Pouring more gasoline on the fire (or, actually, quite the opposite), here is Goldman's Hatzius who confirms that anyone who wants their QuuEee3ee, will just have to wait.
Today's second most important event is the testimony of Bernanke before the House Financial Services Committee (yes, Maxine Waters will be there). Lawmakers will question him about the Fed's plans on avoiding inflation and the current unemployment rate. Committee members are also expected to inquiry about fiscal policy, the status of the nation's economic recovery, the impact of rising gas prices, and the debt crisis in Europe. Most importantly, Benny will be asked to testify on when more QEasing is coming as the markets need their fix. Watch it live at C-Span after the jump.
On this leap day, we have a busy schedule which includes the second Q4 GDP revision, Chicago PMI (expect another massive beat courtesy of consumers confident that they can have Apple apps, if not so much food, since they still don't pay their mortgages), various Fed speakers, of which most important will be Ben Bernanke who takes the podium in Congress at 10 am for his semi-annual monetary policy report.
No Matter How Much Room Some May Think Is Available, There Is But So Long One Can Play Hide The Greco-SausageSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 02/28/2012 08:30 -0400
Yep! If you push that sausauge too far in an attempt to hide it, it's bound to start hurting someone... somewhere...
Every time we see oil prices go up we hear that it will cause inflation and/or the economy will go into the tank. The premise is wrong because that has never happened.
Overnight sentiment is significantly negative, with stocks, bond yields, risk currencies lower after G-20 over the weekend refused to increase IMF funding. The result is an end to the buoyant market sentiment of recent days which has seen the Dax down 1.2%, bund, UST yields lower, and US futures lower. As many had expected, the G-20 has rebuffed EU leaders' request for more assistance, which in turn has placed the onus on Germany to find a way to resolve its internal conflict vis-a-vis a Greek bailout, ironically as many believe that it is Germany who more than anyone wants Greece out. This happens as the Bundestag votes today on second aid package today; Merkel’s government must decide whether to back plans at this week’s summit to combine EFSF and ESM. In other news, tomorrow the ECB will call for bids for the second 3 Year LTRO tomorrow, with results announced on February 29. And with the ECB's deposit facility at €477 billion, it is rather clear that the banks will park the bulk of new proceeds with the ECB once again, where it will continue to be a negative carry trade, earning 0.25% at a cost of 1.00%. And somehow this is favorable for the European sovereign bond market, which continues to ignore the various layers of subordination it is now working under. We expect the market revulsion to this flaw to be violent when it comes, and will result in a rapid and sudden divergence between the various subordinated tranches of sovereign bonds.
As we enter a week in which the expectations are high for yet another large expansion of central bank balance sheets, and ever more extreme monetary policy (thanks to the LTRO 2), we thought it appropos to listen to Grant Williams, of the famous "Things That Make You Go Hhhhm" newsletter, explain in its simplest terms, why it is still a good time to own gold. In two excellent and succinct presentations, Williams discusses the 'simplicity' of investing through the last four decades but ends by focusing specifically on the rotation to Gold at the start of the last decade (2000) and why the reason for rotating out of the precious metal has not occurred yet. Seeing the world of Gold as a battle between Too Much and Not Enough (and drawing on global supply, demand, and holdings flow) Williams lays out the reasons for owning gold, and how to know when to cover - as he narrows the five reasons to reconsider Buffett-and-Roubini's Barbarous Relic down to one simple rule - Central Bank Monetary Policy Changes.
Last week saw dramatic dispersion among the major FX pairs as global and local influences caused significant moves in most of the key crosses. Goldman takes a look back at the key drivers of that volatility and then focuses on the week ahead as the EU Summit at the latter end is the main event risk while ongoing macro developments will be focused on the incessant rise in Crude oil prices and whether we start seeing knock-on impacts in the real economy.
Anyone Who Thinks that War Is Good For the Economy Has One Eye Covered ... And Is Only Looking At Half the Picture ...
We have been saying it for weeks, and today even the WSJ jumped on the bandwagon: the sole reason why crude prices are surging (RIP European profit margins: with EUR Brent at a record, we can only assume the ECB will pull a 2011 and hike rates in 3-4 months even as it pumps trillions in PIIGS, banks bailout liquidity) - is because global liquidity has risen by $2 trillion in a few short months, on the most epic shadow liquidity tsunami launched in history in lieu of QE3 (discussed extensively here in our words, but here are JPM's). Luckily, the market is finally waking up to this, and just as world central banks were preparing to offset deflation, they will instead have to deal with spiking inflation, because the market may have a short memory, it can remember what happened just about this time in 2011. And the problem is that when it comes to the inflation trade, the market, unlike in most other instances, can be fast - blazing fast, at anticipating what the central planning collective's next step will be, after all there is only one. And if Bank of America is correct, that next step could well lead to the same unprecedented economic catastrophe that we saw back in 2008, only worse: $200 oil. Note - this is completely independent of what happens in Iran, and is 100% dependent on what happens in the 3rd subbasement of the Marriner Eccles building. Throw in an Iran war and all bets are off. Needless to say, an epic deflationary shock will need to follow immediately, just as in 2008, which means that, in keeping with the tradition of being 6-9 months ahead of the market, our question today is - which bank will be 2012's sacrificial Lehman to set off the latest and greatest deflationary collapse and send crude plunging to $30 just after it hits $200.
Bunch of irrelevant and reflexive (stock market is up so confidence - in what? manipulated markets? - is higher, so stock market is up so confidence is higher etc) stuff today, as the world central banks prepare to pump another $600-$1000 billion into the consolidated balance sheet and send input costs into the stratosphere. Somehow this is bullish for stocks. Luckily, it will finally break the EURUSD - ES linkage.
- U.S. Postal Service to Cut 35,000 Jobs as Plants Are Shut (BBG) -Expect one whopper of a seasonal adjustment to compensate
- European Banks May Tap ECB for $629 Billion Cash (Bloomberg) - EURUSD surging as all ECB easing now priced in; Fed is next
- Madrid presses EU to ease deficit targets (FT)
- Greek Parliament Approves Debt Write-Down (WSJ)
- Mentor of Central Bankers Fischer Rues Complacency as Economy Accelerates (Bloomberg)
- Draghi Takes Tough Line on Austerity (WSJ)
- European Banks Hit by Losses (WSJ)
- Moody's: won't take ratings action on Japan on Friday (Reuters)
- Athens told to change spending and taxes (FT)
While the headline-chasers will allocate cause to effect for every twitch and ditch in asset prices, JPMorgan's Michael Cembalest appears to agree with us that nothing else matters but central bank balance sheet expansion. As we discussed earlier in the week, major central banks have injected nearly $7tn into world markets since 2007 and while the obscene rise in gas prices should somewhat self-limit the print-fest, it appears not before another bubble has burst as central bankers feel safe on this path given their microscopic focus on their own inflation-measures. Whether it be asset-reflation, boosting bank capital, pulling forward consumer demand, or government-reacharound financing, Cembalest sums up: super-easy monetary policy supports markets right now, prompting his question: "Who knew that unlimited money printing would be such a clean and simple solution to the world’s problems? I would love to read a book called “Reliable Central Bank Exit Strategies”, but I don’t think it has been written yet. Enjoy the ride."
We have only one question: "If a 20% rise in global stocks required a $2 trillion expansion in aggregate assets, which also took EUR-Brent to all-time record highs and WTI to over $107 $108, where will the next 20% come from, and how will the economy fare with $150 WTI?"
History is replete with the carcasses of failed currencies destroyed through misguided intentional debasement by governments looking for an easy escape from piling up too much debt. James Rickards, author of the recent bestseller Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, sees history repeating itself today - and warns we are in the escalating stage of a global currency war of the grandest scale. Whether it ends in hyperinflation, in the return to some form of gold standard, or in chaos - history is telling us we can have confidence it will end painfully.