When the world's central bankers speechified in DC, ironies abounded. But off to the side, Turkey had just floated a plan to grab its people’s gold.
Next week will be relatively light in economic reporting, and with no HFT exchange IPOs on deck, and the VVIX hardly large enough to warrant a TVIX type collapse, it may be downright boring. The one thing that will provide excitement is whether or not the US economic decline in March following modestly stronger than expected January and February courtesy of a record warm winter, will accelerate in order to set the stage for the April FOMC meeting in which Bill Gross, quite pregnant with a record amount of MBS, now believes the first QE hint will come. Naturally this can not happen unless the market drops first, but the market will only spike on every drop interpreting it for more QE hints, and so on in a senseless Catch 22 until the FRBNY is forced to crash the market with gusto to unleash the NEW qeasing (remember - the Fed is now officially losing the race to debase). For those looking for a more detailed preview of next week's events, Goldman provides a handy primer.
More vertigo-inducing than all of the Eurozone bailout mechanisms combined.
I firmly believe we will see Europe start to crumble during the May-June window of time. We have a confluence of political (French, Greece, Irish elections), fundamental, seasonal, technical, and monetary factors (Operation Twist 2 ends in June) occurring in that time period make the possibility of a banking Crisis in Europe higher than at any other point in the last three years.
In an interview with Louis James, the inimitable Doug Casey throws cold water on those celebrating the economic recovery. "Get out your mower; it's time to cut down some green shoots again, and debunk a bit of the so-called recovery."
All you need to read and some more.
BarCap said it expects precious metals to be one of the commodity price leaders in the second quarter, citing the "resumption of the kind of currency debasement/inflation concerns that have been the big driver of gold and silver prices over the past 12 months". It recommended that investors take a long position in December 2012 palladium, saying lower Russian exports should push the market into a supply deficit and bring prices "significantly above current levels" by later this year. BarCap put a second-quarter price of $745 per ounce for palladium futures on the London Metal Exchange, versus the past four weeks' average of $701. Spot palladium on the LME hit a session bottom below $645 on Thursday.
European cash equity markets were seen on a slight upward trend in the early hours of the session amid some rumours that the Chinese PBOC were considering a cut to their RRR. However, this failed to materialise and markets have now retreated into negative territory with flows seen moving into fixed income securities. This follows some market talk of selling in Greek PSI bonds due to the absence of CDSs. This sparked some renewed concern regarding the emergence of Greece from their recovery. Elsewhere, we saw the publication of the BoE’s financial stability review recommending that UK banks raise external capital as soon as possible. This saw risk-averse flows into the gilt, with futures now trading up around 40 ticks.
Bernanke and Draghi in a snit? Fed and ECB at odds? US-German regulatory run-around? Has Draghi just enaged in an act of ill-advised hubris or does he have a secret plan to stimualte Europe?
The global economy remains on shaky ground. China’s manufacturing activity contracted for its 5th straight month, the US recovery is still very early to call, and the euro zone debt crisis may not be finished. Eurozone PMI data is due later today which will show how the economy is doing after Greece averted default earlier this month. Thomson Reuters GFMS have said that gold at $2,000/oz is possible - possibly in late 2012 or early 2013. Thomson Reuters GFMS Global Head of metals analytics, Philip Klapwijk, featured on Insider this morning and advised investors to "buy this gold dip”. Gold should be bought on this correction especially if we go lower still as we may need a shake-out of "less-committed investors." Klapwijk suggested that a brief dip below $1,600 is on the cards but the global macro environment still favours investment, notably zero-to-negative real interest rates and he would not rule out further easing by either the ECB or the Fed before year end.
European cash equity markets are making heavy losses as we head into the midpoint of the European session. Markets got off to a bad start as participants reacted to overnight Chinese HSBC manufacturing PMI recording a steeper contraction than the previous month. The manufacturing outlook has gotten even worse as the session has progressed, with France, Germany and the Eurozone as a collective recording contractions in their respective manufacturing PMI numbers for March. As such, commodity linked currencies are trading lower with AUD/USD down around 85 pips. WTI and Brent crude futures are moving in tandem with other markets as they also record losses going into the US open. In other news, there were reports that the ECB were looking to pull out their covered bond asset purchase program as less than a quarter of the fund has been used so far. A Bundesbank spokesman commented that it will not pressure the ECB into withdrawing the covered bond purchase program as it is the central bank’s decision to make. Looking ahead in the session, the market awaits the weekly US jobs data due at 1230GMT.
- Beijing on edge amid coup rumours (FT) - as predicted two days ago, do not expect any official media update on this critical matter, until after the outcome, whatever it is
- Goldman scours emails for use of word "muppets" (Reuters)
- Germany to Balance Budget Early (WSJ)
- Osborne Gives and Takes From Rich in U.K. Budget Balancing Act (Bloomberg)
- Big Spending at Fannie, Freddie Should End, Watchdog Says (Bloomberg)
- Volcker Says U.S. Needs Reforms in Finance, Government (Bloomberg)
- Chinese Firms, Regulators in Talks on Yuan-Fund Program (FT)
- Ireland Said to Ready Bank-Debt Proposal for ECB Review (Bloomberg)
Futures continue exhibiting a very surprising and ever brighter shade of ungreen as the morning session progresses, starting with the 5th consecutive contractionary Chinese PMI data, going through disappointing European Manufacturing and Services PMIs which came below expectations (47.7 vs Est. 49.5 for Mfg; 48.7 vs Est. 49.2 for Services), with an emphasis on French and German PMIs, both of which were bad (German Mfg PMI 48.1, Est 51, prior 50.2; Services PMI 51.8, Est. 53.1, Prior 52.8), and concluding with UK sales which printed at -0.8% on expectations of -0.5%. And just like that Europe is "unfixed", prompting economists such as IHS' Howard Archer to speculate that following "worrying and disappointing" Euro PMI data, the ECB may cut rates to 0.75%, as Europe is finding it hard to return to growth after the Q4 contraction. And with that the beneficial impact of the €1 trillion LTROs is now gone, as Spain spread over Bunds has just risen to the widest in over 5 weeks, and the beneficial market inflection point passes - prepare for LTRO 3 demands any minute now.