And the final punch in the gut on this bloodbathy Friday some from French Fitch which just downgraded France from AA+ to AA: "The weak outlook for the French economy impairs the prospects for fiscal consolidation and stabilising the public debt ratio. The French economy underperformed Fitch's and the government's expectations in 1H14 as it struggled to find any growth momentum, in common with a number of other eurozone countries. Underlying trends remained weak despite the economy growing more strongly than expected in 3Q, when inventories and public spending provided an uplift. Euro depreciation and lower oil prices will provide some boost to growth in 2015. Fitch's near-term GDP growth projections are unchanged from the October review of 0.4% in 2014 and 0.8% in 2015, down from 0.7% and 1.2% previously. Continued high unemployment at 10.5% is also weighing on economic and fiscal prospects."
- Oil slide hits European stocks, safe-haven assets sought (Reuters)
- IEA Cuts Global Oil Demand Forecast for 4th Time in Five Months (BBG)
- Cue constant pro-Abe propaganda out of Japan: Japan’s Secrecy Law Takes Effect as Abe Seeks Fair Vote Coverage (BBG)
- As if it has a choice: Japan’s GPIF Bets on Abenomics-Driven Recovery (WSJ)
- Heather Capital: How a $600 Million Hedge Fund Disappeared (WSJ)
- Senate Panel Votes to Authorize U.S. War on Islamic State (BBG)
- Japan’s 28 IPOs in 11 Days Give Abe a Lift as Startups Boom (BBG)
- U.S. authorities face new fallout from insider trading ruling (Reuters)
- Greek Stock Rout Means ASE Is 2014 Worst After Russia (BBG)
Anyone who was hoping the market would rebound on last-minute news that the US government has gotten funding for another 9 months, will be disappointed this morning, when futures are finally starting to notice the relentless decline in crude, and with Brent down another 1% as of this writing following yet another cut in the forecast of Global oil demand by the IEA (the 4th in the last 5 months) and with Chinese industrial production also missing estimates (recall that the Chinese slow-motion hard landing has been said by many to be the primary catalyst for the crude collapse) which however pushed Chinese stocks higher on hopes of even more stimulus, the S&P is trading lower by some 14 points, the 10 Year is in the red zone at 2.12%, and the USDJPY is close to session lows. In short: Kevin Henry's "ETF" desk at the NY Fed will have its work cut out to generate one of the now traditional pre-weekend feel good, boost confidence stock market ramps.
Not quite as many fireworks overnight, in another session dominated by central banks. First it was revealed that China had injected CNY400 billion into the banking system to add liquidity as the economy slows, which is ironic because on the other hand China is also seemingly doing everything in its power to crash its nascent stock market bubble mania, following the latest news that China’s CSRC approved 12 IPOs ahead of schedule which is seen as a pre-emptive step to tighten interbank liquidity amid the recent rise in margin trading. Another central bank that was busy overnight was Russia's, which proceeded with its 5th rate hike of the year, pushing the central rate up by 100 bps to 10.50% as expected. Elsewhere, the Bank of England wants to move to a Fed-style decision schedule and start releasing immediate minutes as Governor Mark Carney overhauls the framework set up more than 17 years ago. The Swiss National Bank predicted consumer prices will drop next year and said the risk of deflation has increased as it vowed to defend its cap on the franc. Finally Norway’s central bank cut its main interest rate for the first time in more than two years and signaled it may ease again next year as plunging oil prices threaten growth in western Europe’s biggest crude exporter.
Today things for the former Goldman banker went from bad to worse, when as the FT reports, the ECB lost its "normal political cover" to make a bold decision, in fact the boldest decision in the ECB's history: one which could lead to a political and legal retaliation by Germany itself. The reason, as FT's Peter Spiegel explains, is that unlike previously when EU summits resulted in "greenlighting" blueprints which, if only on paper, enabled Draghi to proceed unconstrained, this time there was no such blank check compact. The bottom line, as Spiegel concludes, is that "Draghi won’t have the normal political cover he needs to make a bold decision early next year – a problem only compounded by the European Commission’s decision last month to put off the day of reckoning for France and Italy over whether they will face sanctions for failing to live up to the EU’s crisis-era budget rules."
If we're in a gold bear market, then answer these questions...
Many global macro factors are coming to a head. Downside in Treasury prices are at minimum limited this week. Treasuries are a safe haven, under-owned, under-loved, with pick up in yield to other sovereigns and denominated in a safer currency. Here is what is worrying the sell-side...
With interest rates near their lowest levels on record, they have nowhere to go from here "but up." This is the consensus of virtually all of the analysts and economists on Wall Street which currently suggests that rates will rise to 3.88% next year on the 30-year treasury. Is everyone still wrong?
It wasn't just China's long overdue crash last night. In addition to the Shanghai Composite suffering its biggest plunge since August 2009, there has been a sharp slide in the USDJPY which has broken its uptrend to +∞ (and hyperinflation), and around the time Chinese gamblers were panicking, the FX pair tumbled under 120, although since then the 120 tractor beam has been activated. Elsewhere, the Athens stock exchange is also crashing by over 10% this morning on the heels of news that the Greek government has accelerated the process to elect the next president and possibly, a rerun of the drama from the summer of 2012 when the Eurozone was hanging by a thread when Tsipras almost won the presidential vote and killed the world's most artificial and insolvent monetary union. And finally, the crude plunge appears to have finally caught up with ground zero, with ADX General Index in Abu Dhabi plunging 3.5%, also poised for the biggest drop since 2009. In fact the only thing that isn't crashing (at least not this moment), is Brent, which did drop to new 5 year lows earlier under $66, but has since staged a feeble rebound.
In a particularly vicious alleged chemical attack, thousands of MidWest FurFest "Furries" - the term for people who dress up in expensive animal costumes and role-play (sometimes sexually) as anthropomorphic critters - were evacuated when chlorine gas was released in the Chicago Hyatt hotel in which they were nesting. As AP reports, authorities are investigating the release of a gas that sent 19 "people dressed like dogs and foxes," as a criminal matter - as someone apparently intentionally left chlorine powder in a ninth-floor hotel stairway, causing the gas to spread. Does give one paws for thought though, eh?
Without doubt, the most memorable line from the latest quarterly report by the BIS, one which shows how shocked even the central banks' central bank is with how perverted and broken the "market" has become is the following: "The highly abnormal is becoming uncomfortably normal.... There is something vaguely troubling when the unthinkable becomes routine." Overnight, "markets" did all in their (central banks') power to justify the BIS' amazement, when first the Nikkei closed green following another shocker of Japanese econ data, when it was revealed that the quadruple-dip recession was even worse than expected, and then the Shanghai composite soaring over 3000 or up 2.8% for the session, following news of the worst trade data - whether completely fabricated or not - out of China in over half a year.
A dispassionate look at the week ahead.
You almost have to step outside of economics, even out of the financial world as a whole, to pose what is the most elementary question about our economy today. That can’t be right. The most elementary question is not how we can achieve growth, it’s whether we need growth, and what we would need it for that is important enough to destroy our entire societies and economies for.... We’re in dire need of fresh blood and smart new ideas to clean up the mess the present ideologies and their puppets and puppetmasters have created.
When no lesser establishmentarian than Obama's former chief economist Jared Bernstein called for an end to the US Dollar's reserve status, it raised a few eyebrows, but as the WSJ recently noted, the voices discussing how the burden of being the world's reserve currency harms America, more than just Vladimir Putin is paying attention. While some argue that “no other global currency is ready to replace the U.S. dollar.” That is true of other paper and credit currencies, but the world’s monetary authorities still hold nearly 900 million ounces of gold, which is enough to restore, at the appropriate parity, the classical gold standard: the least imperfect monetary system of history.
"The nation was leery of a national bank with seemingly endless power to manipulate the money supply and the Second National Bank of the United States was attacked by both the expansionists and the sound money opponents. It was during this period that future President Andrew Jackson shaped his anti-Bank views in Tennessee while his future hard-money arm in the Senate, Thomas Hart Benton (Old Bullion), shaped his views in Missouri, two of the hardest-hit states. The debate over central banking, and the concern over deflation and inflation, continue two hundred years later."