European Central Bank
- Average 10-year yield of U.S., Japan and Germany dropped below 1% for the first time ever: Free Money in Bond Markets Shows Global Economy Still Struggling (BBG)
- Brent falls below $52 as oil hits new five and a half year lows (Reuters)
- China Fast-Tracks $1 Trillion in Projects to Spur Growth (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Raises Price of Main Oil Grade for Asian Buyers (BBG)
- Oilfield Writedowns Loom as Crude Slump Guts Drilling Values (BBG)
- Biggest Oil-Rig Drop Since 2009 Spells Tough Year Ahead (BBG)
- CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month (Reuters)
- Pipeline IPOs Climb on Demand for Returns Immune to Oil (BBG)
- Natural Gas No Savior for Investors Seeking Oil Refuge (BBG)
- Euro zone economy ended 2014 in poor shape (Reuters)
While the predictions of Blackstone's Byron Wien (born in 1933) have been all over the place in the last few years, they nevertheless provide some color on just what the mainstream does not believe... This is the 30th year Byron has given his views on a number of economic, financial market and political surprises for the coming year. From "our luck running out on cyberterrorism" to "shock and awe no longer working in Japan", Wien's non-predictions range from The Fed to China and from Oil to Hillary Clinton...
As bonds rally and EUR slumps near 1.20 (the figure) following moar Draghi jawboning and suggestions of sovereign QE from the ECB, Germany has come out swinging to remind the world that it won't stand idly by as the nation's taxpayers are thrown under the bailout-the-EU-or-else bus. Michael Fuchs, deputy parliamentary floor leader of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, told Deutschlandfunk radio on Friday: "We shouldn't pump extra money into these states, but rather make sure they continue along the reform path." As Reuters reports, Fuchs further added, "I'd be grateful if (ECB President Mario) Mr Draghi would make statements along these lines."
To complete monetary union we will ultimately have to deepen our political union further: to lay down its rights and obligations in a renewed institutional order.
Draghi Launches New Year With More QE Jawboning, Sending Euro To New 4 Year Low, Yields Lower, US Futures HigherSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/02/2015 07:00 -0500
The new year has officially started because it wasn't even a day in and Mario Draghi was once again out and about, jawboning the Euro to a lower level than where it was when he said back in 2012 he would do "whatever it takes" to push it higher. The reason, as Reuters reports, why the Euro sank to a nearly 5 year low against the USD, was "clear indications that the European Central Bank will soon embark on outright money-printing." Actually, it was on just more hollow rhetoric by Draghi, who told German Handelsblatt that "the risk that we don’t fulfill our mandate of price stability is higher than it was six months ago." He also added that "it’s difficult to say” how much the institution will have to spend on government-bond purchases.
With GREXIT once again knocking on the Euro's door, Mario Draghi has come out swinging (or jawboning). As Reuters reports, the non-political, non-meddling, completely independent central bank chief explains, structural reforms were needed to "ensure that each country is better off permanently belonging to the euro area," adding that Euro zone countries must "complete" their monetary union by integrating economic policies further and working towards a capital markets union. Brussels Uber Alles... (or else "the threat of an exit (from the euro) whose consequences would ultimately hit all members").
Greek bank shares collapsed by even more. Two of Greece’s largest banks, Piraeus bank and Alpha bank, shed more than 14% of their share value as concerns of bank solvency, bank runs and Cyprus style bail-ins reemerged. Fail to prepare ... prepare to fail ...
Things for Europe (and liquidity addicts around the globe) just got a little more complicated. Earlier today, moments after the failed Greek presidential vote pulled the forgotten topic of a Grexit up front and center, the IMF announced that it is suspending financial aid to Greece under its huge rescue program until a new government is formed. RTE quotes IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice who said discussion on the completion of the sixth review of Greece's bailout will resume once a new government is in place. Mr Rice added that the holdup in the program would not impact the country's finances in the short term.
When Fearmongering Goes Bad: Greece Scrambles To Prevent Deposit Run Goldman Warned About In Its "Worst Case"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/29/2014 09:32 -0500
Recall that just over two weeks ago, none other than Greek currency swap expert Goldman (alongside Jean-Claude Juncker who quite explicitly warned Greeks not "to vote wrong") came out with a Fire and Brimstone worst-case scenario which was nothing but an attempt at fearmongering designed to scare Greek MPs into doing Samaras' bidding, in which it said not electing the designated presidential candidate may lead to a worst-case scenario which involves a "Cyprus-style prolonged bank holiday." Basically what Goldman said is that unless Greece quickly folds back in line and does as the unelected Brussels eurocrats demand, there will be a Cyprus-style bank closure coupled with preemptied bank runs. Well.... oops. Because if that was the doubled-down bluff, then Greece just called it, and the "downside scenario" is now in play.
With Greek CDS surging to near post-bailout highs (and short-end bond yields back above 11%), it appears the market is anxious of the endgame as tomorrow's 3rd and final 'snap-election'-saving vote looms. Following Samaras fearmongering yesterday, it appears Germany is starting to fear the worst (and play down its effect), as Merkel's bloc states "the prospect of a Greek sovereign default is no longer a concern for euro member countries and financial markets," adding "hope that Greece’s international partners would pay if the country’s policymakers refuse to carry out necessary reforms is misplaced." However, as Bruno de Landevoisin notes, "what is at stake is none other than the prosperity of the common man pitted against the privilege of concentrated power."
On the old continent, this December 29th, a succinct political showdown is scheduled to take place which may well become a defining moment for our entirely unsettled new millenium.
"The Fed Is Heading For Another Catastrophe... Central Banking Has Lost Its Way" Stephen Roach WarnsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/24/2014 10:17 -0500
America’s Federal Reserve is headed down a familiar — and highly dangerous — path. Steeped in denial of its past mistakes, the Fed is pursuing the same incremental approach that helped set the stage for the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The consequences could be similarly catastrophic. The Fed’s incrementalism of 2004-2006 was a policy blunder of epic proportions. The Fed seems poised to make a similar — and possibly even more serious — misstep in the current environment. In these days of froth, the persistence of extraordinary policy accommodation in a financial system flooded with liquidity poses a great danger.
ECB's Vitor Constancio, October 26, 2014: "The scenario of deflation is not there because indeed we don't consider that deflation is going to happen."
ECB's Vitor Constancio, December 20, 2014:" "We now expect negative inflation in the coming months."
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
A specter is haunting the world, the specter of two percent inflationism. Whether pronounced by the U.S. Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank, or from the Bank of Japan, many monetary central planners have declared their determination to impose a certain minimum of rising prices on their societies and economies. One of the oldest of economic fallacies continues to dominate and guide the thinking of monetary policy makers: that printing money is the magic elixir for the creating of sustainable prosperity. Once the inflationary monetary expansion ends or is slowed down, it is discovered that the artificially created supply and demand patterns and relative price and wage structure are inconsistent with non-inflationary market conditions. Governments and their monetary central planners, therefore, are the cause and not the solution to the instabilities and hardships of inflations and recessions.