While we have covered the aberration that is a negative gold GOFO rate previously and in extensive detail in this post, an abridged version of what negative GOFO means comes courtesy of Deutsche Bank's recent discussion on what a successful Swiss gold referendum. To wit: "It is interesting to note that benchmark gold-dollar swap rates have recently traded negative, meaning investors are paying to borrow gold. This is unusual as gold is traditionally used as a source of collateral for cash financing.... [A] number of factors may play a role, such as excess dollar liquidity or an increased demand for collateral on the back of the global regulatory developments." In short a gold shortage at the institutional, read commercial and central bank, level. And not just a shortage but the biggest shortage in history, judging by today's latest plunge in the 1 Month GOFO which just dropped to -0.5% and , worse, 1 Year GOFO that just hit its lowest print in the 21st century, and is also about to go negative: something that has never happened before further suggesting the gold shortage could go on for a long, long time!
The Dutch and German governments were preparing emergency plans for a return to their national currencies at the height of the euro crisis it has emerged. These plans remain in place.
The last time the world's largest oil and gas drill operator, Seadrill, halted its dividend payment was in 2009, shortly after Lehman had filed and the world was engulfed in a massive depression. Retrospectively, this made sense: the company was struggling not only with depressionary oil prices, but with a legacy epic debt load as can be seen on the chart below. So the fact that the stock of Seadrill collapsed by 20% today following a shocking overnight announcement that it had once again halted its dividend despite what is a far lower debt load than last time, indicates that when it comes to energy companies, the current global economic "recovery" - if one believes the rigged US stock market - is actually worse than the Lehman collapse.
Having surged to last October's highs last month, Chicago PMI tumbled back to mediocrity in November, missing extrapolatedly exuberant expecatations by the most since July. As 60.8 (against 63.0 expectations) this is barely above the levels of Q1's polar vortex as New Orders, Employment, and Production all fell (with only 2 components rising). This is the 4th largest MoM drop since Lehman but MNI remains confident that "the trend remains positive..."
The actions of central bankers around the globe which have been driving stock prices higher are not a sign of control. They are signs of desperation. They are losing control. Their academic theories have failed. Their bosses insist they turn it up to eleven. Something is going to blow. You can feel it. John Hussman knows what will happen. Do you?
As the debate regarding whether or not Switzerland should keep the bulk of its gold reserves at home on Swiss soil reaches it's climax - the referendum takes place on Sunday - it is telling that the Dutch announced on Friday that they have just secretly repatriated 122 tonnes of their sovereign gold reserves from New York back to Amsterdam.
With hopes high, at least among corner offices of the majors, that this week's OPEC meeting will somehow manage to slow down the biggest plunge in crude prices since Lehman, it will take much more than mere talk and hollow promises to offset the recent cartel-busting actions of Saudi Arabia. So in a worst case scenario where supply remains unchanged even as global energy demand continues to decline sharply due to the ongoing global slowdown what is the worst case scenario that could happen - aside from the mass energy HY defaults discussed previously - should the price of a barrel of oil continue to correlate the change in 2014 global GDP estimated? Here are some thoughts from Deutsche Bank.
Want to escape a lifetime of debt servitude? Then some of the fields one may want to avoid include drama, music, religion, anthropology, philosophy, psychology and education.
To put the events of October 15 in context, here is a 1-minute clip courtesy of Nanex showing the daily history bond market liquidity starting with 2008 and going through November 2014.
What is the main culprit for the contraction in China's all important credit formation? In two words: shadow banking. As Bank of America summarizes "shadow banking is being tamed" because "the changing structure of TSF suggests that Beijing’s efforts in controlling some types of shadow banking have made some achievements. Two major drivers for the steep decline of TSF from Sept to Oct were the falling of non-discounted bills (down RMB241bn) and falling trust loans (down RMB22bn). By contrast, new corporate bonds were at RMB242bn, a sharp rise from RMB151bn in Sept." In other words, China's shadow banking not only ground to a halt, it actually continued moving in reverse!
Needless to say, this relentless expansion of the bubble eventually kills off the bears, the skeptics, the prudent and even the militantly incredulous. Undoubtedly, that is where we are now because the global economic news has been uniformly negative since the October dip, yet the market has resumed its relentless melt-up. Under such circumstances, therefore, it is well to remember that we are in the middle of the greatest central bank fueled inflation in recorded history, and that this insidious inflation has been channeled into financial assets owing to the arrival of peak debt everywhere around the world. But that is the Achilles heel of the game. As the bubble takes on ever greater girth, it becomes increasingly susceptible to a negative shock to confidence.
Kuroda has fired the shot that looks likely to trigger the next phase of the crazy monetary experiment we’ve all been living in for the last five years. Unfortunately, the next phase is where things start to get nasty. Just because equity markets cheered the latest sugar rush he guaranteed them should not make smart investors lower their guard — quite the opposite, in fact. Colonel Kuroda has gone up-country into the Heart of Darkness, and all we can do is await the Apocalypse now.
WTI Crude plunged another 3.75% to as low as $74.06 today - the lowest since Sept 2010 and dropping at the fastest rate of collapse since Lehman. Airlines popped and Energy stocks dropped 2.7% (now worst sector of the year) but Small Caps were the worst performing major index of the day (turning first around 1030ET and dropping most in over 3 weeks). The S&P tested back into the red for the week but was VWAP-rescued twice. AAPL once again bid saved the Nasdaq. Treasury yields slid lower all day (down 2-3bps across the complex) but remain up 4-5bps on the week. The USD weakened very marginally (still up 0.25% on the week) led by EUR strength. Gold and silver were flat but copper tumbled back below $300 - its lowest close in a month (near lowest close since Jul 2010). HY Credit diverged bearishly this afternoon as stocks ramped to VWAP. VIX rose for the 3rd day in a row, back over 14. Dow record close, Russell biggest drop in 3 weeks.
Simply put, the dollar's rise could destabilize the entire global financial system. To understand why this is so, we have to start with the source of the risk: the world's central banks.
On Sunday in Brisbane the G20 will announce that bank deposits are just part of commercial banks’ capital structure, and also that they are far from the most senior portion of that structure. With deposits then subjected to a decline in nominal value following a bank failure, it is self-evident that a bank deposit is no longer money in the way a banknote is. If a banknote cannot be subjected to a decline in nominal value, we need to ask whether banknotes can act as a superior store of value than bank deposits? If that is the case, will some investors prefer banknotes to bank deposits as a form of savings? Such a change in preference is known as a "bank run."