- This won't end well: Islamists call Cairo protest march as Egypt death toll mounts (Reuters)
- JPMorgan Said to Expect Multiple Fines for Whale Loss (BBG)
- Ex-bosses at JPMorgan unlikely to face charges in 'Whale' scandal (Reuters)
- China could target oil firms, telecoms, banks in price probes (Reuters)
- For once, it's not the weather's fault: U.K. Retail Sales Increase More Than Forecast on Heatwave (BBG)
- Japanese visits to shrine on war anniversary anger China (Reuters)
- India Fighting Worst Crisis Since ’91 Seeks to Buoy Rupee (BBG)
- Japan Signals Corporate Tax Cut a Long Shot as Deflation Eases (Reuters)
- Indonesia Tackles Graft in Energy Sector (Reuters)
- Merkel Touts Strength of German Economy (WSJ)
- and... British stuntman who parachuted into London Olympics opening ceremony as James Bond dies in fall (AP)
In a session that has been painfully boring so far (yet which should pick up with CPI, jobless claims, industrial production and the NY Empire Fed on deck, as well as Wal-Mart earnings which will no doubt reflect the continuing disappointing retail plight) perhaps the only notable news was that Japan - the nation that brought you "Fukushima is contained" - was caught in yet another lie. Recall that the upside catalyst (and source of Yen weakness) two days ago was what we classified then as "paradoxical news" that Japan would cut corporate taxes in a move that somehow would offset the upcoming consumption tax hike. Turns out that, as our gut sense indicated, this was merely yet another BS trial balloon out of Japan, which admitted overnight that the entire report was a lie.
As David Stockman, Reagan's infamous Budget Director, writes in his bestseller, The Great Deformation: The Corruption Of Capitalism In America – "the last thing hedge funds do is hedge." The hedge fund complex is "not so much a conventional industry as it is a giant moveable trade": Wall Street trading desks frequently morph into independent hedge fund partnerships, and senior hedge funds often sire “cubs” and then sons of cubs. The protean ability of this arrangement to spawn, fund, and replicate successful momentum trades cannot be overstated, and has "generated trillions of permanent momentum-chasing capital." Ultimately, he warns, "apologists for the Fed’s evisceration of the capital markets could not see... they had unleashed the financial furies in the violent momentum trading modus operandi of the hedge fund casino."
Presenting default you can believe in, as the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history, involing the one-time iconic "motor city" which now has a population of 700,000 and some $20 billion in liabilities, is about to become reality. But fear not: the Detroit bankruptcy, like rising rates, are entirely due to the economic recovery.
With spot gold prices down 28% year-to-date, it appears John Paulson's Gold Fund has managed to create some epic high-beta losses. In a letter to investors, Paulson explains his fund fell 23% in June, is down 65% in 2013; but do not fear - as he concludes time and time again, the gold fund will "produce outsized returns in the long-run".
Unless there's a shock to the system when people start seeking safety, there's not much upside momentum for gold.
The legal claims on physical gold far exceed the amount of physical gold that the banks actually have by a very, very wide margin. And right now the bankers are scared out of their wits because their warehouses are being drained of physical gold at a frightening rate. So what happens when their physical gold is gone but they still have lots and lots of people with legal claims to gold? When that moment arrives, it will represent the end of the paper gold scam. Many believe that the recent takedown of the price of paper gold was a desperate attempt by the bankers to put off that day of reckoning, but it appears to have greatly backfired on them. Instead of cooling off demand for precious metals, it has unleashed a massive "gold rush" all over the globe. This is creating havoc in the financial community, and at least one major international bank has already declared that it will only be settling those accounts in cash from now on. The paper gold scam is starting to unravel, and by the time this is all over it is going to be a complete and total nightmare for global financial markets. For years it has been widely known that the promises that banks have made regarding their gold far exceed their actual ability to deliver, but we have never reached a moment of such crisis before.
Jewellers across the world are seeing a surge in jewellery purchases because consumers are taking advantage of the price drop and purchasing investment pieces that will grow in value over time.
In the USA with Mother’s Day approaching this weekend, consumers like Whitney Court who would normally buy flowers instead wants to purchase something that won’t wilt: a silver necklace.
Moments ago, embattled hedge fund manager Phil Faclone, whose Harbinger Capital seven years ago was more profitable than Federal Reserve Capital Onshore Fund LP, and where every analyst and trader wanted to work, at least until they decided to work for Paulson 3 years later (oops), just settled with the SEC for the plethora of alleged financial wrongdoing that has troubled him in the past four years, and primarily for misuse of client funds such as using client cash to pay his own taxes, in a move that effectively ends his career in not only the hedge fund worlds, but in finance as well. It is unclear if Falcone's prenup-free marriage is also over as a result: we expect a statement from Lisa's PR group shortly.
Curious who the biggest casualty of last month's forced precious metal take down is? It may very well be John Paulson, who has systematically been blown out of all his concentrated positions in the past few years, and who, according to Bloomberg, just lost a record 27% in one month in his gold fund, and down 47% so far in 2013. If anything, it may explain the ongoing collapse in GLD holdings as he (among others) is forced to continue liquidating. The good news is that one levered players such as Paulson are finally blown out, there is hope that only far more rational, "non-weak handed" players remain at the table.
Australia’s Perth Mint, the largest refinery in Australia and one of the largest in the world, said that demand has jumped to the highest level since the Lehman crisis in 2008. Demand has been robust due to currency devaluation concerns and then the 15% price fall led to a massive surge in demand as store of wealth buyers leapt at the chance to acquire physical bullion at much cheaper prices. This led to the Perth Mint which refines nearly all of the nation’s bullion, having to stay open over the weekend to meet orders. There’s been strong interest, including from the U.S., with buyers confident that the metal will rebound from the decline, Ron Currie, sales and marketing director, told Bloomberg in a phone interview from Perth. “We haven’t seen levels like this since the 2008 global financial crisis,” Currie said yesterday. “Compared to March sales, April sales have doubled or tripled,” he said. “We worked all weekend to keep the factory running to make more stock and that was only to fill orders,” Currie said from the facility founded in 1899. “We’re being inundated with people buying products.”
There were many casualties following Friday's 4% gold rout, but none were hurt more than one-time hedge fund idol John Paulson, who according to estimates, lost more than $300 million of his own money in one day. Per Bloomberg: "Paulson has roughly $9.5 billion invested across his hedge funds, of which about 85 percent is invested in gold share classes. Gold dropped 4.1 percent today, shaving about $328 million from his net worth on this bet alone." This is merely the latest insult to what has otherwise been a 3 year-long injury for Paulson and his few remaining investors, whose very inappropriately named Advantage Plus is among the bottom 10 hedge funds for the third year in a row. Yet despite being a one-hit wonder thanks to one lucrative idea (long ABX CDS) generated by one of his former employees (Pelegrini), Paulson still has been lucky enough to somehow amass a $10 billion personal fortune which can have a $300 million downswing in one day, even if it is in an asset class which eventually will go only one way - up. Unless, of course, like so many other fly by night billionaires, Paulson too hasn't somehow managed to lever up all his equity into numerous other downstream ventures, and where a $300 million blow up leads to margin calls and other terminal liquidity outcomes.
These are certainly days of miracle and wonder. Well, of absurd and extraordinary financial experimentation, at any rate. Last week, for example, saw the Bank of Japan abandon any last pretense of restraint and topple headfirst into a gigantic pile of monetary cocaine. It would be difficult to overstate the drama of this monetary stimulus (although we favour the word debauchery). Yet as the Japanese monetary authorities declare a holy war against deflation, it would only be fair to draw attention to the colossal opportunity being presented as the antidote to monetary intemperance, namely gold and gold miners. There is a clear mismatch between the prices of gold and silver mining shares and spot prices of gold and silver. But as to why the miners are trading so poorly relative to the physical is unclear to us.