I believe this is Germany’s final push for EU control. If this fails and Germany ceases to offer additional bailout funds in some form then the EU will collapse (as noted earlier, the ECB, IMF, and US Fed cannot prop the EU up nor will the ESM mega bailout fund work). Spain’s literally on the verge of seeing a bank holiday. Germany is the only one who might have the funds to prop it up. And Germany wants gold.
Global gold demand continues to surprise to the upside – especially sizeable demand from the Middle East and China. Confirmation of continuing huge demand in China came yesterday with data showing that Hong Kong shipped 101,768 kilograms of gold to mainland China in April, up 62% on the month - marking the second-highest monthly exports ever. While demand from India continues it has fallen from the record levels recently but demand from other Asian countries is robust with reports of demand in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. A new and potentially significant source of demand is that of demand from Iran. Iran imported a massive $1.2 billion worth of precious metals from Turkey in April alone. Turkish exports of gold, precious metals, pearls and coins to Iran rose to $1.2 billion in April from a tiny $7,500 a year earlier, according to figures released by the state statistics institute in Ankara yesterday. This is a massive increase in demand and suggests that there may be official involvement in the imports from the Central Bank of Iran.
Spain has now officially asked the European Union for aid for its banks. The markets seem to be responding as if the bank issue is isolated. It is not isolated. We are following the same schematic as we did with Ireland; first it was the banks and then it was the country and then the “Men in Black” showed up to take over. Spain says it is a 50 billion Euro problem and the reality is probably more like a 400 billion Euro problem. There is all kinds of cross lending between the banks in Spain and while Spain’s largest two banks have tried everything they could to isolate themselves; I predict there will be no escape for anyone. Now that Spain has asked for a bailout of their banks the European auditors will show up and I would bet large money that the values of many loans and the value of Real Estate and the securitizations tied to it will be found to have been vastly overstated. Then it will be the regional governments and their debts and the house of cards will implode. The Spanish Finance Minister kicked off the first domino this morning and we can all just stand by now and watch the rest fall.
- Spain says markets are closing to it as G7 confers (Reuters)
- Germany Pushes EU Bank Oversight (WSJ)
- Falling Oil Prices Are No Mystery (Bloomberg)
- Aussie Rises After RBA Cuts Rate Less Than Swaps Suggest (Bloomberg)
- Euro falls on Spain worries as market awaits G7 (Reuters)
- Bad News Piles Up for China's Economy (Bloomberg)
- Japan Lawmakers Push to Curb Central Bank (WSJ)
- Lawyer Kluger Gets 12 Years, Bauer 9 for Insider Trades (Bloomberg)
- All eyes on Wisconsin governor's recall election (Reuters)
- The Global Obesity Bomb (BusinessWeek)
And so those lining up at the bailout trough are now 4: remember all those lies Spain spoon-fed the gullible press that it didn't need a European bailout as recently as yesterday? You can now forget them. From Reuters: "Spain said on Tuesday that credit markets were closing to the euro zone's fourth biggest economy as finance chiefs of the Group of Seven major economies were to hold emergency talks on the currency bloc's worsening debt crisis. Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro sent out the dramatic distress signal in a radio interview about the impact of his country's banking crisis on government borrowing, saying that at current rates, financial markets were effectively shut to Spain. Montoro said Spanish banks should be recapitalised through European mechanisms, departing from the previous government line that Spain could raise the money on its own and and prompting the Madrid stock market to rise. But his comments on Spain's borrowing sent the euro down after the 17-nation European currency earlier hit a one-week high against the dollar on expectations that a conference call of G7 finance ministers and central bankers may hasten bold action." Well, Germany got its wish: it got Spain to admit it is broke. Just as it wanted - because remember: all Germany is, is a true lender of last resort unlike the ECB: after all they are the decision makers. And Germany knows very well that it needs Europe desperate when it is forced to accept any conditions to the German DIP loan that Schrodinger Schauble proposes. Which means forget anything positive will come out of the G7, and certainly forget anything actionable will come out of the ECB's June 7 meeting. If anything, things will first get much worse, before things get better. And finally, don't forget just who benefits the most from EURUSD at parity or lower... That's right: Germany.
All you need to read and some more.
The past two weeks it was Spain, now it is back to Portugal, which overnight announced it is bailing out three banks to the tune of €6.65 billion. If at this point who is bailing out whom is becoming a confusing blur - fear not: that is the whole point. From AAP: "Portugal will inject more than 6.65 billion euros ($A8.49 billion) into private banks BCP and BPI, and the state-owned CGD to meet criteria established by the European Banking Authority. "In all, the state will inject more than 6.65 billion euros in these banks," though five billion euros is to come from an envelope worth 12 billion included in a financial rescue plan drawn up in May 2011, the finance ministry said. Portugal last year became the third eurozone country after Greece and Ireland to be bailed out, receiving an EU-IMF package worth up to 78 billion euros in return for a commitment to reform its economy and impose austerity measures." And surely that will be it, and Portugal will be fixed. Just like Spain was fixed, until someone actually did some math and found a hole up to €350 billion out of left field. Funny how those big undercapitalization holes just sublimate into existence, usually moments before client money is vaporized.
Two weeks of utter confusion by most market participants out there, when the complete deja vu scenario is so very clear. To help out those banging their heads over what is happening, here, once again, is the full playbook as it was laid out here for eveyone to read and prepare, because it explained to the dot precisely what will happen, and has been happening since May 19. And yes, that 1000 bps on XO is still about 25% away... Do the math.
What would the weekend be without at least one rumor that Europe is on the verge of fixing everything, or failing that, planning for a master fix, OR failing that, planning for a master plan to fix everything. Sure enough, we just got the latter, which considering nobody really believes anything out of Europe anymore, especially not something that has not been signed, stamped and approved by Merkel herself, is rather ballsy. Nonetheless, one can't blame them for trying: "The chiefs of four European institutions are in the process of creating a master plan for the euro zone, the daily Die Welt reports Saturday, in an advance release of an article to be published Sunday. Suggestions targeting a fiscal, banking, and political union, as well as structural reforms, are being worked out..." Less than credible sources report that Spiderman towels (which are now trading at negative repo rates) and cross-rehypothecated kitchen sinks are also key components of all future "master plans" which sadly are absolutely meaningless since the signature of Europe's paymaster - the Bundesrepublik - is as usual lacking. Which is why, "the plan may well mean that the euro zone adopts measures not immediately accepted by the whole of the European Union, the article adds." So... European sub-union? Hardly strange is that just as this latest desperate attempt at distraction from the complete chaos in Europe (which will only find a resolution once XO crosses 1000 as we and Citi suggested two weeks ago and when the world is truly on the verge of the abyss), none other than George Soros has just started a 3-month countdown to European the European D(oom)-Day.
Dodge City, Kansas is a lovely place. The home to 26,101 people regularly enjoy old west casinos, old west rodeos and old west movies. Like we say – it is a lovely place. Yet years ago when it was still cool to be a cowboy, cowboys of all types were getting’ out of Dodge. And who could blame them - bullets flew around town on a regular basis. As we look across the globe today, Dodge City’s are popping up all over the place across America, Europe and Asia. However, within the World of financial markets, government sponsored economic policies are desperately trying to keep everyone in the 2012 financial version of Dodge. Today’s question of the century is which market is the equivalent of Dodge? One thing is for sure, financial bullets are flying fast and furious these days forcing every sane investor to keep their head down. For all other investors, be a good cowboy and be sure to have an exit plan – you never know when you’ll need it.
We finally get to continue what we started in 2008. Becuase the TPTB insisted on kicking the can down the road, the resulting pain will be excruciatingly devastating versus simply horrible! Alas, once you get you short positions/puts/futures in before the inevitably ill-informed short ban, money can still be made.
“Gear up!” That is what I say to you this morning. Open your closet door, drag out the flak jacket from 2009, lace up your boots, unlock your guns, bring out the ammo and get ready to go at it one more time because the placid fields of Verdun, long silent, finds the Germans and the French at it once again and we are all about to be dragged back into it; like it or not. There is quite serious business afoot and, just like in war, the political statements made are nothing more than propaganda to mislead the enemy and the enemy is YOU.
- Germany shifts, gives Spain more time on deficit (Reuters)
- Europe must prepare an emergency plan (FT)
- EU Spain reveals €100bn capital flight (FT)
- Spain’s Guindos says future of Euro at stake in Spain (Bloomberg)
- ECB, EU officials warn euro’s survival at risk (Reuters)
- China can ‘cope’ if Greece exits Euro, NDRC Researcher says (Bloomberg)
- Japan Warns Against Rising Yen (WSJ)
- Global stocks investors head for exits (FT)
- Hot Copper Shorts Burning Commodity Firms (Caixin)
Here we go again. Back in July 2011 we wrote an article entitled "The Real Banking Crisis" where we discussed the increasing instability of the Eurozone banks suffering from depositor bank runs. Since that time (and two LTRO infusions and numerous bailouts later), Eurozone banks, as represented by the Euro Stoxx Banks Index, have fallen more than 50% from their July 2011 levels and are now in the midst of yet another breakdown led by the abysmal situation currently unfolding in Greece and Spain.... Although the last eight months have not played out the way we would have expected for gold, they have played out the way we envisioned for the banks. The question now is how long this can go on for, and how long gold can remain under pressure in a banking crisis that has the potential to spread beyond Greece and Spain? So much now rests on the policy responses fashioned by the US Fed and ECB, and just as much also rests on what's left of European citizens' confidence in their local banking institutions. Neither of these things can be precisely measured or predicted, but we continue to firmly believe that depositors in Greece and Spain will choose gold over drachmas or pesetas if they have the foresight and are given the freedom to act accordingly. The number one reason we have always believed gold should be owned, and why we believe it will go higher, is people's growing distrust of the banking system - and we are now there. We will wait and see how the summer develops, and keep our attention firmly focused of the second phase of the bank run now spreading across southern Europe.