So on Monday? He refused to nail down a day. But Germany is ready.
Why would financial firms pay so much for blogger Ben Bernanke’s thoughts? Aside from the marketing benefits we noted, there is one good reason. In essence, you’d want to know what Bernanke would think if he were wrong or ill-informed about some important economic issue. That is something money managers understand in a way that academics and policymakers do not, for being wrong – and knowing what to do next – is a critical skill for the professional. Getting the most information from Bernanke, either in a one-on-one or just reading his work online, boils down to just two questions: “What doesn’t he know” and “What is he sure of that is actually wrong?”
A straightforward analysis of the near-term outlook for the dollar, oil, 10-year US and German yields and the S&P 500.
Investors are beginning to question the efficacy of these extreme central bank policies. More are joining the chorus of critics that believe policies have become counter-productive in both the short and long run. If true, it could mean that a Fed hike might come sooner than markets believes; and may occur prior to the arrival of the desired and optimal economic conditions. There must be a lesson to learn for those investors who blindly follow central bank actions. The lesson embedded in the dramatic re-pricing in European financial markets during the past 12 days may simply be that there are dangers when chasing assets irrespective of price levels. It seems to us that the ability of central banks to generate a Pavlovian or conditional investor response to their policy actions is now rightly being called into question.
As investors and traders ponder what’s next for the financial world’s safe haven asset par excellence, and as everyone from the world’s most famous bond traders to the ECB tries to comprehend how the market could have possibly become so thin so fast, we bring you a bit more in the way of visual proof that central planners have become the world’s greatest bubble blowers as well as a bit of history that may hold clues as to what's next.
Amid tense negotiations between Greek PM Tsipras, the IMF, and EU creditors, some officials say the chances of an agreement have increased materially since Yanis Varoufakis was sidelined after infuriating his eurozone counterparts in Riga last month. Now, just when there appeared to be some hope that Athens may avert a catastrophic default, Varoufakis has reportedly distributed a new "blueprint" for Greece that has little in common with the plan advanced by the country's reshuffled negotiating team.
The politicians like the bankers and the central bankers, are happy to kick the can down the road and let their successors and future generations pick up the tab and pay for the economic mess that they refuse to address.
The UK General Election will be held tomorrow. The polls close at 10 pm. We should have a pretty clear picture of the overall seat count by 5 to 6 am on Friday morning. The result, as SocGen notes, is almost certain to be a hung parliament. Then the fun will really start. However, at the macro level the implications of the election may be less pronounced than many anticipate. Monetary policy has been de-politicised through the BoE’s independence, the formation of a coalition government is likely to involve convergence towards centrist positions, and a minority administration that pursues policies outside the mainstream would be unlikely to survive given its fragile parliamentary basis. In either case, the political system is unlikely to deliver radically different macroeconomic outcomes.
With the crucial May 12th €774mm Greek IMF payment looming (and thus even more critical May 11th deadline for the Eurogroup's decision to release around €7bn in additional funds to Greece), the much-discussed 'splintering' of the Troika (The Institutions as the Greeks would prefer we describe them) appears to be gradually un-splintering. Today's statement from the EU talks that the members of the Troika "share the same objective" may reassure some after the 'limbo' of serious disagreements between the European Commission and The IMF. However, with various 'red lines' remaining unaddressed, EU sources say a deal on Monday is not possible.
Here is more insight to the recent USD rally... And why nothing looks like it seems!
- ‘Flash Crash’ Overhaul Is Snarled in Red Tape (WSJ)
- ECB Considers Tighter Noose on Greek Banks (BBG)
- Dollar Falls as U.S. Data Cast Doubt on Fed Policy Tightening (BBG)
- Market U-Turn Rams Hedge Funds (WSJ)
- Greece makes 200 million euro IMF payment due Wednesday (Reuters)
- Greek unemployment was 25.4 percent in February (Reuters)
- J.P. Morgan’s Barista-Turned-Banker Sees Good Things Brewing (WSJ)
This is how DB summarizes what has been the primary feature of capital markets this week - the huge move in European bond yields: "On April 17th, 10-year Bunds traded below 0.05% intra-day. Two and a half weeks later and yesterday saw bunds close around 1000% higher than those yield lows at 0.516% after rising +6.2bps on the day." Right out of the European open today, the government bond selloff accelerated with the 10Y Bund reaching as wide as 0.595% with the periphery following closely behind when at 9:30am CET sharp, just as the selloff seemed to be getting out of control, it reversed and out of nowhere and a furious buying wave pushed the Bund and most peripheral bonds unchanged or tighter on the day! Strange, to say the least. Also, illiquid.
- Fed's Yellen says met firm at heart of leak probes (Reuters)
- EU Raises Growth Outlook as ECB Counters Greek Threat (BBG)
- Hillary Clinton Takes Hit in WSJ Poll, but Holds Edge Over GOP Rivals (WSJ)
- China stocks slump on tighter margin rules, IPOs; Hong Kong down (Reuters)
- McDonald’s Chief Promises Turnaround in a Restructuring (NYT)
- German Bond Market Selloff Continues (WSJ)
- Vanguard overtakes Pimco’s Total Return following outflows in wake of Bill Gross’s departure (WSJ)
- EU Demands Concessions as Greece Hurtles Toward Deadlines (BBG)
- Junk Bonds Are The New Haven Assets (BBG)
If yesterday's laughable lack of volume (helped by the closure of Japan and the UK) coupled with hopes that the end of the buyback blackout period was enough to send stocks surging if only to end with a whimper below all time highs despite what is now looking like three consecutive quarters of Y/Y EPS declines according to Factset, today's ramp will be more difficult for the NY Fed and Citadel to engineer, not least of all due to the headwind of the overnight "incident" by China's stock bubble which saw the Shanghai Composite tumble by 4%, the most since January.
Gillian Tett, markets and finance commentator and an Assistant Editor and former U.S. Managing Editor of the Financial Times, wrote an important and little noticed article last week questioning complacency on the part of European policy makers regarding a Greek default and potential exit or ‘Grexit’. Tett argues that a Greek failure would lead, as Lehman’s did to “wider policy uncertainty: when Lehman failed, the entire paradigm for finance suddenly seemed unpredictable”.