With Septeper an epic disappointment, some terms being casually thrown now include Octaper and Dectaper. But while the first is quite improbable, despite Bullard's attempt at a trial balloon floated on BBG TV moments ago, the prevailing consensus has now shifted to December. Which incidentally is when Bank of America, which was the only big/TBTF bank to correctly forecast a Snotaper announcement, has marked its calendar in expecting the first $10 billion reduction in the monthly $85 billion flow injection by the Fed. To wit: "In line with our out-of-consensus call, the Fed surprised most market participants and did not taper at their September meeting. Moreover, the FOMC statement, updated projections, and tone of Chairman Bernanke’s press conference all were dovish, as we had anticipated. Thus, our base case remains for a December taper. We now expect a modest-sized reduction of $10 bn, split evenly between MBS and Treasuries, followed by a gradual, data-dependent wind-down of purchases likely to end in October 2014. We also now expect the first rate hike in late 2015 at the earliest (previously we had looked for the first hike that summer), putting the target funds rate at 50 bp at the end of 2015 and 1.50% at the end of 2016."
For what it's worth, here is Goldman's Jan Hatzius with a Q&A on the Fed's announcement, which now sees the first tapering to start in December, QE to conclude (three months after their prior forecast), and expects the first rate hike to take place in 2016: 8 years after the start of the financial crisis: "We now expect the QE tapering process to start at the December 2013 FOMC meeting and to conclude in September 2014, three months later than before. Our baseline is that the first step will consist of a $10bn cut in Treasury purchases. These steps remain data dependent in all respects--timing, size, and composition. A change in the explicit forward guidance for the federal funds rate is also likely, probably at the same time as the first tapering step. Our baseline is an indication that the 6.5% unemployment threshold is conditional on a forecast of a near-term return of inflation to 2%, and that a lower threshold would apply otherwise. But there are also other options, such as an outright inflation floor or an outright reduction in the unemployment threshold. Our forecast for the first hike in the funds rate remains early 2016. The reasons are the large output gap, persistent below-target inflation, and some weight on "optimal control" considerations."
BOTTOM LINE: The FOMC unexpectedly decided not to taper the rate of its asset purchases at today's meeting, preferring to wait for further confirmation of improvement in the outlook. There was no change to the forward guidance on the federal funds rate. The Summary of Economic Projections showed a decline in the central tendency expectation for the year-end 2015 fed funds rate, and the 2016 rate suggested a cautious pace of rate hikes once they begin.
The July statement from the FOMC presented the following snapshot of the economy, "Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June suggests that economic activity expanded at a modest pace during the first half of the year. Labor market conditions have shown further improvement in recent months..." but as Stone McCarthy notes, tomorrow's FOMC post-meeting statement could well be less upbeat in tone, with hints of a slowing in the pace of improvements in the labor market, housing, consumer and business spending, and inflation remaining well below the 2% goal. A look at the housing and spending data certainly raises eyebrows but it is clear that the Fed remains cornered by deficits, sentiment, technicals, and international ire.
For the second month in a row, the Empire Fed has fallen and missed expectations. At 6.29 (vs 9.1 exp), this is the lowest since May as the average workweek (down from 4.81 to 1.08) and number of employees (down from 10.84 to 7.53) subindices fall notably. In general the index was not worse because of the effect of the six-months-outlook views (which soared 3pts to 40.6 - its highest since early 2012) when, as usual, current conditions deteriorate but offset by hopium that eventually things will get better, but even there employment (number of employees outlook down from 8.43 to 4.30) was seen as weaker.
The following 100-second clip from Nanex represents 4 years of daily trading in the US equity "markets". Each line is a day in the life of quote spam and the y-axis is the volume of quotes... from around 1000/second in 1999, we now see 2 million quotes per second... progress?
With bonds and stocks rallying (and the USD dropping) notably in the last few days, one could be forgiven for believing the Taper is off but Goldman's baseline forecast remains for a $10bn reduction in asset purchases - probably all in Treasuries - and $15bn is possible (though recently mixed labor data may choke that a little) and a strengthening of forward-guidance. As they note, the current redction in uncertainty (or rise in complacency some might say) has the potential to offset the tightening in financial conditions, barring another major outbreak of DC strife in the run up to the debt ceiling in late October/early November. However, what is most notable is Goldman's expectation that the Fed will start walking-back its unemployment-rate threshold as it has been clearly shown not to be a good catch-all indicator of broad economic and labor market performance. So it's data-dependent - but the data is unreliable at best and false at worst.
Back in May, with the release of the quarterly TBAC presentation, we penned "Desperately Seeking $11.2 Trillion In Collateral, Or How "Modern Money" Really Works" in which we described in detail Wall Street's lament that as a result of upcoming changes and regulations of the shadow market, that there may be a dramatic shortage in collateral over the next several years, which in addition to other factors, may hit over $10 trillion. Well, we can scratch the collateral concerns off.
- G20 TASK FORCE SAYS NEW SHADOW BANKING RULES EXPECTED TO BE IN PLACE BY 2015
- WON'T IMPLEMENT GLOBAL MINIMUM 'HAIRCUT' ON REPOS, SECURITIES LENDING UNTIL MARKET CONDITIONS RIGHT
Said otherwise, Wall Street looked at the shadow banking abyss, and promptly ran away when the abyss looked back.
The current external environment and consequence of past policies are limiting options for EM nations (most specifically Indonesia and India). Citi believes the best they can do now is to smooth the (inevitable) macro adjustment (weaker FX, higher risk premiums, slower growth) through improved policy credibility (to curb volatility and overshooting) and find offsets to portfolio flows to ease the pressure. The 4 choices of various rocks and hard places do not hold much hope for anything but further FX devaluation. As Citi's Matt King points out, what goes up (in terms of Emerging Market central bank FX reserves) risks coming back down with a thud... and in case you were wondering why India, Turkey, and Indonesia were the most-hammered...
India Central Bank Scrambles With Currency Collapse Fallout: Gives USD To Oil Companies, Everyone Else Tough LuckSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/28/2013 11:26 -0400
The aftermath of the biggest crash in the Indian rupee in history is becoming clear: business are scrambling to refine budgets, import and export activity is disappearing as there is zero clarity what the actual transaction prices net of FX are, purchases of hard assets are exploding as people are desperate to protect what little purchasing power they have left, capital controls are being instituted virtually everywhere, and the overall economy - at least that part that is reliant on foreign trade flows - is grinding to a halt. In fact, it got so bad, that moments ago the 1 month USDINR forward hit a ridiculous 70.
It’s ironic, or it seems that way to us, that two of the least understood financial markets by equity investors are two of the most systemically important – repos and gold. Even more ironic is how so many investors don’t even consider them to be all that important. In our view, stability in both markets is a pre-requisite for maintaining confidence in the financial system and keeping the credit/asset bubble inflated. The significance of these markets is not lost on governments, central banks and regulators, although the definition of “stability” in each of them is slightly different. Looking underneath the bonnet/hood, we are doubtful that either of these markets, repos or gold, can reasonably be described as “stable” right now. There also seems to be a paradox where the current low repo rates and gold prices are, we suspect, fooling people into a false sense of complacency. What’s really piqued our interest, however, is whether there is a similar issue which is increasingly impacting both of these systemically important markets? This issue relates to the availability of sufficient collateral...
NASDAQ Claims "No Evidence Of An Attempted Intrusion Or Of An Unusual Burst Of Quotation" ... Except For ThisSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/23/2013 13:52 -0400
Perhaps the most curious part from the just released and detailed Nasdaq post-mortem is the following, which appears to be an attempt to answer our remaining question from yesterday: "At approximately 12:03 p.m., Eastern Time (ET), the UTP SIP ceased dissemination via all outbound UTP Quote channels. The UTP Trade feeds were not impacted by this outage and continued to remain operational. The UTP SIP has no evidence of an attempted intrusion into SIP systems or of an unusual burst of quotation or trading messages in connection with yesterday's events." No evidence, except for these (and many more) locked bids and asks and the associated Nasdaq trading radio silence.
Following the market's shocking realization that the taper is coming prompting a kneejerk to the kneejerk reaction after the FOMC minutes, and yet another painful session in Asia, stocks were desperate for some good news from somewhere, which they got thanks to a Goldilocks PMI from China printing by the smallest possible expansionary quantum, or 50.1, and well above expectations, as well as a continuation of better than expected European PMI data with the August composite rising from 50.5 to 51.7 vs. Exp. 50.9, based pm a Services PMI rising into expansion to 51.0 from 49.8, (Exp. 50.2), and Manufacturing at 51.3 vs. Exp. 50.8 up from 50.3, the highest since June 2011. It is perhaps stunning just how conflicting this "improving" data is with private sector industrial and manufacturing company metrics, but with the credit creation situation in Europe (read: all that matters) at record lows, and with banks retrenching and needing to delever by trillions, it is only a matter of time before this latest propaganda wave is exposed for what it is. The net effect of the overnight data is to push the USDJPY to nearly 99.00 which thanks to the ubiquitous correlation algos has dragged US equity futures higher, if only briefly (the 10 Year is at 2.91% - under 10bps from redline territory), while slamming the offsetting EURUSD despite the "better" than expected European data.
While we found it modestly comedic (and certainly ironic) that CNBC's crack team celebrated the recovery from the initial knee-jerk drop in stocks after the FOMC by top-ticking that suspension of reality; we suspect the following post-mortem from Goldman on the minutes is what confirmed concerns across the street... "Minutes from the July 30-31 FOMC meeting were generally consistent with our view that tapering of asset purchases is likely to occur at the September meeting, coincident with an enhancement of the forward guidance."
While some read the FOMC statement in July as more 'dovish' than expected - even though the market's performance since suggests otherwise -, it appears the actual conversations from the minutes point in a more 'Taper'-on direction (though clearly uncertainty remains high):
- *A FEW ON FOMC URGED PATIENCE, OTHERS FAVORED QE TAPERING SOON
- *FOMC MINUTES SHOW BROAD SUPPORT FOR BERNANKE TAPERING TIMELINE
- *FOMC PARTICPANTS SAID SEQUESTRATION 'CLOUDED THE OUTLOOK'
- *FOMC PARTICIPANTS PREDICTED GDP TO PICK UP IN 2ND HALF 2013
- *ALMOST ALL FOMC PARTICIPANTS BACKED 'CONTINGENT OUTLOOK' FOR QE
- *FOMC SAID JUNE PAYROLL REPORT SHOWED 'CONTINUED SOLID GAINS'
Pre-minutes: S&P (Fut) 1646, 10Y 2.8125%, USD 81.2, WTI $104.11, Gold $1371