On the surface, today's G.19 update, aka the monthly Consumer Credit Data, was a big disappointment due to a major miss in consumer credit, which in July dropped by $3.3 billion from $2.708 trillion to $2.705 trillion. The drop was, as always, on a slide in revolving credit, which dropped for a second consecutive month, this time by just under $5 billion, while non-revolving credit, aka student loans and GM subprime debt, rose by just $1.5 billion: the lowest monthly increase in this series since August 2011, when it declined by $9 billion. Expectations were for an increase of over $9 billion. There was a far bigger problem, however. The problem is the spike on the chart below which represents the November to December 2010 transition (source: Fed). What happened there is that 3 months after the Fed revised the consumer credit data last, it decided to re-revise it again. Frankly, at this point nothing the Fed releases has any credibility, as the central planners are literally making up data every three months as it suits them.
Will The Political Fed Launch New QE With Less Than Two Months To The Election? A Historical PerspectiveSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/10/2012 14:41 -0400
In two days the entire world will learn if the Fed will do away with all pretense it is not a political agency, and despite a presidential election looking in less than two months, proceed with a third historic round of easing, which according to "experts" may range from nothing (yes, some actually see no point at all to further goosing banker bonuses and the AUM of the uber-wealthy which is all QE4 will achieve), to extension of the ZIRP language, to MBS Twist, to combined purchase of USTs and Agencies, either with a deadline, or open-ended. That pretty much rounds it up. No matter what the Fed does though, the reality is that 100% of Bernanke's action, if not much more, has already been priced in, even though as we explained, Bernanke's hands may actually be quite tied due to simple structural limitations in the bond market, in which the Fed is now a 30%+ active player, and approaching 70% in the long end. Perhaps a bigger question is will Bernanke step back from the trees and notice that the forest is less than 2 months from the presidential election, in essence making the Fed's decision a political one in everyone's mind, regardless if more easing was designed to have a political impact. To answer that, we look at what the Fed has done in the past in the period of 0-2 months before US presidential elections. The result, as Credit Suisse reports, is that "More often than not the policy move inside of the two-month window prior to the election has been an extension of the prior regime." All that said, one must keep in mind that all historical precedents should really be thrown out of the window as never before in history has the Fed found itself at the Z/NIRP boundary, with a very limited arsenal of action, and with only prayer left that this time it will be different, and central planning will actually work for once.
It seems the ability to admit defeat a lack of omnipotence comes with retirement from the Fed. The volume of truthiness from ex-Fed governors is growing and Mark Olson just provided a very succinct summary of why he believes not only is the most recent jobs number not a surprise to the Fed, but the market has already priced in what the Fed could do. Olson sees the odds of QE3 as 50-50 at best, believes changes in the employment picture are rounding errors and not driving Fed decisions on a tick by tick basis, and most critically he notes that "the Fed doesn't want to get into a position of is having to react because of the market anticipation." No matter how much political pressure, the need to keep that QE powder dry for when the stuff really hits the fan seems more prescient and Olson provides color on the limits of Central Bankers as he notes the effect of Fed actions as "the only possible impact it would have would be psychological," and that "they've provided all the stimulus you can do with monetary policy in the absence of anything happening with a better fiscal policy."
A few days ago, the BOE's Andy Haldane, rightfully, lamented that the apparent "solution" to the exponentially growing level of complexity in the financial system is more complexity. Alas, there was little discussion on the far more relevant central planning concept of fixing debt with even more debt, especially as the US just crossed $16 trillion in public debt last week, right on schedule, and as we pointed out over the weekend, there has been precisely zero global deleveraging during the so-called austerity phase. But perhaps most troubling is that with 2 days to go to what JPM says 77% of investors expect with be a NEW QE round (mostly MBS) between $200 and $500 billion in QE, the world is, also in the words of JP Morgan, drowning in liquidity. In other words, according to the central planners, not only is debt the fix to record debt, but liquidity is about to be unleashed on a world that is, you guessed it, already drowning in liquidity. The bad news: everything being tried now will fail, as it did before, because nothing has changed, except for the scale, meaning the blow up will be all that more spectacular. The good news: at least the Keynesians (or is it simply Socialists now?) out there will not be able to say we should have just added one more [ ]illion in debt/liquidity and all would have worked, just as our textbooks predicted. Because by the time it's over, that too will have happened.
Perhaps never a more truthful 'lifting-the-veil' paragraph has been written by the squid as the following discussion of just what NEW QE will consist of and what it will achieve; sad that our economy market has come to this.
"The form of any return to QE is less clear. The issue is not so much whether the Fed buys Treasuries or agency mortgage-backed securities; we are pretty sure that any new program would be primarily focused on agency MBS purchases. These should have a somewhat bigger per-dollar effect on private-sector demand and are probably less controversial with the public than Treasury purchases. They can be framed as help for homebuyers to achieve the American Dream, which sounds better than help for the government to run large budget deficits."
Suddenly the delicate balancing of variables is once again an art and not a science, ahead of a week packed with binary outcomes in which the market is already priced in for absolute perfection. Per DB: We have another blockbuster week ahead of us so let's jump straight into previewing it. One of the main highlights is the German Constitutional Court's ruling on the ESM and fiscal compact on Wednesday. On the same day we will also see the Dutch go to the polls for the Lower House elections. Thursday then sees a big FOMC meeting where the probabilities of QE3 will have increased after the weak payrolls last Friday. The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors will meet on Thursday in Mexico before the ECOFIN/Eurogroup meeting in Cyprus rounds out the week on Friday. These are also several other meetings/events taking place outside of these main ones. In Greece, PM Samaras is set to meet with representatives of the troika today, before flying to Frankfurt for a meeting with Draghi on Tuesday. The EC will also present proposals on a single banking supervision mechanism for the Euro area on Tuesday. If these weren't enough to look forward to, Apple is expected to release details of its new iPhone on Wednesday. In summary, it will be a good week to test the theory that algos buy stocks on any flashing red headlines, no longer even pretending to care about the content. Think of the cash savings on the algo "reading" software: in a fumes-driven market in which even the HFTs no longer can make money frontrunning and subpennyiong order flow, they need it.
A place incapable of supporting life as we know it – a good description of where ECB monetary policy is leading us. In its current form the euro is a busted flush and is being held together solely by political intransigence and ECB connivance. From the very beginning the rules of engagement were ignored because without political and fiscal centralisation they weren’t going to work anyway. We now have OMT to ponder upon - Outright Monetary Transactions - which is just another short term breathing space to allow the PIIGS to refinance their maturing debt at less penal rates, but does absolutely nothing to solve the longer term problems of creating growth in economies stifled by ECB "conditionality"; a very sterile landscape indeed. But cheer up! QE3 will be along any day now to help the banks remain solvent for a while longer. 'Can' exits stage right after another good kicking...
The Little Investor Is About to Get Hosed Again by Ben and the Boyz ...
The NFP number was released at 8:30 am. At 8:40 am Goldman Sachs' Jan Hatzius hit "send" on a 356-word email to clients which was checked, vetted, and given the sign off by compliance, in which the Goldman head economist read through the NFP data, and concluded that "Probability of QE3 Next Week Now Above 50%." Curious why the risk assets first dropped then soared as if stung? Because today, once again, good is great, but worse is greater. Let the global liquidity tsunami continue!
What Draghi did is buy some time. About three months worth of time. But at what cost?
XAU/EUR Exchange Rate Daily - (Bloomberg)
Gold at €1,355/oz, just 2.5% from the record high of €1,390/oz, is a sign of a continuing lack of trust in the euro and in Draghi’s stewardship at the ECB.
Is bad, good still? Did Draghi's omnipotence obfuscate Bernanke's banality? Goldman's Jan Hatzius provides some color on what to expect for tomorrow's employment report. Forecasting a Goldilocks 'middling' print around 125k and flat 8.3% unemployment rate, he reminds us that this report is a very important one from both a monetary policy and political perspective. An upside surprise would raise more doubts about the Fed's determination to ease aggressively at next week's meeting and would strengthen President Obama's hand in the run-up to the November 6 election, and the converse is also true.
It’s easy to be pessimistic over the future prospects of liberty when major industrialized nations around the world are becoming increasingly rife with market intervention, police aggression, and fallacious economic reasoning. The laissez faire ideal of a society where people should be allowed to flourish without the coercive impositions of the state is all but missing from mainstream debate. In editorial pages and televised roundtable discussions, a government policy of “hands off” is now an unspeakable option. It is presumed that lawmakers must step up to “do something” for the good of the people. Thankfully, this deliberate false choice will slowly but surely bring the death of itself. Illogical theories can only go on for so long before the push-back becomes too much to handle. For those who desire liberty, it’s a joy that the statist economic policies of the Keynesians become even more irrational as the Great Recession drags on. The two following examples will illustrate this point.
"Spain Requests Bailout On September 14" - Goldman's Definitive Post-Mortem On Europe's Third Bond Buying AttemptSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/06/2012 16:04 -0400
Yesterday, when Bloomberg leaked every single detail of today's ECB announcement, which thus means today's conference was not a surprise at all, yet the market sure would like to make itself believe it was, we noted that everything that was leaked, and today confirmed, came from a Goldman memorandum issued hours before. Simply said everything that happens at the ECB gets its marching orders somewhere within the tentacular empire headquartered at 200 West. Which is why when it comes to the definitive summary of what "happened" today, we go to the firm that pre-ordained today's events weeks ago. Goldman Sachs.Perhaps the most important part is this: "September 13-14: Spain to make formal request for EFSF support at the Eurogroup meeting. With a large (and uncovered) redemption looming at the end of October (and under pressure from other Euro area governments), we expect Spain to move towards seeking support." In other words, Rajoy has one more week before he is sacked and the Spanish festivities begin.
The monetary policy transmission mechanism is broken in Europe; we all know it and even ECB head Draghi has admitted it (and is trying to solve it). As Bloomberg economist David Powell noted though, Draghi may have to address the economic fragmentation of the euro area before undoing the financial fragmentation of the region. The latter may just be a symptom of the former. The Taylor Rule, a policy guideline that models a monetary authority’s interest rate response to the paths of inflation and economic activity, highlights the drastically different monetary policies required across the various EU nations as a result of their variegated domestic economic conditions. This variation creates concerns over sustainability and the rational (not irrational as Draghi would have us believe) act of transferring deposits to 'safer' nations for fear of redenomination. As Powell notes: Draghi will probably have to convince market participants of the economic sustainability of the monetary union before the financial fragmentation of the region is ended. The large-scale extension of central bank credit to potentially insolvent countries is unlikely to accomplish that - as economies remain hugely divergent.