Thomson Reuters GFMS has published research that says they project silver prices to rise 38% in 2013 from current levels, as a sluggish global economy increases safe haven demand. The bullish silver GFMS forecast was published on the Silver Institute website yesterday and is unusual as the GFMS have been quiet bearish on silver in recent years despite rising prices. Philip Klapwijk of GFMS said that “a rebound in investment demand stemming from continuing loose monetary policies is expected to drive silver prices towards and possibly over $50 during 2013.” Spot silver has risen over 17% this year overtaking gold’s 10% gain, and paving the way for its third consecutive rise in four years. "Strong investment demand, higher gold prices on the back of monetary easing, rising inflation expectations and the persistence of ultra-low interest rates," are among the factors that will lure buyers to the safety of silver,” said Philip Klapwijk of GFMS. "We are thinking prices will trend higher next year. I'm not convinced that we are going to $50. I think we will definitely see $40 to $45 prices."
- Germany will pay Greek aid (Spiegel)
- Spain Banks Face More Pain as Worst-Case Scenario Turns Real (Bloomberg)
- China’s Growth Continues to Slow (WSJ)
- Executives Lack Confidence in U.S. Competitiveness (WSJ)
- Poor Market Conditions will See 180 Solar Manufacturers Fail by 2015 (OilPrice)
- Wen upbeat on China’s economy (FT)
- Gold remains popular, despite the doubts of economists (Economist)
- Armstrong Stands to Lose $30 Million as Sponsors Flee (Bloomberg)
- IMF urges aid for Italy, Spain but Rome baulking (Reuters)
- EU Summit Highlights Financial Divide (WSJ)
- FOMC Straying on Price Target, Former Fed Officials Say (Bloomberg)
- Putin defiant over weapons sales (FT)
Bill Gross may be credited with inventing the term 'the New Normal', although his recommendation to purchase gold above all other asset classes, something which only fringe blogs such as this one have been saying is the best trade (in terms of return, Sharpe Ratio, and the ability to sleep soundly) for the past three and a half years, he is sure to be increasingly ostracized by the establishment, and told to take all his newfangled idioms with him in his exile to less than serious people land. Which takes us to David Rosenberg, who today revisits his own definition of the New Normal. And it, too, is just as applicable as that of the Pimco boss: "The new normal is that the economy doesn't drive markets any more." Short and sweet, although it also is up for debate whether the economy ever drove the markets in the first place. But that would open up a whole new conspiratorial can of worms, and is a discussion best saved for after Ben Bernanke decides to save the "housing market" by buying more hundreds of billions in MBS and lowering mortgage yields further, even though mortgage rates already are at record lows (something that mortgage applications apparently couldn't care less about as we showed last week), while "avoiding" to do everything in his power to boost the S&P, which recently was at 5 year highs, and certainly "avoiding" to listen to Chuck Schumer telling him to do his CTRL+P job, and "get to work" guaranteeing Schumer's donors have another whopper of a bonus season.
Silver, wine, art and gold – or SWAG – may be the solution for investors looking to protect their wealth in the coming years according to perceptive Reuters Columnist, James Saft. In an interesting article and an interesting video for Reuters, Saft coins the term “Investing 201” which means having SWAG in your portfolio in order to protect investors from “a grim decade of money printing and financial repression.” SWAG, as in silver, wine, art and gold, are real assets that might just outperform if official policy causes the money supply to surge according to Saft. This is the idea of Joe Roseman, who says SWAG will do very well over what could be a very troubled next decade. "These assets effectively act as a money supply index tracker," said Roseman, who for 16 years was a money manager and economist at Moore Capital, run by the legendary Louis Bacon. "If the authorities are going to bail themselves out, money supply will expand. Every single time governments have been here, this is exactly what they have done."
George Soros more than doubled his shares in the SPDR gold trust ETF. He increased his position in SPDR Gold to $137.3 million in the second quarter from $52 million previously. SEC filing for the second quarter showed Soros Fund Management more than doubled its investment in the SPDR Gold Trust from 319,550 shares to 884,400 shares at the end of June. In September 2010 (see chart), Soros called gold "the ultimate bubble" and largely dumped his stake in the ETF before gold recorded annual gains in 2010 and 2011 and rose to a nominal high of $1,920.30 per ounce in September. There was speculation at the time that he may have sold the SPDR trust in order to own far safer allocated gold bars. Another billionaire investor respected for his financial acumen is John Paulson and Paulson & Co increased its holdings by 26% by purchasing an additional 4.53 million shares of the SPDR Gold Trust to bring entire holding to 21.8 million shares. It was the first time Paulson & Co had increased its position in the SPDR Gold Trust since the first quarter of 2009, when the investment firm initially acquired 31.5 million shares. It means that Paulson's $21 billion hedge fund now has more than 44% of the company's assets allocated to gold.
- What's wrong with this headline: Obama authorizes secret support for Syrian rebels (Reuters)
- Hilsenrath promptly dusts off ashes of sheer propaganda failure, tries again: Fed Gives Stronger Signals of Action (WSJ)
- Fed Hints at Fresh Action on Economy (FT)
- Fed Poised to Step Up Stimulus Unless Economy Strengthens (Bloomberg)
- IMF Chief Lagarde Praises Greece, Spain for Efforts (Bloomberg) - efforts to beg as loud as possible?
- US sanctions against bank 'target' China (China Daily)
- Trimming China's Financial Hedges (WSJ)
- ganda central bank cuts key lending rate to 17 pct (Reuters)
- Greece Agrees €11.5bn Spending Cuts (FT) - Agrees? Or does what a good debt slave is told to do
- Germany Retains Stable AAA Outlook at S&P After Moody’s Cut (Bloomberg)
- Spain’s Bond Auction Beats Target as Borrowing Costs Rise (Bloomberg)
This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied - The SequelSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/19/2012 19:05 -0400
Two years ago, in January 2010, Zero Hedge wrote "This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied" which became one of our most read stories of the year. The reason? Perhaps something to do with an implicit attempt at capital controls by the government on one of the primary forms of cash aggregation available: $2.7 trillion in US money market funds. The proximal catalyst back then were new proposed regulations seeking to pull one of these three core pillars (these being no volatility, instantaneous liquidity, and redeemability) from the foundation of the entire money market industry, by changing the primary assumptions of the key Money Market Rule 2a-7. A key proposal would give money market fund managers the option to "suspend redemptions to allow for the orderly liquidation of fund assets." In other words: an attempt to prevent money market runs (the same thing that crushed Lehman when the Reserve Fund broke the buck). This idea, which previously had been implicitly backed by the all important Group of 30 which is basically the shadow central planners of the world (don't believe us? check out the roster of current members), did not get too far, and was quickly forgotten. Until today, when the New York Fed decided to bring it back from the dead by publishing "The Minimum Balance At Risk: A Proposal to Mitigate the Systemic Risks Posed by Money Market FUnds". Now it is well known that any attempt to prevent a bank runs achieves nothing but merely accelerating just that (as Europe recently learned). But this coming from central planners - who never can accurately predict a rational response - is not surprising. What is surprising is that this proposal is reincarnated now. The question becomes: why now? What does the Fed know about market liquidity conditions that it does not want to share, and more importantly, is the Fed seeing a rapid deterioration in liquidity conditions in the future, that may and/or will prompt retail investors to pull their money in another Lehman-like bank run repeat?
Overnight Long/Intraday Short Gold Fund More Than Doubles In Just Over A Year: Generates 43% Annualized ReturnSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2012 14:03 -0400
Back in August 2010, we presented an idea proposed by our friends at SK Options trading for a very simple trading strategy: being long gold in the overnight session, and shorting it during the day. At the time of writing, such a strategy would have returned $2.16 billion from a $100 million initial investment in 10 years, a 37.46% annualized return. Today, we provide a much needed follow up to this quite stunning divergence. As SK notes: "we have revisited the article and written an update. Not only does the discrepancy still exist but it has been actually increasing. That fund would now be worth $5.26B, way up from $2.16B when we last wrote about it - in other words an increase of 143% in just over a year. When we wrote about this in August 2010, the annualized return of the Long Overnight/Short Intraday gold index was 37.46% since the start of 2001. However if we measure from now the annualized return since 2001 is 43.24%, with the annualized return of the Long Overnight/Short Intraday gold index standing at roughly 64.4% since 2009." So for those who wish to layer on an additional alpha buffer on top of what is already the best performing asset of the past decade, the SK Options way just may be the strategy. As for the reasons for this gross arbitrage - who cares. Is it manipulation? is it the early Asian buying offset by London pool selling? It is largely irrelvant - the point is that this is "the divergence that keeps on giving" - kinda like a Stolper trade, or an inverse Tilson ETF, and until it doesn't, or until something dramatically changes in the precious metal market, it is likely that this trading pattern will continue for a long time.
Wondering how wives of (ex) central bankers would engage in insider trading if that was their intent (forgetting for a second that if one is the wife of a central banker one probably should not be engaging in any FX transaction to begin with)? Now we know, courtesy of this first interview with the wife of the former SNB head following his departure in which she tell us how a former Moore Capital currency trader would engage in FX insider trading "if one wanted to..."
The Swiss had a rough couple of years; first the national airline crashes, then the banking secret, and, now, their central bank. It seems someone from inside the SNB finally woke up and skilfully played the Swiss media to work on Hildebrand’s expulsion. There is only one problem for the SNB: how to get out of the hole before the Euro blows up? The sharks are already circling their prey; the Swiss Franc decoupled from the Euro the moment SNB chairman Hildebrand resigned: The exchange rate got dangerously close to the “Rubicon” of 1.20 (the level the SNB vows to defend with utmost determination). The SNB is basically 100 pips away from extinction.
Someone gave Kashya Hildebrand very bad advice. She went on TV. Now there are more questions than ever.
For those who live and breathe solely to know how Stevie Cohen has performed at any given moment, we have an update. According to Bloomberg's Hedge Funds brief, SAC Capital told investors last week that his main hedge fund is up 9.2% year to date. It is unclear if he provided any further insight into the firm's troubled relationship with various regulators and law enforcement officials. Some other fund update from Bloomberg. Balestra Capital Partners LP was negative 2.37 percent last month and has lost 7.63 percent year-to-date, according to its monthly results and commentary sent to investors. Brencourt Advisors LLC’s $260 million Brencourt Multi-Strategy Fund lost 90 basis points to drop year-to-date returns to 2.84 percent, according to an email update sent to investors. The merger arbitrage fund gained 22 basis points last month and has returned 2.17 percent through June 30. The Brencourt Credit Opportunities Fund lost 0.95 percent and has returned 3.39 percent in 2011. Broadfin Capital LLC’s Broadfin Healthcare Fund LP returned nearly 9 percent in the second quarter, according to its quarterly letter to investors, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg. Long positions in Alkermes Inc. and Hi-Tech Pharmacal Co. Inc. “were the largest drivers of the fund’s performance,” the letter said. The New York-based fund is managed by Kevin Kotler. Summarizing returns by strategy for 2010 and 2011 (table below) shows quite vividly that what worked back in 2010 is no longer in vogue, although the main exception - the best strategy for both years - continues to be Mortgage-Backed arbitrage. Although most curious for some may be that none other than John Paulson is now officially the biggest fan of John Boehner. Read on.
Earlier today we saw what happens to investment banks when the Fed no longer clearly telegraphs its intentions vis-a-vis which asset has to be frontran (see Goldman post earlier). It is not just banks. In the absence of the Fed semaphore, it turns out even such "legendary" hedge funds as Soros' $25 billion Quantum are about as clueless as everyone else. Bloomberg reports that "the fund is about 75 percent in cash as it waits for better opportunities, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the firm is private." The reason: "“I find the current situation much more baffling and much less predictable than I did at the time of the height of the financial crisis,” Soros, 80, said in April at a conference at Bretton Woods organized by his Institute for New Economic Thinking. “The markets are inherently unstable. There is no immediate collapse, nor no immediate solution." But, but... what about relative and fundamental value, pair, cap and M&A arb? What about long-term investment opportunities in the growth of the world? What about arbing the so-called business cycle? Are none of those strategies worthy of investment? Or has ubiquitous central planning made the only profitable trade simply frontrunning the Fed's beta wave with as much leverage as possible? What's that you say? Yes? Thank you, the defense of formerly fair and efficient markets rests.
And once again we get a reminder why the word "hedge" fund is such a misnomer. The FT reports the Clive Capital, the "world's largest commodity hedge fund" as defined by the FT (although we are more than confident various other and much largest "energy-heavy" funds would be much more appropriate for this moniker) lost $400 million out of its (paltry) $5 billion in total AUM during last week's coordinated energy take down, initiated by the forced margin intervention in precious metals. Clive "is the biggest of several big hedge funds believed to be reeling after the unexpected sell-off hit markets late last week." Clive is not alone: "Others, including Astenbeck Capital, the Phibro-owned fund run by Andrew Hall, are thought to have taken double-digit percentage point losses to their portfolios, according to investors." The FT's take: "The scale of the losses demonstrates that even the savviest investors in commodities were wrongfooted by the correction, one of the sharpest one-day falls on record." Our is slightly different: when a trade has enough momentum, and has been working long enough, even the quote unquote "savviest investors" become a momo chasing herd, with nobody hedging, and a massive drop in prices always likely to be the deathknell for some previously vaunted investor, whose only claim to fame was being lucky enough once to be at the right time and the right place, and to put a huge levered bet that worked out. And praying that he or she can recreate those conditions.
The hedge fund industry's strong rebound from the credit crisis has prompted investors to ask whether some funds have grown too large and inflexible to keep delivering bumper returns for which the sector is famous. Are these concerns justified?