As usual, S&P was late, but just over three months after our explicit warning, the rating agency finally came out with the catalyst we have been expecting when moments ago it said that it had "placed its 'BBB-' long-term corporate credit rating on Hong Kong-based supply-chain management service provider Noble Group Ltd. and the 'BBB-' issue rating on the company's senior unsecured notes on CreditWatch with negative implications." In other words, Asia's Glencore is about to be junked.
Power? Power! You can't handle POWER!!! Most people are still busy counting coin prices....
It's not just tourism and retail sales that might swoon--global sentiment might switch decisively from "risk-on" to "risk-off" with far-reaching consequences, a reversal that would quickly cascade through every asset class and every market--not just in the short-term, but in the long term.
While the stock market had one of its best months in years, it was, like the jobs report, uncorroborated by almost everything else. The junk bond bubble, in particular, stands in sharp and stark refutation of whatever stocks might be incorporating, especially if that might be based upon assumptions of Yellen’s re-found backbone. As noted on several prior occasions, swap spreads have been sinking fast and to unprecedented levels. Though mainstream commentary will provide plausible-sounding excuses, mostly about corporate or even UST issuance, that is only because these places will not even consider that Janet Yellen has it all wrong; thus, they only search for possibilities that allow that narrative to remain undisturbed even though that narrative itself can never account for negative spreads.
At the height of the financial crisis, the unprecedented decline in swap rates below Treasury yields was seen as an anomaly. The phenomenon is now widespread, as Bloomberg notes, what Fabozzi's bible of swap-pricing calls a "perversion" is now the rule all the way from 30Y to 2Y maturities. As one analyst notes, historical interpretations of this have been destroyed and if the flip to negative spreads persists, it would signal that its roots are in a combination of regulators’ efforts to head off another financial crisis, massive corporate issuance (which we are seeing), China selling pressure (and its impact on repo markets) and "broken" wholesale money-markets.
Already, the big banks (the ones with the closest ties to the Federal Reserve) have begun turning away deposits OR charging them.
"You thought it was safe to drive 90 miles an hour on a rain-slicked narrow road while you were tipsy because the airbag would save you, but it still hurts when you crash." This is the Paradox of Risk: the more risk is apparently lowered, the higher the risk we are willing to accept.
Wwith oil volatility surging in recent months, oil producers needed to take advantage of a rally, technical or otherwise, and an oil vol lull to reestablish hedges, even if it meant at far lower prices than recent benchmarks. This is precisely what happened in the past week following one of the most torrid surges in the price of oil seen in recent years.
We would argue the main reason for Blackrock’s attempt to persuade the exchanges to adopt its recommendations on trading halts is that Blackrock itself is inconvenienced by downside volatility. Presumably the company is no stranger to leverage (how else can it squeeze out large returns with a portfolio this large in a ZIRP world?) and is therefore forced to exercise stop loss orders itself when the market declines fast. Such attempts to “regulate” everything, even the price swings markets are allowed to make, are attempts to stem oneself against nature.
As part of a global investigation into how much physical gold central banks have stored at what location and how much is leased out, we submitted the local equivalent of a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request at the central bank of Belgium (NBB) to obtain information about the amount of Belgian official gold reserves, the exact location of all gold bars, the type of gold accounts NBB holds at the Bank Of England (BOE) and how much is leased out and to whom. The outcome of this research was not what we had expected...
And now the real shocker: there is over US$100bn in gross financial exposure to Glencore. From BofA: "We estimate the financial system's exposure to Glencore at over US$100bn, and believe a significant majority is unsecured. The group's strong reputation meant that the buildup of these exposures went largely without comment. However, the recent widening in GLEN debt spreads indicates the exposure is now coming into investor focus."
Central bank intervention/financial repression provides the illusion thay systemic risk has been disappeared, and this pushes all asset classes into correlation. The idea that some assets will escape the implosion is also illusory; what appeared uncorrelated can suddenly correlate overnight, destroying the entire fantasy that risk can be offloaded onto others.
Update: And there it is: GLENCORE DEBT INSURANCE COSTS SURGE TO RECORD HIGH; 5-YR CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS RISE 207BASIS POINTS FROM FRIDAY'S CLOSE TO 757 BASIS POINTS
Those who listened to our reco to buy Glencore CDS at 170 bps in March 2014 can take the rest of the year off. As of this moment, GLEN Credit Default Swap were pushing on 600 bps, 4 times wider, and on pace to take out the 2011 liquidity crunch highs. After that, it's smooth sailing to all time wides and the start of a self-fulfilling prophecy which leads to the Companys's IG downgrade and the collapse of trillions in derivative notionals as what may be the trading desk of the biggest commodity counterparty quietly goes out of business.
Glencore is in total free-fall across all markets today. Most worrying for systemic risk concerns is the rush into credit protection that has occurred, as counterparties attempt to hedge their exposures. Forthe first time since 2009, Glencore CDS are being quoted with upfront pricing (something that happens as firms become seriously distressed). Based on the latest data, it costs 875bps per year (or 14% upfront) to buy protection against a Glencore default (which implies - given standard recoveries - a 54% chance of default).