Markets are so obsessed by developments with the US debt ceiling, that absolutely nobody noticed that the Japanese Current Account (JPY152Bn, Exp. JPY520bn), Industrial Outuput in Spain (-2.0%, Exp. -1.6%), Factory Orders in Germany (-0.3%, Exp. +1.2%), Trade Balance in Germany (€13.1bn, Exp. €15.0 bn) and that the Jan-Aug tax revenue in Greece below expectations by 5.7%, all missed horribly, and that for all the talk of a European recovery (which was merely driven by a brief surge in Chinese credit spending making its way into the European pipeline) is once again fully and entirely premature. But with Congress on everyone's mind, even increasingly China and Japan, who cares about fundamentals: after all there is a Federal Reserve to mask the fact that nothing but liquidity injections matters. Even if that means a complete collapse in the actual economy as those separated from the Fed by one or more layers of banks, crash and burn.
Our grandparents believed in the value of thrift, but many of their grandchildren don’t. That’s because cultural and economic values have changed dramatically over the last generations as political and media elites have convinced many Americans that saving is passé. So today, under the influence of Keynesian economists who champion government spending and high levels of consumption, thrift has been devalued (and is even punished). It is the government’s role, Keynes’s followers believe, to keep the boom going through spending. So it is consumption, not supply, that makes a successful economy, they say. Mainstream media rehashes the message that the consumer, not the producer, is the biggest part of the economy. Politicians agree... But, despite the Keynesian sentiments of much of our political and media elites, we owe it to our grandparents to re-learn the lessons of thrift.
Feel like you have missed any of today's (non) developments in the week-long government shutdown debacle, or the countdown to the debt ceiling X-Date, which now is 10 days away (or 222 hours as dramatically inclined CNN helpfully points out), then this summary is for you. From Bloomberg:
- A U.S. Default Seen as Catastrophe Dwarfing Lehman’s Fall (BBG)
- Software, Design Defects Cripple Health-Care Website (WSJ)
- Gunmen kill 5 Egyptian soldiers near Suez Canal, 2 people die in blast (Reuters); Egypt death toll rises to 53, streets now calm (Reuters)
- Three retailers sell Apple iPhone 5C for $50 or less (Sun Sentinel)
- New American Economy Leaves Behind World Consumer (BBG)
- Dow's Exiles Often Have Last Laugh (WSJ)
- Macy's Puts China Online-Expansion Effort on Hold Amid Economic Slowdown (WSJ)
- Gold Befuddles Bernanke as Central Banks’ Losses at $545 Billion (BBG) - just ask the BIS gold selling team: they are unbefuffdled
- Markit Group Said to Avoid U.S. Antitrust Claims as EU Proceeds (BBG) - being owned by the banks has benefits
- Paulson leads charge into Greek banks (FT) - and scene for the Greek banking sector
Veteran New York Times Reporter: “This Is Most Closed, Control-Freak Administration I’ve Ever Covered”Submitted by George Washington on 10/06/2013 18:44 -0500
Seasoned CBS News Anchor: “Whenever I’m Asked What Is The Most Manipulative And Secretive Administration I’ve Covered, I Always Say It’s The One In Office Now”
“Spies … Can Now, For The First Time, Monitor Everything About Us, And They Can Do So With A Few Clicks Of A Mouse And – To Placate The Lawyers – A Drop-Down Menu Of Justifications”
One of the biggest laughs of the conference came when Smith presented the slide, ‘Emperor … With No Clothes’ which compared how the value of the Roman denarius, silver coin and the U.S. paper dollar have fared during periods of currency debasement.
The chart shows the silver denarius since Nero and the dollar since Nixon and looked at the level of debasement during the reign of each Roman Emperor and the term of each Presidency.
With the government shutdown stretching into an improbable 4th day (and with every additional day added on, the likelihood that the impasse continues even longer and hit the debt ceiling X-Date of October 17 becomes greater), today's monthly Non-Farm Payroll data has quickly become No-Farm Payroll. However, just like on day when Europe is closed we still get a ramp into the European close, expect at least several vacuum tube algos to jump the gun at 8:29:59:999 and try to generate some upward momentum ignition in stocks and downward momentum in gold. In addition to no economic data released in the US, President Obama announced last night he has cancelled his trip to Bali, Indonesia, to attend the APEC conference and instead to focus on budget negotiations back at home - which is ironic because his latest story is that he will not negotiate, so why not just not negotiate from Asia? Ah, the optics of shutdown.
Turning over new leaves and all that stuff is great if you believe that your true nature can be changed. But, leopards rarely change their spots and Iranian spots are just as indelible as any others in the world.
The US government is shut down, which means only essential spending is permitted. So what does the US government, or rather its Central Intelligence Agency decide to spend precious, mission-critical taxpayer money on? Why arming the Qatari-supported Al-Qaeda "rebels" in Syria of course. WaPo reports that the CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, U.S.-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country’s civil war, U.S. officials said.... “It’s basic infantry training,” the former U.S. intelligence official said. “How to have some discipline hitting a target, how to reload a magazine, how to clear a room. They’re not marching. They’re learning basic infantry procedures." So let's get this straight: 800,000 non-essential workers are furloughed, but the CIA, in its infinite wisdom, is now, when the government is shut down, doubling down on spending to make sure Al-Qaeda insurgents have even more lethal training (for that inevitable moment when they turn on their sponsor as they tend to do), and even better weapons?
He started the ball rolling on the "Do Panic" rhetoric yesterday, and it didn't work. Jack Lew stepped up this morning with some more fearmongery and we suspect during the President's address at 1040ET this morning he will point out the Armageddon that will occur should the debt ceiling be breached - and ask why aren't equity investors selling? It seems he needs to appoint that non-bubble-blowing Fed head asap...
- Mounting Wall Street fears of US default (FT)
- This is what the US government does when it is "shut down" - CIA ramping up covert training program for moderate Syrian rebels (WaPo)
- SEC Weighs Overhaul of Exchanges’ Self-Regulatory System (WSJ) - just let Goldman and JPM do all the policing; not like anyone cares anymore
- Reid Sets Tone for Democrats in Shutdown Fight (WSJ)
- No Movement in Shutdown Standoff (WSJ)
- Shutdown will not slow Fed nomination, says Obama (FT)
- Syrian Regime Chokes Off Food to Town That Was Gassed (WSJ)
- Tesla Says Car Fire Began in Battery (AP)
- China Services Index Increases in Sign of Sustained Rebound (BBG) or sustained data manipulation
Nancy Pelosi tried hard this evening (in the post WH meeting presser) to position the Democrats in order to disavow the inevitable but now Bloomberg is reporting that:
*HOUSE REPUBLICAN PLAN WOULD LINK SHUTDOWN, DEBT-LIMIT FIGHTS
House Republican leaders plan to bring up a measure to raise the U.S. debt-limit as soon as next week as part of a new attempt to force President Barack Obama to negotiate on the budget by merging the disputes over ending the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling into one fiscal fight. This is not what most sell-side strategists expected as a base-case; in fact it is close to a worst-case for many - especially given Obama's apparent unwillingness to negotiate.
15 Bankers just paid a visit to the White House, listened to President Obama, and explained what a total disaster it would be if the US debt-ceiling is breached and Treasuries technically default. While the politicians exclaimed how bad a government shutdown would be, the banks have turned the panic dial to 11 as Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein noted, bankers are “in a position to really know early what the consequences are,” and it would be catastrophic. The irony that the firm which the government is trying to fine $20 billion for selling fraudulent debt and giving bad advice is now providing the same government with advice on its own bad debt, is not lost on us as Dimon was among the visitors but it is Blankfein's warning, echoing Obama, that will get the headlines, "they shouldn't use the threat of causing the U.S. to fail on its obligation to repay debt as a cudgel."
- U.S. Government Shut Down With No Quick Resolution Seen (BBG)
- 12 House Republicans now say they’d back a ‘clean’ CR (WaPo)
- Republicans’ 2014 Senate Edge Muddied by Shutdown Message (BBG)
- Obama Shortens Asia Trip Due to Government Shutdown (WSJ)
- Fed Said to Review Commodities at Goldman, Morgan Stanley (BBG)
- Foreign Firms Tap U.S. Gas Bonanza (WSJ)
- Behind Standoff, a Broken Process in Need of a Broker (WSJ)
- Japan Awaits Abe’s Third Arrow as Companies Urged to Invest (BBG)
- Microsoft investors push for chairman Gates to step down (Reuters)