European Central Bank
As frequent readers will recall, one of our favorite series of posts describing the "Walking Dead" monetary zombie-infested continent that is Europe is the one showing the abysmal state Europe's credit creation machinery, operated by none other than the Bank of Italy's, Goldman's ECB's Mario Draghi, finds itself in. As a reminder, it was as recently as September when we found that "Mario Draghi's Nightmare Gets Worse" because "European Loans Declined At Record Rate." To our complete lack of surprise, when a few hours ago the ECB released the latest monetary and credit creation update for the month of September, it showed... no change. Or rather, while loans to the private sector are at all time record lows, that other metric which Draghi at least has some direct control over (since he obviously can't control the amount of confidence in the system aside from threats of brute force), M3, just had its lowest pace of increase since January 2012.
Busy, Lackluster Overnight Session Means More Delayed Taper Talk, More "Getting To Work" For Mr YellenSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/25/2013 06:00 -0500
It has been a busy overnight session starting off with stronger than expected food and energy inflation in Japan even though the trend is now one of decline while non-food, non-energy and certainly wage inflation is nowhere to be found (leading to a nearly 3% drop in the Nikkei225), another SHIBOR spike in China (leading to a 1.5% drop in the SHCOMP) coupled with the announcement of a new prime lending rate (a form a Chinese LIBOR equivalent which one knows will have a happy ending), even more weaker than expected corporate earnings out of Europe (leading to red markets across Europe), together with a German IFO Business Confidence miss and drop for the first time in 6 months, as well as the latest M3 and loan creation data out of the ECB which showed that Europe remains stuck in a lending vacuum in which banks refuse to give out loans, a UK GDP print which came in line with expectations of 0.8%, where however news that Goldman tentacle Mark Carney is finally starting to flex and is preparing to unleash a loan roll out collateralized by "assets" worse than Gree Feta and oilve oil. Of course, none of the above matters: only thing that drives markets is if AMZN burned enough cash in the quarter to send its stock up by another 10%, and, naturally, if today's Durable Goods data will be horrible enough to guarantee not only a delay of the taper through mid-2014, but potentially lend credence to the SocGen idea that the Yellen-Fed may even announce an increase in QE as recently as next week.
Across the board, we are seeing European bank stocks (most notably Italian) trading halted. The 5-7% plunge in prices - just when everyone is proclaiming victory in Europe - reflects an apparent concern that the tougher-than-expected European bank stress-tests will expose the Italian banks for the bloated sovereign debt issuance soaks that they have become. As Draghi himself noted, in a desparate plea to maintain some credibility "banks do need to fail" to prove the credibility of the exercise, adding "if they do have to fail, they have to fail. There’s no question about that.". Spain is also under pressure and it would appear the "smart"money that chose to catch some knives in Greek banks may just lose more than one finger...
Troika Wants To Strip Greece Of Defense, Auto Industries, Greece Balks: The Troika-Greece Can-Kicking Toxic LoopSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/23/2013 08:14 -0500
While the world awaits with bated breath until the moment that Greece can no longer afford to pretend it is solvent and has to apply for its third bailout from Europe, or else threaten to take down Deutsche Bank and its tens of trillions in gross derivatives, the world has to listen to the constant jawboning from the Troika which for the past nearly 4 years continues to express its displeasure with Greece, and yet still provides every Euro of funding the imploding country requests. In the latest iteration of this charade, the Troika has apparently flexed its muscles and made it clear that if Greece wants to receive the next round of cash, it will have to shutter the state-owned Hellenic Defense Systems (EAS) and the Hellenic Vehicle Industry (ELVO). In short: shut down the domestic defense and auto industries, and we'll talk. Oh, and if as a result you have to import your guns and cars from Germany (whose generous funding has kept you afloat so far), and have to take out Deutsche Bank loans to pay for them, so be it.
- Top China Banks Triple Debt Write-Offs as Defaults Loom (BBG)
- PBOC suspends open market operations again (Global Times)
- Eurozone bank shares fall after ECB outlines health check plan (FT)
- O-Care falling behind (The Hill)
- Key House Republican presses tech companies on Obamacare glitches (Reuters)
- J.P. Morgan Faces Another Potential Huge Payouta (WSJ)
- Yankees Among 10 MLB Teams Valued at More Than $1 Billion (BBG)
- Free our reporter, begs newspaper as China cracks down on journalists (Reuters)
- Peugeot Reviews Cost-Saving Alliance With GM (WSJ)
There was some hilarious news overnight: such that supposedly Spain's GDP rose 0.1% in Q3 thus ending a 2+ year recession. There is no point to even comment on this "recovery" - we will merely remind that starving your economy of imports for the sake of generating a GDP-boosting trade surplus, while consumption declines, solves nothing and point readers to charts of Spanish non-performing loans, housing prices, and unemployment, oh and the massive Bad Bank of course, and leave it at that. In terms of real news, futures are lower following a drubbing in Asia over the previously discussed concerns over tighter Chinese monetary policy. Amusingly, as Reuters notes, this has hit global shares still high on hopes of extended U.S. stimulus on Wednesday, when the dollar tentatively steadied at an eight-month low after its latest slide. The immediate casualty is the USDJPY, which continues to slide and is approaching the 200SMA. In short: fears that China may have resumed tapering have offset yesterday's hope that "horrible" job numbers mean no Fed tapering until mid-2014.... New Normal fundamentals.
Last week, the main area of focus was the political situation in the US where Democrats and Republicans finally agreed upon a short term fix to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling. The conclusion of this saw equity markets rally to all time highs in Europe and the US, with the USD continuing to slide as markets turn their attention to the Fed’s QE programme and push back expectations of when the central bank will begin to pull back on asset purchases. With the government now reopen, attention will turn to the numerous data releases that were delayed but will now take place over the next two weeks, including the jobs report which is due on Tuesday. The release of this report will once again be used to help predict when the Fed will begin to taper QE however, recent comments from Fed members have suggested that October is likely to be too soon trim bond buying due to the lack of key macroeconomic data and the unknown economic impact as a result of the government closing for 16 days.
Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni, a former deputy governor of the Bank of Italy, acknowledged that "more could have been done." He said political squabbling had complicated the government's work, but pointed out that that the budget keeps Italy's deficit below 3% of gross domestic product, as European Union rules require. "Everybody hates this budget, but the stock market is up and the spread is down," Mr. Saccomanni noted.
- FHFA Is Said to Seek at Least $6 Billion From BofA for MBS Sales (BBG)
- Record Pact Is on the Table, But J.P. Morgan Faces Fight (WSJ)
- Magnetar Goes Long Ohio Town While Shorting Its Tax Base (BBG)
- Mini-Wall Street' Rises in Hamptons (WSJ)
- Obama to call healthcare website glitches 'unacceptable' as fix sought (Reuters)
- Starbucks Charges Higher Prices in China, State Media Says (WSJ)
- Cruz Is Unapologetic as Republicans Criticize Shutdown (BBG)
- Berlusconi struggles to keep party united after revolt (Reuters)
- SAC Defections Accelerate as Cohen Approaches Settlement (BBG)
Following last week's last two day panic buying driven not by data (since in the US it has been delayed until late October and November, and elsewhere in the world it is just getting worse) but by the catalyst that the US isn't going to default (yes, that's all that is needed to push the S&P to all time highs) and just hopes that the tapering - that horrifying prospect of the Fed reducing its monthly monetization by $15 billion from $85 to $70 billion in line with the decline in the US deficit - will be delayed until March or June 2014 because, you see, the Fed isn't sure how the economy is doing, it makes no sense to even comment on the market. Squeezes, momentum ignitions, rumors about what Messers Bernanke and Yellen had for breakfast, Goldman's 2015 S&P forecast of 2100: that's the lunacy that passes for market moving factors. News, and reality, have long since been put in the dust. Just keep an eye on flashing read headlines, and try to buy (remember: anyone caught selling by the NSA is guaranteed a lifetime of annual IRS audits) ahead of the algos. That's what Bernanke's centrally-planned "market" has devolved to.
"It’s clear to us now that the US economy just isn't going to reach escape velocity," said Andrew Law, head of Caxton Associates (one of the hedge fund industry’s most successful money managers) in a wide-ranging and rare interview with the Financial Times. "Tapering is off the table for the foreseeable future." As we have explained numerous times, Caxton notes the Fed has little option but to continue its policy of extraordinary monetary easing indefinitely, adding "what happened [last week] was just another can kicking exercise. The problem has not been solved and the hopes for a grand bargain are in tatters." Simply put, he concludes rather dismally, "there are no incentives for the corporate world to go out and spend right now..."
Dispassionate discussion of some of the vexing issues.
The Bank of Japan will, for the first time in history, "own" all of Japan's GDP on its balance sheet some time in 2018 when its "assets" as a percentage of GDP surpass 100%, and then proceed in linear fashion to add about 10% of GDP to its balance sheet with every passing year until everything inevitably comes crashing down.
The Fed has painted itself into an almighty corner with QE, and it looks as though we are finally getting to the point in the process where that fact begins to (a) occur to people and (b) matter. Bill Fleckenstein has often spoken about the Fed's reaching the point where it "loses control of the bond market", and it is quite possible that we are rapidly approaching that point (the signs have certainly been strong in Japan). We may be there already. But, as Grant Williams notes in his most recent note, we won't know until we can look in the rearview mirror; but the nonvirtuous circle the Fed has created is extremely clear...
But I never thought it wise to sell it, because for central banks this is a reserve of safety, it’s viewed by the country as such. In the case of non-dollar countries it gives you a value-protection against fluctuations against the dollar, so there are several reasons, risk diversification and so on.