ECRI's Lakshman Achuthan holds firm to his belief that "a recession started around the middle of last year" and even as he notes consensus expectations for payrolls tomorrow at 160-170k, "year-over-year payroll jobs growth will go to a 16-month low." In this Bloomberg TV interview, the embattled prognosticator explains how "the entire West is in the Yo-Yo years. They have all been having growth stair-stepping down. It is very weak growth with higher cycle-volatility which will give you more frequent recessions." Critically he notes, "Economies do not hang out at 0.5% or 1%. They do not get this low growth steady state muddle through recession-free kind of growth at 1%, which everybody seems to think might be possible. It is not possible. Free markets have economic cycles. they accelerate and they decelerate. if you are doing it at a very low growth rate, the odds of a slowdown going into recession are very high." Some excess truthiness in this brief clip.
And the Stock Rally Is Due to Money-Printing
Warning from the German Bankers Association: central-bank save-the-euro policies cause bubbles, capital misallocation, currency wars, and another financial crisis.
The World Gold Council noted that central banks increased gold buying 17% to 534.6 tons last year.
Central banks are among the shrewd investors who buy gold bullion on dips. It was reported that South Korea bought 20 tonnes of gold last month rumoured to be below the $1,600/oz mark. This is the first purchase this year for South Korea, after they purchased 30 tonnes in 2012. Previously they purchased in July 2012 at the same price levels.
- French unemployment rises again to highest since 1999 (Reuters)
- BoJ rejects call for monetary easing (FT)
- North Korea threatens pre-emptive nuclear strike against US (Guardian)
- Firms Race to Raise Cash (WSJ)
- Time Warner Will Split From Magazine Unit in Third Spinoff (BBG) - slideshows, kittens, "all you need to knows" coming to Time
- U.S. economy, world's engine, remains in "neutral": Fed's Fisher (Reuters)
- BOE Keeps QE on Hold as Officials Weigh More Radical Measures (BBG)
- Jobs start to go as US sequestration cuts in (FT)
- BofA Times an Options Trade Well (WSJ)
- Congress Budget Cuts Damage U.S. Economy Without Aiding Outlook (BBG)
- Dell’s Crafted LBO Pitch Gets Messy as Investors Circle (BBG)
- Dell says Icahn opposes go-private deal (Reuters)
- Portugal Rating Outlook Raised to Stable by S&P on Budget Plan (BBG)
- China’s Richer-Than-Romney Lawmakers Reveal Reform Challenge (BBG)
With Europe once more unfixed, its economy mired deep in a double, and in some cases, triple-dip recession, Italian elections leading to many months of political uncertainty (and according to a new Corriere poll, Beppe Grillo now has 28.7% of the vote, his popularity soaring +3.1% since the election, ostensibly making him the biggest party in Italy), the French finmin saying the outlook for Euro area growth outlook is "very worrying" a few hours ago, and otherwise every indication that the European "fixing" has thoroughly failed once more, following the massive miss in German Factory Orders which printed at -1.9% on expectation of a +0.6% January number, many will be looking to today's ECB meeting to see if Draghi will cut European rates further. The EUR has tumbled 700 pips in a month (with Goldman having shorted it all the way on the way up) on fears the Italian may do just that, although the sell-side consensus is less confident. Of all the banks polled, only JPM and to a lesser extent Rabobank believe Draghi will announce another 25 bps cut today. What will Europe do today, and will it proceed to take some of its interest rates negative for the first time ever, proving once and for all its economy is the worst its ever been? Find out in just over an hour.
China Threatens Currency War Retaliation, Warns Japan Against Using China As "Garbage Bin" In Race To DebaseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/07/2013 06:02 -0500
About a year ago we warned that in a world devoid of bond vigilantes, long emasculated by the Fed's relentless attempt to bring inflation back or go bust trying, the only forces left willing to stand up to Bernanke are the Brent Vigilantes TM, who succeed in crushing every recent reflation attempt whenever Brent reaches $130 or above (and US gas at the pump rises above $3.80) yet which are rather leery and susceptible to the CME's surprise margin-hike counterattacks, and of course China, the same China which every other lemming said last summer would scramble to join the global reflation except for us, as we made it very clear that all hopes of an RRR or interest rate cut are unfounded. Because all the inflation that China (did not) need would be exported to it courtesy of Bernanke and Company's deliberate and now open-ended printing. For a long time China kept its mouth shut, however, when Japan also joined in this pathological central bank pumping, China may have just had enough. As the WSJ reports,"The president of China's giant sovereign-wealth fund warned Japan against using its neighbors as a "garbage bin" by deliberately devaluing the yen, joining growing international griping about a potential currency war."
GBPUSD (Cable) just cracked back below 1.50 and is trading at its lowest since July 2010 as The FT reports that it appears George Osborne (British Chancellor) is paving the way for Mark Carney (Bank of England governor) to follow the so-called 'Merkel-Draghi wager' that Europe is dangerously betting on. Instead of following business secretary Vince Cable's proposal of a new program of spending on schools, roads and housing – funded by extra borrowing - Osborne will use his Budget on March 20 to reinforce his message of “fiscal conservatism and monetary activism” by clarifying how the government intends to use monetary policy to get the economy growing again. Treasury officials are discussing proposals to change the remit of the bank - which could include giving the monetary policy committee greater time to bring inflation back to the 2 per cent target, giving the BoE a Federal Reserve-style dual mandate to target both employment and inflation, and even targeting cash spending in the economy rather than inflation. It would appear our short Cable trade continues to do well as Carney's arrival heralds more aggression in the global currency wars.
Gold's rise over the past few years has been driven by a number of factors. Aside from the unprecedented monetary easing and skepticism over the global financial system in recent years, Morgan Stanley notes that 1) a persistent increase in investment demand, 2) acceleration in producer de-hedging, 3) a decline in net official sector sales, and 4) a persistent failure on the part of the mining companies to respond to the incentive of a steadily rising price and materially lift production; all also impacted gold's premium. A recent re-evaluation of gold’s security premium followed from the various mitigations of the numerous risks to global growth. However, as they note, a decisive break lower heralding the end of the bull market has not appeared and they believe we are about to witness the third installment of the Great Monetary Easing that started to play out when the credit bubble burst five years ago and that the gold bull market will enter its strongest phase.
The most notable overnight event was the release of the Chinese Government Work Report as part of the annual meeting of the National People's Congress which kicked off today and runs until March 17. This is the Chinese equivalent of the US State of the Union address, delivered in this case by the outgoing premier Wen Jiabao. In it, Wen summarized his administration’s achievement in the past ten years in some detail, but still voiced a sense of crisis when talking about existing social and economic problems. The key highlights were the closely watched economic targets for 2013, which while not surprising, were at the lowest levels in the past decade, confirming that the Chinese slowdown in both economic and loan growth is likely here to stay as the economy downshifts from its mercantilist approach, even while pesky inflation pressures persist.
“For many young Greeks, the election in Italy now provides a model. If the population of the third-largest economy in the euro zone so openly opposes the austerity measures, then the exit of individual countries from the euro zone is no longer taboo.” Der Spiegel
Italy will be holding another election, which puts the country in a dead calm until there is a functioning government. The key in Italy is the outsider and comedian Beppe Grillo whose party has put the government in dysfunction and in parallel has created a monster of an uprising against corruption within both political parties. The movement itself is larger than Grillo and may be the well-springs of copycat movements throughout southern Europe that threatens the euro and the establishment. It’s a disruptive a movement and would be like a Ron Paul to U.S. political parties. No matter the outcome, the bottom line is Italy will remain a drag on eurozone equity prices until there is a resolution.
Paul Krugman just did something mind-bending. In a recent column, he cited Minsky ostensibly to defend Alan Greenspan’s loose monetary policies. Krugman correctly identifies the mechanism here — prior to 2008, people forgot about risk. Macroeconomic stability bred complacency. And the longer the perceived good times last, the more fragile the economy becomes, as more and more risky behaviour becomes the norm. Stability is destabilising. The Great Moderation was intimately connected to markets becoming forgetful of risk. And bubbles formed. In endorsing Minsky’s view, Krugman is coming closer to the truth. But he is still one crucial step away. If stability is destabilising, we must embrace the business cycle. Smaller cyclical booms, and smaller cyclical busts. Not boom, boom, boom and then a grand mal seizure.
In the upcoming week the key focus on the data side will be on US payrolls, which are expected to be broadly unchanged and the services PMIs globally, including the non-manufacturing ISM in the US. Broadly speaking, global services PMIs are expected to remain relatively close to last month's readings. And the same is true for US payrolls and the unemployment rate. On the policy side there is long lost with policy meetings but we and consensus expect no change in any of these: RBA, BoJ, Malaysia, Indonesia, ECB, Poland, BoE, BoC, Brazil, Mexico. Notable macro issues will be the ongoing bailout of Cyprus, the reiteration of the OMT's conditionality in the aftermath of Grillo's and Berlusconi's surge from behind in Italy. China's sudden hawkishness, the BOE announcement and transition to a Goldman vassal state, and finally the now traditional daily jawboning out of the BOJ.
China Tumbles On Real-Estate Inflation Curbs: Biggest Property Index Drop Since 2008; Japan Downgraded On AbenomicsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/04/2013 03:28 -0500
As we have been warning for nearly a year, the biggest threat facing China has been the fact that contrary to solemn promises, the problem of persistent, strong and very much relentless real-estate inflation has not only not been tamed but has been first and foremost on the minds of both the PBOC and the local government. After all with the entire "developed" world flooding the market every single day with countless billions in new cheap, hot money, it was inevitable that much of it would end up in the mainland Chinese real estate market. And since both the central bank and the politburo are well aware that the path from property inflation to broad price hikes, including the all critical to social stability pork and other food, is very short, it was inevitable that the issue of inflation would have to be dealt with eventually. Tonight is that "eventually", when following news from two days ago that yet another Chinese PMI indicator missed, this time the Services data which slid from 56.2 to 54.5, the government announced its most aggressive round of property curbs yet. The immediate result was that the Shanghai Stock Exchange Property Index slumped by a whopping 9.3%, the steepest drop since June 2008, and pushing it down to -11% for the year. The weakness also spread to the broader market, with the Composite closing down 3.65% the biggest drop in months, and now just barely positive, at +0.2%, year to date. We expect all 2013 gains to be promptly wiped out when tonight's risk off session resumes in earnest.
Just in case Lagarde (and everyone else except for the Germans, who have a very unpleasant habit of telling the truth), was lying about that whole "no currency war" thing, China is already one step ahead and is fully prepared to roll out its own FX army. According to China Times, "China is fully prepared for a looming currency war should it, though "avoidable," really happen, said China's central bank deputy governor Yi Gang late Friday." We look forward to the female head of the IMF explaining how China is obviously confused and that it is not currency war when one crushes their currency to promote "economic goals." Of course, that same organization may want to read "Zero Sum for Absolute Idiots" because in this globalized economy any attempt to promote demand (by an end consumer who has no incremental income and stagnant cash flow) through currency debasement has no impact when everyone does it. But then again, this is the IMF - the same organization that declared Europe fixed in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and so on.