With much fanfare, and as Athens News pointed out, 10 minutes early, the German delegation landed in Athens at 1:20 pm local time, and has brought with it 7,000 part-time Greek police jobs: look for a massive drop in the Greek unemployment rate next month. For the next 6 hours everyone will be praying that the ghost of Gavrilo Princip has not found a new host. In the meantime, the most inexplicable of official visits will take place as Angela Merkel paints the town red (hopefully not literally).
IMF Cuts Global Growth, Warns Central Banks, Whose Capital Is An "Arbitrary Number", Is Only Game In TownSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/08/2012 18:05 -0400
"The recovery continues but it has weakened" is how the IMF sums up their 250-page compendium of rather sullen reading for most hope-and-dreamers. The esteemed establishment led by the tall, dark, and handsome know-nothing Lagarde (as evidenced by her stroppiness after being asked a question she didn't like in the Eurogroup PR) has cut global growth expectations for advanced economics from 2.0% to only 1.5%. Quite sadly, they see two forces pulling growth down in advanced economies: fiscal consolidation and a still-weak financial system; and only one main force pulling growth up is accommodative monetary policy. Central banks continue not only to maintain very low policy rates, but also to experiment with programs aimed at decreasing rates in particular markets, at helping particular categories of borrowers, or at helping financial intermediation in general. A general feeling of uncertainty weighs on global sentiment. Of note: the IMF finds that "Risks for a Serious Global Slowdown Are Alarmingly High...The probability of global growth falling below 2 percent in 2013––which would be consistent with recession in advanced economies and a serious slowdown in emerging market and developing economies––has risen to about 17 percent, up from about 4 percent in April 2012 and 10 percent (for the one-year-ahead forecast) during the very uncertain setting of the September 2011 WEO. For 2013, the GPM estimates suggest that recession probabilities are about 15 percent in the United States, above 25 percent in Japan, and above 80 percent in the euro area." And yet probably the most defining line of the entire report (that we have found so far) is the following: "Central bank capital is, in many ways, an arbitrary number." And there you have it, straight from the IMF.
On the inaugural day of the much-awaited holy grail of Europe - the ESM - DutchNews.nl reports that Dutch diplomats in Athens have been secretly planning for an eventual Greek exit from the eurozone (along four themes - liquidity, energy, communications, and security). "We have deliberately strictly kept this behind closed doors", a Dutch diplomat told Volkskrant, adding "I do not know who has trumpeted." Among the Dutch companies doing business in Greece are Heineken, Unilever, and Philips as one business owner note that they "send cash back to the Netherlands as soon as possible - holding as little money in Greece as possible." While the foreign affairs ministry would not confirm, the paper cites a diplomat who commented: "we do not want to awaken any sleeping giants." We suspect you just did - sshh!
Now that the ESM has been officially inaugurated, to much pomp and fanfare out of Europe this morning, many are wondering not so much where the full debt backstop funding of the instrument will come from (it is clear that in a closed-loop Ponzi system, any joint and severally liable instrument will need to get funding from its joint and severally liable members), as much as where the equity "paid-in" capital will originate, since in Europe all but the AAA-rated countries are insolvent, and current recipients of equity-level bailouts from the "core." As a reminder, as part of the ESM's synthetic structure, the 17 member countries have to fund €80 billion of paid-in capital (i.e. equity buffer) which in turn serves as a 11.4% first loss backstop for the remainder of the €620 billion callable capital (we have described the CDO-like nature of the ESM before on many occasions in the past). The irony of a country like Greece precommiting to a €19.7 billion capital call, or Spain to €83.3 billion, or Italy to €125.4 billion, is simply beyond commentary. Obviously by the time the situation gets to the point where the Greek subscription of €20 billion is the marginal European rescue cash, it will be game over. The hope is that it never gets to that point. There is, however, some capital that inevitably has to be funded, which even if nominal, may prove to be a headache for the "subscriber" countries. The payment schedule of that capital "invoicing" has been transformed from the original ESM document, and instead of 5 equal pro rata annual payments has been accelerated to a 40%, 40%, 20% schedule. And more importantly, "The first two instalments (€32 billion) will be paid in within 15 days of ESM inauguration." In other words, October 23 is the deadline by which an already cash-strapped Spain, has to pay-in the 40% of its €9.5 billion, or €3.8 billion, contribution, or else.
Some correction of Friday’s Bull trap: European Risk Off, EGB credit torsion and weaker equities.
Doubtful whether any fireworks will come out of the ECOFIN meeting.
Seems to be more about maintaining the relative market quietness and status-quo.
As we all await the next, next, next meeting of the European Finance Ministers and our eyes are turned to Spain and what machinations are going to be brought to our attention, we wonder if actual decisions are going to actually be forthcoming. These people “applaud and hail and congratulate” each other on various non-accomplishments and they tap dance on the world’s stage as if each and every problem is not only solved but light years behind them while there are giant dificulties to their forefront that are largely ignored in the continuing attempt to obscure everyone’s field of vision. We remain skeptical however; we can see just fine thank you and it is not the poppy fields of Oz at which we stare.
Risk averse sentiment dominate the session, as market participants looked forward to the latest European finance ministers meeting who are due to discuss Spain’s finances, as well as Greece, which is yet to formalise spending cuts in order to receive the next aid tranche. Reports that China's economic growth is expected to have slowed to 7.5% in Q3 from 7.6% in Q2 weighed on basic materials and industrials stocks. The World Bank cut its 2012 GDP forecast for China to 7.7% from 8.2%; 2013 to 8.1% from 8.6%. Uncertainty surrounding the never-ending sovereign debt crisis in Europe weighed on financials, and in turn translated into lower 3m EURUSD cross currency basis. Peripheral bond yields rose, with Italy underperforming, ahead of the supply later on in the week. Going forward, given the Columbus Day holiday across the pond, trade volumes are expected to be below the average.
- Italy rejects need for EU control (FT)
- ‘Worst US quarterly earnings since 2009’ (FT)
- Chinese firm helps Iran spy on citizens (Reuters)
- World Bank cuts East Asia GDP outlook, flags China risks (Reuters)
- Foxconn factory rolls on in spite of strike (China Daily)
- Economic recovery ‘on the ropes’ (FT)
- Japan Tries Cars That Make the Mini Look Maxi (Businessweek)
- Euro Finance Chiefs to Give Positive Greece Statement, Rehn Says (Bloomberg)
- Romney attacks drones policy (FT)
- Euro zone mulls 20 billion euro separate budget (Reuters)
- Hong Kong’s Leung Seeks Turnaround With Economy Focus (Bloomberg)
- RBA Keeps Some Documents Private in Securency Bribe Probe (Bloomberg)
- India Inflation to Remain at 7.5%-8% Till Early 2013 (WSJ)
Usually on semi-US holidays such as today, when bonds are closed but equities left to the whims of vacuum tubes, equities do their mysterious ramp and never look back. So far today, however, this has failed to happen with futures at lows, driven by a noticeably weak EURUSD, which has traded down nearly 100 pips from the Friday late day ramp close, currently at 1.2940. It is unclear what has spooked the Euro so far, although all signs point to, as they did 2 months ago, the Spanish lack of willingness to throw in the towel and demand a bailout, thus easing conditions for everyone else if not for Spain PM Rajoy. Today's main event will be European finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg to discuss the recent Spanish economic transformation efforts as well as an attempt to accelerate banking cooperation and implement a banking regulator - something which is needed for the ESM to monetize bank debt, and something which Germany has been firmly against from day one. Additionally, a day ahead of Merkel's visit to German (where she will be protected by 6-7,000 cops), the ministers are likely to make a positive statement on Greece’s progress toward austerity targets, according to European viceroy Olli Rehn said. In other overnight news, German Industrial Production saw a -0.5% decline, which was modestly better than the -0.6% expected. Over in Asia, China reopened from its 1 week Golden Week hibernation with the SHCOMP down -0.56% to 20.76.42 following a small bounce in the China HSBC Services PMI to 54.3 from 52 in August, and with average house prices rising for a 4th month in a row, and even more repo operations by the PBOC, the result is that the market's ungrounded hopium for an immediate PBOC liquidity injection was taken away pushing regional markets lower.
Spoiler Alert: They’re mostly still in office (so much for building suspense).
On October 3, 2008, 338 elected officials (263 House reps, 74 Senators and 1 President) took it upon themselves to save America from certain financial doom by passing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, completely ignoring the will of the American people, opting instead to fulfill a Thomas Jefferson prophesy:
“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
Ueli Maurer, the Swiss defense minister, has been making coy statements about the European crisis getting ugly – as in really ugly, like needing armed troops to deal with it. This sounds more like Greece, where the rioting is regular and increasingly scary, than anything in Central Europe, but where the whole EU furball is headed does seem less than clear of late. The Swiss are famous for preparing for everything and having an absolutely huge army, relative to their population, to deal with any eventuality. It’s easy to dismiss the Swiss, since they are a tiny country whose military hasn’t actually fought anybody in a couple centuries. On the other hand, they managed to stay out of both of Europe’s catastrophic World Wars precisely though preparing for eventualities and maintaining a strong defensive capability. They’re clearly on to something.
Angela Merkel is finally coming to the one country where the local media will not tire of photoshopping her in various Nazi outfits. The result: at least 6,000 policemen (and more like 7,000 according to Spiegel) will be deployed to protect her on her 6 hour visit to Greece on Tuesday, the first since the crisis erupted in 2009, and which has seen Greek unemployment explode from manageable to 25% at last check. Another result: parties from across the spectrum have said they will protest her visit, and strikes will further shut down what is already a completely shuttered economy. "She does not come to support Greece, which her policies have brought to the brink. She comes to save the corrupt, disgraced and servile political system," said Alexis Tsipras, who leads the opposition Syriza alliance. "We will give her the welcome she deserves."..."We don't want her here," said Yannis Georgiou, 72, who has seen his pension cut by one third. "We will take to the streets against austerity and against the government. Maybe Merkel will hear something and see what we're going through." Finally, with virtually the entire police force tasked with defending Merkel from the residents of her Southeastern European colony, it means that virtually every other place of interest will be left unguarded. Hopefully, nobody in Greece has seen Die Hard with a Vengeance and has access to dump trucks. The one thing Greece has going for it: there is virtually no official gold left anywhere that can be stolen (most of it already has been transferred elsewhere), or otherwise any tourist armed with a camera and located in the vicinity of the National Bank of Greece could film a sequel to what many consider the best Die Hard of all.
Even domestic demand is getting hit, and the Draghi-Bernanke effect has kicked in.
A number of macro-issues could "go the right way" in the coming months. However, nothing good can possibly come from artifice, propaganda, misdirection and simulacra "fixes." Something must break through the facade for good things to happen. It's a long shot, but we can always hope. Without truth, there is truly no hope.
What can be said? Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.
Everyone basking into the market truce provided by Super Mario. And taking some easy time off…
Friday afternoon Periphery squeeze barn stomp