- Standard Chartered Falls Most in 24 Years on U.S. Iran Probe (Bloomberg)
- Iran accusations wipe $15 billion off StanChart shares (Reuters)
- Hilsenrath tells us that Fed Official Calls for Open-Ended Bond Buying (WSJ) - shocking indeed
- German opposition backs fiscal union, demands constitutional change and referendum (FT)
- Gary Gensler speaks: Libor, Naked and Exposed (NYT)
- IMF Pushes Europe to Ease Greek Burden (WSJ)
- Second TSE System Error in Seven Months Halts Derivatives (Bloomberg)
- Rice Hoard Offers World Respite as Food Costs Surge (Bloomberg)
- UK coalition in crisis over parliamentary reform (Reuters)
- Ethics probe could deal losing hand to Nevada Democrat (Reuters)
The ear-piercing screech of the German export machinery as it down-shifts....
In simple terms Europe is a HUGE deal for everyone. We’re not talking about some distant region far off in the distance that we will watch go down from our decks. We’re talking about systemic risk on a scale that would make 2008 look tiny in comparison.
Europe's Question Of Today: “If They Will Fund And How?”; The Question Of Tomorrow “Can They Afford It?”Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/06/2012 07:56 -0400
Never forget; there are two sides to the European fiscal proposition. There are the funding nations and the borrowing nations and I suggest that the focus of the markets will soon turn to the funding countries and their capacity to provide capital without endangering themselves. I think the attention of the markets is about to turn to Germany and France, the largest components of the European Union, and with GDP’s of $3.2 trillion and $2.77 trillion respectively the question is going to come around to just how much these two countries can support without sending themselves into a serious economic quagmire. The EU officially recognized sovereign debt of Greece is now 22.33% of the GDP of Germany and 25.80% of the GDP of France. The banks in Europe dwarf the sovereigns with balance sheets three times larger than of all of the EU nations and with Spain having now fallen and Italy about to go; just how much that can be afforded is quickly coming into the focus of many money managers.
The very vocal head of the world's largest bond fund has long been critical of the global ponzi system better known as the "capital markets." Now, finally, he shifts his attention to Europe, where the interests of his parent - Europe's largest insurance company Allianz are near and dear to the heart, and deconstructs not only the biggest challenge facing Europe: getting access to your money, but also the fatal flaws that will make achieving this now impossible. To wit: "Psst! Investors – do you wanna know a secret? Do you wanna know what Angela Merkel, François Hollande, Christine Lagarde and Mario Draghi all share in common? They want your money!" .... but... "private investors are balking – and for what it seems are good reasons – because policy makers’ efforts have been, until now, a day late and a euro short, or more accurately, years late and a trillion euros short." And so they will continue failing ever upward, as permissive monetary policy which allows failed fiscal policy to be perpetuated, will do nothing about fixing the underlying problems facing the insolvent continent. Then one day, the ECB, whose credibility was already massively shaken last week, will be exposed for the naked emperor it is. Only then will Europe's politicians finally sit down and begin doing the right thing. It will be too late.
- Monti Warns of Euro Breakup as Tussle Over Spain Aid Hardens (Businessweek)
- Italy doesn't need German cash, Monti tells Germans (Reuters) - at least we know who needs whose cash...
- Spain has time to Wait for Clarity on EU Aid -Econ Min (Reuters) - which came first: the Spanish bailout request or the denial to need a Bailout request? Ask the Spanish 2 year...
- Bundesbank Weidmann’s opposition to a proposed new wave of ECB bond purchases has support of Merkel’s CDU - Volker Kauder
- China media tell U.S. to "shut up" over South China Sea tensions (Reuters)
- Top Chinese Leaders Gather in Annual Summer Conclave (WSJ)
- Greece Agrees With Troika on Need to Strengthen Policy (Bloomberg)
- Coeure Says ECB Should Look at Getting Loans Into Real Economy (Bloomberg)
- Italy Central Banker Sees Potential Rate Cut as Euro Economy Slows (WSJ)
- A Dose of Dr. Draghi's 'Whatever It Takes' (WSJ)
- Greek bank head sent savings abroad (FT)
Even as the ECB is desperately doing its best to stick a finger in every hole in the leaking European dam, in which just like in the US failed monetary policy is a substitute for sound fiscal one, and in which the pattern of interventions and cause and effect will now follow that of Japan until the bitter end, others are not waiting around to see the results. Reuters reports that Royal Dutch Shell is pulling some of its funds out of European banks "over fears stirred by the euro zone's mounting debt crisis, The Times reported on Monday." And shell is not the only one: more and more institutional are actively preparing to lock up their cash on a moment's notice, an eventuality which can be seen best at the ECB itself, where deposits with the ECB (collecting 0.00%), dropped to just €300 billion the lowest since 2011, while the ready for withdrawal current account saw holdings rise to a record €550 billion overnight, a €20 billion increase overnight. And so the cycle repeats anew, and Gresham's law rises to the surface, as bad money pushes out good money, and in return the situation deteriorates once more, until the next time much more than just harsh language out of the ECB will be needed just to preserve the status quo.
After last week's event-a-palooza, where the headlines, the spin, the erroneous HFT trading, and the propaganda (Draghi is too cold; Draghi is too hot; Draghi is just right) just refused to stop, we finally enter the summer proper where all of Europe is on vacation, as is congress. Add on top of this a very light macro event week and an earnings season which has seen the bulk of companies already report, and we expect the volume in the coming 5 days to be among the lowest recorded in 2012, and thus in the past decade. Which of course means that the cannibalization among the market makers will continue as more and more firms succumb to "trading anomalies."
An ‘attack on democracy’ ... and a new term for ECB printing ops: ‘euro-socialism’
Rather than give the people a voice, democracy allows for the choking of life by men and women of state authority. When Occupy protestors were chanting “this is what democracy looks like” last fall, they wrongly saw the power of government as the best means to alleviate poverty. What modern day democracy really looks like is endless bailouts, special privileges, and imperial warfare all paid for on the back of the common man. None of this is to suggest that a transition to real democracy is the answer. The popular adage of democracy being “two wolves and lamb voting on what’s for lunch” is undeniably accurate. A system where one group of people can vote its hands into another’s pockets is not economically sustainable. Democracy’s pitting of individuals against each other leads to moral degeneration and impairs capital accumulation. It is no panacea for the rottenness that follows from centers of power. True human liberty with respect to property rights is the only foundation from which civilization can grow and thrive.
There has been much confusion over last week's remarks by Mario Draghi, with the prevailing narrative being that the market first got what Draghi meant wrong (when it plunged), then right (when it soared). The confusion is further granulated by attempts to explain what was merely a desperate attempt at delaying a decision for action, which was inevitable considering the now open opposition by Buba's Weidmann, into a formal and planned plotline: "Inverse Twist" or other such technical jargon is what we have seen floating around. The reality is that, just like all other central bankers, Draghi did what he does best: use big words and threats of action in hope it will buy him a few extra days of time. The reality is also that, just like when the LTRO was announced, the market did get it right initially, when peripheral bonds plunged, and got it wrong over the subsequent 3 months when bond prices rose, only to collapse to new lows (and in the case of Spain - record high yields as of two weeks ago). Back then, the ECB merely bought a few months time with its transitory intervention. This time it has at best bought a few days with the lack of any actual action. And yet, Draghi did leave a way out, for at least another brief respite (where unless Europe expands the available bailout machinery yet again, the respite will have an even briefer half life than that from the LTROs). The way out is simple, and in order to avoid any confusion, we will use an allegory from the movie Batman: Spain and Italy can be saved. But first they must be destroyed.
A few days ago we wrote that "Greece Runs Out Of Money. Again" because it did. The country, which is permanently locked out of the bond markets, would be down to a negative cash balance as soon as its August bond payment to the ECB was made. The reason is that the Troika continues to delay its decision. whether or not to hand over Greece its next monthly allowance. So with the country threatening to once again be on the front page as math rears its ugly head, the ECB has decided to take the bold step and admit that in lieu of even remotely credible collateral pledged and repledged in the ponzi repo system, the ECB has no choice but to expand the universe of eligible "collateral" against which it will provide cash. From Reuters: "The ECB's Governing Council agreed at its meeting on Thursday to increase the upper limit for the amount of Greek short-term loans the Bank of Greece can accept in exchange for emergency loans, the newspaper said in an advance copy of the article due to appear in its Saturday edition."
John Tamny of Forbes is one of the more informed contributors in the increasingly dismal state of economic commentating. Tamny readily admits he is on the libertarian side of things and doesn’t give into the money-making game of carrying the flag for a favored political party under the guise of a neutral observer. He condemns the whole of the Washington establishment for our current economic woes and realizes that government spending is wasteful in the sense that it is outside the sphere of profit and loss consideration. In short, Tamny’s column for both Forbes and RealClearMarkets.com are a breath of fresh air in the stale rottenness of mainstream economic analysis. Much to this author’s dismay however, Tamny has written a piece that denies one of the key functions through which central banks facilitate the creation of money. In doing so, he lets banks off the hook for what really can be classified as counterfeiting. In a recent Forbes column entitled “Ron Paul, Fractional Reserve Banking, and the Money Multiplier Myth,” Tamny attempts to bust what he calls the myth that fractional reserve banking allows for the creation of money through credit lending. According to him, it is an extreme exaggeration to say money is created “out of thin air” by fractional reserve banks as Murray Rothbard alleged. This is a truly outrageous claim that finds itself wrong not just in theory but also in plain evidence. Not only does fractional reserve banking play a crucial role in inflationary credit expansion, it borders on being outright fraudulent.
To me the message is clear, Germany is going to do all it can to appear ready to help, but it will forestall any actual helping, especially if it involves increasing Germany’s exposure to the PIIGS (note: Merkel stated that there would never be Euro-bonds for as long as she lived). This is not political posturing. Germany has already brought its own solvency into question (see the Moody’s warning) by propping up the EU. Angela Merkel is not going to lose Germany’s AAA status the year before she’s up for re-election.
Today there will be no discussion of the weather. Today platitudes, arcane phrases, vague promises couched in banalities will no longer do. Mr. Draghi has laid down the gauntlet of actually providing a solution for Europe by having the ECB act as Superman, Batman and the Avengers and show up and make the last minute rescue and I fear that anything short of this will now send the markets into a tailspin. Expectations run high, Mr. Draghi may well have over-promised and any sort of under delivery will not be taken well. Today may be the most critical meeting, ever, of the European Central Bank and it is Mr. Draghi’s reputation, the ECB’s reputation that has been put on the line by Mr. Draghi’s bold comments.