The Bank of Korea - South Korea’s central bank - released data that says South Korean domestic deposits have reached 16.19 billion Chinese renminbi in July this year, which is a 55-fold increase from the same period last year when renminbi deposits accounted for only 290 million. The signs are clearly all there. Everyone realizes that the present system is on its way out and are taking appropriate measures. The Russians, the Germans, the French, the Brits, the Canadians, the Koreans…
- IRELAND SELLS 10-YEAR BONDS AT RECORD-LOW YIELD OF 1.63%
- GERMAN 10-YEAR BUNDS RISE; YIELD FALLS 2 BASIS POINTS TO 0.88%
- DUTCH 10-YEAR GOVERNMENT BOND YIELD DROPS TO RECORD-LOW 1.021%
- PORTUGUESE 10-YEAR BOND YIELD DROPS TO RECORD-LOW 2.942%
- FRENCH 10-YEAR GOVERNMENT BOND YIELDS DROP TO RECORD-LOW 1.214%
- U.S. 10-YEAR NOTE YIELD DROPS TO 2.296%, LOWEST SINCE JUNE 2013
- SPANISH 10-YEAR BOND YIELD DROPS TO RECORD-LOW 2.038%
- FINNISH 10-YEAR YIELD DROPS TO 1% FOR FIRST TIME ON RECORD
The most surprising data point in today's 10 Year auction was the plunge in Directs, which tumbled from 13.5% to only 6.6%, which was the lowest since August of 2012 when they ended up with 5.2%. Just how much of this lack of Direct interest is due to Bill Gross no longer being on the bid? And what happens to future auctions in a world without the Old "New Normal" Pimco?
Relative to stock market indices, broad commodity indices are now at their lowest levels since the late-1990s dot com boom. Key commodity price ratios, such as those between precious and industrial metals, are already at levels associated with financial crises such as that of 2008. In other words, there is already ‘blood on the commodity streets’, presenting investors and commodity traders with potentially attractive opportunities.
Despite a low-volume melt-up in stocks off yesterday's European close lows, US equities closed lower on the week with small caps once again the laggards. Even as stocks closed red, the costs of protection in credit and equity markets tumbled as the last 2 days volumeless liftathon in stocks took place against the background of very modest Treasury selling - this has the stench of high-yield bond exposure being significantly reduced (and synthetic hedges being lifted) - something we saw Wednesday into the close. The USDollar rose the most in 15 months today (up for the 12th week in a row - longest streak since Bretton Woods) led by Cable and EUR weakness. Jobs data losses in bonds today were largely reversed with TSY yields ending the week down 7-9bps. Commodities were ugly with silver and oil (under $90) joined at the hip and gold closing below $1200 for first time this year. The Russell 2000 closed lower for the 5th week in a row, the worst streak since Aug 2011.
Good news... the unemployment rate is the lowest since mid 2008... but it seems the "good" news has now been understood as 'meh' news since it does nothing to stall the tightening path the Fed is on. Equity markets initial kneejerk higher has been roundtripped... Treasury yields blew 4-5bps higher but have now roundtripped... The USDollar remains bid but is also rolling over and the initial drops in gold and silver are reversing higher.
- Citigroup 175K
- HSBC 200K
- Deutsche Bank 200K
- JP Morgan 225K
- Morgan Stanley 230K
- Goldman Sachs 230K
- BofAML 235K
- UBS 250K
In is only fitting that a week that has been characterized by deteriorating macroeconomic data, and abysmal European data, would conclude with yet another macro disappointment in the form of Markit's sentiment surveys, for non-manufacturing/service (and composite) PMIs in Europe which missed almost entirely across the board, with Spain down from 58.1 to 55.8 (exp. 57.0), Italy down from 49.8 to 48.8 (exp. 49.8), France down from 49.4 to 48.4 (exp. 49.4), and in fact only Russia (!) and Germany rising, with the latter growing from 55.4 to 55.7, above the 55.4 expected, which however hardly compensates for the contractionary manufacturing PMI reported earlier this week. As a result, the Composite Eurozone PMI down from 52.3 to 52.0, missing expectations, as only Germany saw a service PMI increase. And yet, despite or rather thanks to this ongoing economic weakness, futures have ignored all the negative and at last check were higher by 9 points, or just over 0.4%, as the algos appear to have reconsidered Draghi's quite explicit words, and seem to be convinced that his lack of willingness to commit is merely "pent up" commitment for a future ECB meeting. That or, more likely just another short squeeze especially with the "all important" non-farm payrolls number due out in just over 2 hours, which for the past 24 hours has been hyped up as sure to bounce strongly from the very disappointing, sub-200K August print.
An ugly and very heavy volume flush into the European close was followed by the kind of miraculous v-shaped low volume recovery traders have become used to in US equity markets. Having broken below several key technical levels, high beta Russell and Trannies soared (fortgetful it seems that Europe will once again open for business in about 8 hours) to close comfortably in the green on the day. VIX was rammed lower (under 16) to support the exuberance along with EURJPY and AUDJPY. The USDollar faded to close unchanged on the week. Gold flatlined while silver slipped. Oil collapsed early on only to v-shape recover to close modestly higher on the day. Treasury yields bounced 3-5bps higher (after yesterday's huge plunge) but remain 7-10bps down on the week. By the close, The Russell 2000 had its best day in 6 weeks and the S&P's buying-panic scramble to perfectly unchanged - miraculously avoiding the 4-day losing streak not seen since Sept 2013.
While we already documented the crash in Japanese stocks earlier, the biggest market development overnight is the plunge in crude, with both Brent and WTI plunging, the latter sliding under $90 for the first time in 17 months, extending yesterday's selloff after Saudi Aramco cut Arab Light OSP in Asia to 2008 levels. Brent drops to lowest since June 2012. This also confirms that the global slowdown whose can is kicked every so often in a new bout of money printing, is arriving fast. That, and the imminent crackdown on today's Hong Kong protest will likely be the biggest stories of the day, even as the spread of Ebola to the US is sure to keep everhone on edge.
Junk bond investors suffered their biggest quarterly loss since 2011, losing 1.7% in Q3 pushing yields up to one-year highs (despite Treasury yield compression). Managers, knowing full well the underlying liquidity to handle any further selling is not there are out en masse explaining that "high-yield should bounce back in the fourth quarter," relying on the fact that 'historical' defaults are still low and the economy is recovering (as if that's not priced in already). The worst hit segment of the junk market is CCCs and below - at 22-month lows - as Bernanke and Yellen forced investors ever further along the risk spectrum for yield. Of course, equity markets (Russell 2000 aside) have ignored much of this decline until recently, but the plunge in leveraged loan issuance suggests all that cheap-buy-back-funding is rapidly disappearing (even for the best credits and biggest names).
A quick anecdote that should quickly confirm just how broken everything is: earlier today MarkIt reported European manufacturing data that was atrocious, with both German and European PMIs tumbling to levels not seen since mid-2013, and with Europe's growth dynamo now in a contraction phase clearly signalling what has been long overdue: a European triple dip recession. So what happens? Moments later Germany sells €4.1 billion in 10 Year paper at a record low yield below 1%.... even as the Bundesbank had to retain a whopping 17.84% of the auction, the highest since June, with only €4.663 Bn in bids for the €5 Bn target, the first miss since May 21. So hurray for the central banks, boo for the economy, and as for that mythical creature, once known as bond vigilantes, our condolences: good luck figuring out what the hell just happened, and good luck recalling what a free market is.
As Warren Buffett himself once said, "If you’ve been playing poker for half an hour and you still don’t know who the patsy is, you're the patsy." The central bank bond market poker game has been in train for a good deal longer than half an hour, and the stakes have never been higher. Sometimes, if you simply can't fathom the new rules of the game, it's surely better not to play. But such madness is not limited to the world of bonds. Malign, unthinking mental slavery has fixed itself upon the equity markets, too. And as stock markets have powered ahead, index trackers have enjoyed their highest ever retail inflows.
US equity markets were sliding into the Chicago PMI print as early release indications proved correct and it missed expectations. Having flip-flopped from worst since July 2013 to almost cycle highs last month, Chicago PMI printed 60.5 (vs 62.0 expectations) hindered a drop in new orders and production. The silver lining, the employment index improved modestly. Prices Paid surged to its highest since 2012.