One of the recurring analogues we have used in the past to describe the centrally planned farce that capital markets have become and the global economy in general has been one of a increasingly chaotic sine wave with ever greater amplitude and ever higher frequency (shorter wavelength). By definition, the greater the central intervention, the bigger the dampening or promoting effect, as central banks attempt to mute or enhance a given wave leg. As a result, each oscillation becomes ever more acute, ever more chaotic, and increasingly more unpredictable. And with "Austrian" analytics becoming increasingly dominant, i.e., how much money on the margin is entering or leaving the closed monetary system at any given moment, the same analysis can be drawn out to the primary driver of virtually everything: the inflation-vs-deflation debate. This in turn is why we are increasingly convinced that as the system gets caught in an ever more rapid round trip scramble peak deflation to peak inflation (and vice versa) so the ever more desperate central planners will have no choice but to ultimately throw the kitchen sink at the massive deflationary problem - because after all it is their prerogative to spur inflation, and will do as at any cost - a process which will culminate with the only possible outcome: terminal currency debasement as the Chaotic monetary swings finally become uncontrollable. Ironically, the reason why bring this up is an essay by Pimco's Neel Kashkari titled simply enough: "Chaos Theory" which looks at unfolding events precisely in the very same light, and whose observations we agree with entirely. Furthermore, since he lays it out more coherently, we present it in its entirety below. His conclusion, especially as pertains to the ubiquitous inflation-deflation debate however, is worth nothing upfront: "I believe societies will in the end choose inflation because it is the less painful option for the largest number of its citizens. I am hopeful central banks will be effective in preventing runaway inflation. But it is going to be a long, bumpy journey until the destination becomes clear. This equity market is best for long-term investors who can withstand extended volatility. Day traders beware: chaos is here to stay for the foreseeable future." Unfortunately, we are far less optimistic that the very same central bankers who have blundered in virtually everything, will succeed this one time. But, for the sake of the status quo, one can hope...
Markets are moving positively across the board today following comments from Fitch, dampening speculation that France may be downgraded from its Triple A status. Fitch’s Parker commented that he does not expect to see France downgraded at all throughout 2012. However he added that there are continuing pressures for France from national banks and EFSF liabilities, Parker also reinforced German confidence stating that Germany’s Triple A rating is safe. Markets were also experiencing upwards pressure from strong French manufacturing data performing above expectations and successful Austrian auctions today, tightening the spread between France and Austria on 10-year bunds.
When it comes to the markets one can easily ignore the fact that the world is one big ponzi and things, as we know them, are coming to an end as long as the can can be kicked down the street at least one more time. In other words, without a hard deadline, there is nothing that can force change upon a system already in motion, no matter how self-destructive. Unfortunately, the clock in Europe is ticking as a deadline approaches, and somewhat poetically, the place where it all started is where it may end. In March Greece faces a redemption cliff: if by then the €130 billion promised to it by the Troika as per the July 21 second bailout, is not delivered, it is game over - first for Greece which will default, then for the ECB, which will be forced to write down holdings of Greek bonds, in effect wiping out its equity and credibility, and lastly, for the Euro, which will see a core member leaving (in)voluntarily.
Bill Gross Exposes "The New Paranormal" In Which "The Financial Markets And Global Economies Are At Great Risk"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/04/2012 07:50 -0500
In his latest letter, Bill Gross, obviously for his own reasons, essentially channels Zero Hedge, and repeats everything we have been saying over the past 3 years. We'll take that as a compliment. Next thing you know he will convert the TRF into a gold-only physical fund in anticipation of the wrong-end of the "fat tail" hitting reality head on at full speed, and sending the entire house of centrally planned cards crashing down. "How many ways can you say “it’s different this time?” There’s “abnormal,” “subnormal,” “paranormal” and of course “new normal.” Mohamed El-Erian’s awakening phrase of several years past has virtually been adopted into the lexicon these days, but now it has an almost antiquated vapor to it that reflected calmer seas in 2011 as opposed to the possibility of a perfect storm in 2012. The New Normal as PIMCO and other economists would describe it was a world of muted western growth, high unemployment and relatively orderly delevering. Now we appear to be morphing into a world with much fatter tails, bordering on bimodal. It’s as if the Earth now has two moons instead of one and both are growing in size like a cancerous tumor that may threaten the financial tides, oceans and economic life as we have known it for the past half century. Welcome to 2012...For 2012, in the face of a delevering zero-bound interest rate world, investors must lower return expectations. 2–5% for stocks, bonds and commodities are expected long term returns for global financial markets that have been pushed to the zero bound, a world where substantial real price appreciation is getting close to mathematically improbable. Adjust your expectations, prepare for bimodal outcomes. It is different this time and will continue to be for a number of years. The New Normal is “Sub,” “Ab,” “Para” and then some. The financial markets and global economies are at great risk."
Today, at one point in the afternoon, CNBC's Michelle Caruso Cabrera "broke" the new that according to the IIF and its always amusing chairman Charles Dallara, Greece is about a month away from a final, conclusive and this time definitive resolution with its creditors. He punctuated the news by saying "progress has been made." Naturally, a minor detail was overlooked, namely whether the haircut would be 50% as per the Second Bailout, First Amendment, or 75% as Germany is rumored to have demanded recently. Also ignored is any update on whether hedge fund Vega is proceeding to sue Greece or anyone else for cramming the fund down in what ISDA defined as a "consensual bankruptcy." But the main reason why we ignored this news completely, is that as the annotated chart below of Greek bond prices show, this is not the first time Dallara has had encouraging "news" to say about the bankruptcy process. In fact, if bondholders had merely sold the first time the Frenchman had opened his mouth, they would have saved about 70% of their money. Frankly at this point it no longer matter. The only catalyst now is March, by when Europe needs to finalize and fund the Greek bailout's €130 billion or else it is game over for the Eurozone.
The bond market has always had clever names for bonds in specific markets. Eurobonds, Yankee bonds, Samurai bonds, and now, Ponzi bonds. I’m not sure what else to call these new bonds, but Ponzi bonds seems as good as anything. NBG issued these bonds to themselves, got a Greek government guarantee (how can a country that can’t borrow, provide a guarantee?) and took these bonds to the ECB to get some financing. The ECB won’t buy National Bank of Greece bonds directly, they won’t buy Hellenic Republic bonds in the primary market, but they will take these ponzi bonds as collateral? Greece, and Italy, is sacrificing the people and the country for the good of the bank. The market had made some attempt to charge banks with bad risk management, awful assets, and opaque books, more than they charged the country they were domiciled in. But rather than let the market (and common sense) rule, a mechanism to let banks fund themselves cheaper than the countries they rely on, was created. Asides from giving Ponzi a bad name (at least until the ECB just admits that they are printing faster than even Big Ben) this is tying the banks and the countries ever closer. A long, long, time ago (1 month) it was conceivable that a bank could fail and the sovereign survive. That is becoming less clear.
Things are getting real. After all the bluffing, huffing and puffing by Geithner, the rating agencies, and anything with a pulse and a TV or radio pulpit has failed, the last trump card is coming down. While yesterday the Treasury informed that it would not disclose any details of its contingency plan, Bloomberg has just learned via a Treasury leak that the US government will give priority to bondholders. From Bloomberg: "The U.S. Treasury will give priority to making interest payments to holders of government bonds when due if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, according to an administration official. The official requested anonymity because no announcement has been made. The Treasury has said about $90b in debt matures on Aug. 4 and more than $30b in interest comes due Aug. 15. Overall, more than $500b matures in August." And so it begins: while the Treasury has not yet pushed the big red flashing button, this leak is nothing but it latest and greatest bluff. It also means that America will, indeed default, next week, as the absence of a contractual payment is a default. And then we get into the fine print with the rating agencies whether or not X is default but Y is not. At that point however it won't matter: every form of intermarket liquidity will be permanently gone as Lehman will be a cherished walk in the park. Thank you Tim Geithner and your total lack of contingency plans.
Attn Captain Obvious | Fed Proposes Rule that Would Require Creditors to Determine a Consumer’s Ability to Repay a Mortgage BEFORE Making the LoanSubmitted by 4closureFraud on 04/20/2011 12:34 -0500
What kind of back-assward world do we live in when the FED has to propose a rule like this?
PBoC Governor Says Chinese Foreign Reserve Stockpile Is Excessive, As SAFE Issues Another Warning At US Treatment Of Creditors... And DollarsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2011 07:32 -0500
One of the key news from the past week was that Chinese FX reserves passed a record $3 trillion for the first time, a surge of $200 billion in the first quarter alone. And with the bulk of that in dollar, it is not surprising that the recently collapse in the dollar has forced more posturing out of both the PBoC and SAFE (the State Administration of Foreign Exchange). In comments published Tuesday, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China said that China's huge stockpile of foreign exchange
reserves have become excessive and the government
must diversify investments using the reserves. "Foreign exchange reserves have exceeded our
country's rational demand, and too much accumulation has caused
excessive liquidity in our markets, adding to the pressure of the
central bank's sterilization." That this is a not so subtle hint aimed at the dollar was confirmed earlier today by SAFE which said that the US government should take responsible measures
to protect the interests of investor. "U.S. Treasuries reflect the credit of the US government and are an important investment product for domestic and international institutional investors," the ministry said in a statement carried today on SAFE's website. "We hope the U.S. government takes responsible measures to protect investor interests." Alas, with the US administration solely focused on making confetti out of the US currency, we hope that China is not holding its breath too long. On the other hand, should the DXY take out its 2009 lows, all bets will surely be off and only another market collapse will be able to generate a potential flight to safety in the dollar. In the meantime, both gold and silver continue to benefit, and the only thing that appears to be able to drag down precious metals at this point is a wholesale margin call invoking cross asset liquidation.
Bill Gross: "Ultimately Creditors And Investors Are At The Behest Of A Central Bank And Policymakers That Will Rob Them Of Their Money"Submitted by George Washington on 01/19/2011 19:30 -0500
But, but, munis always pay back almost 100 cents on the dollar, even in bankruptcy, right? Wrong. Bankrupt Vallejo just filed a POR to pay back unsecured creditors between 5 and 20 cents. "The city regrets that it cannot pay a higher percentage,” Vallejo officials said in the court filings. “The city lacks the revenues to do so while maintaining an adequate level of municipal services, such as the provision of fire and police protection and the repairing of the city’s streets." Just wait for the reaction when holders of unsecured debt all those other (hundreds of) insolvent cities, towns, and states realize that a 5 cent recovery is all too possible...
Enter The Twilight Zone: World's Biggest Cocoa Exporter Tells Creditors To Legitimize Corrupt President... Or Face Wipe OutSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/17/2011 22:38 -0500
And so things move from the simply violently revolutionary to the outright surreal, and once again they originate in Africa where today's TheOnion reality seems to feel most at home in practice (unlike its mostly theoretical, for now, US counterpart). Ivory Coast, the biggest producer of cocoa, today told bondholders of $2.3 billion in debt that unless creditors legitimize the corrupt incumbent regime, and recognize voted out president Laurent Gbagbo, then the country will not make an interest payment on its bonds which already are in a grace period, and will essentially default, unless the political gridlock is resolved in two weeks. “It’s a joke, right?” said Phillip Blackwood, head of emerging markets at Sydbank A/S, Denmark’s fourth-largest bank and holder of Ivory Coast debt. No, unfortunately it isn't. And just like Tunisia is a harbinger of the food riots to come to the developed world, so Ivory Coast is a leading indicator of how the world's greater debtor - the US Treasury - will one day negotiate with its own creditors. As both countries are bona fide banana republics, it won't be much of a stretch...
The Beginning Of The End For Ernst & Young? Auditor Back In Spotlight As Lehman Creditors Seek ProbeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2010 08:22 -0500
With the spate of corruption news out of Wall Street and seismic updates out of Iceland dominating headlines in the past month, everybody forgot about the culprit in the Lehman Repo 105 fraud. Well, almost everybody - the Lehman unsecured creditor committee, or basically the post reorganized equity estate, has decided to seek a probe of Ernst & Young to see "if the estate may have causes of action against the auditor arising out of Lehman's use of a the controversial accounting technique, Repo 105" reports Reuters.
A vivid chart from VisualEconomics, demonstrates the key US creditors and their most recently disclosed holdings. Of course, the TIC does this monthly (in a much less pretty format), but it does make for a good poster, especially if knowing off the top of your head whom the U.S. will be screwing if and when it decided to repudiate its debt, is of notable relevance . One name omitted: the United States itself, which according to the H.4.1 owns $777 billion of debt, essentially making it the second largest creditor after China. Obviously, this analysis excludes retail level and individual holders of debt.