Bernanke today testifies on monetary policy before the House Financial Services Committee (formerly the Humphrey-Hawkins). The testimony will be released at 8:30 am NY with Q&A after his testimony. Tomorrow he testifies before the Senate Banking Committee but the prepared remarks are the same for both days. Indeed it’s likely that the Q&A will be where all the fun starts. As DB says, he will likely try to pull off the trick of continuing to prepare the groundwork for tapering but try to give bond markets something to help them fight off the pressure of higher yields. With no post-meeting press conference planned for the July 30th/31st FOMC, and Bernanke not scheduled to speak publicly until he appears at the Global Education Forum event on August 7th, this week’s testimony may well be the only remarks we hear directly from the chairman for some weeks.
Those hoping that the Stalingrad & Propaganda 471 would soar above 1700 today on some abysmal Industrial Production will have to taper their hopes, as the number printed right on top of expectations, or at 0.3%, up from last month's 0.0%. This was driven by a better blend of Manufacturing (+0.3%), Mining (+0.8%), both the highest since February, and Utilities which dipped -0.1%, but far better than the prior two months' -1.6% and -2.8% declines on "cooler|warmer" weather. Parallel to the IP data the Capacity Utilization printed at 77.8, up from an upward revised 77.7 last month, and a fraction above expectations, leading to the first "beat" in the series since 2010 even though the headline number was 0.1 above the lowest print of 2013 to date. Alas, with the Old Normal average in the 80+ range, there is much room to go before the legacy manufacturing slack is absorbed. One thing is certain: QE is not helping.
- India Joins Brazil to China in Efforts to Tighten Liquidity (BBG)
- Seven dead as police and protesters clash in Egypt (Reuters)
- U.S. senators fail to cut deal, head for showdown on filibuster (Reuters)
- Gasoline Tankers Beating Crude for First Time on Record (BBG)
- Smithfield's China bidders plan Hong Kong IPO after deal (Reuters)
- Bitcoin ETF plan struggles to find support (FT)
- Big Home Builders Gobble Up Rivals Starved for Cash (WSJ)
- Putin wants Snowden to go, but asylum not ruled out (Reuters)
- Zimmerman's lawyer calls prosecutors 'disgrace' to profession (Reuters)
- McDonald’s to bring Big Mac to Vietnam (FT)
- Korean Pilots Avoided Manual Flying, Former Trainers Say (BBG)
The last two weeks oil inventories fell by a record 20 million barrels, this event has never happened in 30 years of historical data. Something just doesn`t add up here...
Succinctly summarizing the positive and negative news, data, and market events of the week...
Do not worry, we are told on a daily basis, the rise in crude oil prices is transitory and won't affect gas prices and implicitly the US consumer's pocket book (already ravaged by spiking mortgage rates). Well, sorry to burst that little fantasy but gas prices in the last few days have surged (up 9c in 4 days). In fact today's jump is the largest in six months and pushes regular close to its all-time high for this time of year. Arguing not to worry as gas prices are more sensitive to Brent is a non-starter as it is very evident, despite the export of WTI, that gas prices are tracking the higher prices of crude oil and if history is any guide - with regard the lead-lag from crude to wholesale gasoline to retail, gas prices will be at new all-time highs for this time of year within the next month.
If Bernanke is looking for inflation under every rock and cranny, he may have just found it in today's PPI, if only in its energy components. While the headline June number was expected to jump sequentially by 0.5%, the same as May, the final print came at 0.8%, or 2.5% on a Y/Y basis - the highest since March 2012 - driven entirely by Energy good prices, which soared by 2.9% sequentially, the most since February's 3.2%. Foods PPI jumped by a more manageable 0.2%, although no matter how, it is inevitable that producers will now pass both of these to consumers whose purchasing power, especially at the gas pump, is about to be severely tested especially with fuel prices now once again rising at the fastest pace in months.
It looks as if China’s days of double-digit economic growth are well and truly over (at least, for the moment). Data that will be released next week (second quarter figures) will show a quarter-on-quarter slowdown that is setting in now for China’s gross domestic product. The figures will be issued on Monda
- Summers Said to Show Interest in Fed Chairmanship After Bernanke (BBG)
- Obama Tells Chinese He’s Disappointed Over Snowden Case (BBG)
- Texas Threat to Abortion Clinics Dodged at Flea Markets (BBG)
- A Peek at Trucking Data, and Then the Stock Surged (WSJ)
- China cuts growth target… or does it? (FT) - yes, it does, net of goal seeked Random () of course
- China Official Suggests Tolerance for Lower Growth (WSJ)
- Disney Says Wristband Boosts Sales in Disney World Test (BBG) - next up: implanted RFID chips
- Spain Prepares Cuts in Renewable-Energy Subsidies (WSJ)
- Bernanke Departure With Duke Heralds Cascade of Fed Appointments (BBG)
When Bloomberg blasts headlines like this: S&P FUTURES UP 1PT, AT SESSION HIGH, ERASE EARLIER 3.4PT DROP, you know Bernanke hasn't spoken in over 24 hours if a 4 point swing is headline worthy. That said, the exhausted S&P ramp is now going for the 6th consecutive session as all the losses since the June FOMC meeting have now been erased, the S&P is making constant all time highs, and seemingly the Fed's message on tapering and communication has been clarified. The message being that the Fed is tapering its monthly purchases but short-term rates aren't being lifted. Sadly, the market's first reaction was the right one but the herd of cats has once again been herded by the trading desk at Liberty 33.
- Risk on assets supported by yesterday's speech by Bernanke, who said that highly accommodative policy needed for the foreseeable future and that current unemployment of 7.6%, if anything, overstates health of US labour market.
- ECB's Weidmann said that the ECB has not tied itself to the mast with forward guidance, which does not rule out rate hikes when inflationary pressures emerge.
- The BoJ kept their monetary policy unchanged and retained plan for JPY 60-70trl annual rise in monetary base.
- Bernanke Supports Continuing Stimulus Amid Debate Over QE (BBG)
- Portugal president wants 'salvation' deal, including opposition (Reuters)
- Egypt has less than two months imported wheat left - ex-minister (Reuters)
- A rise in long-term interest rates is creating challenges and opportunities for the largest U.S. banks. (WSJ)
- BoJ says Japanese economy is ‘recovering’ (FT)
- More Chinese cities likely to curb auto sales (Reuters)
- PC Shipments Fall for 5th Quarter (BBG)
- Property Crushes Hedge Funds in Alternative Markets (BBG)
- New aid gives Greece summer respite before showdown (Reuters)
- Rajoy Punishes Exporters Sustaining Spain’s Economy (BBG)
The only story this morning remains Bernanke's after hours speech, which solidly trumped the FOMC minutes in market impact, and which, in addition to ramping US equity futures to just about new all time highs, sent the EURUSD soaring by almost the same amount (+300 pips) as the actual QE1 announcement on March 18, 2009. Such is the power of verbal currency warfare, when Bernanke hasn't acutally done anything and merely hinted the Fed is as confused as ever about what to do. Of course, as Commerzbank notes this morning, the U.S. economy would have to lose a lot of momentum for the Fed to cancel tapering, and the central bank would only expand the purchase program if the economy collapses, but none of that matters to the "wealth effect" for the 1% where economic destruction simply means more wealth.
Bonds and silver ended the day lower, gold and stocks unch, and WTI crude (and RBOB - back over $3.00) notably higher. While the Nasdaq, Russell, and Trannies are comfortably above the FOMC meeting levels (from 6/19), the Dow and S&P struggled to hold it into the close after the extreme swings that the FOMC minutes dragged through the markets. Maria B might say 'off the lows', others may say 'off the highs', but it seems the machines had it all under control as the S&P 500 closed at VWAP (amid the total lack of clarity that the minutes provided). Financials underperformed (but remain green from FOMC 6/19) along with energy - as Brent-WTI was crushed to below $2, historically average around $1.
Revenues are declining. Hence the need to cut costs. Solution: offshoring to a cheap country! And it's not the only one.