- New Normal headlines: Global stocks up on hopes of China policy easing (Reuters)
- China inflation eases to five-year low (BBC)
- U.S. Lawmakers Agree on $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill (WSJ)
- U.S. Braced for Blowback as CIA Report Lays Bare Abuses (BBG)
- CIA tortured, misled, U.S. report finds, drawing calls for action (Reuters)
- CIA Made False Claims Torture Prevented Heathrow Attacks (BBG)
- Oil Resumes Drop as Iran Sees $40 If There’s OPEC Discord (BBG)
- OPEC Says 2015 Demand for Its Crude Will Be Weakest in 12 Years (BBG)
- Greek yield curve inverted as politics raise default fears (Reuters)
The Nikkei 225 has fallen over 300 points from the v-shaped recovery close at the end of the US day session and is now trading below the lows of the day at 2-week lows. USDJPY has plunged over 100 pips having briefly neared 120.00, now back below 119.00. JGB Futures are trading near record highs prices as yields collapse to near-record lows (30Y -23bps since QQE, 20Y -15bps) only seen during last year's yield-crash. No surprise then with the bond market "dead" according to market participants and yields negligible, that RBS has decided to exit the Japanese fixed-income business, slashing 200 jobs, and surrendering its primary bond dealership.
Without doubt, the most memorable line from the latest quarterly report by the BIS, one which shows how shocked even the central banks' central bank is with how perverted and broken the "market" has become is the following: "The highly abnormal is becoming uncomfortably normal.... There is something vaguely troubling when the unthinkable becomes routine." Overnight, "markets" did all in their (central banks') power to justify the BIS' amazement, when first the Nikkei closed green following another shocker of Japanese econ data, when it was revealed that the quadruple-dip recession was even worse than expected, and then the Shanghai composite soaring over 3000 or up 2.8% for the session, following news of the worst trade data - whether completely fabricated or not - out of China in over half a year.
The investment game is becoming more suspect and dangerous as asset price levels continue to ignore economic weakness and the lack of necessary political reform. Instead, many investors (not just in the EU) have become conditioned like B.F. Skinner rats to bid up financial risk assets whenever a central banker makes a promise about accommodation or further stimulus; this even occurs when data disappoints, because investors expect ‘the promise’ to soon follow. Fear of missing the upside and underperforming peers and benchmarks is what makes this reflexivity work. This is actually a sad state of affairs and an ever-more dangerous and epic game of chicken. This conditional response pattern is unsustainable. Indebtedness and market speculation continue to soar. In the end, printing is a not a solution, but a source of long-term harm to markets and national economies.
In any economy, nothing works in isolation. For every dollar increase that occurs in one part of the economy, there is a dollars worth of reduction somewhere else. The real issue is what the fall in commodities in general, including oil, is telling us about the real state of the economy.
With uncertainty lingering and patience wearing thin after five-plus years of still lackluster wage growth, consumers are increasing saving for the future, hedging against a continuation of “more of the same.” Thus, for many, extra savings at the pump as a result of lower gas prices are simply being stored away to help supplement spending needs in the future, ramping up savings, not spending.
Following last week's holiday-shortened week, which was supposed to be quiet and peaceful and was anything but thanks to OPEC's shocking announcement and a historic plunge in crude prices, we have yet another busy week of macroeconomic reports to look forward to.
A recent article argues that the increasing demand for consumer credit is an indicator of increasing consumer confidence. The argument seems reasonable due to the way it is presented--there is an entirely different conclusion one would draw were the argument presented differently.
While the media continue to just about exclusively paint a picture of recovery and an improving economy, certainly in the US – Europe and Japan it’s harder to get away with that rosy image -, in ordinary people’s reality a completely different picture is being painted in sweat, blood, agony and despair. Whatever part of the recovery mirage may have a grain of reality in it, it is paid for by something being taken away from people leading real lives.
Following the Conference Board's tumble in confidence, Bloomberg's consumer comfort index surged this morning (rather aberrationally) to highs not seen since 2007. However, while UMich consumer confidence rose from last month to its highest since July 2007, it missed expectations by the most since October 2013. It would seem the survey respondents in UMich and Bloomberg confidence are stockholders, and Conference Board respondents are not... UMich data is dominated by a surge in current conditions with the outlook flat.
While there has been no global economic outlook cut today, or no further pre-revision hints of "decoupling" by the appartchiks at the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, both European and US equities are pointing at a higher open, because - you guessed it - there were more "suggestions" of "imminent" QE by a central bank, in this case it was again ECB's Constancio dropping further hints over a potential ECB QE programme, something the ECB has become the undisputed world champion in. The constant ECB jawboning, and relentless central bank interventions over the past 6 years, led to this:
- GERMANY SELLS 10-YEAR BUNDS AT RECORD-LOW YIELD OF 0.74%
The punchline: this was another technically "failed" auction as it was uncovered, the 10th of the year, as there was not enough investor demand at this low yield, and so the Buba had to retain a whopping 18.8% - the most since May - with just €3.250Bn of the €4Bn target sold, after receiving €3.67Bn in bids.
“Ordinary people are unnerved about how money works in a bottomless cyber space. Gold seems tangible, clear and timeless”
With business confidence at post-crisis lows (in the US and around the world), it is hardly surprising that consumer confidence would fade and at 88.7 (vs 96.0 expectations), this is the biggest miss since June 2010. It appears last month's exuberant surge/beat was anomalous as we tumble from 94.5 in October, in spite of tumbling gas prices and record high stocks... The drop was largely driven by a slide in 'hope' as expectations fell to the lowest since June. Labor, employment, and business conditions all dropped.
- Ferguson in Flames (Reuters)
- Ferguson Cop Told Grand Jury He Feared for His Life (BBG)
- Sharpton: Grand Jury Announcement ‘An Absolute Blow’ (Daily Caller)
- Gunshots echo as violence returns to Ferguson, protests across U.S. (Reuters)
- BoJ members warned on costs of more easing (FT)
- Hagel Exit Shows Obama Has Taken Power Away From Pentagon (BBG)
- Ukraine leader, under pressure from West, pledges new government soon (Reuters)
- Eurozone Stagnation Poses Major Risk to Global Growth, OECD Warns (WSJ)
- ECB’s Coeure Says Officials Won’t Rush as They Debate All Assets (BBG)
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."