The Germans will be getting out the beer and drinking a double dose of the amber nectar not only because MuttiMerkel as she is known (otherwise known as ‘Mother’ Angela Merkel) was reelected on Sunday 22nd September, but also because new reports issued today show that the Eurozone is doing better than expected.
Just in case one's history textbook had a few extra pages ripped out, this may be a good time to recall just how far one's government is willing to go to start a war under false pretenses.
Sovereign debt is the bonds that are issued by national governments in foreign currencies with the intent to finance a country’s growth. The risk involved is determined by whether that country is a developed or a developing country, whether that country has a stable government or not and the sovereign-credit ratings that are attributed by agencies to that country’s economy.
The recent decline in gold prices and the drain from physical ETFs have been interpreted by the media as signaling the end of the gold bull market. However, our analysis of the supply and demand dynamics underlying the gold market does not support this thesis. In our view, the bullion banks’ fractional gold deposit system is testing its limits. Too much paper gold exists for the amount of physical gold available. Demand from emerging markets, who do not settle for paper gold, has perturbed the status quo. Thus, our recommendation to investors is the following: empty unallocated gold accounts and redeem your gold in physical form (while you still can).
Prompted by their FrAAAnce downgrade to AA+, French-owned Fitch has downgraded Europe's last best promise/hope - the EFSF - from AAA to AA+... but the crisis is still behind us - we are assure by such truth-sayers as Juncker, Barroso, and Merkel (pre-elections). The key sentence is "Following the downgrade of France's IDR, the EFSF's long-term debt issues are not fully covered by 'AAA' guarantees and over-guarantees and, for debt issued before October 2011, by the cash reserve." So that's good then... Don't worry though since "Fitch assumes there will be progress in deepening fiscal and financial integration at the eurozone level in line with commitments by euro area policy makers"
Things are turning from bad to worse for the real-life version of The Terminal's Edward Snowden, who a day after applying to 21 countries for political asylum has been flooded with rejection letters near and far, even as he was forced to cancel his application to his current host nation, Russia, after being told he would have to stop leaking secrets as a condition to stay. More from the FT: "The 30-year-old fugitive’s options narrowed further on Tuesday when China reacted coolly to the idea of him moving there, Poland rejected an application and other European nations said asylum requests had to be made in the country."
Are these the only truly free countries left in the world - those that are not joined at the hip with the United States and ready and willing to do Obama's bidding at the drop of a hat? The NSA's most infamous whistleblower certainly thinks so.
Following Putin's colorful description of the no-man's-land that Edward Snowden seems to reside in, Wikileaks has confirmed this morning that "Mr. Snowden is not being 'debriefed' by the FSB. He is well." As Rianovosti notes, there has been widespread skepticism that the presence of the Snowden at a Moscow airport would not have prompted any interest from Russian intelligence officials. Snowden’s ultimate destination is unknown, but Ecuador – which has given refuge to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London – has now demanded that, as The South China Morning Post reports, the US must “submit its position” regarding Snowden to the Ecuadorian government in writing as it considers his request for asylum. Ecuador's foreign minister added, "his government could take months to decide whether to grant asylum."
China has certainly been busy since it won observer status at the May Arctic Council summit in Kiruna, Sweden. China is clearly after more than simply investment and trade opportunities as it continues to display its obsession with securing energy and other supplies where the U.S. Navy cannot or will not go. Unfortunately for Moscow, not only China but also the other new Asian members will seek to maximize their influence in the Council for many of the same reasons. The Arctic may be Russia’s home, but it can no longer be its castle.
As noted yesterday, and perhspa even more prescient now Anastasiades is back with the begging bowl, the debt crisis in Cyprus and the subsequent "bail-in" confiscation of bank depositors' money matter for two reasons: 1. The banking/debt crisis in Cyprus shares many characteristics with other banking/debt crises. 2. The official Eurozone resolution of the crisis may provide a template for future resolutions of other banking/debt crises. It also matters for another reason: not only is the bail-in a direct theft of depositors' money, the entire bailout is essentially a wholesale theft of national assets. This is the inevitable result of political Elites swearing allegiance to the European Monetary Union.
Overnight, following the disappointing BOJ announcement which contained none of the Goldman-expected "buy thesis" elements in it, things started going rapidly out of control, and culminated with the USDJPY plunging from 99 to under 96.50 as of minutes ago, which was the equivalent of a 2.3% jump in the Yen, the currency's biggest surge in over three years. Adding insult to injury was finance ministry official Eisuke Sakakibara who said that further weakening of yen "not likely" at the moment, that the currency will hover around 100 (or surge as the case may be) and that 2% inflation is "a dream." Bottom line, NKY225 futures have had one of their trademark 700 points swing days, and are back knocking on the 12-handle door. Once again, the muppets have been slain. Golf clap Goldman.
House prices - with respect to both levels and changes - differ widely across OECD countries. As a simple measure of relative rich or cheapness, the OECD calculates if the price-to-rent ratio (a measure of the profitability of owning a house) and the price-to-income ratio (a measure of affordability) are above their long-term averages, house prices are said to be overvalued, and vice-versa. There are clearly some nations that are extremely over-valued and others that are cheap but as SocGen's Albert Edwards notes, it is the UK that stands out as authorities have gone out of their way to prop up house prices - still extremely over-valued (20-30%) - despite being at the epicenter of the global credit bust. Summing up the central bankers anthem, Edwards exclaims: "what makes me genuinely really angry is that burdening our children with more debt to buy ridiculously expensive houses is seen as a solution to the problem of excessively expensive housing." It's not different this time.
China’s credit growth has been outstripping economic growth for five quarters with the corporate debt bubble looking increasingly precarious (as we explained here and here). This raises one key question: where has the money gone? As SocGen notes, although such divergence is not unprecedented, it potentially suggests a trend that gives greater cause for concern – China is approaching a Minsky moment. At the micro level, SocGen points out that a non-negligible share of the corporate sector and local government financial vehicles are struggling to cover their financial expense. At the macro level, they estimate that China’s debt servicing costs have significantly exceeded underlying economic growth. As a result, the debt snowball is getting bigger and bigger, without contributing to real activity (see CCFDs for a very big example). This is probably where most of China’s missing money went.
We are told that it’s the youth that is our future. These are the people that supposedly will be governing us one day not in the not too distant future when we sit comfortable doing whatever we have to (or rather, will be able to) do as retirees.
Mervyn King gave a speech in Helsinki Finland today just before he takes retirement from the Bank of England in which he said that both austerity and growth were at fault of grossly exaggerated statements to purely political ends: "This debate has been vastly exaggerated by people who want to make political arguments”. He went on to add that it was a time for common sense.