For those wondering if the CBR's intervention in the Russian FX market with its shocking emergency rate hike to 17% overnight calmed things, the answer is yes... for about two minutes. The USDRUB indeed tumbled nearly 10% to 59 and then promptly blew right back out, the Ruble crashing in panic selling and seemingly without any CBR market interventions, and at last check was freefalling through 72 74 76, and sending the Russian stock market plummeting by over 15%.
Because nothing says the status quo is still in charge like crashing gold & silver and rebounding US equities. All driven by USDJPY's magical levitation starting at 12ET runs the stops over 118.00...
After the worst week for stocks in years, and following a significantly oversold condition, it will hardly come as a surprise that the mean reversion algos (if only to the upside), as well as the markets themselves (derivative trading on the NYSE Euronext decided to break early this morning just to give some more comfort that excessive selling would not be tolerated) are doing all they can to ramp equities around the globe, and futures in the US as high as possible on as little as possible volume. And sure enough, having traded with a modestly bullish bias overnight and rising back over 2000, the E-Mini has seen the now traditional low volume spike in the last few minutes, pushing it up over 15 points with the expectation being that the generic algo ramp in USDJPY ahead of the US open should allow futures to begin today's regular session solidly in the green, even if it is unclear if the modest rebound in the dollar and crude will sustain, or - like on every day in the past week - roll over quickly after the open. Also, we hope someone at Liberty 33 tells the 10Y that futures are soaring: at 2.13% the 10Y is pricing in nothing but bad economic news as far as the eye can see.
One month ago, shortly after we reported that "Silver Coin Sales At US Mint Soar To Highest In Two Years" we learned that the "US Mint Sells Out Of Silver Eagles Following "Tremendous" Demand." That, however, did not prevent the mint from selling just about 5 million ounces in the period since the announcement, and as Reuters reported last week, "Strong investor demand lifted American Eagle Silver Bullion coin sales to a record for the second straight year, the U.S. Mint said on Tuesday." For those confused, it is clear that another year of record demand for physical silver explains why the price of silver is down 12.5% in 2014 after being down 36% last year. Why? Because as we said a month ago, "when it comes to precious metals, thanks to the BIS and the central banks, Paper beats Rock every time."
The New York Times is the paper of Paul Krugman and the Federal Reserve and central banks. It rarely has a critical word to say about central banks and the current fiat monetary system. Conversely, it rarely has a positive word to say about gold. The article suggests a realisation that currency wars are set to intensify with gold again becoming an important monetary and geo-political asset.
Anyone who was hoping the market would rebound on last-minute news that the US government has gotten funding for another 9 months, will be disappointed this morning, when futures are finally starting to notice the relentless decline in crude, and with Brent down another 1% as of this writing following yet another cut in the forecast of Global oil demand by the IEA (the 4th in the last 5 months) and with Chinese industrial production also missing estimates (recall that the Chinese slow-motion hard landing has been said by many to be the primary catalyst for the crude collapse) which however pushed Chinese stocks higher on hopes of even more stimulus, the S&P is trading lower by some 14 points, the 10 Year is in the red zone at 2.12%, and the USDJPY is close to session lows. In short: Kevin Henry's "ETF" desk at the NY Fed will have its work cut out to generate one of the now traditional pre-weekend feel good, boost confidence stock market ramps.
With memorandum S-7258, titled "Implementation of New NYMEX/COMEX Rule Regarding Special Price Fluctuation Limits for Certain NYMEX and COMEX Metals Futures and Options Contracts" released moments ago by the CME Group, and set to become effective on December 21, 2014, and which seeks a 5 minute trading halt when "price movements in lead-month primary futures contracts result in triggering events"... "as a measure that is consistent with promoting price discovery and cash-futures price convergence" in order to "deter sharp price movements that may, for example, be driven by illiquid central limit order books prevailing from time to time in otherwise liquid markets", one wonders why now, and what does the CME know about upcoming volatility, or lack of liquidity, in the precious metals space that nobody else does (and does any of this have to do with the "berserk" algo test from November 25?)?
A recent interview with a precious metals commentator in the Alternative Media raised several interesting points. While a number of the points raised are/were worthy of discussion; the topic which will be the focus of this commentary are the remarks (and conclusions) which were presented there concerning China’s “role” (if any) in the utterly fraudulent, global paper-silver market.
Yesterday's greek carnage continues as stocks and bonds in the Hellenic State collapse further. The Athens Stock Exchange Index is now down over 18% from Monday's highs and yields on the 3Y GGB have exploded to 9.35% (pre-bailout levels) and are 75bps inverted to 10Y. The ongoing fear of fallout from a snap-election victory for anti-EU Syriza has also spread to the rest of the perihpery where Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish bond spreads have all started to crack wider. The beneficiary of this risk aversion so far are Bunds and Treasuries and precious metals where silver is surging higher.
Now that China is on the same boat as the rest of the world, and its stock market is a direct reflection of hopes for constant liquidity injections by the central banks, nothing could be better for stocks than bad news, which is precisely what it got. After the biggest crash in the Shanghai Composite in 5 years, what China got just the bad economic update it needed, when it reported a PPI of PPI (-2.7%, Exp. -2.4%), the 33rd consecutive decline and a CPI (1.4%, Exp. 1.6%), lowest since November 2009, when the big banks’ RRR rate stood at 15.5% vs. current 20%. And so hope of yet more PBOC interventions to halt China's deflation promptly reversed SHCOMP losses of over 4% on the session (at which point it was just shy of correction territory from recent highs hit just this week), and stocks surged to close up almost 3%, erasing half of yesterday's losses. This spike came despite reports Chinese regulators may limit brokerages' interbank borrowing.
While it took a few hours for people (and machines) to realize exactly what China did last night, the fallout in risk markets is now clearly evident when a central bank decides enough-is-enough for speculative wealth creation bubble-followers. As we described last night, China's tightening has dramatically influenced the carry trade (USDJPY back under 120) and thus global stocks (from Abu Dhabi to Greece), global corporate bonds (all significantly wider) and European peripheral bonds (cracking wider) all face pressure. The beneficiary safe havens so far are precious metals (Gold > $1315) and US Treasuries (30Y at 2014 low yields). For now the mainstream media's narrative is that this oil-driven (which is fantasy as oil prices are up today) - this is the fallout from the marginal removal of $80bn of leverage collateral from the world's carry trades...
It wasn't just China's long overdue crash last night. In addition to the Shanghai Composite suffering its biggest plunge since August 2009, there has been a sharp slide in the USDJPY which has broken its uptrend to +∞ (and hyperinflation), and around the time Chinese gamblers were panicking, the FX pair tumbled under 120, although since then the 120 tractor beam has been activated. Elsewhere, the Athens stock exchange is also crashing by over 10% this morning on the heels of news that the Greek government has accelerated the process to elect the next president and possibly, a rerun of the drama from the summer of 2012 when the Eurozone was hanging by a thread when Tsipras almost won the presidential vote and killed the world's most artificial and insolvent monetary union. And finally, the crude plunge appears to have finally caught up with ground zero, with ADX General Index in Abu Dhabi plunging 3.5%, also poised for the biggest drop since 2009. In fact the only thing that isn't crashing (at least not this moment), is Brent, which did drop to new 5 year lows earlier under $66, but has since staged a feeble rebound.
Some two weeks ago (when Venezuela CDS was trading at 2300 bps) we previewed what - with almost absolute certainty - would be the first "casualty of the crude carnage" - Nicholas Maduro's little socialist paradise that couldn't: Venezuela. As a reminder, back then we learned that the OPEC member was in such dire straits it had burned through a third of a Chinese' bailout loan in the matter of days. Since then things have gone from bad to worse to freefall and why earlier today Venezuela CDS soared again by several hundred points wider touching 3100 bps (800 wider since our first post) and is now in record wide territory - suggesting the same probability default risk as when just after the Lehman collapse, crude traded briefly as low as $30 - as the bankruptcy vultures start circling over what will most certainly be the next sovereign bankruptcy carcass.
Stocks were modestly weak overnight amid poor Japanese, Chinese, and European data, but as soon as the US cash markets opened, stocks surged higher algorithmically testing up to unchanged briefly for the S&P 500 and squeezing small-cap shorts (as usual).. until Europe closed. Stock started to lose steam but once Nasdaq and Russell broke red, programs slammed stocks lower and despite a late-day bounce, stocks gave up all the gains from Friday's "awesome jobs data" and then some with Trannies and Small Caps worst. Momo names all suffered - most notably TWTR & TSLA. VIX broke above 14.5 briefly, closing up 2.4 at 14.2. Treasury yields plunged 5-7bps at the long-end (1-2bps at the short-end) flattening significantly. Credit markets were clubbed - with HYG taking the brunt and ending at Bullard lows. Gold and silver gained solidly (as USD slipped 0.3% led by JPY strength) as copper fell 0.5% and oil price crashed again. Markets turmoiled notably into the oil pit close (margin calls) and stabilized modestly after... but the S&P 500 still closed below its 5DMA.
As investors we are all trapped within a horrifying bubble. We must play the hand we’ve been dealt, however bad it is. But there are now growing signs of end-of-bubble instability. The system does not appear remotely sound. You can be for gold, or you can be for paper, but you cannot possibly be for both. It may soon be time to take a stand. Beware appearances in an unhinged financial system, because they can be dangerously deceptive.