So where does this leave us, knowing that despite all the exuberant highs and depressed lows, we had ended the previous week pretty much in unchanged matter?
Well, after a 10-day period that had not one but 2 bail-outs announced, a EU summit that initially seemed to good to be true, results-wise, and then ended up just being that, and a triplet of Central Bank cuts cum QE supportive measures, things don’t look much better…
We are at that moment in time where Greece has capitulated and it is going to be hanging or life imprisonment and Greece, eyes downward cast, is waiting for the verdict. This situation may have been long in coming but it is going to be a disaster for the IMF and for the European Union however it goes. Greece (3) will be a “moment” of that you may be assured and the announcement will be coming shortly. The forthcoming decision will be a matter of credibility in the end as the next line in the sand will hit the ECB, the EU and the IMF in a place that hurts as the last free barrier, the private investors, has been breached and is it going to be the taxpayers of Europe that bear the brunt or is it to be the nation of Greece and her people. There can be no more excuses and the fantastic charades of the past have evaporated and been found wanting. The shepherd ascended Mount Olympus and finding no temples, no gods now is descending back down the mountain and trying hard to figure out just what to say to the people. We are about to face a “Moses Moment” when the worshipping of the “Golden Bull” will no longer cut it. Stand by!
- Beggars can't be choosers after all: Greece Drops Demand to Ease Bailout Terms (FT)
- It took journalists 4 years to get that under ZIRP all banks have to be hedge funds: US Banks Taking Risks in Search of Yield (FT)
- Made-In-London Scandals Risk City Reputation As Money Center (Bloomberg)
- Merkel Approval Rises to Highest Since 2009 After EU Summit (Bloomberg)
- Judge orders JPMorgan to explain withholding emails (Reuters)
- U.S. hiring seen stuck in low gear in June (Reuters)
- Germans Urged to Block Merkel on Integration (WSJ)
- Crony Capitalism Rules: Countrywide used VIP program to sway Congress (Reuters)
- Barclays’ US Deal Rewrites Libor Process (FT)
- Cyprus Juggles EU and Russian Support (FT)
- Delay Seen (Again) For New Rules on Accounting (WSJ)
- Lagarde Says IMF to Cut Growth Outlook as Global Economy Weakens (Bloomberg)
Summit full life: One week. Literally. Last Friday morning speculation that Germany had "caved" to Mario Monti, somehow allowing beggars to be choosers, and would allow an unconditional and IMF-free rescue of Spain and Italy while the seniority of the ESM was eliminated, sending the Spanish 10 Year yield to under 6.2%. The same security is now back over 7%, where it was just before the summit, as Finland and Holland (or half of Europe's AAA-rated countries), and even Germany, made it quite clear, as we said all along, that stripping seniority of a piece of debt is far more complex than saying one wants to do it in a Memorandum of Understanding. The other thing pushing Spanish spreads wider was German FinMin spokesman Kotthaus saying that no decision on Spain can be taken on Monday as there is no Troika report on Spain bank aid yet, and that the European bailout activation, which was supposed to begin on July 9th, may be delayed until July 20. At that point it will likely be delayed again, only this time GSPGs may be trading wider than their lifetime highs of 7.285%. Finally, adding insult to Mario Monti "victory" is that Merkel's popularity rating just hit a multi-year high. So: who was last week's summit "winner" again?
Seven out of the seventeen economies that belong to the European Union that need to be bailed out. This is 41% of the Euro-17 that is in trouble. The second indication of decline is the recessions in Europe. In fact virtually all of Europe is in a recession and while Germany has held its head above the water I think by the third or fourth quarter that she is also mired in an economic decline. Europe is 25% of the global economy and this is beginning to affect the United States as exemplified by the declining revenues and profits of many American corporations that have so far reported out this quarter. The axes of the financial markets are America, Europe and China and with Europe in serious decline and China also contracting the strings are vibrating so that all of the markets are likely to go down. Even without some cataclysmic shock, realization is coming. The debts of Europe are being paid off with ever more debt and the can kicking will find its walls and as the European recession deepens it will be felt in America and then adjustments will have to be made - as fact overbears fantasy.
Central Banks came, stood and delivered… just not much more, although the (nightly) POBC cut (1 YRS by 31 to 6% and deposits by 25bp to 3%) had not really been foreseen. Second Chinese cut in as many month, the last one having been on 07 Jun (as well just ahead of the ECB meeting, then by 25 basis points to 3.25% and 6.31%). The Chinese move was good for a small uptick, rapidly squashed by the European serving.
ECB quarter cut and BoE GBP 50bn additional QE to GBP 375bn both already in the valuation ramp-out of late.
Then came the ECB press conference…
I understand the dream of the common socialist. I was, after all, once a Democrat. I understand the disparity created in our society by corporatism (not capitalism, though some foolish socialists see them as exactly the same). I understand the drive and the desire to help other human beings, especially those in dire need, and the tendency to see government as the ultimate solution to all our problems. That said, let’s be honest; government is in the end just a tool used by one group or another to implement a particular methodology or set of principles. Unfortunately, what most socialists today don’t seem to understand is that no matter what strategies they devise, they will NEVER have control. And, those they wish to help will be led to suffer, because the establishment does not care about them, or you. The establishment does not think of what it can give, it thinks about what it can take. Socialism, in the minds of the elites, is a con-game which allows them to quarry the favor of the serfs, and nothing more. There are other powers at work in this world; powers that have the ability to play both sides of the political spectrum. The money elite have been wielding the false left/right paradigm for centuries, and to great effect. Whether socialism or corporatism prevails, they are the final victors, and the game continues onward… Knowing this fact, I find that my reactions to the entire Obamacare debate rather muddled. Really, I see the whole event as a kind of circus, a mirage, a distraction. Perhaps it is because I am first and foremost an economic analyst, and when looking at Obamacare and socialization in general, I see no tangibility. I see no threat beyond what we as Americans already face. Let me explain…
So much for the latest European bail out. Not even a full week after the last European dead of night summit, which supposedly "was different this time", and Spanish bond yields have already retraced virtually the entire move lower, and after sliding to as low as 6.1%, are now back to 6.62% as of this morning, 22 bps wider on the day, as a result of the now generic realization that nothing actually changed, and also following the latest abysmal and unsustainable (there's that key word again) auction out of Spain, which sold bonds due 2015, 2016 and 2022, even as its default risk is now wider than that of Ireland.
ECB is running out of options. Germany can't afford any more bailouts. Euro is overvalued compared to the dollar.
With the US closed, the afternoon simply dragged on with a light ROff feeling as the Periphery drifted slowly wider, France on stand-still and the Core squeezed tighter. Credit weaker with Financials giving back yesterday’s gains and more. Sudden change of mind in equities, paring morning losses loss ahead of tomorrow in very low volume.
Nothing strong, nor concrete, nor very firm, but Core EZ unease with the ESM discussions of last week, as seen by the South, is just seeping through. Opposition parties, Central Bankers, junior government partners, constitutional issues in the Northern part all seem via titbits and comments ready to sand in some of the discussions or to delay the processes. Give it another 2 weeks and everyone will have gone on holiday (despite the ECOFIN claiming to remain on stand-by).
Closing in unconvinced ROff mode and treading water ahead of tomorrow’s Spanish auction, ECB / BOE meetings and US claims numbers. EUR ticking down to low 25s Yet another not especially inspirational day to write about. Libor-gate turning into mudslinging contest, with possible further fall-outs on the industry.
Germany will leave the Euro the moment that the EU Crisis spreads to France. At that point any discussion of EU bailouts is pointless, as the very countries needing aid (France, Italy, Spain, and Greece) account for 53% of the ESM’s funding.
- Most Germans Reject Ceding Sovereignty to EU, Stern Poll Shows (Bloomberg)
- How Stockton went broke: A 15-year spending binge (Reuters)
- Manchester United Shoots for $100 Million IPO (WSJ)... with 4x leverage and Jefferies as underwriter
- Iran says can destroy U.S. bases "minutes after attack" (Reuters)
- Poison claims spark call for Arafat exhumation (FT)
- Diamond Would Be Catch for Investment, Private Equity (Bloomberg)
- Investors may shun big Libor lawsuit and go it alone (Reuters)
- New Particle Found, Consistent With Higgs Boson (WSJ)
- Chinese riot police clash with protesters (FT)
- Euro-Area June Manufacturing, Services Output Contracts (Bloomberg)
- Utilities Struggle to Restore Power in East (WSJ)
- Dark economic clouds gather anew over Obama campaign (Reuters)
“The patience of the public has been exhausted”
Despite economic miss after miss, the momentum players in the market continue unfazed, dodectupling down on Bernanke Put Double Zero, pushing stocks to new highs simply on continued hopes that something in Europe may have changed with Merkel's so-called defeat last week, even as Merkel's key CSU coalition partners voiced an open threat earlier today to no longer support Eurozone aid if there is no conditionality - supposedly Mario Monti's biggest victory (ignoring that the German constitutional court is also faced with a barrage of demands to undo the ESM), and on hopes that tomorrow the ECB will announce something more drastic than the now widely expected 25 basis point cut. In other words a hope rally, even as bonds, and FX have now diverged dramatically with the hope gripping the global stock market. And hope is good, however if it becomes an investing "strategy" total loss is virtually guaranteed. That said, perhaps for the first time ever, bonds are wrong, and stocks are right, and all the bad news has been priced in (unlike all those other times when everyone said the same, and when everyone was certain they would sell first ahead of the herd). Which brings us to the question that Citi's Steven Englander has just asked himself: "So what can go wrong?" Here is his answer (in five parts).
The Fed, by buying Treasuries is making insolvent banks even more insolvent. It is a short-term gain (liquidity) for a long-term disaster: banks need as much collateral as they can get their hands on right now. And with Treasuries rallying (raising the value of the banks' assets) any aggressive Fed program to take Treasuries out of the system would be a MAJOR step towards another solvency Crisis a la 2008.