Flight to Safety
Uncertainty. That has become the key word of the day, the month, and of 2011 in general. And while broad uncertainty has manifested itself most notably in the capital markets, it has a far more practical representation in labor markets, where the main reason why employers are not hiring more people, arguably the primary scourge of the Obama administration's record low approval rating, is due to corporate uncertainty about the future: about taxes, about government demanding its pound of flesh when the time comes, and about the economy in general. Ironically, as PIMCO speculates in its daily note authored by Tony Crescenzi, probably the primary driver of global uncertainty is the increasingly uncoordinated response by monetary policy authorities (read Central Banks) in which where before all had cooperated in the global game theory, now increasingly it is every printer for himself, as the default response turns to one of defection. And as everyone who has studied Game Theory knows, it is only the first defection that provides the biggest return, with each subsequent act generating far less benefits to the uncooperative actor, forcing even more uncooperative irrationality, and so on in a toxic spiral until outright belligerent action develops. For now said belligerence has begun to manifest itself in plain vanilla trade wars, such as that pointed out last night with the Chinese response to Europe's lack of response to its "bailout" overtures, and following up with the just announced complaint filed by the US against China on chicken prices. Naturally this is just the beginning. The real concern is that where trade wars end (which in turn begin when FX wars end), real ones start. When a year ago we first branded the Chairsatan as "genocidal" we were mostly joking. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate our definition, as it is far less comical under the current environment. Here is what Pimco has to say on the issue.
Confirming that this is a market for idiots, by idiots, was the 4 am response in the price of gold, which following the SNB's Swiss Franc peg announcement did not surge, as it should have considering that the SNB just singularly changed the role of the CHF from a "flight to safety" to a carry currency, making gold the only island of stability in a world of fiat insanity, but instead plunged by over $50. Subsequent attempts to regain the $1900+ level were met with constant program selling for no other reason, than just because someone 'else' was selling. Of course, the logic is completely and totally the opposite. But don't take our word for it: here is Reuters: "Switzerland's decision to peg the erstwhile safe-haven franc to the euro may finally give gold bugs the chance to see prices hit the once-unimaginable $2,000 an ounce mark, as the metal holds on track for its strongest annual rally in three decades. By buying euros in unlimited amounts to weaken the franc, the SNB is in effect putting more of its own currency into circulation, which threatens to trigger inflation. It has also impacted the Swiss currency's status as a haven in its own right. While gold prices initially dipped as the move sparked a rush to liquidity in the form of other currencies such as the dollar, the SNB move is likely to lend firm support to gold in the medium term, analysts said." Precisely. And it is not only Reuters: Bank of America's MacNeill Curry said that Gold will probably rise to $2,050 this year. The rationale - identical to the above: SNB decision to peg franc to euro should also support gold. "They have taken out one of the big safe-haven assets, which is the Swissie." As for the amount of time the idiots will need to realize that QE3 coupled with the SNB action means that gold is now valued somewhere well over $2000: at least a few days...Which everyone who looks for even the smallest golden pullback will be happy to take advantage of.
- Worse than expected manufacturing PMI figures from core Eurozone countries dented risk-appetite
- Equities came under further pressure following news that Credit Agricole is removed from EuroSTOXX 50 Index, whereas Societe Generale, Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit are removed from STOXX Europe 50 Index
- Risk-aversion was enhanced following a lack-lustre 5-year bond auction from Spain
- The French/German spread continued to widen throughout the session partly on the back of weaker manufacturing PMI from France
- According to an article in FT, citing European source, the IMF has estimated European banks could face a capital shortfall of EUR 200bln. However, Eurozone officials strongly disagreed with the IMF’s analysis.
Bond King's cardinal sin at the Treasury market analyzed.....
Precious Metal Margin Warfare Jumps The Pacific, As Shanghai Hikes Gold Margins For Second Time In A Month, Prepares To Crush SilverSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/23/2011 15:34 -0500
Wondering why gold dropped by almost $100 today? Wonder no more: today the Shanghai Gold Exchange lifted gold margins for forward contracts the second time this month to 12% beginning on Friday, in a move that is starting to resemble the CME's vendetta with silver back from May. Should we expect 3 more SGE margin hikes in the next 2 weeks? Or will the CME rightfully accept the baton and do everything in its power to dent the parabolic rise in the alternative reserve currency? We are cautiously looking at what the CME will do today and will advise readers. In the meantime, here is what else happened in Shanghai: "China’s main precious metals exchange will also widen daily trading limits for those gold contracts to 9 percent, up from 7 percent, the SGE said on its website on Tuesday. The contracts to be affected include Au(T+D), Au(T+N1) and Au(T+N2). This is the second time the exchange has raised collateral requirements on gold forward contracts this year — both times in August — as international gold prices hit a series of record highs over the past few weeks, boosted by a flight to safety on worries over a stalling U.S. recovery and crippling sovereign debt in the euro zone. Shanghai Gold T+D contract lost half a percent to 387.8 yuan per gram, or $1,884.47 an ounce, down from an intraday high of 391.9 yuan when the market opened."
I am confident in predicting we are about to have another Global Financial Crisis—I’m calling it The Sequel: Same movie, same players, same story. Only this time around—like all good sequels—the financial crisis we are about to experience is going to be bigger, longer, and uncut by bailouts. By the way, that is the key difference between 2008 and 2011: We’re not going to have a Hollywood Ending this time around. The governments of Europe and the United States, as well as their respective central banks, do not have any weapons to fight off this 2011 financial crisis, as they did in 2008, for the simple reason that they used them all up—they’re out of bullets, both monetarily and politically. So when The Sequel hits the big screen, there won’t be a Big Daddy Government deus ex machina to come save the day in the third act twist. When The Sequel hits, we’re on our own.
USDCHF Plunges To Record Low Following Generali CEO Comments Eurozone Faces Risk Of Breakup, Flight To Safety ResumesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/05/2011 09:43 -0500
Yep. Europe again. Following comments from Generali's CEO Giovanni Perissinotto based on a transcript from a conference call earlier that the Eurozone is at risk of breakup (something which everyone knows, but nobody dares to say, especially not anyone whose CDS is trading in lockstep with those of Italy), the USDCHF just plunged to fresh all time lows. And so all the goodwill created by the robotic buying on the NFP headlines is gone.
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Word War Two: After Calling Bernanke A "Hooligan", Putin Now Says America Is "A Parasite" Living Off The Global EconomySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/01/2011 16:53 -0500
Three weeks ago Putin called Bernanke a hooligan. Since that remark came from the (allegedly) largest oil producing country in the world, it provoked nary a peep from America's foreign department. Today, he decided to ratchet up the rhetoric, and in a speech to a Kremlin youth group told his listeners what the bulk of the rest of the world thinks of America: ""They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy," Putin told a Kremlin youth group while touring its summer camp north of Moscow. "They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar."" Russia has not made its distrust of America clear in the past, and while others (ahem China) have been jawboning about selling Treasurys even as they continue buying US one-ply paper, Russia has been actively dumping its Treasury paper to the lowest in years. The reason for the unprovoked outburst? The insanity in Congress. "Thank god," Putin said, "that they had enough common sense and responsibility to make a balanced decision." The former KGBer's solution? Other, and more deserving, reserve currencies.
Sen. John kerry comments that the Chinese "are laughing all the way to the bank" on a downgrading of US Treasury securities. China owns about 8% of the U.S. debt, so does that mean the rest of 92% debtors, including the U.S. taxpayer, would also be "laughing"?
The unprecedented moves in the yield curve continue: even as the blow out in (ultra) short term liquidity persists, notably in GC and in Bills maturing just after the August 2 D-Day, the scramble to cover long-dated shorts has collapsed the 10 and the 30 Year by an epic amount in the last few days, with the 10 Year trading at 2011 lows of 2011. Why is this number relevant? Because the last time we saw it was in August 2010, a few weeks before Ben Bernanke announced QE2. In other words, history is repeating itself verbatim from last year. As to whether the move is due more to a flight to safety or a short covering crunch we will know only next week when the CFTC releases its latest COT spec short data. One thing can be ascertained, however: the Fed models that look at rate-implied deflation indicators are currently screaming bloody QE. And it will come... As soon as the stock market finally realizes that it has to tumble before it surges to new and Weimerian highs.
Here are some of the first sell-side and media perspectives on the abysmal Q2 GDP. And of course, nobody could have foreseen this huge collapse in the US economy. Nobody.
While we politely disagree with David Rosenberg on what is the ultimate flight to safety "security" (in our insolvent day and age perhaps the very word at the heart of capital markets needs to be changed), with him believing in bonds, predicated by a fear of an eventual deflationary crunch, while we ignore any instrument that is used a policy tool by the central planners and instead prefer precious metals, we always are impressed by his ability to synthesize reality in a few succinct bullet points (even if according to Eni's Recchi itself is irrelevant after saying that "Italy’s bond yields don’t reflect reality"). That is most certainly the case today when in his latest Breakfast with Dave letter to clients, Rosie summarizes the 7 reasons why "we should be worried."