After a modestly weak start, India's FX and stock markets accelerated lower overnight in the currency's second biggest daily collapse in 17 years, and stocks second biggest daily plunge in 2 years. Rubbing further salt into an already gaping wound of capital outflows, S&P re-iterated its downgrade threat overnight following India dismal PMI print and this appears to have pushed the Indian government to Plan D. Following the failure to halt outflows of Plan A (status quo and blame it on the Fed/Speculators), Plan B (well something is up so 'capital controls' on FX and tariffs on gold), Plan C (that's not working so let's confiscate people's gold), the Indian government is trial-ballooning Plan D - ditch the USD for trade-payments (especially oil which is up 50% in INR terms in 4 months).
- Mediterranean 'Ballistic Targets' Were Part of Israeli Test – Defense Ministry (RIA)
- Microsoft to Buy Nokia’s Devices Unit for $7.2 Billion (BBG)
- Long-Term Jobless Left Out of Recovery (WSJ)
- Swiss banks apologize for assisting tax cheats (Reuters)
- As Obama pushes to punish Syria, lawmakers fear deep U.S. involvement (Reuters)
- India Looking to Expand Rupee-Payment System (WSJ)
- Citigroup Dialing Back Its 'Alternative' Holdings (WSJ)
- Libya Seeks New Solutions to Oil Crisis (WSJ)
- Lenovo Chief Yang Shares Bonus With Workers a Second Year (BBG)
The equity futures euphoria carryover from this weekend, buoyed by sentiment that the Syrian war is postponed if not cancelled, carried over into Tuesday morning despite news that Israel had launched a missile test, which looked at from almost any angle was an attempt at provoking a response from its adversaries. Also the Chinese boost driven by a solid beat in the country's two manufacturing PMIs persisted despite a drop in the August Non-manufacturing PMI reported last night. So once again we have returned to a state where good news is good news and bad news can be ignored. This, even with the Taper announcement just two weeks away. Of note also is that overnight Nokia shares surged 40% after Microsoft announced that it is to buy Nokia mobile business. In tandem, other EU based related names such as STM and Ericsson also gained ground, trading up 3% and 4.5% respectively. Nokia shares traded sharply higher today after Microsoft said it will pay €3.79bln to purchase substantially all of Nokia's devices & services business and will also pay €1.65bln to license Nokia's patents. A fitting farewell present from Steve Ballmer perhaps. Once again, keep an eye on Syria as the president begins his congressional consultations to take the escalation to the next level, with or without provocations from Israel.
China's Manufacturing PMI printed in line with its Flash estimate last night and the Services PMI just printed at a disappointing 11-month low as the 2 segments of the economy diverge by their most on record. The 'good' news that Obama backed away from the big red button for 5 minutes (and improving European PMIs) is spurring some more catch up in Asia tonight and while critical nations like India (whose PMI was dismal) and Indonesia are still languishing, the bounce back in the last few days has pushed MSCI's AsiaPac (ex-Japan) index up to 3-month highs... Well, it's a hot-money current-account-deficit vicious cycle dip to be bought, of course. Treasuries re-opened in line with futures expectations (around 5bps higher in yield) and S&P futures are leaking very gently off this morning's exuberant heights (but remain up over 1% from Friday's close). WTI is hovering around $107 (down from Friday) but Brent is at $114.50 (slightly higher than Friday's close). Silver is holding its strong gains and gold is flat.
The first signs are emerging that the cult-like status given to the world's central bankers is starting to wane, with significant market implications.
Equity futures stormed out of the gate on initial relief that a Syria attack may be avoided, which sent oil and the PM complex flash crashing lower. However, overnight, sentiment shifted that the Syrian escalation is at best delayed and as a result Brent regained all losses, with the precious metals also largely unchanged from Friday's close. Futures on the other hand, were perfectly happy to rise on the transitory Syrian risk moderation reduction, and then continue rising when Syria returned to the forefront, this time prodded higher by PMI exuberance out of China and Europe. How credible such manufacturing data remains to be seen. A surging USDJPY was also rather helpful, with the pair breaching 99.00 stops to the upside shortly after the European PMI data printed. And with the cash US market closed, and electronic equity trade halted at 10:30 Central, it is unlikely that concerns about all those "other" things that will define September, will seep in and it is likely the HFTs will push equities to session highs before reopening for the Tuesday trading.
Ten days ago, it was a tongue in cheek suggestion that the Reserve Bank of India should lease their gold in a last ditch effort to procure much needed USD and keep the economic engine going. Then it was an offer so good, the citizens could simply refuse (or maybe not if it was enforced) that the millions of ounces of local wealth preserving gold be converted into Rupees in a wholesale gold purchasing campaign by the domestic banks. Now, the India Times, reports that as the dollar-starved desperation deepens, the local central bank is "discussing with banks on how to convince temple trusts to deposit their hoard of idle jewellery that could be converted into bullion." In other words, the government is going for the sacred gold which will be sold to keep the petrodollar economy functioning for another several months. Surely, yet another "transitory" measure.
The “Great Rotation” consensus is now under pressure. A “buyers strike” is suddenly visible in late August as investors see the potential for event risk in coming weeks. September is seasonally the weakest month of the year for risk assets and the S&P500 has not recorded an official “10%” correction in 2 years, so it is no surprise that US equities, in particular, are taking a bit of a breather here. But is there something more sinister at play than a healthy correction in risk assets? Conflict (policy, military), Rates (liquidity), Asia, Speculation (forced selling) and Housing are all potential catalysts for a much more contagious autumn market event.
The present picture for the oil price looks increasingly bullish once more. Citi asks, is this a replay of the dynamics seen in the 1970’s? We hope not... but the feedback loop (from oil prices) to the economy and markets is undeniable...
This week will see the end of August trading and September is, along with November, one of the strongest months to own gold. This is seen in the charts showing gold’s monthly performance over different time frames - 1975 to 2011, 2000 to 2011 and our Bloomberg Gold Seasonality table from 2003 to 2013 (10 years is the maximum that can be used).
Thackray's 2011 Investor's Guide notes that the optimal period to own gold bullion is from July 12 to October 9. During the past 25 periods, gold bullion has outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 4.7%.
- Al-Qaeda Links Cloud Syria as U.S. Seeks Clarity on Rebels (BBG)
- Administration Tells Lawmakers of Evidence Linking Assad to Attack (WSJ)
- Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper to publish numbers of secret spying orders (CBS)
- U.S., Switzerland strike bank deal over tax evasion (Reuters)
- Another Budget Deal Bites the Dust (WSJ)
- Contemplating Summers Drives Investors to Seek Beltway Expertise (BBG)
- Austerity Test Looms in Australia as Abbott Pledges Cuts (BBG)
- Gay Spouses in All States Now Married Under U.S. Tax Law (BBG)
- Shadow banks face limits to securities trading (FT)
- EU's Rehn sees European recovery strengthening in 2014 (Reuters) ... or 2015... or 2022... or never?
Overnight, the market continued to digest news out of the UK that the formerly solid pro-war alliance has splintered following a historic vote by the House of Commons, leaving Obama to "go it alone." The result was a rather sizable slamdown in both crude and gold, accelerating as Europe opened for trading, and pushing gold back under $1400. This happened even as data out of Europe showed that European unemployment remained at a record high 12.1%, while inflation missed expectations and printed at 1.3%, or below 2% for the seventh month. Earlier in the session, headline data out of Japan showed that inflation had risen at the fastest pace since 2008. However, before the deflation monster is proclaimed dead, the core-core figure (excluding foods and energy) of the Tokyo CPI was down 0.4% yoy, unchanged since June for three months, suggesting that prices are still largely driven by energy-related costs. In other words cost-push inflation is rampant, which is the worst possible scenario and means the BOJ's QE is going to all the wrong place.
As everyone is now completely distracted with the looming prospect of yet another illegal war to be waged by the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, let’s look at a few other things going on while no one is looking.
Gold Confisaction Imminent? Or Does India Simply Have An Offer For Its Citizens They Can't Refuse...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/29/2013 09:08 -0500
Even as the Indian capital outflows and current account exodus may be threatening to shut down the economy altogether (except for the three oil companies that received a last ditch USD infusion from the RBI yesterday), the central bank is planning and strategizing. And it appears to have come up with more of precisely the same that has led it to its current unprecedented predicament: prevent the population from converting their wealth into hard money, i.e., gold. But while the government's attempts to impose capital controls on gold purchases have been well documented, the latest foray is just a headspinner. Reuters reports that India is now considering a "radical plan to direct commercial banks to buy gold from ordinary citizens and divert it to precious metal refiners in an attempt to curb imports and take some heat off the plunging currency." Here we can safely assume that the commercial banks will pay for the gold in... Rupees which just hit an all time low?
Presenting The Numerous, Undisputed And Very Clear Signs That India's Currency Was Set For An Epic CrashSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/28/2013 19:45 -0500
Citizens of India have been watching, in stunned amazement, as over the past month the local currency has lost an unprecedented 15% of its value, with a record plunge taking place just last night. And, as so often happens, the population habituated to a government "acting in its best interests" is asking itself - how could we have possibly known this was coming. The answer, as usually happens, was staring everyone right in the face. As Grant Williams shows in his latest "Things That Make You Go Hmm", the warnings came loud and clear, and were very explicit in the form of not one, not two, not ten, but many more sequentially imposed and escalating forms of capital controls by the Indian central bank that sought to prevent the conversion of paper into hard currency. Gold.