- German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces growing resistance within her ruling coalition over expanding the powers of the EFSF, according to WSJ. Meanwhile, a senior German government lawmaker insisted that the parliament should have a greater say in future Eurozone bailouts
- According to S&P, slow growth increases risk of a double-dip recession in Europe
- The appetite for risk was dented further after a 10-year BTP auction from Italy registered above 5% average yield
- The International Accounting Standards Board criticised the inconsistent way in which banks and insurers have been writing down the value of their Greek sovereign debt
- Strength was observed in USD and JPY amid risk-averse trade
Positive comments from German Chancellor Merkel on her coalition's support towards enhancing the power of the EFSF, together with comments from Moody's that the Spanish proposed fiscal rule is credit positive for the sovereign promoted risk-appetite during the session. European equities traded higher with particular strength seen in financials after European officials dismissed a suggestion by the IMF's chief Lagarde on a mandatory recapitalisation of European banks. Elsewhere, weakness in the USD-Index provided support to EUR/USD, GBP/USD and commodity-linked currencies, however EUR did come under some pressure following lower than expected German states' CPI data. In other forex news, weakness in CHF was observed across the board, however no confirmation of any intervention has surfaced. Meanwhile, according to a document, Finland has proposed the creation of a Luxembourg-based company to hold Greek assets as security for new loans to Greece. The document further said that in case of a Greek default on the EFSF loans, ownership of holding company shares would transfer to the member states.
Two interactive maps, the same disturbing message.
- Markets focus on Fed Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech in anticipation of getting a glimpse into the Fed’s monetary policy stance going forward
- S&P sovereign ratings head, David Beers, said that the AAA rating for the US is not likely in the near term, and S&P is looking very carefully at France’s evolving fiscal strategy
- Speculation that the German Chancellor Merkel may be ousted as early as September weighed on the DAX future
- RBA’s chief Stevens said that the central bank may act to lessen the upward pressure on inflation, which helped AUD
- CHF weakened on the back of market talk that the SNB may announce further measures to curb the currency's strength
Guest Post: Federal Reserve Policy Mixed With Extreme Weather Has Put The World On A Fast Track To Revolution And WarSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/25/2011 22:39 -0400
There are many factors that clearly demonstrate why it would be disastrous for the Federal Reserve to repeat their vicious Quantitative Easing (QE) policy. If you want to know a significant reason why they cannot get away with another round of QE, here is an equation for you: (Quantitative Easing + Extreme Weather = Revolution + World War III)
After 3 months ago everyone was convinced there was no QE3 imminent ever, all it took for the lemming majority to scramble to the other side of the boat was a 20% drop in stocks. Since then, following a brief stabiliziation in stocks, based precisely on beliefs that Bernanke would once again pull something from this bag of goodies, the lemmingrati once again shifted back, and the majority now pretends it does not expect anything out of Jackson Hole tomorrow, even though it obviously does, as otherwise the market would resume its plunge. UBS earlier conducted a survey among money managers, finding that 50% of the 82 respondents expect Bernanke to limit Jackson Hole remarks only to reviewing the rationale for the Fed to pledge ZIRP until mid 2013. Then there are those who actually told the truth, such as Goldman which, in a note yesterday, says that $1 trillion in QE3 is an absolute minimum if the Fed wants to get GDP higher by at least 0.5%. To wit: "Taken together, our analysis suggests that QE3 is unlikely to be a panacea for growth. Nonetheless, our estimates suggests that $1trn of asset purchases–or an equivalent increase in the duration of the Fed's balance sheet–might increase GDP growth by up to 0.5 percentage point in the first year after any announcement of QE3." And since we are talking the truth here, why not stop pretending you care about GDP - just think of the marginal impact on Wall Street bonuses...
Muammar Gadhaffi’s 42 year-old regime is in its death rattle – maybe today, maybe tomorrow, his administration that has ruled Libya with a quixotic and brutal hand is about to pass, in Trotsky’s piquant phrase, “into the dustbin of history,” prompting the question “what next?” The glittering prize is Libya’s 1.6 million barrels per day output of high quality crude, which accounted for about 2 percent of global oil output drawn from Africa's largest oil reserves, whose exports have been stymied since the NATO-led campaign began six months ago. Projecting into the future, analysts believe that has reserves to sustain its previous level of production for 80 years. Who will eventually control this asset, with oil prices currently at roughly $84 a barrel, generating an income of more than $12.6 million per day? Italy’s ENI? France’s Total? Britain’s BP? U.S. companies? Or, will China add Libyan future production to its string of acquisitions, as it is already China’s eleventh largest source of imports? The crystal ball is murky indeed, but when the uprising against Gadhaffi began six months ago, according to the Chinese media, about 36,000 Chinese were in Libya working on 50 projects.
Who says hedge funds are ambivalent about the current market? As of last week, they have not been more bearish on the S&P since before Lehman. From SocGen: "Hedge funds have opened the biggest net short positions since early 2008, concentrated on the most liquid segment of the market, i.e. the S&P 500. Meanwhile, positioning on small caps hardly moved (slight increase in net shorts on the Russell 2000). Surprisingly, they actually stuck to their net long positions on Technology (Nasdaq)." As usual, the amusingly named "hedge" funds defy their purported nature (as in, to hedge), and merely pursue momentum, and should be more appropriately called "career risk" funds as the only variable is doing precisely what everyone else is doing: remember - to get a bonus at the end of the year, you don't have to outrun the market, you just have to outrun the biggest institutional fool out there. "Hedge funds have closed their net short positions on 10-year Treasuries and strongly diminished their net shorts on the long end (30Y), as recession fears have crunched expectations for higher bond yields, and endorsed by the Fed’s announcement that it will keep rates low until at least 2013." Hedge fund infatuation with metals continues: "Hedge funds’ enthusiasm for gold and platinum remains strong, as indicated by the high net long positions on these metals. Meanwhile, net long positions on base metals (copper) have been strongly reduced. Net long positions on crude oil remain relatively stable, less impressed by the perceived recession threats." Expect to see numerous short covering sprees until the end of the year, even as the market continues it secular decline back to fair value somewhere around 400.
- Moody's downgraded Japan's long-term sovereign rating by one notch to Aa3, with a stable outlook
- Financials came under pressure during the early European session after figures from the ECB revealed a sharp jump in lending to banks, re-igniting funding concerns
- The Greek/German spread widened partly on news that Troika has warned Greece on public payroll and public mergers
- The German IFO report was not as bad as some analysts expected, which provided appetite for risk
WTI and Brent crude futures traded under pressure in the early European session weighed upon by the news that Libyan rebels have taken control of most of capital Tripoli and increasing prospects that the ongoing civil war may come to an end soon. However, as the session progressed, prices came off their earlier lows with a weakening USD-Index. News from Libya also supported the oil & gas sector in the hope that companies may resume their business in the country, which also helped European equities to trade higher. Equities received additional strength on the back of early market talk of asset re-allocation from fixed income into equities, which exerted downward pressure on Bunds. Elsewhere, weakness in the USD-Index underpinned the strength in EUR/USD, GBP/USD and commodity-linked currencies, however CHF weakened across the board partly on the back of market talk that the SNB was active in one-month forward market. In other forex news, a sharp uptick was observed in USD/JPY overnight, however there was no confirmation of any forex intervention by Japan. Moving into the North American open, the economic calendar remains thin, however the Chicago Fed report from the US is scheduled for later in the session. In fixed income, another Fed's Outright Treasury Coupon Purchase operation in the maturity range of Nov'21-Aug'41, with a purchase target of USD 0.5-1bln is also due later.