Chaos reigns, with contradictory headlines pushing and pulling futures in any one direction, only for the next headline to undo the previous one. And only headline scanning frontrunning algos have any chance of trading any of this...
“There are three things that matter in the bond market these days: liquidity, liquidity and liquidity. When the unwind comes, like we’ve seen in the past few months, it comes abruptly and sharply as the exit door is tiny"...
"We've won a few months' respite but the problem will come back," France's Marine Le Pen said of Greece... "Today we're talking about Grexit, tomorrow it will be Brexit, and the day after tomorrow it will be Frexit." We shouldn’t need Le Pen to voice the obvious. But that no other ‘leader’, save for Nigel Farage, puts it into these crystal clear terms, does tell us a lot about all other European leaders. And unfortunately that includes Alexis Tsipras. Though we hold out some hope for him yet. Here’s hoping he will not sign that deal, whichever it may be in the end, and thereby set in motion the disintegration of the unholy Union.
We had wondered at the relative lack of response by Russia to extended sanctions and asset freezes in Europe and now we see the first major move. Having confirmed new counter-sanctions this morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin just threw The IMF (US taxpayers), and Ukraine's 'American' finance minister under the bus... "Moscow can no longer give Ukraine gas discounts due to the current drop in oil prices." The price must be on level of other countries like Poland, he added.
And it started off all so well: the market, blissfully ignoring what we wrote just yesterday in Why The IMF Will Reject The Latest Greek Proposal In Just Two Numbers, was in full blown levitation mode overnight when it sent Japanese stocks to their highest close since 1996 (pre dot com) and with the Chinese central bank doing its best to keep levitating local stocks away from the abyss, pushing the SHCOMP up another 2.5%. Euro Stoxx 50 went from flat to down 1% and is bouncing. As BBG's Richard Breslow adds, predictably, the market is taking this as a ploy, not an end game. Of course, this is precisely the "Bear Stearns is fine" conventional wisdom that Cramer was spewing days before Bear failed because nobody could fathom how anyone can conceive of a worst case scenario. Only it isn't nobody: we reported before of a Goldman's "Conspiracy Theory" Stunner: A Greek Default Is Precisely What The ECB Wants.
Just as we warned earlier in the year, total uncertainty about the future of Greece has enabled a growing sense of moral hazard as "if the nation doesn't pay its debt, why should we" sweeps across the troubled nation. As Greeks' tax remittances to the government, which were almost non-existent to begin with, have ground to a halt, so The FT reports, so-called 'strategic defaults' have become a way of life among Greece's formerly affluent middle-class..."I still owe money on the car and motorboat I can’t afford to use. Even a holiday loan I’d forgotten about...I’m living with my mother looking for work and waiting for the bank to come up with another restructuring offer."
Greece, Europe and the world are being crucified on a cross of Keynesian central banking. The latter’s two-decade long deluge of money printing and ZIRP has generated a fantastic worldwide financial bubble, and one which has accrued to just a tiny slice of mankind. That much is blindingly evident, but there’s more and it’s worse. The present replay of high noon on Greece’s impossible mountain of debt clarifies an even greater evil. Namely, that the central bank printing presses have also utterly destroyed the fundamental requisite of fiscal democracy. To wit, in the modern world of massive, interventionist welfare states, fiscal governance desperately needs an honest bond market.
Before taking a look at Europe, an update on China. Just a few short hours ago, when looking at the bursting of the Chinese bubble where stocks were down between 3% and 5% across the board in the first post-holiday trading session after the worst week in 7 years, we said that "without assistance (levitation) from the same PBOC that just clamped down on liquidity, the China bubble has burst." And then as if by request, minutes later we got, drumroll, levitation and the stickiest stick-save by the PBOC seen in months, when the Shanghai Composite staged an unprecedented 7% surge from the lows to close 2.2% higher after tumbling as much as 5% earlier in the session. And just like that, faith in the "wealth effect" is preserved.
"... the immediate aftermath of such a non-payment will be to push bond yields up across the periphery. This rise in the fiscal risk premium (Exhibit 3) will of course be limited, because the ECB will likely accelerate QE, including via the Bundesbank. That will push rate differentials, especially longer-dated ones, against EUR/$. We estimate that the initial fiscal risk premium effect could be three big figures, while the subsequent QE effect could be worth around seven big figures"
A fund manager for one of the largest mutual fund and investment groups in the world, Fidelity, has warned investors and savers to have an allocation to “physical cash,” “including precious metals” to protect against "systemic risk".
today is Friday taken to the nth degree, with the markets having already declared if not victory then the death of all Greek "contagion" leverage, following news that a new Greek proposal was sent yesterday (which as we summarized does not include any of the demanded by the Troika pension cuts), ignoring news that Greece had again sent Belgium the wrong proposal which the market has taken as a sign of capitulation by Tsipras, and as a result futures are surging higher by nearly 1%, the German DAX is up a whopping 3.1%, on track for the biggest one day gain in three years, Greek stocks up over 8%, German and US Treasurys sliding while Greek and peripheral bonds are surging.
How can it be implied that the markets are too fragile to deal with an unexpected raise of interest rates to (gasp) 1/4 of 1%, if all the “data” we were told (or sold) has been showing signs of all this “improvement?” The question still remains: How does any Ivory Tower prognosticator, or Wall Street talking head, square all these circles? Simple – they don’t. They just act as if it they didn’t or won’t happen. Or, just continue to act as if we’re too dumb to answer. This is complacency, idiocy, and more – all turned up to 11!
Whatever the eventual financial costs to EU taxpayers of a Greek default, the political costs of a Greek exit are likely to be seen as unacceptable. Most likely the EU will allow a covert Greek default, disguised for the time being by extended repayment schedules, bogus refinancing formulae and possible delayed haircuts as bonds mature. They may insist that such moves are not a technical default. Despite that absurdity, our obedient press corps may even concur with such a characterization, and investors may be so thrilled that a relief rally occurs in stocks and bonds. Extend and pretend will once again be the only acceptable manner to confront our intractable problems.
We have now reached the point where the euro does not have a problem – the euro is the problem. De-risking it should be a priority for European leaders, as it now poses a chronic risk to global financial stability. Either the outliers need to leave or the countries inside the eurozone needs to move down the pathway to full political, economic and monetary union.
Greek end hogame is at hand. US economy is gaining momentum--consumption, capex, and housing. Several equity markets are at cross-roads.