European Central Bank

Japan Goes Full Krugman: Plans Un-Depositable, Non-Cash "Gift-Certificate" Money Drop To Young People

The Swiss, the Finns, and the Ontarians may get their 'Universal Basic Income' but the Japanese are about to turn the Spinal Tap amplifier of extreme monetary experimentation to 11. Sankei reports, with no sourcing, that the Japanese government plans to unleash "vouchers" or "gift certificates" to low-income young people to stimulate the "conspicuous decline" in consumption among young people. The handouts may not be deposited, thus combining helicopter money (inflationary) and fully electronic currency (implicit capital controls and tracking of spending).

Global Stocks Levitate Despite Ongoing Oil Weakness; China Stocks Jump After Easing Margin Debt

At the same time as the PBOC was cautioning about the dangers of excess debt (just as it injected a record amount of loans into the financial system), China's central bank warned about dangers from a stock market bubble, and perhaps just to assure the bubble gets even bigger, at the same time China eased on margin debt limits, in the process sending Chinese stocks soaring higher by 2.2%, and pushing the Shanghai Composite over 3000 for the first time in months as China now appears set to attempt another housing bubble "soft landing" while at the same time restarting its housing bubble.

NIRP Hail Mary

Negative interest rates are a tax! Not a traditional tax paid to the government, but an expense paid, on savings. Years of policy designed to encourage spending and discourage savings is likely reaching the end game; the point where those exhibiting prudence must be punished to keep the game going.  At some point, and likely soon, central bankers will be forced to realize the efficacy of lowering interest rates is vanishing and is hindering achievement of their goals. When this occurs a paradigm shift in the way monetary policy is conducted will likely occur. Investors that understand this dynamic, and what it portends, will be in a much better position to protect and profit from the asset price adjustments that lie ahead.

Greek Banks Admit To Charging Customers To Exchange Big Bills For Smaller Ones

Earlier this month, a reader noticed something rather disturbing. Piraeus Bank seemed to have added a new line item in one of its reports and that new line item appeared to suggest that the bank was set to charge customers for exchanging €500 notes for smaller bills. Sure enough, two weeks later, our suspicions are confirmed.

Why Currency Traders Are So Confused

"The FX market is confusing this year. More easing by the BoJ, the RBNZ, the Riksbank, the ECB and the Norges Bank, led to stronger currencies, despite delivering more than markets had expected in all cases. The market seems to be taking recent monetary policy easing as evidence that central banks are reaching their limits, as their forward guidance has sent mixed signals."

Central Bankers' Embarrassment Of Stitches

Had central bankers simply taken to heart that well known idiom that cautions "a stitch in time saves nine" early on, they would not now be so frantically stitching such a gaping gash in the world economy. One thing is for certain. All of this quantitative pleasing has done little to lift the spirits of the world’s worker bees.

World’s Second Largest Reinsurer Buys Gold, Hoards Cash To Counter Negative Interest Rates

German reinsurer Munich Re is boosting its gold and cash reserves in the face of the punishing negative interest rates from the European Central Bank, it said on Wednesday. Munich Re has held gold in its coffers for some time and recently added a cash sum in in the two-digit million euros, Chief Executive Nikolaus von Bomhard told a news conference.  "We are just trying it out, but you can see how serious the situation is," von Bomhard said.

Fed Mouthpiece Parses Timid Janet's Latest Pronouncement

"Federal Reserve officials reduced estimates of how much they expect to raise short-term interest rates in 2016 and beyond, nodding to lingering risks to the economic outlook posed by soft global economic growth and financial-market volatility."

The Narrative 'Fix' Is In - "Bold" Is The New "Buy"

Risk assets are up because "investors reassessed" the ECB announcement. Really? That's what happened? Real world investors stayed up till the wee hours last night and en masse concluded that they had just gotten it completely wrong yesterday? How about this for an alternative explanation: the allocation heads at one or two European mega-insurance firms were informed that they would be supporting risk assets this morning, the Narrative machine got into gear, and real world investors do what they always do, they play the Common Knowledge Game.

Central Bank Rally Fizzles: Equity Futures Lower As Attention Turns To "Hawkish Fed" Risk

While Asia was up on China's bad data, and Europe was higher again this morning to catch up for the Friday afternoon US surge, US equity futures may have finally topped off and are now looking at this week's critical data, namely the BOJ's decision tomorrow (where Kuroda is expected to do nothing), and the Fed's decision on Wednesday where a far more "hawkish announcement" than currently priced in by the market, as Goldman warned last night, is likely, in what would put an end to the momentum and "weak balance sheet" rally.

Goldman Warns Its Clients They Are Overlooking "The Largest Macro Market Risk"

"While investors focus on oil and the ECB, they overlook the largest current macro market risk – and opportunity – which centers on the Fed. Although our economists expect rates will remain unchanged, a credible argument can be made for the FOMC to proceed with the “flight path” it had previously outlined.... The market’s eventual acceptance of the Fed tightening path will spur some parts of the momentum trade to resume and others to unwind."