As liquidity-slurpers the world over wait for the written words from the FOMC this afternoon, it seems the bond market has sold-first-asked-questions-later on its 'Taper' expectations (with 30Y yields now at 23-month highs). It is little surprise (given the real reasons for a Taper as we discussed here and here) but today's ADP and GDP data provide more 'headline' ammo for the Fed to cover the reality that they are cornered. It seems it is better to project the 'fallacy' that the economy is strong enough to withstand a 'tapering' of monetary policy than to admit that there is a technical limit to the extent by which the Fed can print money before it breaks the market and shifts sentiment to a realization that it's nothing but monetization. The US bond market has suffered losses for 3 months in a row now, and this is the first July loss in 10 years - or will the FOMC save them?
It seems 'someone' doesn't want the world knowing just how much of a 'long shot' Larry Summers is for the great-and-powerful-Oz position of Chairman of the Federal Reserve. As we showed just last week, PaddyPower showed Yellen as a strong 77% probability favorite with Summers lagging notably behind in the pack. Then comes this morning's comment from the second most powerful man in the world:
- *OBAMA SAYS LARRY SUMMERS BEING UNFAIRLY CRITICIZED: SHERMAN
- *REID SAYS SUMMERS IS A FRIEND, A `COMPETENT' MAN
And Goldman's Jan Hatzius' warnings that Summers is less 'enthusiastic' on using monetary policy than his competitor Yellen. And now - as the image below shows - PaddyPower has removed its betting on the next Fed head. We just wonder who got the tap on the shoulder?
As readers are well aware by now, at 8:30 am today we get to see the rewriting of US GDP history back to 1929 with the revisions from the BEA. It’s a big last day of July with the Fed meeting coming after the GDP release. For GDP, real growth is expected to be as low as 1.0% in Q2. Opinions vary widely on today’s GDP number with one major US investment bank’s estimate as low as 0.2%, a number of bulge bracket banks at 0.5% while there are also plenty of economists above 1.5%. It is not news to anyone that nominal GDP is very low at the moment - especially in a world of nosebleed high debts - and today could see this have a 1-handle YoY (and at best a 2-handle) - a level not even normally seen at the depths of most recessions.
While the market's eyes were fixed on the near record slide in Japanese Industrial Production (even as its ears glazed over the latest commentary rerun from Aso) which did however lead to a 1.53% jump in the PenNikkeiStock market on hope of more stimulus to get floundering Abenomics back on track, the most important news from the overnight session is that the PBOC's love affair with its own tapering may have come and gone after the central bank came, looked at the surge in 7 day market repo rates, and unwilling to risk another mid-June episode where SHIBOR exploded to the mid-25% range, for the first first time since February injected RMB17 billion through a 7-day reverse repo. The PBOC also announced it would cut the RRR in the earthquake-hit Lushan area. And with that the illusion of a firm and resolute PBOC is shattered, however it did result in a tiny 0.7% bounce in the SHCOMP.
“He who goes a-borrowing, goes a-sorrowing.”
The quote comes from Ben Franklin. But it was recalled to us neither by America’s president nor Britain’s prime minister. Instead, the Telegraph in London reported it from the mouth of Cheng Siwei, a “top member of the Communist hierarchy.” What goes around comes around. The Anglo-Saxons have forgotten what makes a successful economy. The Chinese have remembered.
After a slow start in the week, there is a substantial pick up with announcements from the FOMC, ECB and BOE (as well as monetary policy updates from the RBI, RBA, Israel, and Czech Republic) with the possibility, if not probability, of a Fed update on tapering expectations. On Wednesday we get the much expected wholesale GDP revision which will boost "growth data" all the way back to 1929 and is expected to push current GDP as much as 3% higher, and on Friday is the "most important NFP payroll number" (at least since the last one, and before the next one), where the consensus expects a +183K print, and 7.5% unemployment. All this while earnings season comes to a close.
The Institute of International Finance (IIF) has released data that shows that the credit crunch in China is hitting harder than was thought at first and is secondly at the worst level since the global financial crisis landed on everyone’s plate.
Hopes that Kuroda would say something substantial, material and beneficial to the "three arrow" wealth effect (about Japan's sales tax) last night were promptly dashed when the BOJ head came, spoke, and went, with the USDJPY sliding to a new monthly low, which in turn saw the Nikkei tumble another nearly 500 points. China didn't help either, where the Shanghai Composite also closed below 2000 wiping out a few weeks of gains on artificial hopes that the PBOC would step in with a bailout package, as attention turned to the reported announcement that an update of local government debt could double the size of China's non-performing loans, and what's worse, that the PBOC was ok with that. Asian negativity was offset by the European open, where fundamentals are irrelevant (especially on the one year anniversary of Draghi FX Advisors LLC "whatever it takes to buy the EURUSD" speech) and renewed M&A sentiment buoyed algos to generate enough buying momentum to send more momentum algos buying and so on. As for the US, futures are indicating weakness for the third day in a row but hardly anyone is fooled following two consecutive days of green closes on melt ups "from the lows": expect another rerun of the now traditional Friday ramp, where a 150 DJIA loss was wiped out during the day for a pre-programmed just green closing print.
While many draw comparisons to 1994's Fed actions, rate rises, and the subsequent economic and equity market performance, UBS' commodity team examines the five main drivers of that mid-90s disinflationary boom and how (or if) they are applicable in the US' current new normal. Their findings "this may be a 1994 redux, but it ain't no 1995 replay," as they note, in fact, it's a bear market waiting to happen. Every one of these processes is deflationary, not disinflationary. And they are self reinforcing. And deflation, in direct contrast to disinflation, is very bad for asset prices (with a serious equity and credit bear-market). So just as we have noted previously any taper will likely eventually lead to an 'un-taper' reflation effort (which will see gold once again strengthen) along with the exposure of the fallacy that the Fed really has become.
Dis-passionate discussion of next week's events and data, placed within a somewhat larger context.
We take a new look at Japan from the 1980s to today in order to decipher what “Abenomics” might do to this fragile nation. We argue that moving Japan from its current stable, but unsustainable equilibrium, through activist monetary policy risk a run on the sovereign. We present part I and part II here today. We hope you enjoy it.
Given more than his normal 30-second soundbite on mainstream media, Marc Faber is able to discuss in considerably more detail his views on the massive growth in global financialization (when compared to real economies) noting that "one day, this financial bubble will have to adjust on the downside." This will occur via either an inflationary burst or a collapse of the system. Simply put, "it's gonna end one day," either through war or financial collapse, "it will be very painful." The Gloom, Boom, and Doom Report editor notes current asset valuations are driven by excess credit creation, printing money, and distorted market signals, and the unintended consequences of the effect on investor psychology are perfectly mis-timed. Faber concludes with a discussion of the inflationary impact of US monetary policy and where it is seen (and not seen) and the global social unrest implications of middle class discontent.
... Well, not today's Ben Bernanke of course - a far more honest version of the current Fed Chairman, one speaking before the New York Chapter of the National Association for Business Economics, on October 15, 2002.
"I worry about the effects on the long-run stability and efficiency of our financial system if the Fed attempts to substitute its judgments for those of the market."
So do we Ben.
For the second consecutive day futures have drifted lower following a drubbing in the Nikkei which was down nearly 3% to just above 14K (time to start talking about the failure of Abenomics again despite National CPI posting the first positive print of 0.2% in forever and rising at the fastest pace in 5 years) and the Shanghai Composite which dropped to just above 2000 once again, after PBOC governor Zhou saying that China has big economic downward pressure and further reiterated prudent monetary policy will be pursued. This is despite Hilsenrath's latest puff piece which pushed the market into the green in yesterday's last hour of trading and despite initial optimism which saw stocks open higher following forecast-beating EU earnings gradually easing and heading into the North American open stocks are now little changed. It may be up to the WSJ mouhtpiece to provide today's 3pm catalyst to BTFATH, or else it will be up to the circular and HFT-early released UMichigan confidence index to surge/plunge in order to push stocks on any red flashing news is good news.
"I worry about the effects on the long-run stability and efficiency of our financial system if the Fed attempts to substitute its judgments for those of the market. Such a regime would only increase the unhealthy tendency of investors to pay more attention to rumors about policymakers' attitudes than to the economic fundamentals that by rights should determine the allocation of capital." - Ben Bernanke, October 15, 2002