Self-evidently, all the major economies are saturated with debt. Accordingly, central bank balance sheet expansion has lost its Keynesian magic entirely. Now the great sea of freshly minted liquidity simply fuels the carry trades as gamblers everywhere load up with any asset that generates a yield or short-run capital gain, and fund these bloated positions with cheap options and repo style finance. But here’s the obvious thing. Central banks can’t normalize interest rates - that is, allow the money markets to rise off the zero-bound - without triggering a violent unwind of the carry trades on which today’s massive asset inflation is built. On the other hand, they can no longer stimulate GDP growth, either, because the credit expansion channel to the main street economy of households and business is blocked by the reality of peak debt. Yes, the era of Keynesian money printing is over and done. But don’t wait for the small lady at the Fed to sing, either.
ECB's First TLTRO A "Failure": European Banks Take Less "Free" ECB Loans Than Worst Case ExpectationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/18/2014 07:01 -0400
As part of Draghi's attempt to reflate the ECB's balance sheet by €1 trillion, a key variable was the extension of the LTRO (1&2) program, in the form of the Targeted LTRO, or TLTRO aka LTRO 3 & 4, whose initial take up results were announced earlier today. It was, in a world, a flop. Because while the consensus was for European banks to take anywhere between €100 and €300 billion in nearly zero-cost credit from the ECB (at 0.15%) to engage in carry trades in today's first round TLTRO operation (ahead of the second TLTRO in December), moments ago the ECB announced that banks, which head already been actively paying down the first two LTRO carry programs, of which only €385 billion had been left of over a €1 trillion total at inception, were allotted a tiny €82.6 billion across 255 counterparties.
US Industrial Production and the NY Fed Empire State Manufacturing survey are the two main releases for the US. In Europe, the euro area trade balance will be the notable print. Beyond today, US PPI, German ZEW and UK CPI are the main economic reports tomorrow. Wednesday will see the release of BOE’s meeting minutes, the US CPI, and the Euro area inflation report. On Thursday, President Obama will host Poroshenko and on the data front we have Philly Fed, initial claims, and building permits to watch out for, but the biggest market moving event will surely be the Scottish independence referendum. German PPI will be the key release on what will otherwise be a relatively quiet Friday.
Forget the Siren calls of the impending end of days and the imminent collapse of civilization. Here is a non-polemical non-bombastic overview of three key events in the week ahead: FOMC meeting, TLTRO launch in Europe and the Scottish referendum.
"Washington is absolutely correct, in my opinion, to want to boost American consumption, but the Fed seems to be trying to boost consumption by igniting another asset bubble in the hopes that, like before 2007, Americans will feel “richer” and so will consume more. This isn't sustainable, however, and will leave us, as Paul and Druckenmiller fear, even more heavily indebted and more dangerously exposed to the underlying weakness in demand."
Overview of the ECB meeting and likely outcomes. More robust analysis than ideological fervor.
Asked what could happen during the next crisis, John Burbank's response: "it could fall fast"... "there is the possibility of a 1987 dislocation that does not reflect long-term economic stress but could reflect illiquidity in the market." His conclusion: "When there is a signal to sell, there won't be a lot of buying." That is assuming selling hasn't been made illegal by then or, as the recent bankruptcy of Banco Espirito Santo showed, if and when the time to sell comes, all sellable stocks are suddenly halted indefinitely while a committee of conflicted banks decides behind the scenes that no event of default has actually occurred.
If a trader knew nothing about the growth, the debt, the inflation, the exporters vs. importers, the serial defaulters, currency manipulators, hot-money or conversely deflation fighters; simply grouping the nations of the world on whether they were 'friend' or 'foe' to the US would provide an odd highly correlated value perspective on the interest rates paid on 1yr and 10yr sovereign debt... It appears your status with the central bank cabal was more important than your ability to repay the loaned money?
An overview of the major events next week within the context of the capital markets, which could be at inflection points.
Following yesterday's disappointing results by Visa, which is the largest DJIA component accounting for 8% of the index and which dropped nearly 3%, while AMZN's 10% tumble has weighed heavily on NASDAQ futures, it has been up to the USDJPY to push US equity futures from dropping further, which it has done admirably so far with the tried and true levitation pump taking place just as Europe opened. One thing to keep in mind: yesterday the CME quietly hiked ES and NQ margins by 6% and 11% respectively. A modest warning shot across the bow of what may be coming down the line?
EURUSD drop may have further to go given that the relative policy outlook would push Fed/ECB balance sheet ratio lower before long. Citi's Valentin Marinov believes, relative data surprises as well as forward looking cyclical gauges like bank stocks are starting to favor USD over EUR and he points out that leveraged accounts could start adding to shorts again as real money continue to sell EUR.
The clock is ticking on the "Europe is fixed" narrative. It's only a matter of time before the banking crisis resurfaces.
Straightforward dispassionate overview of the investment climate
Earlier today something happened which we haven't seen since a very brief period of time in 2010, and then going all the way back to 2007: Spanish 10 Year bond yields tumbled below those on US 10 Year Treasurys. So is this an indication that the Spanish bond market is suddenly safer, and more credible than that of the US? Of course not. All we are seeing is merely the manifestation of the latest ECB carry trade pushing local banks not to lend the ECB's cheap money out to consumers, but to engage in yet another Draghi-subsidized carry trade.
With the VIX smashing last week to levels not seen since early 2007, the S&P rising to all time highs, and European core and peripheral bond yield this morning touching historic lows, it would appear that the "market" has priced in every possible negative outcome. Which, as Goldman showed over the weekend is clearly not the case at least as investors are concerned who continued to sell stocks across the board in May even as the market broke out to record levels making many wonder who is buying stocks (for more read here)? Expect more of the same, and with some luck we will get a single digit VIX in the coming days as newsflow slows down following payrolls week and ahead of the world cup start in Brazil.