It’s no longer about which factors bring down oil prices, that’s old news; it’s about what oil prices bring down. The oil price drop is a much bigger event than the US subprime housing crisis, it’s bigger than everything put together that happened in 2008. And this time, central banks are lame sitting ducks. Omnipotence is a harsh mistress. She tends to backfire.
Hope springs eternal that 2015 is the year that the US economy stretches its escape velocity growth as consensus growth expectations at 2.9% are still at their highest since 2005 (although world GDP expectations are falling rapidly). However, as Bloomberg's Rich Yamarone explains, with 5 of the Top 10 economies in the world in or near recession, the wall of worry can be constructed as follows...
The Greek 3Y-10Y yield curve is back over 400bps inverted this morning as bond (and stock) prices re-tumble following a new reports. As The FT reports, forecasting group Oxford Economics says it has carried out an "in-depth" analysis of opinion polls ahead of Greece's snap general election on January 25, which shows that the radical Syriza party is on course to win a "clear mandate" to push through anti-austerity policies. Will German worry now?
- Average 10-year yield of U.S., Japan and Germany dropped below 1% for the first time ever: Free Money in Bond Markets Shows Global Economy Still Struggling (BBG)
- Brent falls below $52 as oil hits new five and a half year lows (Reuters)
- China Fast-Tracks $1 Trillion in Projects to Spur Growth (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Raises Price of Main Oil Grade for Asian Buyers (BBG)
- Oilfield Writedowns Loom as Crude Slump Guts Drilling Values (BBG)
- Biggest Oil-Rig Drop Since 2009 Spells Tough Year Ahead (BBG)
- CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month (Reuters)
- Pipeline IPOs Climb on Demand for Returns Immune to Oil (BBG)
- Natural Gas No Savior for Investors Seeking Oil Refuge (BBG)
- Euro zone economy ended 2014 in poor shape (Reuters)
Same slide, different day, as the crude crash continues, with both WTI and Brent tumbling to multi-year highs, below $49 and $52 respectively. This happened despite the news overnight that China is accelerating 300 infrastructure projects valued at 7 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) this year, suggesting that China will focus more on fiscal policy than monetary easing, which in turn led to much confusion in the SHCOMP, which fluctuated up and down for the day several times before finally closing unchanged. There was no confusion about the stops slamming USDJPY, and its Nikkei225 derivative which tumbled 3%, sending Japanese Treasury yields to fresh record lows. Record low yields were also seen in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, France (and many other places), which in turn forced the US 10 Year to finally dip back under 2.00%. In fact, taken together, the average 10Y bond yield of the U.S., Japan and Germany has dropped below 1% for the first time ever, according to Citi.
"Something Is Not Right" Jeff Gundlach Is "Concerned About Health Of The Economy & Financial System"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2015 20:30 -0500
Having warned of the "terrifying consequences" of oil prices staying this low, DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach, in an extensive interview with Finanz und Wirtschaft, warns he is "beginning to see signs of investor concern around the edges about the health of the economy and about the financial system. Historically, when junk bonds give up the ghost and treasuries remain firm, it is a signal that something is not right." Touching on everything from a string dollar to Indian stocks, and from Oil to bonds, and The Fed, Gundlach concludes, "the only places where there is inflation is in places that are painful. Raising interest rates against that backdrop seems like a poor idea. So I just hope the Fed thinks carefully about what it is doing." Boxed-in much?
The surreal nature of this world as we enter 2015 feels like being trapped in a Fellini movie. The .1% party like it’s 1999, central bankers not only don’t take away the punch bowl – they spike it with 200% grain alcohol, the purveyors of propaganda in the mainstream media encourage the party to reach Caligula orgy levels, the captured political class and their government apparatchiks propagate manipulated and massaged economic data to convince the masses their standard of living isn’t really deteriorating, and the entire façade is supposedly validated by all-time highs in the stock market. It’s nothing but mass delusion perpetuated by the issuance of prodigious amounts of debt by central bankers around the globe. But now, the year of consequences may have finally arrived.
“Don’t look back - something might be gaining on you,” Satchel Paige famously warned. For connoisseurs of civilizational collapse, 2014 was merely annoying, a continued pile-up of over-investments in complexity with mounting diminishing returns, metastasizing fragility, and no satisfying resolution. So we enter 2015 with greater tensions than ever before and therefore the likelihood that the inevitable breakdown will release more destructive energy and be that much harder to recover from.
Just over 4 months ago, the US was furious as the "mysterious" bloc launching bombing raids on Libya was identified as consisting of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt. This weekend saw another "mysterious" bombing raid, but as AP reports, this time it was not on Libya directly but on a Greek-owned tanker ship at the eastern Libyan port of Darna (killing 2 sailors). The Greeks have strongly condemned this "unprovoked and cowardly" act and are taking all necessary steps to identify and punish the perpetrators. One can't help but wonder, if the Saudi/UAE bloc is doing everything in its power to eliminate all competition: from Russia to Venezuela to US shale; why not anyone transacting with a bunch of Libyan terrorists?
Issuing lies and pursuing willful blindness is not leadership: it's failure on a grand scale.
Anyone who put on a long Shanghai Composite, short Brent trade on January 1, 2014, congratulations: you can now retire. However, since nobody did and instead the groupthink herd of beta-levered momentum chasers known as hedge funds were mostly long the S&P and short Treasurys, it explains why most of them generated negative returns in 2014. Here is how all the other main asset classes did in 2014, denominated both in local currency and in the soaring USD.
- Economists sceptical ECB bond-buying would revive eurozone (FT)
- Indonesia naval captain says may have located missing plane's tail section (Reuters)
- Oil hits five and a half year low under $55 (Reuters)
- Samaras Warns of Euro Exit Risk as Greek Campaign Starts (BBG)
- The death of active investing: Vanguard Sets Record Funds Inflow (WSJ) - thank you Fed
- Oil Downturn Has Many Wondering How Lone Star State Will Weather a Bust (WSJ)
- Hollande Says France Must Exceed 1% Economic Growth to Spur Jobs (BBG)
The new year is not even a week old and already the volatility fireworks are off, as well as the continued commodity derisking. But while for now US stocks continue to be an island oasis in a turbulent global sea where GDP forecasts decline every single day, the same can not be said about either the Euro, which after crashing overnight to a 9 year low, and rebounding briefly, has continued to decline and is now once again flirting with a key support level, this time 1.19, last reached during the May 2010 first Greek bailout. The catalyst, as usual, Greece which may or may not be leaving the Eurozone shortly, as well as ongoing bets on ECB QE following this morning's regional German inflation data which declined once more and now hints at outright deflation in Europe's strongest nation.
2014 may go down as the year when gold and silver conspiracy “theories” became conspiracy “facts” as banks globally were found to have conspired to rig the prices of gold, silver, currency and many other markets.
Having closed the Friday session less than 1 pip above the hugely important 1.2000 level below which there lay many stops, following this weekend's news onslaught which seemed like a deja vu of the newsflow from the fall of 2011, where the main catalyst was the Reuters report that Germany is preparing to let Greece go once and for all (with the subsequent attempts at retraction barely noticed), or maybe just because someone wanted to price in a little more of the more than fully priced in by now ECB QE - which very well may not happen - the moment the EURUSD opened for trading it took out not only the critical 1.2000 stops, but within milliseconds the Euro found itself bidless and crashed to a low of 1.1864, promptly taking out the lows set in May 2010 when the first Greek bailout took place, and tumbled to a level not seen since March of 2006!