Monetary Policy

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Mapping The Next Nation To Join The Currency War





With China devaluation looming as the great unspoken Black Swan trade, and on the heels of the Swiss National Bank folding on its 'peg', we thought a quick glance at the world's "pegged" currencies would be useful as a guide to where the next shoe (and pant legs) will drop. With global FX implied volatility at EU crisis highs, the markets clearly expect more to come...

 
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Varoufakis Blasts ECB "Has Lost Control Of Monetary Policy" As Germany Tells Greece: "There Is No Way Out"





"There is no way out" for Greece from its treaty obligations warns German lawmaker Michael Fuchs (Angela Merkel's deputy caucus chairman) telling Bloomberg TV that conditions set for Greece by The Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) for bailout funds "have to be fulfilled.... That's it, very simple." The Greeks remain adamant that they will not ask for an extension to the bailout mechanism with both Tsipras and Varoufakis confirming that a bridge agreement is required and the latter adding "the ECB has lost control of monetary policy," demanding the Troika structure come to an end. Then German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble exclaimed at the G-20 meeting that "Greece either has to find a way to get bridge financing, or, if they want to do it with us, they need a program," seeming to push the door open to possible Russian financial aid for Greece as Europe's pivot to Putin appears to be rising.

 
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Frontrunning: February 9





  • Greek Risk Draws Global Concern on Lehman Echo Warnings (BBG)
  • Merkel to urge caution in U.S. as pressure builds to arm Ukraine forces (Reuters)
  • West Races to Defuse Ukraine Crisis (WSJ)
  • German-French Push Yields Ukraine Summit Plan With Putin (BBG)
  • Swiss Leaks lifts the veil on a secretive banking system (ICIJ)
  • Italy Lenders Seen Cleansing Books Amid Bad-Bank Plans (BBG)
  • G-20 Finance Chiefs Face Tough Test in Istanbul (WSJ)
  • Demand for OPEC Crude Will Rise This Year, Says Group (WSJ)... or rather prays
  • U.S. Banks Say Soaring Dollar Puts Them at Disadvantage (WSJ)
 
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Europe, US Risk Off After Greece Rejects European Ultimatum, Ukraine Peace Talks Falter





In the absence of any notable developments overnight, the market remains focused on the rapidly moving situation in Greece, which as detailed over the weekend, responded to Europe's Friday ultimatum very vocally and belligerently, crushing any speculation that Syriza would back down or compromise, and with just days left until the emergency Eurogroup meeting in three days, whispers that a Grexit is imminent grow louder. The only outstanding item is what happens to the EUR and to risk assets: do they rise when the Eurozone kicks out its weakest member, or will they tumble as UBS suggested this morning when it said that "the escalation of tensions between the Greek government and its creditors is so far being shrugged off by investors, an attitude which is overly simplistic and ignores the risk of market dislocations" while Morgan Stanley adds that a Grexit would likely lead to the EURUSD sliding near its all time lows of about 0.90.

 
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Head Of Largest Swiss Cantonal Bank Says Swiss Capital Controls Are "Certainly Possible"





Less than a day after the head of the SNB hinted at the possibility of capital control, the head of the largest Swiss cantonal bank, and the fourth largest Swiss Bank, the Zurich Cantonal Bank or ZCB, came out and explicitly said what so many fear (and which warning they would ascribe to as the case may be "yellow journalism"), namely that "lowering Swiss National Bank’s already negative interest rate further or implementing capital controls would be "dramatic" but "certainly possible."

 
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Global Economy Will Shrink By $2.3 Trillion In 2015





The world is going to be about $2.37 trillion smaller in 2015 than most expected at the start of the year as a consequence of the USD strengthening. This is not insignificant, as it represents 3.2% of last year’s estimated global GDP. For perspective, that would be as if an economy of the size between Brazil’s and the UK’s would have just disappeared.

 
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A Very Pernicious Partnership: Keynesian Money Printers And Wall Street Gamblers





The phony 5.7% domestic unemployment rate reported yesterday has nothing to do with full employment. The relevant number in the report is that there are still 101 million working age Americans who do not have jobs, and only 45 million of them are on OASI retirement benefits. And that says nothing about the tens of millions of job holders who are employed far less than a full 40 hour work week. In short, there is a surfeit of available labor at home and abroad, meaning 3-4% wage gains are not coming down the pike any time soon or ever. So if that’s what the Fed is waiting for - then the so-called “lift-off” may not be coming even this year. And in any event, the trivial 25 bps increases in the funds rate that may eventually come have nothing to do with interest rate “normalization” or the return of honest price discovery in the casino. And that suits the needs of the Wall Street gamblers just fine.

 
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Debt In The Time Of Wall Street





Greece’s problem can only be truly solved if large scale debt restructuring is accepted and executed. But that would initiate a chain of events that would bring down the bloated zombie that is Wall Street. And it just so happens that this zombie rules the planet. We are all addicted to the zombie. It allows us to fool ourselves into thinking we are doing well – well, sort of -, but the longer term implications of that behavior will be devastating. We’re all going to be Greece, that’s inevitable. It’s not some maybe thing. The only thing that keeps us from realizing that is that the big media outlets have become part of the same industry that Wall Street, and the governments it controls, have full control over. And that in turn says something about the importance of what Yanis Varoufakis and Syriza are trying to accomplish. They’re taking the battle to the finance empire. And it should not be a lonely fight. Because if the international Wall Street banks succeed in Greece, some theater eerily uncomfortably near you will be next. That is cast in stone.

 
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Swiss National Bank Hints At Capital Controls





Even as the whispers that the imposition of capital controls by Greece, which is now running out of both time, negotiating leverage and tax money is just a matter of time, get louder with every passing day if not acknowledged by Greek officials yet, it was none other than one of the supposedly most "rock-solid" central banks in the world that fired a shot across the bow of global financial stability when it hinted that not Greece but another country may be the first to engage in capital controls. The country: Switzerland.

 
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China’s Monumental Debt Trap - Why It Will Rock The Global Economy





Needless to say, Greece is only the poster child. The McKinsey numbers above suggest that “peak debt” is becoming a universal condition, and that today’s Keynesian central bankers and policy apparatchiks are only pushing on a giant and dangerous global string. So now we get to ground zero of the global Ponzi. That is the monumental pile of construction and debt that is otherwise known on Wall Street as the miracle of “red capitalism”. In truth, however, China is not an economic miracle at all; its just a case of the above abandoned Athens stadium writ large.

 
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"We Just Need To Print More Money" Bank Of Japan's New Board Member Clarifies Endgame





The Abe administration nominated a major proponent of reflationary monetary policy to the central bank’s board, buttressing Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s efforts to save the nation from the dread of deflation. As Bloomberg reports, economist Yutaka Harada, who will replace Ryuzo Miyao, has said Japan can beat deflation by printing money in a 2013 book "Reflationary Policy Revives Japan’s Economy." So far that is not working so try harder... “The nomination is a good news for Kuroda... he will keep a majority on the board and win what he wants." Why such good news? As deputy director at the finance ministry’s Policy Research Institute, Harada exclaimed, "we just need to print money."

 
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5 Things To Ponder: Intriguing Erudition





"Conditions in the global economy are clearly abnormal. The policymaker response to those conditions is extraordinary, with minimal focus on an all-out push for higher growth. Instead, the primary focus is on boosting “inflation” with repeated doses of bondbuying, stock-buying and super-low interest rates"

"A trait you'll see among the world's best investors is the willingness -- even desire -- to talk about their mistakes. They analyze what went wrong, why they were mistaken, and how they can learn from their errors so they don't repeat them. Everyone makes mistakes, but they seem to grasp what most of us have a hard time admitting: It's your (and my) fault."

 
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Russell Napier: "The Most Dangerous Thing In Finance Is The Thing That Never Ever Moves - Until It Moves"





Taking interest rates so negative that they threaten a run on bank deposits should not be seen as success --- it is failure. Creating bank reserves at that pace should not be seen as success --- it is failure. The next failure may well be some government-inspired restriction on capital inflows. Well, you could call such restrictions, and risking the liquidity of banks, monetary success if you like, but then you probably also think it’s a success to throw the ball one yard from the touchline.

 
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