David Rosenberg On The Depression, The ECB, MF Global As A Canary In The Coalmine... All With A Surprise EndingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/11/2011 22:27 -0500
Consuelo Mack has just released a long overdue interview with David Rosenberg, in which the former Merrill strategist is allowed to speak for 27 whole minutes without commercial interruptions of manic depressive momentum chasers cutting off his every sentence, demanding he tell them what stocks he is buying right this second! In addition to the traditional now discussion of America's depression (see attached extended walkthru by Rosie), probably the more interesting part in the interview starts at minute 11 when the conversation shifts to MF Global which to Rosie is a canary in the coalmine, and is merely the 2011 version of Bear Stearns as there is "never just one cockroach." Then the Q&A shifts to Europe, the ECB's next steps and the future of the Eurozone and Germany in particular. Mack concludes with some thoughts on what bond rates indicate about the future of the word, how the 7% output gap as a % of GDP will drive deflation (although in a vacuum: there is little accounting for the Fed's and global central bank kneejerk reaction), and how the corporation is now more powerful than the sovereign, courtesy of more pristine corporate balance sheets than those of actual countries, all of which are on the verge. Will the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks take over when Europe and the US finally tumble? Oh, and like a good M. Night Shyamalan movie, there is a surprising twist ending.
Once again, Bill Gross proves he can think outside of the box better than most, with the following paragraph from his latest letter to clients: "the investment question du jour should be “can you solve a debt crisis with more debt?” Penny or no penny. Policymakers have been striving to answer it in the affirmative ever since Lehman 2008 with an assorted array of bazookas and popguns: 0% interest rates, sequential QEs with a twist, and of course now the EU grand plan with its various initiatives involving debt write-offs for Greece, bank recapitalizations for Euroland depositories and the leveraging of their rather unique “EFSF” which requires 17 separate votes each and every time an amendment is required. What a way to run a railroad. Still, investors hold to the premise that once a grand plan is in place in Euroland and for as long as the U.S., U.K. and Japan can play scrabble with the 10-point “Q” letter, then the markets are their oyster. Not being one to cast pearls before swine or little Euroland PIGS for that matter, I would tentatively agree with one huge qualifier: As long as these policies generate growth."..."My original question – “Can you solve a debt crisis by creating more debt?” – must continue to be answered in the negative, because that debt – low yielding as it is – is not creating growth. Instead, we are seeing: minimal job creation, historically low investment, consumption turning into savings and GDP growth at less than New Normal levels. The Rogoff/Reinhart biblical parallel of seven years of fat followed by seven years of lean is not likely to be disproven in this cycle. The only missing input to the equation would seem to be how many years of fat did we actually experience? More than seven, I would suggest." And that, dear readers, is the bottom line: put otherwise, we have experienced 30 years of deviation from the mean courtesy of the biggest, and most artificial in history, cheap debt-inspired period of global "growth." And we are due for the mother of all mean reversions when the central planners finally realize their methods to defeat this simplest of methemaical concepts, have failed.
Today's first Fed speech is out, this one by Chicago Fed dove, Chuck Evans who was recently interviewed by Russian speaking, guitar playing, arch-Keynesian Steve Liesman and dropped the first QE3 bomb a week ago, in which he basically says what he said before, namely that "very significant amounts" of added accommodation are needed. In other words: more of the same, and this time it will be different. After all 12 Fed presidents and 1 chairman can't all be insane all the time.
Yesterday, JPM's Michael Feroli who is now undisputedly the least worst Wall Street economist (RIP Hatzius) cut his 2012 GDP forecast to under 1% net of fiscal adjustments. As of minutes ago, he just slashed his Q3 GDP from 2.5% to 1.5%. And the worst news for Obama: he will be dealing with 8.9% unemployment during his re-election campaign, which can now Rest in Peace. Speaking of RIPs, here's to you growth Hockeystick. You will be fondly forgotten.
Strategic Investment Conference: Luminaries In Finance Presentation Series: Part 2 - David RosenbergSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/21/2011 17:08 -0500
Following up to the presentation by Gary Shilling at this year's Strategic Investment Conference, we next move on to an old Zero Hedge favorite: David Rosenberg.
Next week is light on data, thus developments in the European and US fiscal tensions are likely to remain high on the agenda. The Eurogroup heads of state will meet on Thursday to discuss European financial stability and further aid for Greece. Expectations are for an increase in the Greek financial rescue package, alongside some form of voluntary ‘bail in’ for holders of Greek debt. More comprehensive solutions to stem contagion risk, such as secondary market purchases of EMU government bonds by the EFSF, are said to be also on the cards, but uncertainty is very large. Ahead of the statement resulting from the summit, the market may remain caught in the headlights of headline risk. Discussions over raising the debt ceiling in the US will continue. On the data front, the business surveys will be key to watch. Towards the end of the week the HSBC flash PMI for China, the Euroland flash PMIs and the Philadelphia Fed Survey will all be published. The Euroland surveys are expected to decline slightly, but the Philadelphia Fed survey is expected to rise although our forecast is for a notably smaller rise than that of the consensus.
When it comes to the debt ceiling, we have heard everyone and the kitchen sink's opinion on this issue at this point. Yet one person who has been silent so far is the original skeptic David Rosenberg. Summarized: "Despite the fear mongering, the U.S. government is not going to default. Any backup in bond yields from a failure to cobble together a deal will drive market rates down because of the deflationary implications from the massive fiscal squeeze that would ensue at a time of a huge 5% output gap. Even if there were to be some sort of "buyer's strike" if the U.S. were to be defaulted, rest assured that the Fed would step in aggressively." Obviously to a mega bond bull like Rosenberg, this is the only possible outcome. After all an alternative would mean the central planners have failed, and the most artificially inflated security in the history of man: US bonds, which are only there because they are the "best of all evils" was enjoying an extended "ignore the emperor's nudity" sabbatical... which alas does not change their evilness, nor is this equilibrium stable once more and more realize it is all about gold at the end of the day. And as yesterday demonstrated when existential fear grips the market, the impossible does happen, and both bonds and stocks can sell off, and in the process lead to all time records for gold. Bookmark July 14: it is a harbinger of what is coming.
Enough bullshit, it's time to expose the real unemployment scandal...
Well not quite the CIA, but close enough. The good ex-spies of BIA Behavioral Intelligence Analysis have conducted another behavioral assay, this time targeting global overlord Ben Bernanke and specifically his Wednesday press conference, focusing not on the script but what was left unsaid between the lines. For those unfamiliar, "The BIA team represents a diverse mix of highly accomplished professionals from the national intelligence and business communities, who came together to create and deliver BIA’s ground-breaking solutions for our clients. Our intelligence experts average more than 20 years experience in interviewing, evaluating and collecting information across the globe and have been working with premier firms since 2001 to improve investing and business outcomes through application of our unique methodologies." In lieu of a lie detector being hooked up to the Chairman (Simpsons scene comes to mind), this may be one of the better analyses in interpreting what was said... and unsaid.
GM's Channel Stuffing Catches Up With The Company: Dealer Backlogs Force Plant Shutdowns; Q3 GDP Cuts To FollowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/21/2011 17:45 -0500
A few days ago, JPM's Michael Feroli literally wrote off Q2 GDP: "Recent economic data have been dispiriting, and increasingly 2Q is being written off as a lost quarter in which no progress will be made in closing the output gap." The silver lining, however, according to Feroli was that Q3 GDP would jump on a surge in auto supplies and sales to fill the vacuum left in the post-Fukushima space: "Motor vehicle assemblies sank in April, particularly at the US plants of Japanese automakers, as supply lines for parts from Japan were interrupted. That, in turn, led to a steep drop in inventories of cars on dealer lots. As Japanese parts and supplies come back on line, automakers located in the US are planning to ramp up production to replenish lean inventories." Uhm, lean inventories? It seems Michael has not had a chance to actually see what inventories look like (unlike Zero Hedge readers). In fact as we demonstrated three weeks ago, GM dealer stuffing has hit an all time high, so we can attribute this oversight to Mr. Feroli's zeal to validate yet another projection hockeystick. Yet somehow we fail to see how this massively excess inventories situation will be amenable to prompt restocking. And now we are not the only ones. According to the AP, "General Motors plans to close two U.S. pickup truck plants for two weeks in July as sales of pickups begin to wane and trucks are backlogged on dealer lots, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing the auto maker." That sure doesn't sound to us like something that would happen to an industry that has just faced a "steep drop" in inventory.
PIMCO Scott Mather has released a fascinating Q&A in which the key topic of discussion is the artificial push to keep rates low in developed economies, also known as central bank hubris to maintain the "great moderation" in which he clearly explains i) what this means for global fund flow dynamics (using developed country reserves and purchasing EM bonds) and ii) for the future of a system held together with glue and crutches. To wit: "Financial repression is any public policy
that is designed to influence the market price of financing government
debts, either through government bonds or the nation’s currency. Direct
methods of repression include things like setting target interest rates,
monetizing government debt or implementing interest rate caps. Indirect
methods include polices designed to change the amount of debt or
currency at a given price. Examples include requirements to hold minimum
amounts of government debt on bank balance sheets or establishing
minimum requirements for government bonds in pension funds." Just in case anyone is confused why central planning is a bad idea: "Governments may take these steps to improve their ability to
finance public debt and forestall more painful adjustment processes,
though there can be other motives, and because these methods are less
transparent, and thus less controversial, than direct tax hikes or
spending cuts. Investors should be wary of financial repression because
it is primarily a tool to redistribute wealth from creditors (citizens)
to debtors (governments) to the detriment of creditors, fixed income
investors and savers." Needless to say, central planning always fails: "It is important to realize these methods as practiced are only
partially effective and cannot go on forever, as advanced economies
continue to add significantly to their public debts despite low
financing costs. Some intensification of financial repression, fiscal
austerity, or stronger growth must occur to lower the likelihood of a
future debt crisis." Bottom line: "kicking the can" can only go on for so long before EMs (read why below) provide a natural counterbalance to an artificial market created by developed world central banks. PIMCO's advice: get out of balance sheet risky DM bonds ahead of central planning failure, and buy up every EM bond possible, or bypass paper and just buy EM currencies as "EM policymakers who have resisted appreciation will
eventually allow more appreciation over the next three to five years as
they nurture domestic consumption and their economies become less
dependent on export demand." We expect to see much more on this topic as the MSM realizes the implications of this new risk regime change.
Citi's Stephen Englander, who has been quite bearish over the past several months, continue his series of "negative outlook" pieces on risk currencies with this morning's note "Why this sell-off in FX risk is different", in which he warns traders "we are concerned about risk correlated currencies because we see different forces at play now than over the past two years. The casual assumption that monetary policy remains expansionary, and can ramp up if needed, is questionable -- no one argues that there is a shortage of liquidity. Fiscal policy is, to say the least, not what it used to be. Investor positions and we suspect pricing largely continue to reflect optimism, but this time the assumed policy response may be much more limited than in the last two years, and probably less effective." Naturally, what one can warn about risk FX pairs applies just as well to risk assets in general. And both are things we have been saying for months.
JPM Lowers Q2 GDP For Second Time In A Week, Warns Of A "Severe Downgrade" To Forecast In Case Of A Technical Default (No, Really)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/01/2011 15:06 -0500
And to think they cut it from 3% to 2.5% just a week ago. Michael Feroli, take it away: "When we revised down our estimate of Q2 GDP growth last week to 2.5% we noted that the risks to this quarter were still to the downside. Given the hard activity data we've received since then -- particularly the auto sales and construction report -- it looks like those downside risks are being realized, and we are lowering our Q2 projection to 2.0%. Even with this revision we'd assess the risks as still a little to the downside. Most of our downward revision in Q2 is located in consumer spending, where we think growth this quarter is tracking close to 1.5%. If our new estimate for Q2 is realized, GDP growth relative to a year-ago would be only 2.4%, implying almost no closing of the output gap over the past year -- an abysmal performance given that the output gap is arguably greater than 5% of potential GDP, or less arguably, that there are still almost 14 million unemployed workers. Our forecast implicitly assumes the debt ceiling issue is resolved in a manner which does not see a technical default of the US Treasury. Of course if that assumption were not to hold all cards would be off the table and we almost certainly have to pencil in a much more severe downgrade to our growth forecast. Our Fed call is unchanged and continues to look for a first hike in 1Q13."
Following its just announced flip flop on oil, Goldman's "sellsiders" go ahead and not only cut Chinese growth prospects, but raise the Nikkei. So let's get this straight: Goldman raises its prices forecast for oil, even as it downgrades the primary driver of demand - China, and somehow the Japanese market, which suddenly is overreliant on natural resources for energy creation in the aftermath of Fukushima, is supposed to surge... Was this script written in Bollywood? Anyway, for those with a sense of humor, here is the gist on China: "Recent data have been worse than we expected. The growth slowdown has been even sharper than we forecast, especially evident in April industrial production (which mainly reflected tighter monetary and fiscal policy, although some specific industries have seen supply-side constraints). In addition, inflation is not coming down as rapidly as we hoped. We now cut our 2011 GDP growth forecast to 9.4% from 10.0%. This partly reflects the lower-than-expected 1Q2011 GDP print (9.2% qoq ann.), but we have also cut 2Q2011,3Q2011, and 4Q2011 growth to 8.0%, 9.0%, and 9.3% qoq ann. from 8.8%, 9.5%, and 9.7% respectively. This is only very slightly above the last official consensus, which came before the disappointing April data, and so we are likely to be above the true consensus now. We expect annual average inflation of 4.7% (up from 4.3%), with a peak in yoy terms of 5.6% in June. We also nudge down our 2012 GDP growth forecast to 9.2% from 9.5%, reflecting in part the impact of higher oil prices. Although we maintain our annual average inflation forecast of 3.0% in 2012, we have a slight acceleration within 2012 as higher oil prices eventually get passed on more fully." Yet while this conclusion in and of itself makes some sense, the following from Goldman's Kathy Matsui in the Nikkei, regarding the firm's outlook on the Japanese stock market, confirms that whoever is coordinating the Goldman sellside push may have crossed the Tropic of Thunder: "Contrary to popular opinion, we believe the disaster will accelerate - rather than delay - Japan's exit from deflation. We see reconstruction demand and exports driving gross domestic product growth to an above-trend pace of 2.5 per cent in 2012...Market participants have argued for some time that it will take a cataclysmic event to drive structural change in Japan; now the world is watching." Bottom line: China down, Japan up, and oil far, far away. Sigh.
Jan Hatzius' economic team finally comes out with a report that bears presenting as it aptly discloses one of the core conundrums facing the Fed: you can have low unemployment (eventually... courtesy of many years of ZIRP and QE in an environment of "fiscal adjustment", or Goldman's term for Congressional "austerity"), or you can have low gas prices. But you can't have both. To wit: "The combination of tight energy markets and high unemployment poses a dilemma for monetary policy. If policy is kept easy to boost growth, unemployment will decline but the oil market is at risk of overheating. But if policy is tightened to confront the pressure from higher oil prices on (headline) inflation, unemployment is likely to remain far above desirable levels for a long time to come." And while the price of gas can be (very briefly) controlled by various volatility enhancing margin moves by the exchanges (which for those confused are nothing but self-reinforcing loops - increased vol leading to a margin hike, leads to more vol, leading to more margin hikes, etc). Too bad the CME can't just lower margin on unemployment to -100%. But it can't. Which is why very soon the Fed will be forced to admit to the whole world that "ultimately, a return to equilibrium in both the oil and labor market is likely to require an increase in the real price of oil. In theory, policymakers could react to this by targeting either a combination of temporarily higher headline inflation with stable core inflation, or stable headline with lower—and in an extreme case negative—core inflation." And here Goldman throws a stunner: when debating the implications for fiscal policy (we all know what monetary policy will look like: QE 3 through N), the firm proposes the following: "one complement to a low interest rate policy could be a higher energy tax. If one believes that higher real energy prices will be needed in coming years, an energy tax would promote that shift and also capture some of the surplus that would otherwise have gone to foreign producers." Is the government about to unleash some EPS destruction in the E&P and refining space? It appears Goldman has already given the green light which is really all it takes.