Q: What is the fastest growing asset class at US banks? Leveraged loans? US Treasury debt? A: Reserves deposited at the Fed.
Venezuela has a massive population and tremendous natural resources... and yet, the place is a real mess. Years of mismanagement and utopian socialist policies mean that the country is facing shortages of basic necessities such as food and toilet paper. You have to imagine that when a place is in such turmoil, significant regime change isn’t far off. In fact, this year’s parliamentary elections will be an important indicator of what will happen in Venezuela. Peacefully or not, things in Venezuela simply have to change. The country is reaching its day of reckoning.
Just 2 days after President Obama reflected on his glorious 'save' of the US auto industry - forgetting to explain how so much of this 'buying frenzy' has been predicated on massive low-quality-borrower-based credit extensions - The Wall Street Journal bursts the bubble of 'contained-ness'. Auto loan delinquency rates are surging to levels not seen since 2008 and stunningly, more than 8.4% of borrowers with weak credit scores who took out loans in the first quarter of 2014 had missed payments by November. As even glass-half-full-status-quo-hugger Mark Zandi is forced to admit, "It’s clear that credit quality is eroding now, and pretty quickly."
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.
It was less than a week ago when Zero Hedge broke the news that for CNBC, 2014 Was The Worst. Year. Ever. Much to the embarassment of CNBC, its staunch defender David Rosenberg, and not to mention its advertisers who realized they overspent substantially for the reach they were promised and received instead, the report promptly went viral. Five days after our Nielsen-sourced report before the Comcast-owned channel announced it would no longer be subject to the humiliation of Zero Hedge periodically revealing its crashing viewership and, as WSJ revealed today, "CNBC will no longer rely on TV ratings specialist Nielsen to measure its daytime audience, beginning later this year. Instead, it has retained marketing and research firm Cogent Reports for the task."
- 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)
Another year of putting lipstick on the zombie known as the global economy, kept walking only thanks to $11 trillion in liquidity injections by the world's central banks and tens of trillions of new Chinese credit created out of thin air and promptly misallocated and embezzled, and the results are in. The bottom line: according to Nielsen, is that despite the S&P recording a whopping 53 all time highs, and the Dow rising over 18,000, the channel that was once must watch financial TV for mom and pop, and has since devolved into endless cheerleading of failed policies and rigged markets, namely CNBC, just suffered its worst year in, well, ever.
Well that didn't take long... With the smell of fireworks still lingering in the air, Bloomberg reports that Chinese developer Kaisa Group defaulted on a HK$400 million ($51.6 million) loan triggered by forced repayment terms after the firm's chairman resigned. With shares already down over 50% in December alone, trading is suspended as the company faces what S&P calls "more challenges" ahead and the 2018 bonds have collapsed to just 43c on the dollar (yields over 42%).
As investors and market participants become increasingly aware of the regulatory failures that allowed for manipulation of LIBOR, FOREX, municipal bond bidding and certain commodities markets, regulatory sources are increasingly expressing concern that they have paid too little attention to potential manipulations of an arguably larger, more systemically important and less regulated market – the CDS market as self-governed, through ‘regulatory license’, by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).
- Japan inflation slows to 14 month low, output slips (Reuters)
- Russia says ruble crisis over as reserves dive, inflation climbs (Reuters)
- Ruble rebounds sharply from lows as exporters sell dollars (Reuters)
- Xbox, PlayStation Networks Attacked, Hackers Claim Credit (BBG)
- Sony’s ‘The Interview’ Packs Theaters Without Violence (BBG)
- Oil edges above $60 as Libyan output slumps (Reuters)
- Shoppers’ Late Rush Gives Hope to Retailers (WSJ)
- Japan says close to deal with South Korea and U.S. on North Korea defense (Reuters)
- NYPD Arrests Seven for Threats After Slayings of Officers (BBG)
- Russia says NATO turning Ukraine into 'frontline of confrontation' (Reuters)
- Oil Drillers Under Pressure to Scrap Rigs to Cope With Downturn (BBG)
- Demonstrators Defy NYC Mayor's Call to Suspend Police Protests (BBG)
- U.S. to send more private contractors to Iraq (Reuters)
- ISIS Shoots Down Jet From U.S.-Led Coalition, Syrian Monitors Say (NYT)
- Russians Race to Secure Mortgages Before Costs Spiral (BBG)
- Abe Brings in Former Soldier Nakatani as Defense Minister (BBG)
- At Coke, Newest Flavor Is Austerity (WSJ)
- Fear and retribution in Xi's corruption purge (Reuters)
- UBS Raises Flag on China’s $1 Trillion Overseas Debt Pile (BBG)
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
Do you want to know if the stock market is going to crash next year? Just keep an eye on junk bonds. Prior to the horrific collapse of stocks in 2008, high yield debt collapsed first. And as you will see below, high yield debt is starting to crash again.
"Back in the halcyon days of summer, it seemed nothing could go wrong; but now, ...the uncertainties presently being generated have the potential to undermine two crucial kinds of trust – that one must have in the merits of one’s own exposure and that equally critical faith in the reliability of one’s counterparties. If it does, the third great bull run of the 20-year age of Irrational Exuberance could well reach its culmination, after a rally of almost exactly the same magnitude as and of similar duration to the one which ushered it in, all those years ago."
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.