SCHAEUBLE: OFFERED LEW TO TAKE PUERTO RICO IF US TAKES GREECE
Nobody apparently learned much from the whole bubble-bust affair as banks and financial firms are at it again, this time in corporate debt. The artificial suppression of default, in no small part to perceptions of those bank reserves under QE (just like perceptions of balance sheet capacity pre-crisis), has turned junk debt into the vehicle of choice for yet another cycle of “reach for yield.” In the past two bubble cycles, we see how monetary policy creates the conditions for them but also in parallel for their disorderly closure. It isn’t money that the FOMC directs but rather unrealistic, to the extreme, expectations and extrapolations. Once those become encoded in financial equations, the illusion becomes real supply.
"U.S. regulators are sounding the alarm about banks’ exposure to oil-and-gas producers, a move that could limit their ability to lend to companies battered by a yearlong slump in prices," WSJ reports, reinforcing the notion that North America's "zero hedged" O&G sector is in for a rough ride.
Global equities plunged on Monday as both carbon-based traders and HFTs tried in vain to keep their composure which watching in horror as Greece, the birthplace of Western civilization, quickly became Venezuela. With Europe’s “Lehman weekend” now in the books and as the currency union stares into an uncertain future, the sell side tries to make sense of it all.
As we previously noted, liquidity is there when you don't need it, and it promptly disappears once it is in demand. Consider it "cocktease capitalism." If liquidity lasts longer than 4 hours, call the CFTC because you may be experiencing a spoof. Right now, the ultimate spoof is setting up as the credit default swap market collapses, and a global bond market margin call is just around the corner.
The fact that Moody's and Fitch are beginning to reevaluate student loan ABS is indicative of an underlying shift in the market. Between the proliferation of IBR and the Department of Education's recent move to open the door for debt forgiveness in the wake of the Corinthian collapse, financial markets are beginning to see the writing on the wall. Perhaps Bill Ackman said it best: "there's no way students are going to pay it all back."
"Of the subprime vehicle loans bundled into securities, 73 percent now exceed five years, up from 64 percent during the first three months of 2014. 'Because cars depreciate quickly, a borrower is typically upside down or underwater toward the end of a long loan term.' 'The risk is that you extend a loan that a borrower cannot afford over its term schedule. Inching out to 75 and 84 months, I don’t think that has been tested yet.'"
With real incomes collapsing, approval ratings at record lows, and PMIs back in contraction; is it any surprise that the last thing standing for Shinzo Abe to "show" the world his 'progress' is the stock market... the all-knowing arbiter of monetary and fiscal policy-maker success (and completely divergent indicator of real economic health). To wit, overnight saw Japan's Nikkei 225 surged to its highest since Nov 1996 (up almost 150% since Abenomics devaluation was unleashed). The last time we saw such a surge brings a chill air to the conversation as Japanese stocks pass the halfway-back mark to 1989's epic bubble peak, it is begining to look a lot like peaking once again.
The Abe Cabinet's approval rating plunged to 39%, matching a record low, as more than half of voters oppose the new US-sanctioned military/security legislation being debated in the Diet. The last time Shinzo Abe's approval ratings were this low, he called for a snap election and told Kuroda to unleash QQE2.0 which has only squeezed real wages to even record-er lows (24th month in a row of declines), destroyed-er elderly Japanese savings, and crushed-er the middle-class. As his popularity has waned, Abe has become more and more desperate to keep support and has, for the first time in 70- years, lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18 (adding 2.4 million new voters who have not been demoralized yet by declining pension benefits and quality of life).
While China is rather proud of the fact that it hasn't yet implemented outright QE, Beijing has now put in place a bewildering hodge-podge of hastily construed easing measures that can't seem to get out of their own way.
Among the renewed Greek drama, many missed a key development in the past week, namely Jefferies Q2 earnings, and particularly the company's fixed income revenue: traditionally a harbinger of profitability for Wall Street's biggest source of profit (or at least biggest source of profit in the Old Normal). And while not as abysmal as the 56% collapse in the first quarter, in the three months ended May 31 what has traditionally been the bread and butter of Dick Handler's operation generated just $153 million in revenue. CEO Handler blamed that decline on a lack of trading in the market and fewer companies selling junk bonds.
The Greek case offers quite a relevant view into the world of 21st century monetary alchemy, because that is what it really amounts to. What is left, however, is the worst of all cases; no recovery, no lending and now just more financial imbalance piled onto the same negative pressures and imbalances that never really went away. What is amazing is how short the attention of “investors” may be, and how they allow themselves to think monetary complexity passes for proficiency or even expertise despite all and continued observation otherwise.
In the wake of the Chicago downgrade, state and local governments are moving away from Moody's as the ratings agency questions pension fund return assumptions.
The fox is guarding the henhouse at America's colleges and universities as accreditors slap a seal of approval on schools with subpar graduation rates, clearing the way for government aid to flow where it shoudln't and further imperiling the US taxpayer in the process.
Anyone that believes that this is “sustainable” in any way, shape or form is crazy. We have accumulated the greatest mountain of debt that the world has ever seen, and yet despite all of the warnings we just continue to race forward into financial oblivion. There is no possible way that this is going to end well.