Recession

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Frontrunning: October 26





  • Greece Faces Need for Additional Assistance: €30 billion (WSJ)
  • Greeks fail to agree on bailout terms (FT)
  • The report that got the NYT banned on the Chinese interweb: Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader (NYT)
  • Bo Xilai: China parliament expels disgraced politician (BBC)
  • Japan Adds Stimulus Amid Threat of Bond-Sale Disruption... $9.4 billion (Bloomberg)
  • Hubbard Said to Prefer Treasury Chief to Fed If Romney Wins (Bloomberg)
  • 9 More Banks Subpoenaed Over Libor (WSJ)
  • Romney raises $112m in 17 days (FT)
  • Amid Cutbacks, Greek Doctors Offer Message to Poor: You Are Not Alone (NYT)... no, we are all broke
  • Muni Downgrades Top 2011 Total on Weak Economy: Moody’s (Bloomberg)
  • Ireland urges ECB to commit to bond-buying (FT)
  • Cameron and Clegg unite in EU demands (FT)
 
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Overnight Sentiment: Defending 1400 and 1.29





There have been no major overnight events or surprises, with Europe continuing a war of semantics whether the Spanish bailout is a bailout, and attempting to avoid it as long as possible while reaping the benefits of Spanish bonds which are trading at post-bailout levels for a 3rd months now, as well as whether Greece will receive more Troika money (the WSJ reported that Greece requires €30 billion through 2016 to close its funding gap: a number which will eventually double, then triple), and yet as of moments ago the EURUSD slipped under the psychological 1.2900 support, which also means that 1400 on the SPX cash is in play. Italy did not help after business confidence declined from 88.3 to 87.6 on expectations of a rise to 88.7 What news there has been is largely the realization that reality is here to stay, following misses and guides lower from Amazon and Apple, and no matter what some low-volume algo tries to represent by buying the stock in the after hours session, profitability and cash flow creation for both companies will be lower going forward. In terms of newsflow, the NYT released a report last night that China's Premier may have been hiding billions in "related-party" transactions - imagine that, and one which promptly got the NYT blocked from China's internet. Obviously this is a touchy topic for China days ahead of its internal party vote, and one which will hardly score the US brownie points with the domestic administration. Concurrently, Japan announced a new fiscal "stimulus" for a whopping ... $9.4 billion. That is roughly the amount of money needed to evade deflation for 2-3 hours. More apropos, Bild reports what Bloomberg noted earlier, namely that Merkel has no majority for reported Greek aid, further blowing up the hole that Greek finmin Stournaras dug himself in with his lies earlier this week. So while everyone is once again on edge, with the Shanghai composite sliding 1.7%, and key technical levels either breached or in play, today's session promises to be quite interesting.

 
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David Einhorn Explains How Ben Bernanke Is Destroying America





"We have just spent 15 years learning that a policy of creating asset bubbles is a bad idea, so it is hard to imagine why the Fed wants to create another one. But perhaps the more basic question is: How fruitful is the wealth effect? Is the additional spending that these volatile paper profits are intended to induce overwhelmed by the lost consumption of the many savers who are deprived of steady, recurring interest income? We have asked several well-known economists who publicly support the Fed’s policy and found that they don’t have good answers. If Chairman Bernanke is setting distant and hard-to-achieve benchmarks for when he would reverse course, it is possibly because he understands that it may never come to that. Sooner or later, we will enter another recession. It could come from normal cyclicality, or it could come from an exogenous shock. Either way, when it comes, it is very likely we will enter it prior to the Fed having ‘normalized’ monetary policy, and we’ll have a large fiscal deficit to boot. What tools will the Fed and the Congress have at that point? If the Fed is willing to deploy this new set of desperate measures in these frustrating, but non-desperate times, what will it do then? We don’t know, but a large allocation to gold still seems like a very good idea."

 
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What Do Spain And Greece Have To Look Forward To? SocGen Answers: "Not A Lot"





The increasingly short-termist attitudes of both policy-makers, analysts, and investors leaves market and economic indicators in the US and Europe all anticipating some magic in 2013. If only we can get through the elections, the fiscal cliff, a banking union, a Spanish bailout request, Greek extensions; not to mention another round of weak earnings and a sliding Chinese demand backdrop. As SocGen's FX and Rates desk notes, the battle against disinflation in Europe is not over and nominal GDP outlooks remain far too optimistic - only highlighted by the morning's weak lending data.  The moribund growth backdrop also begs the question what palpable difference any relief over Spain or Greece (if it comes) will do to the long end. The answer is probably not a whole lot.
The deleveraging has a long-way to go!

 
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Guest Post: Before The Election Was Over, Wall Street Won





Before the campaign contributors lavished billions of dollars on their favorite candidate; and long after they toast their winner or drink to forget their loser, Wall Street was already primed to continue its reign over the economy. For, after three debates (well, four), when it comes to banking, finance, and the ongoing subsidization of Wall Street, both presidential candidates and their parties’ attitudes toward the banking sector is similar  – i.e. it must be preserved – as is – at all costs, rhetoric to the contrary, aside. Obama hasn’t brought ‘sweeping reform’ upon the Establishment Banks, nor does Romney need to exude deregulatory babble, because nothing structurally substantive has been done to harness the biggest banks of the financial sector, enabled, as they are, by entities from the SEC to the Fed to the Treasury Department to the White House.

 
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Guest Post: Is The World Abandoning The U.S. Economy?





Go to any university, any center of equities trade, any meeting place for financial academia, any fiscal think tank, and they will tell you without the slightest hint of doubt in their eyes that the U.S. economy is essential to the survival of the world.  To even broach the possibility that the U.S. could be dropped or replaced as the central pillar of trade on the planet is greeted with sneers and even anger.  But let’s set aside what we think (or what we assume) we know about the American financial juggernaut and consider the sordid history of the money powerhouse myth. China’s incredible gold buying extravaganzas over the past few years indicate that they are indeed hedging against what they obviously expect will be devaluation in the dollar or multiple currencies around the world including the dollar.

 
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Sovereign Self-Interest Versus European Hegemony





There were moments yesterday when it felt we stood at the edge of the abyss preparing to take a giant leap forwards. Apparently Draghi did a great job meeting German legislators yesterday; Greece is being touted as a crisis averted - if you believe all the guff; and more of the same from Spain. However, it does feel the crisis is developing in some new directions. Until recently it’s been about sovereigns and banks – but now we’re seeing corporates struggle. There is a general consensus France had no choice but the bailout Peugeot’s finance arm PSA. So why are the problems of the French car industry so important for the Euro? If French industrial policy is founded on preserving the country’s manufacturing base is that really something German/Finish/Dutch taxpayers could have been bailing out through a single European banking union. Perhaps not! These are national choices that illustrate sovereign self interest not European hegemony. We simply ask the question how is Europe supposed to move towards closer Union when national interest remains paramount?

 
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Frontrunning: October 25





  • Japan grapples with own fiscal cliff (Bloomberg)
  • Japan Protests After Four Chinese Vessels Enter Disputed Waters (Bloomberg)
  • Asian Stocks Rise as Exporters Gain on China, U.S. Data (Bloomberg)
  • An obsolete Hilsenrath speaks: Fed Keeps Rates Low, Says Growth Is Moderate (WSJ)
  • ECB Said to Push Spain’s Bankia to Swap Junior Debt for Shares (Bloomberg)
  • Spain’s Bad Bank Seen as Too Big to Work (Bloomberg)
  • China postpones Japan anniversary events (China Daily)
  • Carney Says Rate Increase ‘Less Imminent’ on Economy Risk (Bloomberg)
  • Credit Suisse to Cut More Costs as Quarterly Profit Falls (Bloomberg)
  • Obama offers a glimpse of his second-term priorities (Reuters)
  • Draghi defends bond-buying programme (FT)
 
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The European Nash Dis-equilibrium Through The Eyes Of A Greek





In a somewhat mind-blowing 'gotcha' this evening (that we saw coming from the moment the words left his lips), the Greek finance minister has been forced to admit he's a lying cheat drop claims that he had secured a two-year extension for debt repayments and an agreement with creditors over EUR13.5bn in proposed austerity measures - because HE HADN'T! As The Guardian reports, Stournaras played to stereotype perfectly (the Greeks only got in the euro thanks to off-market currency swaps to reduce debt optics off-balance sheet) by lying once again (if you lie big enough it has to stock, right?). The U-turn - which he was forced to make after Germany denied the deal (yes Zee Germans again the only ones that anyone should be listening to) - caused chaotic scenes in parliament. As we have vociferously described, and Mr. Panos confirmed, the leverage is all with the Greeks (as much as the world does not want to admit it) as one Greek official said (frighteningly honestly!):

"Even if the troika give us a negative report, what are they going to do? Are they really going to not give us the installment [to keep Greece's economy afloat] two weeks before the US elections, with everything that entails – default, bankruptcy, global market turmoil? These labour reforms will turn our country into Bangladesh. They have no fiscal benefit and will actually derail the adjustment program. The political system will collapse if we impose them. The troika is demanding that we commit suicide!"

 

 
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Chart Of The Day: 55 And Under? No Job For You





Nearly two years ago, and progressing to this day, we first observed (and subsequently even the mainstream media caught on) that America's labor force is slowly but surely converting itself from a full-time to part-time worker society. The reasons for this are obvious: to corporations, the benefits associated with employing part-time workers are countless: avoiding substantial benefits-related costs, evading long-term job contracts, hourly basis wages, and many others. In fact, as long as there is slack in the economy, and there will be for a long, long time as the shift in labor demand is now secular, regardless of what the Fed wants to admit, employers will have ever more leverage, while workers have less and less (and are forced to agree to any employment terms, as long as they get some paycheck at all). This much has been known. What has gotten far less prominence is that of the much trumpeted 4+ million jobs added since the trough in late 2009, virtually all the job additions have gone to (part-time) workers 55 years and over. Indeed, as the chart below shows, starting since the official NBER end of the recession in June 2009, the US has cumulatively added 2.9 million jobs. However, when broken down by age cohort, 3.5 million of these jobs have gone to US workers aged between 55 and 69. Another 729K have gone to recent college grads aged 20-24. What about those workers in their prime years: between 25 and 54 years of age? They have lost a total of 886,000 jobs since June 30, 2009!

 
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The World In Three Charts





Bernanke has fired his infinite bazooka and yet markets have done nothing but slide since and macro-economic data are showing further signs of weakness (New Orders and Capex) with the reality under the headlines of a housing 'recovery' hardly green-shoots. Draghi remains sidelined with his conditionally infinite bazooka as his region of the world slides deeper and deeper into the abyss of recession/depression with IFO expectations and New Orders slumping and deleveraging continuing. So, it seems, the hope for moar-money from central-bankers remains squarely on the shoulders of the PBoC. However, a glimmer of green shoots as a gentle acceleration PMI (and New Export Orders? to Japan?) suggest (as Goldman's Jim O'Neill would have us believe) that the Chinese have manufactured a slow landing (for now - given 'their' data). Hardly the driver for the next major round of stimulus that is so required to fill deleveraging shoes (leaving aside the question of food inflation concerns). So a 'blip' of a green shoot in China is in fact nothing to be celebrated as the world remains a closed-loop (no martians yet) and two of the world's three largest economies are lagging badly. Look at these three charts and decide which way the world is heading!

 
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Guest Post: Generational Wealth And Upward Mobility





Both capitalism and democracy promise the opportunity for upward mobility. Capitalism offers upward mobility to anyone with a profitable idea or productive skillset and work ethic. Democracy implicitly promises a "level playing field" of meritocracy, where talent, drive and hard work open opportunities for advancement. Crony capitalism offers wealth to the class that already possesses it. Feudalism bestows "rights" to wealth to a favored few. In a way, upward mobility is a real-world test of a nation's economic and social order: if upward mobility exits in name only, then that nation is neither capitalist nor democratic. Stripped of propaganda and misleading labels, it is a feudal society or a crony-capitalist economy masquerading as a capitalist democracy.  The wealth that could have been transferred to the next generation has been consumed suporting a "middle class" lifestyle and providing the next generation with what was once the basis for advancement: a university education, healthcare insurance, a reliable vehicle, etc. Now that jobs are hard to find and compensation is low, the next generation still needs the accumulated wealth of the household to get by. That is not upward mobility, it is downward mobility, on a vast and largely unnoticed scale.

 
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It Is Time To Pare Back





Printing trumped the European recession until the spigots were either turned off or became ineffective. What else is that you can promise the markets after “limitless” and “uncapped” play out? With short rates at just above Zero, with everything promised now except the kitchen sink and with the economies in a major part of Europe falling into the abyss where is it that you think we are going besides down? I would argue that the central banks did what they could, delayed the inevitable but that it was always a question of when and not if before earnings turned grim and the markets reversed.

 
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Andalusia Seeks Greater Bailout From Spain, Says Amount For Regional Bailout Fund Was "Underestimated"





The latest headline out of broke Europe, where Germany entering recession apparently benefits from a rising EURUSD even as Mario promises to print even more currency, is perfectly expected: the insolvent Spanish region of Andalusia has requested even more bailout aid. From Bloomberg:

  • Spanish region of Andalusia says it is seeking more aid from Spain
  • Andalusia Says Spain Must Help as Regions Shut Out of Markets
  • Fund set up by central government to aid regions is only option

And what we have said all along:

  • Amount for Spanish regions’ fund was “underestimated:” Andalusia spokesman says
 
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