"If you drop anybody into any momentous period in history, it’s really tough to perceive it at the time. It’s only when you look back on these things with the benefit of hindsight that you really see how historic they really are. But for many people right now who can forget the narrative and can forget what they're being told by various interested parties, if you can stand back far enough and take a practical look at what’s happening, I think it’s much easier to see certainly how far from normality things are today. "
"My hope is that as policy makers of the world continue to prescribe their remedies for the ailing economic patient, that they do not render it worse off... As with their predecessors, I suspect there is no doubt in the minds of our central bankers that they are the smartest they’ve ever been. Yet, I fear they are not the smartest they will ever be."
Nothing says limited government and separation of powers like a bureaucracy unaccountable to the voice of the people! Then again, Yellen doesn’t care much for democratic oversight. She’s a caricature of Randian libertarianism: someone who wants to do whatever, whenever, without rulers. The problem is Yellen isn’t operating a private railroad company. She’s the figurehead for a government institution created by Congress. If democracy means anything, it’s that voters have some measure of control over political bureaucracies.
And then there were 21. Hours ago on Saturday, the country whose currency is largely pegged to the dollar which itself is now anticipating a rate hike in the coming months, surprised the world by confirming its economic slowdown yet again following a recent rate cut just this past November when it lowered its benchmark rate by 40 bps, after it again cut benchmark lending and deposit rates by 25 bps starting on March 1. Specifically, the PBOC will lower the one-year lending rate to 5.35% from 5.6% and its one-year deposit rate to 2.5% from 2.75%. It also said it would raise the maximum interest rate on bank deposits to 130% of the benchmark rate from 120%.
This is what Europe has become: savers - those who diligently put away the fruits of their labor - are now forced to pay, using banks as an intermediary, and subsidize the the debtor: spenders, who live beyond their means, and who in increasingly more frequent situations are now paid to take out even more debt! Call it monetary socialism, or just call it what it is: the New Paranormal.
Despite the well-managed collapse of Equity, FX, and Rates volatility in February, the Oil complex is exhibiting Lehman-Depression-like levels of implied vol still as central planners seem unable (or unwilling) to manipulate the energy complex (rock of inflation and hard place of 'consumer tax cut'?). As WSJ reports, this volatility is roiling market makers, luring fast-money traders (and algos) and discouraging long-term investors from hedging/positioning. As one asset manager noted, "we like volatile two-way markets... but this is too high for us."
"Monetary Policy Is Bankrupt" Dr. Lacy Hunt Warns "Bonds, Not Stocks, Are A Good Economic Indicator"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/27/2015 18:35 -0500
"While the wealth effect is a theoretical possibility, it is not supported by economic fact. The stock market is not a good guide to the economy, but...the bond market is a very good economic indicator. When bond yields are very low and declining it’s an indication that the same is happening to inflation and that economic activity is weak. The bond yields are not here for any fluke of reason. They are here because business conditions in the US and abroad are quite poor."
With the "Great Greek Tragedy" now behind the markets, for the time being, all eyes have turned towards the Nasdaq's triumphant march back to 5000. (The graphics department at CNBC have been working overtime on banners and bugs for when it happens....watch for them.) For now, it is all about the hopes of a cyclical upturn in the Eurozone economy supported by the ECB's QE program starting next month. Market participants have been bidding up stocks globally in anticipation that the ECB's program will pick up where the Fed left off, and the flood of liquidity will find its way back into asset prices
Another day, another currency hits a record low against the US Dollar. The Turkish Lira has collapsed in recent weeks since Erdogan rampaged against the 'independence' of the Central Bank and extended losses today after the economy minister said the government should discuss changing central bank regulations. Nihat Zeybekci said the Central Bank of Turkey’s independence should be conditional on the body taking “national interest” into account. Turkey continues to dump gold at record rates (money laundering to Iran via Switzerland?) and social unrest is on the rise (despite new laws to clamp down on protests) as the US consulate faces bomb threats.
- Greece warns may default on IMF loan next week - Greek bank runs continue and deposits flee - The truth can be a scary thing sometimes … especially for those who put their head in the sand and ignore it ...
- Central Banks With Negative Rates Spur Question of How Low to Go (BBG)
- DHS to keep running: Congress edges toward domestic security funding patch (Reuters)
- Setbacks for Tsipras Stir Discord in Greek Ruling Party (BBG)
- Greece’s Challenge: Appeasing Its Creditors and Its Population (WSJ)
- Buffett, a cheerleader for America, takes his checkbook abroad (Reuters)
- Oil’s Big Swings Are the New Normal: Market has rarely been more volatile (WSJ)
- Ukraine Left Behind as Russian Stock Gains Are Unmatched (BBG)
- Brent rises to $61, set for first monthly gain since July (Reuters)
If there isone thing that is virtually certain about today's trading (aside from the post Rig Count surge in oil because if there is one thing algos are, it is predictable) is that despite S&P futures being a touch red right now, everything will be forgotten in a few minutes and yet another uSDJPY momentum ignition ramp will proceed, which will push the S&P forward multiple to 18.0x on two things i) it's Friday, and an implicit rule of thumb of central planning is the market can't close in confidenece-sapping red territory ahead of spending heavy weekends and ii) the Nasdaq will finally recapture 5000 following a final push from Apple's bondholders whose recent use of stock buyback proceeds will be converted into recorder highs for the stock, and thus the Nasdaq's crossing into 5,000 territory because in the New Normal, the more expensive something is, the more people, or rather algos, want to buy it.
Financial markets are upside down. Financial repression and belief in the “Fed put” pushed investors further and further out the risk curve over the past six years. Too many asset managers have remained fearful of underperforming peers and benchmarks; a powerful incentive to stay ‘risked-up’. The psychology of bullish, and faith in Fed abilities, have been too firmly embedded in the investor class. Given that markets don’t seem to want to believe that a June hike looks probable, we expect an outsized market reaction to a hike, lower long yields to accompany it, a flatter curve, wider credit spreads, higher market volatility, and materially lower equity markets.
Oh well, some are more equal than others. One day after Eurogroup head Dijsselbloem says France won’t get any more lenience... "France must respect EU budge rules," ... the EU over-rules him "France gets more time to meet EU budget rules."