A look at the economic data and market psychology as a new week begins.
The Economist is a quintessential establishment publication. Keynesian shibboleths about “market failure” and the need to prevent it, as well as the alleged need for governments to provide “public goods” and to steer the economy in directions desired by the ruling elite with a variety of taxation and spending schemes as well as monetary interventionism, are dripping from its pages in generous dollops. The magazine has one of the very best records as a contrary indicator whenever it comments on markets. While gold hasn’t yet made it to the front page, but the Economist has sacrificed some ink in order to declare it “dead” (or rather, “buried”).
It has gotten to where just the lack of a rout in Bunds or any other government issue is enough to activate the "bullish" outside stop hunting algo, which is probably why ES has jumped overnight in another illiquid, newsless session. Curiously, Bunds shave not sold off even though the EUR has jumped sharply by almost 100 pips overnight to a 3 month high also on no news (with some amusing acrobatics by the USDJPY alongside) traditionally a bearish indicator for the Dax and thus the S&P. Perhaps the algos are just late, or maybe the "weak dollar is good for stocks" thesis has been activated, but in any event this morning's ramp higher in the ES will continue until all upside stops are hunted down by Virtu and crushed mercilessly.
It is perhaps an emblematic description for our current bubble age; QE doesn’t work but “we” can’t wait for more. Maybe that is just the logical evolution of monetary magic, since QE was brought on with almost mythical properties that were going to cure a lot of financial and economic ills (Bernanke the former). Now resignation (Bernanke the latter) has left it with only the hope that it can just save us from the worst downside, even without any real expectation of a true upside in the economy. In other words, markets hope for the QE zombie, where the economy is kept from death by it, with full recognition now that it will never regain full life either.
Following yesterday's turbulent bond trading session, where the volatility after the worst Bid to Cover in a Japanese bond auction since 2009 spread to Europe and sent Bund yields soaring again, in the process "turmoiling" equities, today's session has been a peaceful slumber barely interrupted by "better than expected" Italian and a German Bund auction, both of which concluded without a hitch, and without the now traditional "technical" failure when selling German paper. Perhaps that was to be expected considering the surge in the closing yield from 0.13% to 0.65%. Not hurting the bid for 10Y US Treasury was yesterday's report that Japan had bought a whopping $23 billion in US Treasurys in March, the most in 4 years so to all those shorting Tsys - you are now once again fighting the Bank of Japan.
We have called this a tale of two graphs. But what it really describes is a clear and present danger to American capitalism fostered by an unelected monetary politburo in thrall to its own lust for power and mesmerized by its own doctrinaire group think. The tragedy is that nothing can stop them except the thundering crash of the gargantuan bubble they have single handedly enabled.
If the Fed's bubble busting team led by Stanley Fischer was looking for runaway inflation, it could have easily found it earlier today without any particular effort, only not in the usual CPI place, but in the price of Women of Algiers (Version O), a "vibrant, multi-hued painting" from Pablo Picasso which moments ago became the world's most expensive artwork, selling for $179,365,000, included the house's premium in a Christie's auction.
Today’s Eurogroup meeting will be key in determining where Greece and its creditors negotiations currently stand. Over in the US today, it’s the usual post payrolls lull with just the labor market conditions data expected.
As the SHCOMP soars, the sellside reacts to China's latest round of easing and the message is clear: more policy rate cuts are in the cards as real lending rates remain elevated and deflation risk remains high. Meanwhile, the PBoC's statement was making the rounds on WeChat hours before its official release suggesting Janet Yellen isn't the only central banker that enjoys leaking information.
Futures Jittery As Attention Returns To Greece; China Stocks Rebound On Latest Central Bank InterventionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/11/2015 06:48 -0400
With the big macro data out of the way, attention today and for the rest of the week will focus on the aftermath of the latest Chinese rate cut - its third in the past 6 months - which managed to boost the Shanghai Composite up by 3% overnight but not nearly enough to make up for losses in the past week; any resumption of the 6+ sigma volatility in the German Bund, which already has been jittery with the yield sliding to 0.52% only to spike to 0.62% shortly thereafter before retracing some of the losses; and finally Greece, which in a normal world would have concluded its negotiations during today's Eurogroup meeting and unlocked up to €7 billion in funds for the coming months. Instead, Greece may not only not make its €770 million IMF payment tomorrow but according to ever louder rumors, is contemplating a parallel currency on its way out of the Eurozone.
On the heels of last week's equity rout, China cuts interest rates for the third time since November. The move comes on the heels of last month's RRR cut and follows trade data that missed expectations (again) and a PPI print that betrayed persistent deflation risks. Perhaps more importantly, Chinese stocks fell last week amid still more rumors that tighter margin requirements are on the way.
Threatened with deflation, the authorities will want to turn the tide in the worst possible way. What’s the worst way to stop deflation? With hyperinflation. Yes, we may suffer a year or two more of sluggish growth... or even deflation. Stocks will crash and people will be desperate for paper dollars. But sooner or later, the feds will find their feet and lose their heads. Most likely, the credit-drenched world of 2015 will end... not in a whimper of deflation, but in a bang. Hyperinflation will bring the long depression to a dramatic close long before a quarter of a century has passed.
While the US is waking up in anticipation of what is once again said to be the "most important nonfarm payrolls number" at least since the last most important such number, because anything 250,000 and above puts the June rate hike right back on the Fed calendar, while a collapse in this lagging indicator will be explained away with harsh rain showers in April, and send stocks soaring due to yet another delay in tightening expectations despite Yellen's outright warning of overvalued stocks, the UK has been up all night following a dramatic election, whose outcome has been largely the opposite of what the experts predicted, with Conservatives set to win an outright majority, resulting in embarrassment for Labor, the Liberal Democrats and the UKIP, both of which have already seen dramatic changes in their leadership, and moments ago both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage announced they would stand down as party leaders.
In the eight years that the Fed has issued GDP forecasts in the prior Fall, only once, in 2010, did the actual economic performance come in the range of its expectations. A more sinister possibility is that the Fed is not really forecasting at all but cheerleading. By forecasting strong growth, the Fed may be hoping to engender optimism, with more spending and hiring hopefully to follow. Kind of like a field of dreams recovery -- if the Fed forecasts it; it will come. Based on what we have seen thus far in the year, fantasies about a 2015 recovery should be evaporating.
This is how DB summarizes what has been the primary feature of capital markets this week - the huge move in European bond yields: "On April 17th, 10-year Bunds traded below 0.05% intra-day. Two and a half weeks later and yesterday saw bunds close around 1000% higher than those yield lows at 0.516% after rising +6.2bps on the day." Right out of the European open today, the government bond selloff accelerated with the 10Y Bund reaching as wide as 0.595% with the periphery following closely behind when at 9:30am CET sharp, just as the selloff seemed to be getting out of control, it reversed and out of nowhere and a furious buying wave pushed the Bund and most peripheral bonds unchanged or tighter on the day! Strange, to say the least. Also, illiquid.