Futures Flat With Greece In Spotlight; UBS Reveals Rigging Settlement; Inventory Surge Grows Japan GDPSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/20/2015 07:00 -0400
The only remarkable macroeconomic news overnight was out of Japan where we got the Q1 GDP print of 2.4% coming in well above consensus of 1.6%, and higher than the 1.1% in Q4. Did it not snow in Japan this winter? Does Japan already used double, and maybe triple, "seasonally-adjusted" data? We don't know, but we do know that both Japan and Europe have grown far faster than the US in the first quarter.
- China’s Record Capital Outflows Spark Financial Stability Fears (FT)
- U.K. Inflation Falls Below Zero for First Time Since 1960 (BBG)
- Islamic State Solidifies Foothold in Libya to Expand Reach (WSJ)
- Judge sentences 11 Afghan police over lynching of woman in Kabul (Reuters)
- The $18 Trillion Global Economic Boost If Everything Went Right (BBG)
- Eurozone Prices Confirmed Flat Year-on-Year in April, Core Inflation Inches Higher (Reuters)
- Greek Finances to Stagger On Longer Than You Think (BBG)
- Athens sees EU deal soon, Greeks' approval of government stance dwindles (Reuters)
In a stunningly honest turn of events - though likely self-preserving - a number of senior financial services executives are reportedly urged authorities around the world to bolster their crisis-busting arsenals amid fears that ultra-low interest rates have increased the risks of financial instability. As The FT reports, the heads of companies including HSBC, UBS and BlackRock will on Monday release a joint statement demanding policy-makers "address emerging market inefficiencies in the financial system, such as over-exuberance within asset classes." Policy-makers must “lean against something that is making people feel good but is actually going to give them a hangover they will find difficult to cope with."
Shape Of Greek Endgame Emerges: IMF Discussed "Cyprus-Like" Plan After Tsipras Warned Of Looming DefaultSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/18/2015 09:46 -0400
The IMF discussed a "Cyrpus-like" take it or leave it solution for Greece last week, FT reports. With the countdown to outright insolvency down to two weeks, PM Tsipras will meet EU leaders in Latvia on Thursday to make one last push for a last minute deal. Meanwhile, the fate of the Greek banking sector hangs in the balance as the ECB has come under fire for the monetary financing of the Greek government.
Gold topped $1230 this morning - breaking to 3-month highs and up over 4% year-to-date - up 5 days in a row for the best run in 4 months. The surge comes causally or correlatedly coincidental with China's explicit shift into extraordinary measures (LTROs) but, as The FT reports, market participants are concerned that algo-based funds have created a "frenetic liquidity" environment as everyone from real money to central banks "aren’t trading the gold market the way they used to."
We need to wake up....and FAST!!!
"China is reversing course on a major effort to tackle its hefty local government debt problem, marking a setback for a priority reform aimed at getting its financial house in order," WSJ reports. The abrupt about-face by Beijing, which will now allow local governments to once again tap shadow banking conduits for high interest loans, comes as the PBoC gets set to ramp up an LTRO-like program designed to essentially monetize trillions in local government debt. The interplay between the debt swap program, Chinese-style LTROs, and the decision to drop the ban on LGFV financing could set the stage for a dramatic increase in the country's already massive debt pile.
"To critics who warn that pumping trillions of dollars into the economy in a short period is bound to drive up inflation, today's central bankers point to stagnant consumer prices and say, 'Look, Ma, no inflation.' But this ignores the fact that when money is nominally free, strange things happen, and today record-low rates are fueling an unprecedented bout of inflation across asset prices."
"Banks want assurances from U.S. regulators that they will not be barred from certain businesses before agreeing to plead guilty to criminal charges over the manipulation of foreign exchange rates, causing a delay in multibillion-dollar settlements," Reuters reports, reinforcing the idea that 'guilty' pleas from Wall Street on FX rigging will ultimately mean absolutely nothing because once the fine print is inserted into the settlements and once the SEC grants every bank's request for a waiver, it will back to business as usual.
"... some stressed more than others about it but all concluded that the last few weeks in rates were eye-opening. No-one really knew how to hedge or price for it in a world where you need to hit short-term performance targets. This supports my view that liquidity premiums will never be properly priced in this cycle and investors will stay in assets too long in order to maximise short-term performance.... when this cycle does end there is likely to be savage moves in markets where either investors need to sell or where they are able to sell."
"Mark Dearlove, a Barclays Plc executive who was involved in the manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, was named as the U.K. lender’s head of markets for Asia-Pacific," Bloomberg reported earlier today, proving once again that not only do those involved in rigging, fixing, and otherwise manipulating every benchmark rate and market on the planet not go to prison, they in fact get promoted.
The Justice Department looks set to extract "unprecedented" guilty pleas from some of Wall Street's largest banks in connection with their role in rigging FX markets. Nevertheless, fears of triggering an "Arthur Andersen effect" will ensure that once again, TBTF institutions will suffer no material consequences.
Putting Uber's latest valuation in perspective, according to CapIq there were just 95 companies in the S&P500 with a market cap over $50 billion, suggesting Uber which did not exist when Lehman filed for bankruptcy, now has a market capitalization greater than 80% of the S&P. Specifically, at a $50 billion valuation, Uber is more "valuable" than FedEx, Marck, Deutsche Bank, General Dynamics, Nissan, Time Warner, Yahoo, Credit Suisse, Heineken and many other companies.
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.
Explaining US equity prices in one simple chart...