Dear American Consumer,
This is The Wall Street Journal. We’re writing to ask if something is bothering you. The sun shined in April and you didn’t spend much money. You have been saving more too. You socked away 5.6% of your income in April after taxes, even more than in March. This saving is not like you. What’s up?... The Federal Reserve is counting on you too. Fed officials want to start raising the cost of your borrowing because they worry they’ve been giving you a free ride for too long with zero interest rates. We listen to Fed officials all of the time here at The Wall Street Journal, and they just can’t figure you out.
- Former House Speaker Hastert indicted on federal charges (Reuters)
- Blatter expected to win re-election despite soccer corruption scandal (Reuters)
- NYSE Looks to Ease Late-Day Pileup (WSJ)
- What Will Happen to a Generation of Wall Street Traders Who Have Never Seen a Rate Hike? (BBG)
- Japan spending slump casts doubt on central bank optimism (Reuters)
- Unclear rules, market volatility take toll on bank capital (Reuters)
- Greece Told Budget a Red Line for Creditors Venting at G-7 (BBG)
- The Economist Who Realized How Crazy We Are (Michael Lewis)
- Pimco Said to Have Considered Goldman’s Cohn for Top Job (BBG)
Sentiment towards gold is as bad as we have seen it since the 2003/2004 period. Bitcoin is the more sexy thing. People want to talk about bitcoin and anything with “bit” in the name seems to be doing very well. Whereas gold is very much less sexy ... for now ...
Central bank liquidity lines like those the Fed used to bailout the world seven years ago have become a fixture of the post crisis financial system. Since 2009, China has essentially blanketed the globe with yuan liquidity lines, inking swap agreements with nearly three dozen countries with the primary goal of increasing the degree to which the renminbi is used in international trade.
The next time something breaks in the financial system… it won’t be just individual banks going belly up. It will be entire countries. What’s happened in Cyprus and Greece is coming to your neighborhood… wherever you are.
Gillian Tett, markets and finance commentator and an Assistant Editor and former U.S. Managing Editor of the Financial Times, wrote an important and little noticed article last week questioning complacency on the part of European policy makers regarding a Greek default and potential exit or ‘Grexit’. Tett argues that a Greek failure would lead, as Lehman’s did to “wider policy uncertainty: when Lehman failed, the entire paradigm for finance suddenly seemed unpredictable”.
“[W]e have placed the exclusive custody of our entire banking reserve in the hands of a single board of directors not particularly trained for the duty - who might be called 'amateurs'... But still there is a faith in the Bank, contrary to experience, and despising evidence.”
When we first exposed in February how yet another bank - Bank of America - has been quietly preserving the post Glass-Steagall world in which cash depositing taxpayers are on the hook for a bank's stupidity, some shrugged it off and looked to stress test to solve all the problems. However, it appears - for once - the SEC is not willing to just ignore the bank's actions. Just as JPMorgan's CIO Office, aka the London Whale, took advantage of fungible, taxpayer-insured funding in the form of excess US deposits over loans, to corner the US credit market (in what was clearly a directional prop trade); so, as WSJ reports, The SEC is investigating whether BofA broke rules designed to safeguard client accounts, potentially putting retail-brokerage funds at risk in order to generate more profits using large complex trades.
A Full Analysis and Step-by-Step Guide for EU Area Residents To Aid In Escaping the Upcoming Bank Bail-ins & Capital ControlsSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 04/18/2015 12:21 -0400
This may take you the entire weekend to digest, but if you are an unsecured creditor/lender (have a checking, savings or demand deposit account) to a euro zone bank, I would consider it your fiduciary responsibility to yourself to sit down and parse this piece with care and aplomb!
Let’s talk about idiots. Somewhere out there, some absurdly well-paid banker just placed his investors’ capital in yet another financial instrument which is guaranteed to lose money: Australian government debt. For the first time in Australia, every single one of the 47 bidders offered a price so high that it implies a negative interest rate. Sadly, there are plenty of similarities between today’s negative interest rates and the early 2000s housing bubble. Only a fool believes that this time is different.
2010 Contrarian Prediction of the Disastrous Consequences of ZIRP & Free Money Policy In the Banking System, Year 5Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 04/17/2015 10:41 -0400
In 2010, contrary to nearly every pundit, analyst and economist popularly published, I proclaimed ZIRP would starve the banks. Fast forward 5 years and banks are looking famished and things are getting worse 'casue more bailouts are coming before we finish ending the last bailout program (ZIRP) - The Federal Reserve has decided to let U.S. banks make limited use of municipal bonds to meet liquidity requirements
- Euro zone bond yields sink to historic lows (Reuters)
- Clinton Foundation to Keep Foreign Donors (WSJ)
- Russia says U.S. forced it to act on Ukraine (Reuters)
- Bankers to China's Rescue (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Adds Half a Bakken to Global Oil Market in a Month (BBG)
- Valuations of Hong Kong's stock market operator go interstellar (Reuters)
- Switzerland Attracts Fewer Firms as Politics Hurt Business Image (BBG)
One Is a NeoCon Warmongering Crook ... The Other Is a NeoLib Warmongering Crook. See?? Totally Different!!!
Princeton University and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Blinder unleashes his self-serving smorgasbord of Fed apologism in today's WSJ Op-Ed. The Fed should be patient-er for longer, he explains; and as far as the "loudly and frequently worried 'impatience crowd'," Blinder states, fears of policy "causing financial-market 'distortions' and bubbles might burst, causing untold damage to our economy," can apparently be ignored because, as he explains "none of the hypothesized financial hazards have surfaced." So - because we haven't crashed yet... policy is right - "This is a time to be patient."
If the government of Australia is concerned that their well-capitalized banking system needs a safety net and wants to tax deposits for such purpose, how in the world can we possibly expect the US and Europe, with all of their banking system risk, won’t do the same?