Fed Chair Yellen will be presenting her semi-annual monetary policy testimony - sometimes called the "Humphrey-Hawkins" testimony - today (Senate Banking Committee) and tomorrow (House Financial Services Committee). She is not expected to stray too far from the most recent FOMC statement's "On the one hand, there is recent strong labor market data; but on the other hand, the broader set of US activity data has not been as robust recently, and the inflation outlook has dimmed," uncertainty. The Q&A will of course contain the most fireworks (if last year's Yellen vs Warren deathmatch is anything to go by). Notably, The Fed will also release its semi-annual Monetary Policy Report (which last year contained the warning "valuation metrics in some sectors do appear substantially stretched.")
The nebulous threat of NIRP in the US "some time in the future" became tangible after J.P. Morgan Chase, the largest US bank by assets (and second largest in the US by total derivative notional) is preparing to charge large institutional customers for some deposits. WSJ adds that JPM "is aiming to reduce the affected deposits by billions of dollars, with a focus on bringing the number down this year. "The moves have thrown into question a cornerstone of banking, in which deposits have been seen as one of the industry’s most attractive forms of funding."
- Yellen faces Senate grilling on Fed rate policy, transparency (Reuters)
- Big Banks Face Scrutiny Over Pricing of Metals (WSJ)
- Greece makes more concessions to euro zone, Germany sets vote (Reuters)
- Time for another executive order: Longer Lives Hit Companies With Pension Plans Hard (WSJ)
- The Syria invasion "false flag" approaches: Islamic State in Syria abducts at least 90 from Christian villages (Reuters)
- Why Lenders Love the $2.5 Million Home Loan (BBG)
- Reuters journalist Maria Golovnina dies in Pakistan aged 34 (Reuters)
- Qatar’s Ties to Militants Strain Alliance (WSJ)
According to the WSJ, "prosecutors in the Justice Department’s antitrust division are scrutinizing the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has opened a civil investigation, these people said. The agencies have made initial requests for information, including a subpoena from the CFTC to HSBC Holdings PLC related to precious-metals trading, the bank said in its annual report Monday. Who is involved in this latest gold-rigging scandal? Why everyone! ... which makes it immediately obvious why the European regulator had to promptly cover up the whole affair. Under scrutiny are Bank of Nova Scotia , Barclays PLC, Credit Suisse Group AG , Deutsche Bank AG , Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Société Générale SA, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and UBS AG , according to one of the people close to the investigation.
Despite endless proclamations that the world has 'escaped' the financial crisis, the data (and actions) simply do not back that up. The constant propagandizing of either a) US is economically strong and will drive the world's growth engine (factually incorrect), or b) the rest of the world is about to revert to higher growth seems entirely anathema to the fact that in 2015, we have seen a wave of monetary easing - most recently today by Israel. That makes it 20 central banks that have cut rates (or eased policy) in the last few weeks - covering over 50% of the world's population.
When the German/Eurogroup decision came to throw either their own biggest banks, or the grandmas of a co-member nation of the currency union under the bus, they didn't even hesitate since they have control over the perfect vehicle for such tasks: the ECB (an allegedly neutral institution that in reality peddles political influence in a way that guarantees the poorer countries will always wind up footing the bill). For those of you who don’t want to wake up one day to find their own grandmas crushed under the same bus the Greek yiayia’s are under as we speak, it would be beneficial to ponder how perverse this all is, not just the isolated events but the entire underlying system that produces them. Banks are more important than people, certainly grandmas.
The Eurogroup's apparent 'non-negotiation' stance with Greece reflects one main worry we suspect - conceding to Greece would increase rather than reduce political risk, emboldening the resurgent anti-austerity and anti-euor extremist parties across Europe. With Spain and France seeing 'extremist' parties in the lead, the following chart is likely the one that keeps Dijsselbloem up at night...
Well that didn't take long...
*GREECE TO SUBMIT LIST OF REFORM COMMITMENTS TO EU TOMORROW: OFFICIAL
So we are less than 3 days into the 'new deal' and Greece has missed its first deadline. We can't help but wonder if the initial draft, just as we warned, was thrown up all over by the Germans.
While Friday's 'agreement' to agree to agreeing a deal that would be agreeable between The Eurogroup (and its 'Institutions') and Greece was heralded by the markets as a success for avoiding a Greek Exit (Grexit), there are numerous hurdles left in the next few months that could derail this process and bring about the re-introduction of the Drachma. As Deutsche Bank concludes, Greece’s (reluctant) request for a bailout extension is the first step in what is likely to be a difficult path to compromise...
With Greece moving to the, ahem, periphery if only for a few days/hours, this week the US calendar returns to the forefront with Fed Chair Yellen’s semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow night and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, which the market will be paying very close attention to for the reconciliation of how the Fed plans to continue on its rate-hiking path despite rapidly deteriorating US macro data that has started 2015 at the worst pace (in terms of downside surprises) since Lehman.
- Tsipras Tamed as Economists Declare Greece Loses Austerity Fight (BBG)
- Greece readies reform plans to first sign of leftist unrest (Reuters)
- Yellen Faces Congress Amid Direst Threat to Fed Since Dodd-Frank (BBG)
- The war must go on: Kiev says cannot withdraw heavy weapons as attacks persist (Reuters)
- Ukraine fears spread of war after blast in eastern city (Reuters)
- Denmark Dismisses Report It Could Consider Capital Controls (BBG)
- Deadline Nears on Homeland Security Funding Impasse (WSJ)
- Gross Fund Hurt by Oil’s Plunge Amid Bets on Energy Bonds (BBG)
"The median stock sports a P/E and EV/EBITDA of 18.0x and 11.0x, respectively. These valuations rank in the 99th percentile of both P/E and EV/EBITDA multiples since 1976. The proverbial “smart money” is selling, not buying. Completed private equity sales through M&A and via follow-on offerings have both surged to record levels measured by both number of deals and by transaction value. A total of 350 follow-on sales by private equity firms were completed in 2013 and 2014, a 70% jump from the 210 transactions completed in 2011 and 2012."
A bank which has €54.7 trillion, or a little over $62 trillion at today's exchange rate, in derivatives - a number that is 20 times greater than the GDP of Germany - just failed a central bank stress test due to lacking governance and risk management controls and, just maybe, has insufficient capital? What can possibly go wrong.