It is one thing for Tom Stolper to release precious tidbits about what is not going to happen in the future on a weekday - for those we are very grateful. But doing so on god's (or is that Goldman's) day is truly a first. In a note just blasted out, it would appear there is no rest for the Stolper, and according to the world's most admired FX strategist (remember: batting 0.000 is just as useful as batting 1.000), "Dollar downside forces on the rise" and that Goldman is positioned "short the USD again"... Just as Goldman was positioned long the Russell 2000 literally the minute the market topped on Thursday (no joke - check it). And to think it was only three weeks ago that the same strategist saw downside risks for the EURUSD to 1.20...
A brief and comprehensive summary of the main events in the past week, both good and bad.
German individual investors are gobbling up Greek sovereign bonds!
Festive Friday fun:
- FITCH TAKES RATING ACTIONS ON SIX EUROZONE SOVEREIGNS
- ITALY LT IDR CUT TO A- FROM A+ BY FITCH
- SPAIN ST IDR DOWNGRADED TO F1 FROM F1+ BY FITCH
- IRELAND L-T IDR AFFIRMED BY FITCH; OUTLOOK NEGATIVE
- BELGIUM LT IDR CUT TO AA FROM AA+ BY FITCH
- SLOVENIA LT IDR CUT TO A FROM AA- BY FITCH
- CYPRUS LT IDR CUT TO BBB- FROM BBB BY FITCH, OUTLOOK NEGATIVE
And some sheer brilliance from Fitch:
- In Fitch's opinion, the eurozone crisis will only be resolved as and when there is broad economic recovery.
And just as EUR shorts were starting to sweat bullets. Naturally no downgrade of France. French Fitch won't downgrade France. In other news, Fitch's Italian office is about to be sacked by an errant roving vandal tribe (or so the local Police will claim).
With everything from stocks and bonds to 'roo bellies rising as one trade, it may be a good time to ask: what's priced into the market's uptrend? We say "bad news is priced in" when negative news is well-known and the market has absorbed that information via the repricing process. When the market has absorbed all the "good news," then we say the market is "priced to perfection:" that is, the market has not just priced in good news, it has priced in the expectation of further good news. Markets that are priced to perfection are fiendishly sensitive to unexpected bad news that disrupts the expectation of continuing positive news. So what have global markets priced into this uptrend across virtually all markets?
- Greek Debt Wrangle May Pull Default Trigger (Bloomberg)
- Italy Sells Maximum EU11 Billion of Bills (Bloomberg)
- Romney Demands Gingrich Apology on Immigration (Bloomberg)
- China’s Residential Prices Need to Decline 30%, Lawmaker Says (Bloomberg)
- EU Red-Flags 'Volcker' (WSJ)
- EU Official Sees Bailout-Fund Boost (WSJ)
- EU Delays Bank Bond Writedown Plans Until Fiscal Crisis Abates (Bloomberg)
- Germany Poised to Woo U.K. With Transaction Tax Alternative (Bloomberg)
- Ahmadinejad: Iran Ready to Renew Nuclear Talks (Bloomberg)
- Monti Takes On Italian Bureaucracy in Latest Policy Push to Revamp Economy (Bloomberg)
He said, “Rising commodity prices, uncertainty in the Middle East, the spreading European debt crisis, increased frequency of “extreme weather events” and U.S. fiscal issues are “persistent” problems that will continue to spur market volatility and sway asset prices in the global economy. This is great news for gold. Goldman Sachs noted in a report on Jan. 13th that futures will advance to $1,940 an ounce in 12 months. Morgan Stanley forecasts the yellow metal will climb to a record of $2,175 by 2013, said analysts Peter Richardson and Joel Crane in their research report.
Which is why we were delighted that after months of modest confusion on the topic, the Congressional Committee on Financial Services (including subcommittee chairman Ron Paul), have demanded that not only Geithner make his stance on a US-funded IMF bailout of Europe crystal clear, but that they are openly opposed to "American taxpayer dollars being used to bail out Europe...through additional contributions to the IMF." We are curious to see just how Geithner will weasel his way out of responding to this: perhaps the only logical stall tactic is to reply that he will be busy helping Mitt Romney in his tax "revisions" over the next several months.
Presenting The Interactive "Wiggle-Room Index" Or Which Countries Will Be Forced To Bail Out The Developed WorldSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/26/2012 17:13 -0400
Update: literally seconds after this article was posted, we receive news that the IMF will seek Saudi contribution to the European bailout fund. There you have it - you enjoy that implicit US protection Saudi emirs? It is about to cost you.
While it is best to pray that NASA will find some very rich and not so intelligent life on Mars so it can bail out the world as it sinks deeper and deeper into a untenable debt hole (which somehow can be "filled" only by issuing more debt at least according to tenured economists at ivy league institutions), a strategy of planning for a realistic outcome may not be a bad idea. The question then is who in the world has some/any spare leverage capacity to incur even more debt and use the proceeds to fund a Eurozone-American-Chinese collapse. Enter the Economist's "wiggle-room index." The publication, best known for recently introducing the "shoe thrower index" (remember the Arab Spring and how Fed induced runaway inflation generated a "democratic" revolution across MENA?) has compiled a list of those developing world countries which still have capacity to provide credible global bailout capital (in fiat form of course - after all that is the only thing that the Ponzi understands) or as the Economist says, the "emerging economies that have the most monetary and fiscal firepower." So if you are on this list (ahem China, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia) - our condolences - you are about to be dragged into the epic slow-motion ongoing collapse of the developed world, kicking and screaming, with some 44 caliber persuasion if needed, but you will be there, before it all falls apart. The time to repay all favors to Uncle Sam is coming.
After Wikipedia and Wikileaks shone light on science, history and politics, Wikirating may bring open source financial transparency to the web. Attempting to iron out structural problems of traditional rating procedures, Wikirating is open source, fully transparent and retrieves its results from participants input. Initiated by Austrian mathematics Dorian Credé and and finance whiz Erwan Salembier, ratings are derived from weighted user input. They stress to point out that their model will improve with rising user input who also have a say in improving the formulae used.
It’s in their blood.
The one we have all been waiting for. Stolper about to be 9 out of 9 with a 0.000 hit rate.
Formal central bank independence is increasingly under pressure as societal preferences for a lender of last resort savior grow ever stronger (and more priced into nominal risk markets) as do demands for politicizing the monetary authorities under the pretext that they should more politically independent. Morgan Stanley takes on the question of constitutionality among the G3 Central Banks and rather unsurprisingly finds the mandates, targets, and prohibition treaties to be 'flexible' at best and 'practically meaningless' at worst. We-the-people appear to have little if any remit to constrain - even if our collective call for more printing leads to 'be careful what you wish for' reactions, as Michael Cembalest noted yesterday, "first prize in the Central Bank balance sheet expansion race is not necessarily one you want to win".
The fear of 'turning-Greek', which is now apparently worse than 'turning-Japanese', is the anchoring bias that seems to be driving more and more countries to dramatically adjust their fiscal affairs. However, Nomura's Richard Koo (whose blood pressure was already elevated last week at the ignorance of many nations to his balance sheet recession diagnosis and treatment protocol) points out in a note this week that Greece's problems stem from fiscal profligacy, a lack of domestic savings, and dishonest reporting by the government (it does kind of ring a bell). His point being that the rest of the eurozone - not to mention Japan, US, and the UK - are suffering balance sheet recessions (unlike Greece), which occur when the collapse of an asset price bubble drives sharp increases in private savings. His problem is that traditional economists are not taught of a situation in which private sector deleveraging (which we discussed last week also) leaves fiscal stimulus as the only way to stabilize an economy and in the currrent environment of deficits being watched and denigrated by any and all politician, market participant, and talking head, Koo's borrow-and-spend 'all deficits are good deficits' medicine is hard to swallow. Koo believes that the post-Lehman world was saved by fiscal stimulus, that Greece is different, and that the anti-Koo austerity actions have 'thrown a large wrench into the works of many world economies' and while the UK is coming around to the notion that austerity is not working, he worries on recent actions in the US and Japan at a time of excess private saving. It seems to us that his argument boils down to - given the system's fragility - an Austrian solution to the broken Keynesian problem is unworkable (without depression), and he hopes that the growing doubts (recessions popping up left, right, and center) about an overriding focus on fiscal consolidation will bring people back to Keynesian (Kooian) fold. He concludes with a worrying reflection on his countrymen in the MoF that seem to have learnt none of his lessons as they look to raise the consumption tax and Japan's rising sun sets.