Quantitative Easing

Frontrunning: January 8

  • French policewoman killed in shoot-out, hunt deepens for militant killers (Reuters)
  • The Bold Charlie Hebdo Covers the Satirical Magazine Was Not Afraid to Run (BBG)
  • Evans Says Fed Shouldn’t Rush Rate Rise as Inflation Undershoots (BBG)
  • Oil holds above $51 as traders search for floor (Reuters)
  • Gross Helps Fuel New Fund With His Own Cash (WSJ)
  • ECB warns Greek funding access hinges on keeping bailout (Reuters)
  • Greece Jolts QE Juggernaut as ECB Gauges Deflation Risk (BBG)
  • Analysts Say There's No Telling How Low Oil Prices Could Go (BBG)
  • Scientists find antibiotic that kills bugs without resistance (Reuters)

Oil & The Economy: The Limits Of A Finite World In 2015-16

Mainstream Media in the US seem to emphasize the positive aspects of the drop in prices. If our only problem were high oil prices, then low oil prices would seem to be a solution. Unfortunately, the problem we are encountering now is extremely low prices. If prices continue at this low level, or go even lower, we are in deep trouble with respect to future oil extraction. The situation is much more worrisome than most people would expect. Even if there are some temporary good effects, they will be more than offset by bad effects, some of which could be very bad indeed. We may be reaching limits of a finite world.

The ECB "Leaks" Its 3 QE Choices

In its usual 'leak the plans and judge market reactions' methodology, unnamed sources have released to Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad, three potential options that the ECB is considering for buying government bonds. As the Jan 22nd ECB meeting looms, Reuters reports that while the ECB declined to comment, this 'strawman' appears very similar to comments made by ECB chief economists Peter Praet last week. For now, the reaction is not positive... as this indicates the ECB is nowhere near a decision.

Greek Bonds Tumble As Report Sees "Decisive Victory" For Syriza

The Greek 3Y-10Y yield curve is back over 400bps inverted this morning as bond (and stock) prices re-tumble following a new reports. As The FT reports, forecasting group Oxford Economics says it has carried out an "in-depth" analysis of opinion polls ahead of Greece's snap general election on January 25, which shows that the radical Syriza party is on course to win a "clear mandate" to push through anti-austerity policies. Will German worry now?

Frontrunning: January 6

  • 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)

The Gloves Come Off: Germany Says Grexit "Manageable" As Tsipras Demands Greek Debt Writeoff

Today, concerned that Tsipras' ascent to power will mean precisely that, namely more "blackmail" by Greece of Germany and the Eurozone, as a Grexit opens the way for a collapse of the monetary union and a return to the DEM which would cost Germany far more than continuing the annual charade of keeping Greece in the Euro, Spiegel is out with another piece saying "Bundesregierung hält Ausscheiden Griechenlands aus dem Euro für verkraftbar", or loosely translated, the Federal Government considers Greece's exit from the euro manageable. Why is this coming out today? Because moments ago, Tsipras made it quite clear just what he will demand once he gets the power: "Germany had most of nominal value of debt written off in 1953, same should be done for Greece in 2015", adding that Greece wants writedown on nominal value of Greek debt. And so the gloves come off, and the real bluffing begins.

Draghi Launches New Year With More QE Jawboning, Sending Euro To New 4 Year Low, Yields Lower, US Futures Higher

The new year has officially started because it wasn't even a day in and Mario Draghi was once again out and about, jawboning the Euro to a lower level than where it was when he said back in 2012 he would do "whatever it takes" to push it higher. The reason, as Reuters reports, why the Euro sank to a nearly 5 year low against the USD, was "clear indications that the European Central Bank will soon embark on outright money-printing." Actually, it was on just more hollow rhetoric by Draghi, who told German Handelsblatt that "the risk that we don’t fulfill our mandate of price stability is higher than it was six months ago." He also added that "it’s difficult to say” how much the institution will have to spend on government-bond purchases.

The Dark Heart Of This Shape-Shifting World: Quantitative Easing

Everything we're told by journalists and politicians is confusing and contradictory. As The BBC's Adam Curtis explains in this brief documentary, it is an odd, non-linear world that plays into the hands of those in power. But the real epicenter of this non-linear world is the economy, and it's dark heart: Quantitative Easing. "We as individuals become ever more powerless, unable to challenge anything, because we live a state of confusion and uncertainty... this has become a central part of a new system of political control."

Futures Up In Light Volume On Renewed ECB QE Hopes As Crude Slides Again

While the last trading day of 2014 will be important if only to see if Dow 18,000 can be recaptured on what is sure to be the lowest volume in years, don't expect much help from Brent which continues to slide and was down nearly 3% at $56.20 or WTI which is also flirting with the $53 level, down almost 2% overnight both set to cap the worst year for the commodity since 2008. Not much should be expected from Treasuries either, set to return over 6% in 2014 - the best performance since 2011 - crushing the latest hoard of bond shorts all of which got the Treasury move in 2014 epically wrong, which will close early at 2 pm. Which means that the HFT algos will once again be driven off the illiquid USDJPY correlation, where low volume will mean 5-10 pip moves today should be the norm, as well as European stocks, whose Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3% earlier on the latest round of jawboning by an ECB member, this time Dutchman Peter Praet, who said in an interview with German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung that lower oil prices increasingly risk de-anchoring inflation expectations, indicating that quantitative easing is becoming more likely.

Japan Is Writing History As A Prime Boom And Bust Case

The fate of countries like Japan is really in the hands of central bankers. However, central planners are not able to manipulate markets infinitely. At a certain point, something has to give. That is when the markets will give up and disbelief will replace trust. In such a bust scenario, people flee down the Golden Pyramid of asset classes to their safe haven, being gold.