Even if you think you know how competitive devaluation works, this primer is worth it because parts 2-4 of this series will blow your socks off leaving you wondering, "Damn, why didn't I tink of that?"
Those curious to learn why Greece is the only country excluded form the ECB' QE (for now), will not find any additional information in the ECB's supplement on its asset purchase program. Neither will they learn why something that is in effect monetary financing, and is prohibited by Article 123, is not monetary financing. However, they will learn that the proceeds from the ECB's money printing can be used "to buy other assets and extend credit to the real economy." The ECB adds that "In both cases, this contributes to an easing of financial conditions." Actually the only thing it will contribute to is making the world's billionaires into the world's trillionaires.
It will be even more disruptive if some among them decide that the only reason for the failure of their collective delusion of grandeur is that they have not been deluded enough and that even more wild-eyed palliatives are therefore needed. Disruption on such a scale is not what the budding entrepreneur wants to contend with as he contemplates whether to risk both his capital and his reputation in launching or expanding a business, in ordering new equipment, or hiring new staff and so fostering a meaningful recovery. Disruption on such a scale is not something we should wish to inflict upon a system we have been both unable and unwilling to fully repair. Either way – damned if they do, damned if they don’t – disruption seems to be what we will get in the months ahead.
Every couple of years the same identical European drill repeats itself: 1) Greece makes loud noises as it approaches an election, 2) Europe says it couldn't care what the outcome is and that Greece should stay in the Euro but if it exits it won't be a disaster, 3) the ECB reminds everyone of the lie that it is not preparing for Plan B (it is) despite holding on to over €100 billion in "credibility-crushing" Greek bonds, 4) panicking Greek banks say the deposit outflow situation is completely under control (adding that "The Bank of Greece along with the European Central Bank are monitoring closely the developments and intervene whenever this is necessary," which is code word for far more familiar, five-letter word), and meanwhile 5) all non-Greek banks quietly start preparing for the worst case scenario. So far this time around, we had everything but step "5". We do now.
As investors and market participants become increasingly aware of the regulatory failures that allowed for manipulation of LIBOR, FOREX, municipal bond bidding and certain commodities markets, regulatory sources are increasingly expressing concern that they have paid too little attention to potential manipulations of an arguably larger, more systemically important and less regulated market – the CDS market as self-governed, through ‘regulatory license’, by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
While the adverse impact on the Russian banking system has been mostly confined to the upper class - since there is virtually no middle class in the country to speak of - the second cold war of words, which rapidly morphed into a very hot financial war, is about to hit the very ordinary Russian on the street, because as Russia's Vedomosti reports, citing vegetable producer Belaya Dacha, juice maker Sady Pridoniya and others, Russian suppliers are suspending food shipments to stores because of unpredictable FX movements. And it is about to get worse: very soon Russians may have to live without imported alcohol because at least on supplier of offshore booze, Simple, halted shipments in "a two-day pause” to see what happens with the ruble, Vedomosti reports.
"Back in the halcyon days of summer, it seemed nothing could go wrong; but now, ...the uncertainties presently being generated have the potential to undermine two crucial kinds of trust – that one must have in the merits of one’s own exposure and that equally critical faith in the reliability of one’s counterparties. If it does, the third great bull run of the 20-year age of Irrational Exuberance could well reach its culmination, after a rally of almost exactly the same magnitude as and of similar duration to the one which ushered it in, all those years ago."
Back in September, when the results of the first much-trumpeted TLTRO were announced, everyone said it was a clear disappointment, when European banks expressed just €82.6 billion in ECB credit demand, far below the €100-€300 billion range expected and well below the €400 billion across the two 2014 TLTROs hinted by Mario Draghi. Today, we got the second TLTRO-3 result which too, was a flop, if not quite the disaster the first one was, when the ECB announced that just €129.84 billion was allotted in today's TLTRO result, spread among 306 counterparties, or 51 more than the bidder who signed up for the first TLTRO, resulting in an aggregate take up for both auctions of only €212 billion, which also happens to be €55 billion, or 21%, below the consensus expectations observed in a Goldman poll back in September 9, €40 billion below the Bloomberg median consensus estimate of €170 billion for the second TLTRO, and half the total cap of €400 billion.
Who says macroprudential regulation doesn't work: according to the BIS, notional amounts of outstanding OTC derivatives contracts fell by 3% to "only"
$691 trillion at end-June 2014. This is also roughly equal to the total derivative notional outstanding just before the Lehman collapse, when global central banks volunteered taxpayers to pump a few trillion in capital to meet global variation margin calls. Clearly the system, in the immortal words of Jim Cramer, is "fine."
All the analysts chortling over the "equivalent of a tax break" for consumers are about to be buried by an avalanche of defaults and crushing losses as the chickens of financializing oil come home to roost.
Central bankers reached a new low overnight when Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan warned of "disastrous consequences" from a pulpit in a church on a historic hill in the town of Uster, Switzerland, which Bloomberg dubbed the 'sermon on the hill.' "Hungry people don't stay hungry for long, they get hope from fire and smoke as they reach for the dawn..."
Tt has become quite clear that the Fed neither has the intention, nor the market mechanism to do any of that, and certainly not in a 3-6 month timeframe. Which may explain the Fed's hawkish words on any potential surge in market vol. After all, if the nearly $3 trillion in excess reserves remain on bank balance sheets for another year, then the only reason why vol could surge is if the Fed lose the faith of the markets terminally. At that point the last worry anyone will have is whether and how the Fed will tighten monetary policy.
For anyone curious how banks "represent and warrant" that they have thousands of tons of physical gold when in reality they have far less if not zero physical in storage and all in "synthetic" form, here is the blow by blow.
Deutsche Bank Says "Yes" Vote Has "Narrow But Clear Lead" In Swiss Gold Referendum As 1M GOFO Hits Most Negative Since 2001Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2014 12:58 -0500
"On 30 November, the Swiss will vote in a referendum to decide whether the SNB’s constitutional mandate should be changed to require the central bank to 1) never sell any gold reserves once acquired, 2) store all its gold on Swiss territory, 3) hold at least 20% of its official reserve assets in gold. The likelihood of a yes vote is considerable. The proposal requires a simple country-wide majority to pass, as well as a majority in at least 50% of Swiss cantons. Current polling shows the ‘yes’ campaign with a narrow but clear lead and there are reasons to believe that factors on the day could be favourable for the amendment. If an affirmative vote was recorded, there is little political leeway to delay or dilute implementation."