Things in risk land started off badly this morning, with the worst start to a year ever was set to worsen when European equities came under early selling pressure following news of German unemployment falling to record low, offset by a record high Italian jobless rate, with declining oil prices still the predominant theme as Brent crude briefly touched its lowest level since May 2009, this consequently saw the German 10yr yield print a fresh record low in a continuation of the move seen yesterday. However, after breaking USD 50.00 Brent prices have seen an aggressive bounce which has seen European equities move into positive territory with the energy names helping lift the sector which is now outperforming its peers. As a result fixed income futures have pared a large majority of the move higher at the EU open. But the punchline came several hours ago courtesy of Eurostat, when it was revealed that December was the first deflationary month for the Eurozone since the depths of the financial crisis more than five years ago, when prices dropped by -0.2% below the -0.1% expectation, and sharply lower than the 0.3% increase in November, driven by a collapse in Energy prices.
- Average 10-year yield of U.S., Japan and Germany dropped below 1% for the first time ever: Free Money in Bond Markets Shows Global Economy Still Struggling (BBG)
- Brent falls below $52 as oil hits new five and a half year lows (Reuters)
- China Fast-Tracks $1 Trillion in Projects to Spur Growth (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Raises Price of Main Oil Grade for Asian Buyers (BBG)
- Oilfield Writedowns Loom as Crude Slump Guts Drilling Values (BBG)
- Biggest Oil-Rig Drop Since 2009 Spells Tough Year Ahead (BBG)
- CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month (Reuters)
- Pipeline IPOs Climb on Demand for Returns Immune to Oil (BBG)
- Natural Gas No Savior for Investors Seeking Oil Refuge (BBG)
- Euro zone economy ended 2014 in poor shape (Reuters)
Same slide, different day, as the crude crash continues, with both WTI and Brent tumbling to multi-year highs, below $49 and $52 respectively. This happened despite the news overnight that China is accelerating 300 infrastructure projects valued at 7 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) this year, suggesting that China will focus more on fiscal policy than monetary easing, which in turn led to much confusion in the SHCOMP, which fluctuated up and down for the day several times before finally closing unchanged. There was no confusion about the stops slamming USDJPY, and its Nikkei225 derivative which tumbled 3%, sending Japanese Treasury yields to fresh record lows. Record low yields were also seen in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, France (and many other places), which in turn forced the US 10 Year to finally dip back under 2.00%. In fact, taken together, the average 10Y bond yield of the U.S., Japan and Germany has dropped below 1% for the first time ever, according to Citi.
UPDATE: Nikkei 225 Futs lose 17k - trading 16,985
Time for some GPIF asset re-allocation and spuriously repititive headlines about Abenomics, 3rd Arrows, growth, anti-deflation, or some such bollocks (as they say in Japan). For now, JGB Futures are at all-time record high prices, USDJPY sits back under 119.50, and Nikkei 225 Futures are holding just above the crucial 17k mark - down over 500 points from last night's highs.
The surreal nature of this world as we enter 2015 feels like being trapped in a Fellini movie. The .1% party like it’s 1999, central bankers not only don’t take away the punch bowl – they spike it with 200% grain alcohol, the purveyors of propaganda in the mainstream media encourage the party to reach Caligula orgy levels, the captured political class and their government apparatchiks propagate manipulated and massaged economic data to convince the masses their standard of living isn’t really deteriorating, and the entire façade is supposedly validated by all-time highs in the stock market. It’s nothing but mass delusion perpetuated by the issuance of prodigious amounts of debt by central bankers around the globe. But now, the year of consequences may have finally arrived.
While the predictions of Blackstone's Byron Wien (born in 1933) have been all over the place in the last few years, they nevertheless provide some color on just what the mainstream does not believe... This is the 30th year Byron has given his views on a number of economic, financial market and political surprises for the coming year. From "our luck running out on cyberterrorism" to "shock and awe no longer working in Japan", Wien's non-predictions range from The Fed to China and from Oil to Hillary Clinton...
2014 may go down as the year when gold and silver conspiracy “theories” became conspiracy “facts” as banks globally were found to have conspired to rig the prices of gold, silver, currency and many other markets.
USDJPY tumbles to a 119 handle briefly before Japan opened to its normal JPY-selling spike temporarily lifted the pair 'off the lows'. This drop dragged stock futures lower with Nikkei 225 tumbling over 350 points from its Friday trading highs. Oil prices continue to slide (WTI now with a $51 handle) and EURUSD is bouncing back from its precipitous decline earlier in the evening. S&P futures were down almost 10pts but have recovered about half their losses.
"The Greek political turmoil is likely to complicate matters for the ECB’s preparation of a sovereign QE programme. The prospect of the ECB potentially incurring severe losses is likely to intensify the debate within the Governing Council, where sovereign QE remains controversial. It could also make the start of a buying programme already on January 22 even more ambitious. In addition, the spectre of default could create new limitations on any sovereign QE design."
How did the investment ideas we discussed throughout the year play out
Greece may be on the verge of a Grexit, crude may be taking out all key technical support levels, and US stocks will still close higher. But let the USDJPY slide and watch as the levitation ends with a bang. And tumble overnight is precisely what the USDJPY did, pushing not only the Nikkei lower by 1.6% but also leading to what is shaping up to be an unrecord, also known as red, open in the S&P - this surely calls for a "Markets in Turmoil" flashing siren on the 9th floor of the New York Fed.
The Japanese stock market reached its all-time-high on December 29th 1998, and as The Wall Street Journal reports, analysts were still looking forward to another strong year for shares in 1990, despite some signs of danger. Reading through the headline on that day suggests, 25 years later, investors and talking-heads have learned absolutely nothing...
We wonder if England will be reconsidering the secession vote?
- *SCOTTISH GOVT: CONFIRMED EBOLA CASE DIAGNOSED IN GLASGOW
- *SCOTLAND: PATIENT IS A HEALTH CARE WORKER, RETURNED FROM SIERRA LEONE DEC. 28
After Japan's stock market slid overnight following reports of Ebola in Tokyo, one wonders what a recurrence of Ebola headlines will do to risk complacency this time? Perhaps, since the Ebola Tzar's work is done in America, they can lend him out to The Scots?
As noted earlier, following the failed vote Greek banks are cratering, with many entering a bear market as of the last price update, such as Eurobank Ergasias -23%, Piraeus Bank -21%, National Bank of Greece down 18%, Alpha Bank 17% lower. While in the past this would have been enough to send European shares limit down and peripheral bonds bidless, algos have forgotten their programmed kneejerk reaction since Greece has been off the front page for so long. As a result, Europe is down but not nearly where it would have been had today's vote taken place a couple of years ago. Then again, with the USDJPY far more important than what Greece may or may not do, all that will take for the Santa rally to resume, if only in the US, is for "someone" to buy a few yards of Dollar-Yen, push the pair to 121, and all shall be well once more.
After two years of economic torture and financial destruction, Abenomics has finally claimed the Keynesian prize: real wages crash 4.3%, the most in the 21st century, and Japan's legendary savings rate, which peaked at 23% in 1975, just turned negative for the first time ever. Game over Japan.