Eurozone

Frontrunning: April 10

  • Germany: Europe's... poorest? ECB Survey Puts Southerners on Top in Household Wealth, Germans Near Bottom (WSJ)
  • Obama Proposes $3.77 Trillion Budget to Revive Debt Talks (BBG)
  • China trade data raise accuracy worries (FT) ... but generates so much laughter
  • such as this... China Exports Miss Forecasts as ‘Absurd’ Data Probed (BBG)
  • S. Korea Braces for ‘Very High’ Chance of North Missile Test (BBG)
  • Slovenia, Spain Warned of ‘Excessive’ Economic Imbalances by EU (BBG)
  • G8 foreign ministers meet in London to address Syria, North Korea (Reuters)
  • N. Korea Threats Boost First South Korea Rate Cut Odds Since October (BBG)
  • China Bird Flu Outbreak May Stem From Numerous Sources (BBG)
  • Spain Bailout Less Likely on Lower Funding Costs: Moody’s (BBG)
  • BOE’s Haldane: Simplify Bank Rules to Strengthen Them (WSJ)

The Next Capital Control: Banning The €500 Bill

As SF Fed's John Williams notes (here), cash is king, but the strange thing is that while credit/debit transactions rise exponentially, the cash in circulation is also rising at a rapid pace. So where does all the cash go? The short answer is into large-denomination bills and out of the country by his findings. While low denomination bills suffer (as we discussed here) it is worth asking who is 'hoarding' the $100 bills? This is the question that BofAML asks in Europe as the huge EUR500 Bill (the developed world's highest value note in circulation) remains in great demand (apparanelty by shady offshore types). This is not good news for the central banks of the world as they run dry of monetary policy tools to drive velocity in money (or spending). BofAML's proposal: Ban the EUR500 Bill; force those shady people who 'stack' these high denomination bills to spend that money into circulation. This would appear to be the latest 'capital control' strawman, 'floated' to eliminate the people's right to keep cash segregated from a banking system and out of broad electronic circulation. So in both the US and Europe, high denomination bills are being hoarded (or exported to 'safe' havens) as Williams notes, "around the world, during periods of political unrest or war, cash - especially the currency of a stable country... - is seen as a safe asset that can be spirited out of harm’s way with relative ease." This, of course, is not what the elites want - and we suspect a "ban the EUR500 Bill" legislation will be coming soon to the EU Commission.

Charles Gave: "France Is On The Brink of A Secondary Depression"

France is engulfed by a political, economic and moral paralysis. The president has record low popularity, unemployment is making new highs and the tax czar of a supposedly left wing government just quit after repeatedly lying about a pile of cash he had stashed in a Swiss bank account. From such a sorry state of affairs, you might think that things could only get only get better. Unfortunately, economic cycles do not work this way and it is my contention that France is about to enter what was known during the gold standard era as a “secondary depression.” The rigid design of the euro system means the whole eurozone is prone to the kind of brutal cyclical adjustments seen in that hard money era of the 19th and early 20th centuries. But having reached the logical limits of its decades long experiment in state-run welfare-capitalism France is far more exposed than even its struggling neighbors. Until quite recently, our working assumption was that a full-blown French debt crisis would occur between 2014 and 2017. In light of the extraordinary malfeasance of the current government we have changed our mind and believe that France is now extremely near to that abyss. Fasten your seat belt in Europe - the world’s last truly Communist country is about to implode.

Guest Post: The Real Cyprus Template (The One You're Not Supposed To Notice)

Much has been said about "the Cyprus Template" (the so-called bail-in, where deposits are expropriated to recapitalize the insolvent banks), but virtually nothing has been written about the Real Cyprus Template. It appears the key preliminary step of the Real Cyprus Template is that money-center banks in Germany and other "core" Eurozone nations pull their money out of the soon-to-implode "periphery" nation's banks before the banking crisis is announced, "...this explains a lot about something that has always puzzled us: why the delay in resolving Cyprus after the Greek haircut?" We can now see there are two Cyprus Templates: 1. The public-relations/propaganda model; 2. The real one, that enables "core" eurozone banks to pull their deposits out of periphery banks before the deposit expropriation and capital controls kick in. Why are we not surprised the entire charade and expropriation is rigged to benefit the core banks?

Guest Post: Is Tunisia the New Hot Spot for Energy Investors?

Until recently Tunisia was considered to be a minor league and relatively underexplored venue in Africa’s rapidly expanding oil & gas scene. [Yet another example of the slow re-colonization of the African continent - a topic we have been discussing for months now - most recently here] This situation has quickly changed with new bid rounds and forced relinquishments creating an opportunity for new companies to come in. Major American E & P companies like Shell have jumped at the opportunity to acquire ground that had been dominated for decades with little to no work conducted, mostly by European State oil & gas companies in this former French protectorate.  For the first time major spending has been committed to test Tunisian basins which are arguably equally prolific as those in neighbouring environments with more work performed, such as Libya. Should Tunisia now be on energy investors watch list?

Sprott: Why SocGen Is Wrong About Gold's Imminent 'Demise'

Société Générale (“SocGen”) recently published a special report entitled “The end of the gold era” that garnered far more attention than we think it deserved.  The majority of the report focused on SocGen’s “crash scenario” for gold wherein they suggest that gold could fall well below their 2013 target of US$1,375/oz. It also included a classic criticism that we’ve heard so many times before: that the gold price is in “bubble territory”. We have problems with both suggestions.

Portugal High Court Says Some Austerity Elements In 2013 Budget Are Unconstitutional

It appears the Portuguese PM's threats last week that he would resign if the constitutional court rules against the various austerity measures in the proposed 2013 budget (subsequently recanted because he may have just sensed which way the winds are blowing), were not enough to pressure the court into voting the way the German rulers of the Eurozone demanded, because moments ago the high court said that some budget elements are unconstitutional.Specifically it said that:

  • Article 29 and
  • Article 77

are not constitutional. Of course, trampling the constitution in Europe's insolvent vassal fiefdoms is nothing new. Recall that its the Central Bank of Cyprus that said deposit confiscation is just that: unconstitutional. Too bad that didn't stop anyone from trampling all over the laws and rules of the land in the namd of what? Lots and lots of political capital of course, that nobody, NOBODY, should underestimate.

Non-Farm Payroll Preview

  • Deutsche Bank 160K
  • HSBC 174K
  • Goldman Sachs 175K
  • Citi 175K
  • Barclays Capital 175K
  • UBS 190K
  • Bank of America 200K
  • JP Morgan 210K

Guest Post: The Fallacy Of The Fed Model

One of the simplest, most overused and popular assertions is that claim that stocks must rise because interest rates are so low.  In fact, you cannot get through an hour of financial television without hearing someone discuss the premise of the Fed Model which is earnings yield versus bond yields. The idea here, once formalized as the "Fed Model," is that stocks' "earnings yield" (reported or forecast operating earnings for the S&P 500, divided by the index level) should tend to track the Treasury yield in some fashion. This simply doesn't hold up in theory or practice.

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Witches Brew: Part 4 - Reality Bites

  • The Specter of Things to Come

The road to ruin is on plain display and the playbook is easily seen at this juncture. Let’s take a look at how that playbook will unfold. Contrary to popular outrage of the SOLUTION being IMPOSED it is the correct one once the insured depositors where PROTECTED.  In this edition the elites suffered FIRST followed by the private sector depositors who foolishly believed false BALANCE sheets which were POLITICALLY CORRECT but PRACTICALLY incorrect fictions approved by fiduciarily (regulations and regulators allowed ONGOING insolvent operations rather than protect the public by ending and prohibiting them) challenged governments (work for the banks and crony capitalists not for the public at large).

CEO Of Italy's Largest Bank Says Haircuts Of Uninsured Depositors "Acceptable", Should Become A Template

While the head of the ECB and his assorted kitchen sinks scramble to explain how Diesel-BOOM was horribly misunderstood when saying that depositor impairment may and will be the template for future European bank "resolution" (as should have been the case from Day 1), the CEO of Italy's largest bank appears to have missed the memo. As Bloomberg reports, according to the chief executive Federico Ghizzoni, "uninsured deposits could be used in future bank failures provided global rulemakers agree on a common approach." Or failing that, because if Cyprus taught us anything is that Europe will never have a common approach on anything, just use deposits as impairable liabilities, period, once the day of reckoning for Non-Performing Loans comes and these are forced to be remarked to reality, just as happened in Cyprus. One can only hope that uninsured deposits do not represent a substantial portion of the bank's balance sheet because the CEO basically just told them they are next if when risk comes back to the Eurozone with a vengeance. Especially since as Mario Draghi was so helpful in pointing out, "there is no Plan B."

Mario Draghi Responds To Zero Hedge: "There Is No Plan B"

Scott Solano, DPA: Mr Draghi, I've got a couple of question from the viewers at Zero Hedge...

Mario Draghi, ECB: Well you really are asking questions that are so hypothetical that I don't have an answer to them. Well, I may have a partial answer. These questions are formulated by people who vastly underestimate what the Euro means for the Europeans, for the Euro area. They vastly underestimate the amount of political capital that has been invested in the Euro. And so they keep on asking questions like: "If the Euro breaks down, and if a country leaves the Euro, it's not like a sliding door. It's a very important thing. It's a project in the European Union. That's why you have a very hard time asking people like me "what would happened if." No Plan B.

Overnight Sentiment: Central Banker Bonanza

With all three major non-Fed central banks on the tape today, all economic data will be merely "noise" as the market digests what the central-planners' intentions are. The BOJ came and went, and following its substantial balance sheet expansion announcement, which many called "shocking and awing" the USDJPY has pushed higher by 2.5 big figures, although not reaching the 96 levels seen prior to Kuroda's actual announcement. In fact, from this point on there is likely downside as Japan's biggest export competitor, South Korea, has no choice but to join the race to debase which in turn will be JPY-positive. The Bank of England is next, which as expected did nothing moments ago, and will keep doing nothing until Carney joins officially this summer. In some 45 minutes, the ECB headlines will hit the tape where Draghi may bur more likely may not lower deposit rates, and instead will focus on recent deterioration in the economy. None of this will be surprising, and the EUR continues to trade sufficiently weak in line with sub-200DMA levels seen in the past few weeks. What we look forward to the most will be Draghi once again discussing the legal term-sheet details of the ECB's OMT program. His answer will be amusing as there still is no answer, and the OMT is for all intents and purposes the biggest straw man ever conceived by a central bank.