In the US, our regulators have publicly embraced a "too big to prosecute" doctrine. We are restraining, underfunding and dismantling regulatory oversight in the interests of short-term stability for the status quo. Which as a criminologist, Black knows with certainty creates an environment where bad actors will act in their self-interest with assumed (and likely real, at this point) impunity... And so there is no more destructive asset against trust than elite fraud.
Succinctly summarizing the positive and negative news, data, and market events of the week...
Much has ben written lately about the fact that the Federal Reserve is beginning to realize that they are caught in a "liquidity trap." However, what exactly is a "liquidity trap?" And perhaps more importantly how did we end up in it - and how do we get out?
The final item of note from today's JPM release is perhaps also the most important one, and once again serves as evidence of all that is broken with the US financial system. To wit: deposits held by JPM rose modestly to a new all time high of $1,202,950 million, or $1.2 trillion. This compares to $970 billion in Q3 2008 at the time Lehman failed. What about the flip side of this key bank liability: loans. As of June 30, 2013, total JPM loans declined from $729 billion to $726 billion, the lowest since September 2012. But more disturbing, this number is $35 billion less than the $761 billion at September 2008. It means that JPM's excess deposits have now risen to a new all time high of $477 billion, up from $474 billion last quarter.
As we showed a few days ago in "Taper Fears Lead To Biggest Monthly Loss In Bank Securities Portfolios Since Lehman", JPM just reported the biggest hit to its Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income line since Lehman, which plunged from $3.5 billion to a miserable $0.4 billion. All we can say is hurray that Mark to Market is dead.
Luckily nobody in the New Abnormal cares about actual cash flow.
By pursuing QE too long, the FOMC has engineered a repeat of the periods of market losses and negative accrual that nearly crushed the banking industry in the 1970s and 1980s, only worse.
Gold is little changed near a one-week high, and is marginally higher in dollars as the dollar has retreated from a three-year high, and higher in most currencies. The gold market continues to digest the ramifications of gold borrowing costs surging to the highest since the post-Lehman Brothers scramble for gold bullion. Gold Forward Offered Rates (GOFO) or the cost to borrow gold remains negative and overnight the 1 month GOFO has gone from -0.106% to -0.11167%. Other durations eased marginally. The lack of liquidity in the the interbank London Good Delivery gold market (400 ounce gold bars) has pushed gold forward rates, known as “gofo”, into negative territory, meaning that gold for future delivery is trading at a discount to physical market prices – a rare situation that has occurred only after the Lehman Brothers collapse and near the bottom of the gold market in 1999. The last time forwards were negative was in November 2008, when a scramble for physical gold led a sharp price rally of 46% from $682/oz to over $1,000/oz between October 2008 and February 2009.
While we have already extensively deconstructed the quality components of jobs in the US, showing first that in June 240K full time jobs were lost, even as 360K part-time jobs were "gained", and second that so far in 2013 only 130K full time jobs have been added offset by 557K part-time jobs, we had sinking suspicions that there was something off with the quantity component as well: after all, at an average monthly gain of precisely 201.8K jobs in the past six months (or in 2013), this number seemed just a little too perfect considering the Fed's implicit target of generating just over 200K jobs in a half year period before it begins tapering, which in light of declining gross issuance and less monetizable instruments, has been the Fed's goal all along. Today, courtesy of the monthly JOLTS survey we got just the confirmation we needed that, indeed, the official non-farm payroll number as per the Establishment Survey has been substantially off to the tune of a whopping 40% above what is quantitatively happening in reality.
Today, something happened that has not happened since the Lehman collapse: the 1 Month Gold Forward Offered (GOFO) rate turned negative, from 0.015% to -0.065%, for the first time in nearly 5 years, or technically since just after the Lehman bankruptcy precipitated AIG bailout in November 2011. And if one looks at the 3 Month GOFO, which also turned shockingly negative overnight from 0.05% to -0.03%, one has to go back all the way to the 1999 Washington Agreement on gold, to find the last time that particular GOFO rate was negative.
Chart Of The Day: Taper Fears Lead To Biggest Monthly Loss In Bank Securities Portfolios Since LehmanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/08/2013 08:15 -0500
Wondering how the blow out in interest rates is impacting commercial banks, which just happen to have substantial duration exposure in the form of various Treasury and MBS securities, not to mention loans, structured products and of course, trillions in IR swap, derivatives and futures? Wonder no more: the Fed's weekly H.8 statement, and specifically the "Net unrealized gains (losses) on available-for-sale securities" of commercial banks in the US gives a glimpse into the pounding that banks are currently experiencing. In short: a bloodbath.
Just over a month ago, global earnings revisions were on the upswing (admittedly off markedly low levels); since then they have turned sharply lower to the worst levels in a year (based on Citi's Global Earnings Revision index - ERI). Critically though, as 'hope' is pinned on a steepening term structure as indicative of 'growth' and happy times ahead for stocks, the ERI has dramatically diverged from the yield curve. As Citi notes, it is evident that analysts are not at all convinced about the improvement in the growth outlook that this steeper curve has historically suggested. What is perhaps more worrisome for the "it's different this time" crowd is that the last time we saw this kind of dramatic divergence between global earnings and the US term structure was in the run-up to Lehman - and that did not end well...
Last week we defined the golden sentiment rule as "anything that isn't off the chart soon will be." This will happen in a "perfectly sustainable" fashion, where increasingly more paper gold is shorted to record levels even as actual physical holdings held by official Comex vaults continues to drop. For one particular reason why the price of paper gold may be at 3 year lows, we will provide some formerly classified perspective shortly in a post. But in the meantime, and while we await the weekly CFTC commitment of traders report (delayed until Monday due to the July 4 holiday), we are happy to report that the JPM disconnect between the epic delivery requests and its reported gold holdings (for which the "Commodity Exchange, Inc. disclaims all liability whatsoever with regard to its accuracy or completeness") reconnected modestly, and as per the latest Comex update, another 6.8k ounces of gold was pulled from JPM's 1 CMP world's biggest gold vault, dropping its total gold inventory to a fresh record low.
The price of gold fell last week to the $1,200 level. The lemming sentiment in capital markets is uniformly bearish, yet every price-drop brings forth hungry buyers for physical gold from all over the world. Even hard-bitten gold bugs in the West are shaken and frightened to call a bottom, yet it is these conditions that accompany a selling climax. This article concludes there is a high possibility that gold will go sharply higher from here. There are three loose ends to consider: valuation, economic and market fundamentals.
It should come as no surprise to most ZeroHedge readers but sometimes the facts and data need to be reiterated to ensure the message is not getting lost. As Michael Snyder rhetorically asks, did you know that U.S. banks have more than 1.8 trillion dollars parked at the Federal Reserve and that the Fed is actually paying them not to lend that money to us? We were always told that the goal of quantitative easing was to "help the economy", but the truth is that the vast majority of the money that the Fed has created through quantitative easing has not even gotten into the system. Instead, most of it is sitting at the Fed slowly earning interest for the bankers. Our financial system is a house of cards built on a foundation of risk, leverage and debt. When it all comes tumbling down, it should not be a surprise to any of us.