European Central Bank
November 21 - Gold $1197.50 up $6.80 – Silver $16.40 up 26 cents
Bill Cosby And GATA
Recent polls show pro-default parties growing popular in peripheral euro-area countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain. As Bloomberg Brief's Maxime Sbaihi notes, in a depressed economic environment, their promises to restructure public debt might soon bring them to power and tempt traditional parties to adopt their ideas. This return of political risk in the euro area doesn’t appear to be priced in by market participants. As Italy's Beppe Grillo recently exclaimed, "we will leave the Euro and bring down this system of bankers, of scum."
"QE is a necessary condition for recovery in Europe, but is not sufficient in itself. The question is where does this bridge take us? The eurozone can survive a couple more years of miserable growth, but it can’t go on forever like this before people lose hope. There is political risk almost everywhere."
The financial system is lurching towards the next round of the Great Crisis that began in 2007.
Can beggars be choosers again? Judging by the drop in Greek bond prices, the answer is no. As Bloomberg reports, Greek PM Samaras is pushing back against Troika demands for up to $3 billion more savings (i.e. cuts to spending) in 2015. "It's crucial that Greek authorities work with the troika to complete the current review,” but with the government in Athens refusing to concede there is a funding hole, the standoff means Greece may miss a Dec. 8 deadline for agreement on the steps required to unlock the 'aid' tranche.
“Unconventional measures might entail the purchase of a variety of assets, one of which is sovereign bonds,” the ECB president said in Brussels yesterday in answer to a question during his quarterly testimony to lawmakers at the European Parliament. Draghi and the uber doves appear determined to ignore the failure of QE in both the U.S. and Japan.
Despite the promise of increased transparency, if you felt that deciphering Fed policy (other than uber-dovish, lower-for-longer, willing-to-wait, BTFD) became more and more confusing as the last few years progressed, you would not be alone. In fact, the complexity of the Fed's statements (not just the wordcount which we have noted numerous times) has surged from "Secondary School" reading level throughout Greenspan's era to "Post-Grad" comprehension at the peak of Bernanke's reign. Yellen, so far, has reverted modestly. As The Economist notes, this increased baffle-em-with-bullshit "Fedspeak" complexity is very reminiscent of the George Orwell's 1984-esque "oldspeak" or "doublespeak" used to keep a quiescent public bemused.
A stunner this morning by ECB board member Yves Mersch who said earlier today that the ECB balance-sheet expansion is "neither an end in itself nor a fetish." As quoted by Bloomberg, the ECB member said that "the effect on rates that comes along with it is at best a collateral benefit." Nothing new here: we have discussed why unlike Japan and the US, the biggest gating factor for Europe is the presence of freely-available, unencumbered collateral that could, at least in theory, be purchased by the ECB. Which brings us to the Mersch punchline: "Theoretically the ECB could purchase other assets such as gold, shares, ETFs to fulfill its promise of adopting further unconventional measures to counter a longer period of low inflation."
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- Frankfurt Open for Yuan Clearing as Liquidity Rises (BBG)
- Obama defends healthcare law after adviser criticism (Reuters)
- Michael Hasenstab Bets Big in Controversial Places (WSJ)
- Facebook seeks foothold in your office (FT)
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The markets have been pushing new all-time highs this past week as earnings season begins to wind down. Starting next week, much of the focus will shift back to the economy and holiday retail sales. Expectations are for a robust season but the early arrival of winter could have a more negative effect on the economy than anticipated should current weather patterns persist.
Next week, Italy's Beppe Grillo - the leader of the Italian Five Star Movement - will start collecting signatures with the aim of getting a referendum in Italy on leaving the euro "as soon as possible," just as was done in 1989. As Grillo tells The BBC in this brief but stunning clip, "we will leave the Euro and bring down this system of bankers, of scum." With two-thirds of Parliament apparently behind the plan, Grillo exclaims "we are dying, we need a Plan B to this Europe that has become a nightmare - and we are implementing it," raging that "we are not at war with ISIS or Russia! We are at war with the European Central Bank," that has stripped us of our sovereignty.
‘Gold wars’ are intensifying with just 16 days left to polling day in the Swiss Gold Initiative. If the Swiss vote to revert to having 20% of currency reserves in gold, the Swiss National Bank will be forced to make huge purchases of gold bullion. Switzerland and its ‘Gold Initiative’ would contribute to driving the price of gold higher - likely in the short term and contributing to higher prices in the long term. Understanding the important recent past and what has led to the forthcoming Swiss Gold Initiative is important and why we look at it today. This context is all important and is essential reading for all who wish to understand the key issues in the debate, for all who invest in and own gold internationally and for all Swiss people.
$8 trillion in QE spent by Central Banks failed to generate any sustained GDP growth or jobs. So what did the Central Banks do? They stopped talking about growth and began talking about “inflation.”
Simply put, the dollar's rise could destabilize the entire global financial system. To understand why this is so, we have to start with the source of the risk: the world's central banks.
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