It is hard to find a policymaker who hasn’t actively tried to talk his currency down. The few who don’t talk, act as if they were intent on driving their currency lower. Citi's Steven Englander argues below that the ‘currency wars’ impact is collective monetary/liquidity easing. Collective easing is not neutral for currencies, the USD and JPY tend to fall when risk appetite grows while other currencies appreciate. Moreover, despite the rhetoric on intervention, we think that direct or indirect intervention is credible only in countries where domestic asset prices are undervalued and CPI/asset price inflation are not issues. In other countries, intervention can boost domestic asset prices and borrowing and create more medium-term economic and asset price risk than conventional currency overvaluation would. So the MoF/BoJ may be credible in their intervention, but countries whose economies and asset markets are performing more favorably have much more to lose from losing control of asset markets. So JPY and, eventually CHF, are likely to fall, but if the RBA or BoC were to engage in active intervention they may find themselves quickly facing unfavorable domestic asset market dynamics.
- Obama Picking Lew for Treasury Fuels Fight on Budget (BBG)
- Deutsche Bank Bank Made Huge Bet, and Profit, on Libor (WSJ)
- Spain Beats Maximum Target in First 2013 Debt Sale (BBG) - In other news, the social security fund is now running on negative?
- "Icahn is also believed to have taken a long position in Herbalife" (NYPost) - HLF +5% premarket
- Lew-for-Geithner Switch Closes Era of Tight Fed-Treasury Ties (BBG)
- Turkey Beating Norway as Biggest Regional Oil Driller (BBG)
- Greek State Firms are Facing Closure (WSJ)
- Draghi Spared as Confidence Swing Quells Rate-Cut Talk (BBG)
- China’s Yuan Loans Trail Estimates (BBG)
- SEC enforcement chief steps down (WSJ)
- CFPB releases new mortgage rules in bid to reduce risky lending (WaPo)
- Japan Bond Investors Expect Extra Sales From February (BBG)
There was a lively start to trading as the yen gapped lower in immediate response to new of the LDP's victory in the weekend elections in Japan. The greenback traded around JPY84.55, the highest level since April 2011. The euro traded to about JPY111.30, just below the year's high set in March near JPY111.45. The Nikkei gapped higher.
However, as the results were largely as expected. The LDP and its traditional ally, the New Komeito secured a 2/3 majority, which will prevent the upper house, in which the DPJ has a majority, from blocking the new government.
In addition, there is some speculation that the BOJ may stand pat at this week's meeting to enhance its negotiating position with LDP-led government. Before the weekend, the consensus was for the BOJ to expand its asset purchases plan by JPY5-10 trillion in the face of data pointing to the second consecutive quarterly economic contraction.
In a sharp turn around from the open, Italian and Spanish 10yr government bond yield spreads over German bunds trade approx. 10bps tighter on the day, this follows several market events this morning that have lifted sentiment. Firstly from a fixed income perspective, both Spain and Greece managed to sell more in their respective t-bill auctions than analysts were expecting and thus has eased concerns ahead of longer dated issuance from Spain this Thursday. In terms of other trigger points for today's risk on tone the December headline reading in the German ZEW survey was positive for the first time since May 2012 coming in at an impressive 6.9 M/M from previous -15.7 with the ZEW economists adding that Germany will not face a recession. Finally, reports overnight have suggested that Italian PM Monti could be wooed by Centrist groups which means that if he wanted too the technocrat PM could stand for elections next year albeit under a different ticket. As such yesterday's concerns over the Italian political scene have abated and the FTSE MIB and the IBEX 35 are out performing the core EU bourses. Looking ahead highlights from the US include trade balance, wholesale inventories and a USD 32bln 3yr note auction, however, volumes and price action may remain light ahead of the key FOMC decision on Wednesday.
Nationalizations and protectionism have run into a buzz saw.
The upcoming week is comparatively less loaded with policy events, though the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations in the US remain one of the key developments to follow. Important is also the FOMC meeting on Wednesday, where Goldman and everyone else now expect the Fed to increase their monthly asset purchase target under the QE3 program to $85bn per month, up from $45bn per month; this will keep the pace of asset purchases constant after the Operation Twist expires at the end of December, as Zero Hedge predicted the day QE3 was announced. There are is a handful of other central bank meetings in emerging economies (Russia, Indonesia, South-Korea, Philippines, Chile) although consensus expects no change to the base-rate in most cases. On the data front industrial production numbers for October will be released around the world including in the Euro-area, US and China. We also get the US retail sales number and December flash PMIs for the Euro-area and China.
Another day, another melt up overnight wiping out all the post-Moody's weakness, this time coming courtesy of Europe, where following the French downgrade, the EURUSD filled its entire gap down and then some in the span of minutes following the European open, when it moved from 1.2775 to 1.2820 as if on command. And with the ES inextricably linked to the most active and levered pair in the world, it is is no surprise to see futures unchanged. It appears that the primary catalyst in the centrally planned market has become the opening of said "market" itself, as all other news flow is now largely irrelevant: after all the central planners have it all under control.
With Thanksgiving this Thursday, trading desks will be empty on Wednesday afternoon and remain so until next Monday. So even though it is a holiday shortened week, here are the main things to expect in the next 5 days: Bank of Japan meeting, the European Council meeting and the Eurogroup meeting. Key data releases include European and Chinese Flash PMIs.
- Wal-Mart misses topline expectations: Revenue $113.93bn, Exp $114.89bn, Sees full year EPS $4.88-$4.93, Exp. $4.94, Unveils new FCPA allegations; Stock down nearly 4%
- China chooses conservative new leaders (FT)
- Eurozone falls back into recession (FT)
- Moody’s to Assess U.K.’s Aaa Rating in 2013 Amid Slowing Economy (Bloomberg)
- Another bailout is imminent: FHA Nears Need for Taxpayer Funds (WSJ)
- Hamas chief vows to keep up "resistance" after Jaabari killed (Reuters)
- Obama calls for rich to pay more, keep middle-class cuts (Reuters)
- Obama Undecided on FBI's Petraeus Probe (WSJ)
- Battle lines drawn over “growth revenue” in fiscal cliff talks (Reuters)
- Rajoy’s Path to Bailout Clears as EU Endorses Austerity (Bloomberg)
- Zhou Seen Leaving PBOC as China Picks New Economic Chiefs (Bloomberg)
- Russia warns of tough response to U.S. human rights bill (Reuters)
- Japan Opposition Leader Ups Pressure on Central Bank (WSJ)
- Zhou Seen Leaving PBOC as China Picks New Economic Chiefs (Bloomberg)
The upcoming week comes less loaded with policy events. The only major one is the Eurogroup meeting on Monday, however EU officials have already confirmed that no decision on the next Greek aid tranche will be made before the Troika’s next report on Greece’s adherence to the bailout conditions. Greece has scheduled an auction for Tuesday in order to roll over €3.1 bn in T-bills expiring by the end of the week. Additionally, in the US, the President has invited leadership of both parties for a first round of talks on the fiscal cliff. The data calendars also look lighter, with the publication of the FOMC minutes on Wednesday, and US Philly Fed on Thursday.
Does China have what it takes to get from here (industrialized export economy) to there (sustainable growth, widespread prosperity)? The same can be asked of every nation: do they have what it takes to move beyond their current limitations to the next level? Consider corruption. Corruption isn't just a "values" issue: corrupt societies have corrupt economies, and these economies are severely limited by that corruption. A deeply, pervasively corrupt economy cannot get from here to there. Corruption acts as a "tax" on the economy, siphoning money from the productive to the parasitic unproductive Elites skimming the bribes, payoffs, protection money, unofficial "fees," etc. By definition, the money skimmed by corruption reduces the disposable income of households and enterprises, reducing their consumption and investment... Pull aside the curtain and what you find is a China crippled by corruption and debt.
If trying to explain why S&P futures are up another 9 points to 1417, and are now 25 ticks from the Monday night lows, there are so many catalysts: perhaps it was the European September unemployment rate rising to a new record of 11.6%, (Italy unemployment is now 10.8% up from 10.6% but it still has a way to go until it hits Spain's 25%) even as Consumer prices kept inflation at a steady 2.5% rate, or that French producer prices rose more than expected even as spending missed expectations, or that Spanish housing permits collapsed by 37.2% in August from July, or that Greek retail sales plunged by 7.2% Y/Y and the Greek 2013 economic outlook was cut in the latest budget with the budget deficit now seen at 5.2% from 4.2% before and that Greece now sees 189.1% debt/GDP in 2013 up from 175.6% in 2012, or that Japan just cut its economic outlook last night after its manufacturing PMI came at 46.9, the lowest since 2009 excluding Fukushima, or that UK consumer confidence printed -30, vs -28 last and the lowest since April, or that Taiwan slashed its 2012 GDP forecast from 1.66% to 1.05%, or that nothing has been resolved on the Greek labor reforms or the now two month overdue Troika bailout, or that insolvent Spain has still not requested a bailout, or that virtually every company that has reported revenues in the last two "dark days" missed expectations, or that US Mortgage applications tumbled 6% for its fourth straight weekly decline (government refi index down 5.5%, mortgage apps down 4.8%), or of course that Hurricane Sandy will cut both Q4 GDP and corporate profits (not to mention sales). Truly, there are so many reasons why the S&P has now soared since Apple announced the termination of its two key executives on Monday afternoon, one doesn't know where to start (and don't you dare say "window dressing"). Perhaps Kevin Henry would, but sadly his Bloomberg status is now "gray"...
It is cloudy out there as Sandy enters the mid-Atlantic region, although for all the pre-apocalypse preparations in New York, the Frankenstorm may just be yet another dud now that its landfall is expected to come sufficiently south of NYC to make the latest round of Zone 1 evacuations about overblown as last year's Irene hysteria (of course it will be a gift from god for each and every S&P company as it will provide a perfect excuse for everyone to miss revenues and earnings in Q4). That said, Wall Street is effectively closed today for carbon-based lifeforms if not for electron ones, and a quick look at the futures bottom line, which will be open until 9:15 am Eastern, shows a lot of red, with ES down nearly 10 ticks (Shanghai down again as the same old realization seeps day after day - no major easing from the PBOC means Bernanke and company is on their own) as the Friday overnight summary is back on again: Johnny 5 must defend 1400 in ES and 1.2900 in EURUSD at all costs for just two more hours.
UPDATE: Nigel Farage 'Must-See' rant on the' destruction of nation state democracy'
The need to convince any and all that will listen (and one's own self) that the Euro project must be preserved at all costs has never been so obviously politicized as the Nobel crony committee 'blessing' the European Union for bringing peace to a continent at war. While a laudable thing of itself, as JPMorgan's Michael Cembalest notes, by 1954, Germany had already become a stable, liberal, democratic society in one of the most amazing transformations in history given what preceded it ten years earlier. Whether the Marshall Plan helped this, it seems indisputable that conditions for a lasting peace in Europe were already in place by 1954. The notion that the Euro is needed to cement these gains appears to be more about the ambition of specific political movements in Europe/Brussels than anything else. The irony of the Nobel Peace Prize for Europe is that as shown below, it comes at a time of rising social stress, extremist politics, and a deterioration of trust in the very union that is supposed to be providing the social cement.
- Trade Slows Around World (WSJ)
- Debt limit lurks in fiscal cliff talks (FT)
- Welcome back to the eurozone crisis (FT, Wolfgang Munchau)
- Euro Leaders Face October of Unrest After September Rally (Bloomberg)
- Dad, you were right (FT)
- 25% unemployment, 25% bad loans, 5% drop in Industrial Production, and IMF finally lowers its 2013 Greek GDP forecast (WSJ)
- Global IPOs Slump to Second-Lowest Level Since Financial Crisis (Bloomberg)
- France's Hollande faces street protest over EU fiscal pact (Reuters)
- EU Working to Resolve Difference on Bank Plan, Rehn Says (Bloomberg)
- China manufacturing remains sluggish (FT)
- Samaras vows to fight Greek corruption (FT) ... and one of these days he just may do it
- Leap of Faith (Hssman)
- Germany told to 'come clean’ over Greece (AEP)