- Obama to focus on middle class in State of Union address (Reuters) - all 4 of them?
- European Stocks Buoyed by ECB Hopes (WSJ)
- China's 2014 economic growth misses target, hits 24-year low (Reuters)
- Federer on Swiss Franc Shock: "Does It Mean I've Got to Win Now?" (BBG)
- First-time buyers help Christie’s reach record sales (FT)
- So it was the NSA? U.S. Spies Tapped North Korean Computers Prior to Sony Hack (BBG)
- Why Chinese Developer Kaisa's Default Risk Has Money Managers Spooked (BBG)
- Morgan Stanley Misses Estimates on Drop in Bond-Trading Revenue (BBG)
As we noted last week, the Swiss National Bank's decision to un-peg from the Euro (thus strengthening the CHF dramatically) will have very significant repercussions - not the least of which is for Hungarian and Polish Swiss-Franc-denominated mortgage-holders. The 20% surge in Swiss Franc translates directly into a comparable jump in the zloty value of loan principles and and monthly payments for about 575,000 Polish families owing a total $35 billion in mortgages denominated in the Swiss currency which has prompted calls for Poland's government to bail them out. Never mind the FX risk, the low-rates were all anyone cared about and now yet another 'risk-free' trade has exploded, Deputy PM Piechocinski says, if the franc "remains above the 4 zloty level, the government may provide support" to debtors but Poland's Central Bank is not supportive of the bailout.
"My belief is that the big surprise this year is that investor confidence in central banks collapses. And when that happens — I can’t short central banks, although I’d really like to, and the only way to short them is to go long gold, silver and platinum... that’s the only way. That’s something I will do."
An astute reader recently posed an insightful question: we all know who benefits from asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate--owners of assets, banks, the government (all those luscious capital gains and rising property taxes), pension funds, brokers and so on. But who benefits from the inevitable collapse of these asset bubbles? If asset bubbles end badly for virtually every participant, then why does the system go to extremes to inflate them? This is an excellent question, as it goes right to the heart of our dysfunctional Status Quo.
Market Wrap: Chinese Stocks Crash As Financials Suffer Record Drop; Commodities Resume Decline; US ClosedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/19/2015 08:12 -0400
Following last week's Swiss stock market massacre as a result of a central bank shocker, and last night's crack down by Chinese authorities, it almost appears as if the global powers are doing what they can to orchestrated a smooth, painless (as much as possible) bubble deflation. If so, what Draghi reveals in a few days may truly come as a surprise to all those- pretty much everyone - who anticipate a €500 billion QE announcement on Thursday.
What a way to start the year. The crash in oil prices is no small matter. The previous down sweep in energy prices occurred in the midst of the financial crash 0f 2008 and Great Recession. Oil prices soon reversed afterwards and climbed back to dizzying heights, even as world economic and financial recovery remained fragile. However, as Abe Gulkowitz explains in his usual 'all-the-charts-that-are-fit-to-print' letter, this time it would be foolish to bet solely on such a similarly quick snapback..."The various repercussions will be extensive..."
In 2013 when he started dumping his Chinese property holdings he was being ridiculed and criticized. Everyone was bullish on China’s real estate market... and we know what happened next. It turns out you don’t want to bet against a man with a track record like Li Ka-shing's - the richest man in Asia. So when Li gets a second passport and creates a Plan B by restructuring his investment companies, moving his money and his assets far away to safe, stable locations so that no single government has control over him, it is perhaps time to pay attention.
Today, the "developed nation" hecklers are deathly silent after what may be the biggest western central bank faux pas in recent history, and which has - perhaps for the first time in history - manifested in lines of people in front of currency exchange bureaus nowhere else but in that bastion of capitalism: Geneva.
Anyone that has assets worth protecting should do just that - protect them!
"we venture that the SNB will sooner or later be forced to permit the franc to appreciate and thus to enrich the holders of low-priced, three-year call options on the Swiss/euro exchange rate. It's a long shot, to be sure--the options are cheap for a reason--but we judge that the prospective reward is worth the obvious risk." - Jim Grant, Sept 14th, 2014
The Swiss National Bank just threw gasoline on Swiss F.I.RE. Expect to see combustive contagion in the Swiss banking, insurance and real estate giants as knock-on effects spread from so-called hedges
This morning's decision by the Swiss National Bank has polarized the investing community. From the 'smartest men in the room' to the 'most renowned newsletter writers in the world', the reactions could not be more different...
In what has been the most anticipated bankruptcy case in the past several years, hours ago Caesars Entertainment put its main operating unit under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Northern Illinois bankruptcy court (case 15-01153) even as a splinter group of dissident creditors including Appaloosa and Oaktree, holders of about $41 million of Caesars debt and which allege the company has siphoned off billions in value from creditors, put the company into involuntary bankruptcy in Delaware bankruptcy court on January 12. As a reminder, Caesars was one of the sterling LBOs of the last credit bubble, when in 2008 Apollo and TPG decided to take the company private. The problem, as is always the case: too much debt, especially when combined with a broken business model, as Caesars has lost money every year since 2009.
For uber-wealthy Russians, "an apartment in Miami, even the most glorious beachfront apartment, is not a priority right now," warns one real estate attorney, as The New York Observer reports Russian buyers no longer felt they had the liquid assets to carry on with the transaction and were looking to break closed real estate contracts. "Your average Russian buyer tends to be someone who works in the $5, $10, $15 million range. Obviously very wealthy people, but also people who are much more likely to feel a pinch given the economic situation and the exchange rate," and with maintenance costs sky-high, the trophy apartments have shifted from 'safe-deposit-boxes' out of reach of sanctions to burdensome drains.
We see far too much complacency out there when it comes to interest rates, in the same manner that we’ve seen it concerning oil prices. We live in a new world, not a continuation of the old one. That old world died with Fed QE. Just check the price of oil. There have been tectonic shifts since over, let’s say, the holidays, and we wouldn’t wait for the ‘experts’ to catch up with live events. Being 7 weeks or two months late is a lot of time. And they will be late, again. It’s inherent in what they do. And what they represent.