0.1%), As SocGen recapped, the first estimate of eurozone Q1 GDP comes in at -0.2% qoq, below consensus of a 0.1% drop. The economy shrank by 1.0% yoy, the worst rate since Dec-09. The decline of 0.5% qoq in Italy means that the economy has been in recession continuously since Q4-11. A 0.2% qoq drop in France means the economy has ‘double-dipped’, posting a second back-to-back drop in GDP since Q4-08. The increase of 0.1% qoq in Germany was disappointing and shows the economy is not in a position to support demand in the weaker member states (table below shows %q/q changes).
As reported earlier, at least one prominent hedge fund manager, Dan Loeb, is very bullish on Sony (or at least has played his cards well enough to buy the stock 50% lower and is using today's ramp to offload to unwitting momentum chasers as he did with Herbalife). Whether he is merely using the opportunity to earn some activism brownie points on the background of the overall levitation of the Japanese stock market, or is genuinely convinced there is upside for Sony remains to be seen. However, anyone who thinks that Japanese corporates have no place to go but up, is kindly urged to take a look at one-time Japanese electronics titan Sharp, which posted a whopping loss of $5.36 billion, the biggest loss in the company's 100 year history.
More indisputable proof that gold and silver prices are massively manipulated by the global Central Banking cartel.
... the Bank of Israel!
We, and the TBAC, previously made clear there is a massive shortage of high-quality collateral - the stuff that forms the backbone of modern monetary practice- some $11 trillion to be exact , as the insolvent world encumbers every possible asset that is not nailed down with more and more and more debt. However, we didn't realize that the asset shortage has also spread to food. As it turns out, Malthus may have been right after all. But fear not: the UN has a modest proposal how to resolve this particular asset shortage: Eat Moar Insects, at least according to the FAO's latest report: "Edible insects Future prospects for food and feed security."
Overnight risk continues to ignore all newsflow (today the economic reporting finally picks up with advance retail sales due at 8:30 am as expectations for a second modest decline in a row of -0.3%) and is focused entirely on what the consensus decides to make of the Hilsenrath piece, even as the difficulty level was raised a notch following another late Sunday Hilsenrath piece, which puts more variable into the "tapering" equation, and whose focus is whether Bernanke will be replaced by Janet Yellen, Geithner or Summers, or anyone. With all three classified as permadoves, one does scratch their head how the market can be confused: worst case Fed tapers by $10/20 billion per month, market tumbles, then Bernanke's replacement or Ben himself ploughs on even more aggressively with QE. QED.
"If you can convince us that any mortal can hold such a complex tangle of possible outcomes within their comprehension, we will allow that our monetary heretics may be right to do away with the combined practical experience and theoretical understanding of all those who have gone before them over the ages. Until you do, we shall be forced to withhold my endorsement and to mutter darkly about the unexpiable sin of hubris instead."
While the stance of monetary policy around the world has, on any conceivable measure, been extreme, the question of whether such a policy is indeed sensible and rational has not been asked much of late. By rational we simply mean the following: Is this policy likely to deliver what it is supposed to deliver? And if it does fall short of its official aim, then can we at least state with some certainty that whatever it delivers in benefits is not outweighed by its costs? We think that these are straightforward questions and that any policy that is advertised as being in ‘the interest of the general public’ should pass this test. As we will argue in the following, the present stance of monetary policy only has a negligible chance, at best, of ever fulfilling its stated aim. Furthermore, its benefits are almost certainly outweighed by its costs if we list all negative effects of this policy and do not confine ourselves, as the present mainstream does, to just one obvious cost: official consumer price inflation, which thus far remains contained. Thus, in our view, there is no escaping the fact that this policy is not rational. It should be abandoned as soon as possible. This will end badly...
Argentina's president Kirchner, a keen observer of recent events in Cyprus, has figured out a way to kill two birds with one stone, namely attempt to put an end to tax evasion, and fund the capex of the recently nationalized state oil company YPF (now that its former owner, Spainish Repsol, is less than keen to keep investing in its former Argentine subsidiary). To do that she will present the local tax-evading population (pretty much anyone with any disposable income and savings) with a simple choice: buy a 4% bond to fund YPF "growth" or go to prison.
A funny thing happened on the way to the next Bull market: the price-earnings (P/E) ratio has entered bubble territory--again. So what if the Bull market is already 4+ years old--no reason it can't run another four years. Or 40 years. The Fed has found the key to a permanent Bull market. Dow 36,000 is for pikers: Dow 400,000, baby! Another funny thing might happen on the way to Infinite QE Nirvana: giddy "buy the dip, the Fed's got our back" participants tend to forget that major players profit from going short when all the other shorts have been terminated with extreme prejudice, and then taking the market down. Once they've driven the market down and taken out all the stops, then they can buy back in and launch the next melt-up. What's more profitable, a slow melt-up or a panic sell-off and sharp rebound? Definitely the latter, if you're heavily short, the market is teetering on record margin debt and you can kick out the critical 2X4 holding the whole contraption up.
While the extreme volatility associated with the 8amET hour in Gold and Silver trading is no surprise, the strength of the USD (helped by JPY weakness along with pretty much every other major) is slamming WTI crude, Gold, and Silver lower this morning. The Dollar Index move in the last two days is the largest in 16 months; Gold's 2-day drop is the biggest (ex-the crash) in 10 months. "If you consider what is happening in the currency markets and then factor in the demand for the physical delivery of gold there should be some additional note of caution in your evaluation of the markets. Smart money always moves first while dumb money lingers and is baited by those that take advantage of it. A sniff of Fear has returned to the marketplace and Greed may be in the process of giving way."
Preparing Resources To Shop For Distressed Assets As Banks Refuse To Come Clean On Near Fraudulent ReportingSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 05/10/2013 06:13 -0500
Now, with a paper trail a mile wide that shows that Irish banks' a) need capital b) regulators flip flop regularly and c) will likely puke assets to deleverage, it's time to start strategizing what to do next...
The main story overnight is without doubt the dramatic plunge in the Yen, which following the breach and trigger of USDJPY 100 stops has been a straight diagonal line to the upper right (or lower for the Yen across all currency crosses) and at last check was approaching 101.50, in turn sending the USD higher in virtually all jurisdictions. However it is not so much the Yen weakness that was surprising - a nation hell bent on doubling its monetary base in two years will do that - but the accelerating response in neighboring countries all of which are seeing Japan as the biggest economic threat suddenly and all are scrambling to respond. Sure enough, midway through the evening session, Sri Lanka cut its reverse repo and repurchase rate to 9% and 7% respectively, promptly followed by Vietnam cutting its own refinancing rate from 8% to 7%, then moving to Thailand where the finance chief Kittiratt called for a rate cut exceeding 25 bps, and more jawboning from South Korea suggesting even more rate cuts from the export-driven country are set to come as it loses trade competitiveness to Japan. Asian financial crisis 2.0 any minute now?