This could be the hidden message of Bill Gross’ departure...
With the cash bond market closed today, we get our cues from an admittedly thin Treasury futures market. Prices are up across the board with 10Y yield down 3bps at 2.25%, 30Y back under 3%, and 5Y down 4bps at 1.49%. The rates market, once again is leading stocks lower - not getting as exuberant as stocks out of the gate... The Russell 2000 is at one-year lows (Oct 9th 2013 to be exact)
While Russia's economy is hurting, desperate to overthrow the tentacles of the Petrodollar, and is urgently pivoting toward Beijing, the cherry on top came moments ago when, as if to assure all involved parties that there will be enough capital support on both sides, the PBOC released a surprising announcement that the central banks of China and Russia signed a 3-year, 150 billion yuan bilateral local-currency swap deal today, according to a statement posted on PBOC website. Deal can be expanded if both parties agree, statement says. Deal aims to make bilateral trade and direct investment more convenient and promote economic development in 2 nations.
A week ago we noted how critical the seige in Kobani was (and why it suggested President Obama's strategy was a fiasco given a lack of commitment from supposed allies such as Turkey). 7 days later.. and America's plans to fight Islamic State are in ruins as the militant group's fighters come close to capturing Kobani and have inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqi army west of Baghdad. While John Kerry has today stated, "Kobani does not define strategy against Islamic State," the 'loss' is symbolic as The Independent's Patrick Cockburn notes, in both Syria and Iraq, ISIS is expanding its control rather than contracting.
Hearing of IMF interventions generally conjures up images of developing nations (and the occasional Eurozone peripheral economy of late) facing some kind of financial difficulty. But it was actually Great Britain, the cradle of the industrialized world, which in 1976 became one of the first countries ever to be "bailed out" by the IMF in the modern sense of the term.
And then there was #2. A few hours ago, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, announced that a health care worker who cared for dying Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, has tested positive for the virus after a preliminary test, officials said early Sunday. If confirmed, it would be the first known person-to-person transmission of the disease in the United States. The name of the patients is currently unknown, what is known however, is that the worker was wearing full protective gear when treating Duncan, suggesting - yet again - that there is a transmission mechanism which is not accounted for under conventional protocol.
While The IMF recognizes the gaping chasm between collapsing global growth expectations and market exuberance, they remain confident that US growth will save the world. This, Marc Faber explains to a wise Bloomberg TV panel, is why stocks around the world (and now in the US) are starting to weaken, "the recognition that global growth is not accelerating," as the narrative would like us all to believe, "but is slowing." Central Bank money-printing has enabled deficit-heavy fiscal policy and, Faber simplifies, "the larger the government, the less growth there will be from a less dynamic economy." Policy-makers have only one tool - money-printing, and QE99 is coming.
Two weeks ago, we revealed one part of the "Secret Deal" between the US and Saudi Arabia: namely what the US 'brought to the table' as part of its grand alliance strategy in the middle east. What was not clear is what was the other part: what did the Saudis bring to the table, or said otherwise, how exactly it was that Saudi Arabia would compensate the US for bombing the Assad infrastructure until the hated Syrian leader was toppled, creating a power vacuum in his wake that would allow Syria, Qatar, Jordan and/or Turkey to divide the spoils of war as they saw fit. The full answer comes courtesy of Anadolu Agency, which explains not only the big picture involving Saudi Arabia and its biggest asset, oil, but also the latest fracturing of OPEC at the behest of Saudi Arabia which however is merely using "the oil weapon" to target the old slash new Cold War foe #1: Vladimir Putin.
At the moment, the Ebola virus is ravaging three countries - Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - where it is doubling every few weeks, but singular cases and clusters of them are cropping up in dense population centers across the world. Ebola's mortality rate can be as high as 70%, but seems closer to 50% for the current major outbreak. This is significantly worse than the Bubonic plague, which killed off a third of Europe's population. Previous Ebola outbreaks occurred in rural, isolated locales, where they quickly burned themselves out by infecting everyone within a certain radius, then running out of new victims. But the current outbreak has spread to large population centers with highly mobile populations, and the chances of such a spontaneous end to this outbreak seem to be pretty much nil. The scenario in which Ebola engulfs the globe is not yet guaranteed, but neither can it be dismissed as some sort of apocalyptic fantasy: the chances of it happening are by no means zero.
The difference between 2007 and today is back then these were largely sub-prime loans and overvalued real estate mortgages, vs, today's entire global bond market bubbles from Spain and Greece to the United States.
Despite the reassuring narrative from The West that Russia faces "costs" and is increasingly "isolated" due to sanctions for its actions in Ukraine, the most recent data suggests reality is quite different. First, capital outflows slowed dramatically in Q3 (from $23.7 billion in Q2 to $13 billion in Q3) with September seeing capital inflows for the first time since Sept 2013. Second, Russia's current account surplus was significantly stronger than expected ($11.4 billion vs $8.8 billion expected) driven by increased trade. Third, and perhaps most crucially, Russia paid down a massive $52.8 billion in foreign debt as Putin "de-dollarizes" at near record pace, reducing external debt to the lowest since 2012.
The job market is tightening, and by any normal measure interest rates should be following suit and rising as well regardless of whether the US Dollar also strengthens.
Well that escalated quickly... high beta momo stocks are continuing to accelerate lower this morning as BTFD'ers seem absent for now. VIX topped 22 - its highest since Dec 2012. Once again, stocks tried to decouple from bonds (twice) and failed...
At the end of the day, the Fed with its misguided theories have demolished capitalism: the single most powerful form of wealth generation in the history of mankind. All the Fed has really accomplished is leverage the entire financial by an even greater amount… which has set the stage for a collapse that will make 2008 look like a picnic.