- ECB Cash Averts ‘Funding Crisis’ for Italy, Spain (Bloomberg)
- Bailout talks in Greece ‘crucial’, Premier says (WSJ)
- Spain sees €50bn of new bank provisions (FT)
- Fed says expand Fannie, Freddie role to aid housing (Reuters)
- France’s Borrowing Costs Rise at Bond Sale (Bloomberg)
- Europe worries linger after French auction (Reuters)
- PBOC Suspends Bill Sale as Money Rates Rise Before Holiday (Bloomberg)
- Turkey warns against Shi'ite-Sunni Cold War (Reuters)
- New capital rules for banks ‘delayed to 2H’(China Daily)
UPDATE: EFSF said to get EUR4bn of orders for 3Y issue is providing some cover (at what rate? We offer to buy 1tn at 300% yield...)
With plenty of time left until France unleashes its supply (and a dismal consumer confidence print earlier), there is a plethora of notable market moves: Unicredit is halted down 7.9% (seems to be the culprit for the initial risk-off turn in Europe), but Deutsche Bank is down over 5% on liquidity problem rumors, EURUSD traded under 1.2850 at its lowest level since September 2010, 10Y Italian bonds have pushed well above 7% yields and 510bps spread to Bunds as Unemployment rises to 8.6%, Belgian 10Y yields are over 4.5% - highest in 3 weeks, and the rest of European Sovereigns are all leaking wider (near wides of the year). Risk assets (CONTEXT) broadly are under pressure but ES (the S&P 500 e-mini futures contract) is holding off yesterday's early morning lows for now. Commodities are all dropping fast with Gold (actually outperforming in this slide) back at $1615, Oil at $102.50, and Copper approaching $340. Treasuries are bid but trading in line with Bunds' movements so far in general. Some chatter of ECB buying in the last few minutes is stabilizing things a little here.
The new year’s worldwide economic downturn has an interlocking effect: every national economy is searching to accommodate itself politically as well as economically to what looks to be an extended period of low growth. After longer or shorter periods of historically unrivaled prosperity, they are feeling for a “bottom” – a level to wait out new growth. That is the proverbial “soft landing”.
Following today's release of European manufacturing PMI data we are sadly no closer to getting any resolution on which way the great US-European divergence will compress. Because all we learned is that, very much as expected, Europe managed to contract for a fifth month in a row, with the average PMI in Q4 2011 the weakest since Q2 2009, essentially guaranteeing a sharp recession once the manufacturing slow down spills over to GDP. The only silver lining was that the contraction across the continent was modesty better than expected, however if this merely means that the band aid is being pull off slowly and painfully instead of tearing it off is up for question.
Concise summary of this holiday-shortened, liquidity-restrained week's bullish and bearish headlines and events.
The EU is still a massive risk to the global economy but so is political inaction, over- regulated or manipulated markets, high unemployment and geo-political shifts. QE is a concern as central banks abandon inflation targeting and indeed growth to maintain ratings. The EU is still throwing liquidity at a solvency crisis at both sovereign and banking level. EU banks not only have a cash problem, more specifically, as ECB President Mario Draghi says : "hoarding at the ECB signals that the problem afflicting the Euro-zone is not so much about the amount of liquidity but that this liquidity is not circulating around the region's banks". I am not surprised as they all know that each has a similar or worse problem sitting in the vaults.... In the first throes of the new deflationary cycle the Dollar will do well, as the fight intensifies and the US uses the Dollar as a monetary tool and prints more Dollars, it will fall precipitously. Correlations will break this year and many of the “relative value” trades will implode. Gold will break away from being pressured by a strong Dollar as the hunt for alternatives to Fiat currency explode. The likes of the AUD will fall steeply as the global growth story rolls over as we have suggested for a long time. But it is China that holds the key. Hard or soft landing is the question. Can they really have a soft landing if the developed world implodes? No chance.
While it might be a little premature, we thought an early reflection on the day's moves in commodities worthwhile. As COMEX copper closes -1.7%, its biggest one-day drop since 12/14, Gold and Silver are suffering similarly weak performances - even as the USD weakens. Oil, on the other hand, has staged its largest 5-day rally since 10/27. It seems the reasoning behind all of these moves is beyond mere mortal investors as newsflow is irksomely flip-floppish. We have seen bigger moves and more volume obviously but on a day with little real newsflow and macro data that is mixed at best, these moves are notable.
Last week, we presented an equity "valuation" analysis based on Austrian economics, which concluded that the only thing that matters for the economy and for asset prices in general, is the amount of credit money moving one way or another at the margin, ie how active global central banker printers are. Unfortunately, in this economy of record correlations, and in which alpha creation is now impossible, this may well be the only approach to capital markets that works any more. Today, Tradition Analytics takes this analysis from the micro the macro level, explaining why the US, and global, economy is now like a shark - cash has to move (inward) or else the economy will suffocate. Naturally, nothing could make Bernanke happy- according to Tradition, "To sustain the up-cycle banks will have to pump out net new credit probably in the order of about $1 trillion in the coming 8-10 months, even larger than the $700 billion pumped out in the previous 8-10 months." Alas there is a problem with this, very much along the lines of what we discussed last week, which is that the new crude baseline is now a triple digit number, not one in the $30s or even $60s: "it is going to be difficult to sustain this level of credit expansion, not only due to the sheer gravity of the inflation problem that would follow, but also simply due to the fact that it is always increasingly difficult to extend more credit at the margin, and this time into an economy that is already steeped in credit."
America Maxes Out Its Credit Card Again - Treasury To Raise Debt Limit By Another $1.2 Trillion On December 30Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/27/2011 10:22 -0500
You didn't think US consumer confidence could be bought for free now did you?
- U.S. TREASURY SAYS DEBT LIMIT TO BE RAISED BY $1.2 TRILLION
- U.S. DEBT TO BE $100 BLN WITHIN LIMIT ON DEC. 30, TREASURY SAYS
- STEPS FOR INCREASING DEBT LIMIT UNDER 2011 BUDGET CONTROL ACT
And the piece de resistance that 100% debt to GDP brings:
- OBAMA ON DEC. 30 LIKELY TO ASK CONGRESS TO RAISE DEBT LIMIT
Just as we thought the circus was over if only for a few weeks. Also, this means that in a few days, the US debt ceiling will be raised from $15.194 trillion to $16.394 trillion. As a reminder, US GDP was just revised down to $15.176 trillion.
Despite it being a holiday shortened week, and volume already abysmal, there still are some robotic kneejerk reaction inducing economic datapoints, both today and Thursday. Here is what the consensus expects today, even as US economic data is once again irrelevant as Italy has taken front and center following the Zero Hedge report that ECB deposit facilities hit an all time record, leading to Italian BTPs widening to over 7% yet again, an a margin hike by LCH imminent.
Quick summary of the week's main bullish and bearish headlines (as to the data behind the headlines, that's another matter)
- Fed’s Once-Secret Data Released to Public (Bloomberg) - full excel spreadsheet link
- Call for QE to stave off euro deflation (FT)
- King Says Crisis Threatens Europe’s Economy as Stability Outlook Worsens (Bloomberg)
- Russia’s Medvedev calls for reforms, but protesters not satisfied (WaPo)
- EU's carbon tax meets turbulence (China Daily)
- IMF May Delay Boosting China’s Role as Members Fail to Back Quota Changes (Bloomberg)
- China's 2012 social housing target at 7 million (Reuters)
- Bini Smaghi Says ECB Should Use QE If Deflation Risk Arises (Bloomberg)
- Italy to Kick the Cash Habit as Monti Cracks Down (Bloomberg)
- U.S. House Speaker Boehner Signs On to Tax Deal (Bloomberg)
Since the European markets opened we have seen modest selling pressure, admittedly with little to no volume and thin liquidity wherever we look. The overnight ebullience in ES (the e-mini S&P futures contract) was not matched by other broad risk assets as CONTEXT (the risk asset proxy) rose only mildly and is now dropping (back below US day session closing levels). The main drivers of correlated derisking are rallies in TSYs (levels and 2s10s30s compression) and mild selling pressure in JPY crosses (AUDJPY most notably). Oil and Copper are finding 'up' is the path of least resistance for now and Gold and Silver are also pushing higher even as the USD has started to rollover a little in the last hour or so. A weak UK services print and Italian consumer confidence has Gilts rallying and (pivot security du jour) BTPs selling off, as the former 2Y hits a record low 0.299% and the latter breaks 500bps over Bunds (in 10Y). Asset correlations have been ebbing and flowing all week and while credit and equity have largely been in sync (as the former reracks off the latter), we note that Sub financials are underperforming so far and Main (investment grade) and XOver (high yield) have leaked wider from the pre-open in Europe.
While volume today will be rather abysmal with virtually everyone now gone, the robots will be quite busy kneejerking themselves to a variety of economic reports, starting with the final Q3 GDP revision, consumer sentiment, index of leading indicators and ending with FHFA. On the political front it is unclear if there is any progress to the payroll tax extension negotiations, which has huge implications for if not the Q1 market, then definitely economy.
- According to an EU source, EU finance ministers failed to agree on raising ESM/EFSF EUR 500bln joint ceiling. However, Eurozone finance ministers agreed to provide EUR 150bln in bilateral loans to the IMF for bailout use, according to an EU statement
- Stronger than expected IFO data from Germany, together with successful T-Bill auctions from Spain helped risk-appetite
- Weakness in the USD-Index provided support to EUR/USD, GBP/USD, commodity-linked currencies, and WTI crude futures