The topic of ‘currency war’ has been bantered about in financial circles since at least the term was first used by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega in September 2010. Recently, the currency war has escalated, and a ‘sanctions war’ against Russia has broken out. History suggests that financial assets are highly unlikely to preserve investors’ real purchasing power in this inhospitable international environment, due in part to the associated currency crises, which will catalyse at least a partial international remonetisation of gold. Vladimir Putin, under pressure from economic sanctions, may calculate that now is the time to play his ‘gold card’.
Recovery, we have a problem... November's Flash US Manufacturing PMI printed a 10-month lows 54.7, missing expectation sof 56.3 by the most on record and tumbling for the third month in a row. The last 2 mnths have seen the biggest drop since June 2013 ands as Markit notes, suggests a further drop in GDP growth expectations of only 2.5% in Q4. Output is down for the 3rd straight month and Surprise!! Export market weakness is being blamed... as it seems the US cannot decouple from the rest of the world's slump after all and is - as we have explained numerous times - merely on a lagged cycle. We're gonna need more Fed-fueled subprime-auto-loan malarkey to keep this dream alive.
- Top Trade #1: EUR/$ downside via a one-year EUR/$ put spread.
- Top Trade #2: 10-year US Treasuries above 3% but not below 2% in mid-2015, through cap and floor spreads at zero cost.
- Top Trade #3: Long a Dec-2015 Eurostoxx 50 ‘bull’ call spread.
- Top Trade #4: Long US High Yield credit risk via 5-year CDX HY junior mezzanine tranches.
- Top Trade #5: Long an equity basket of EM crude oil importers (Taiwan, Turkey and India).
- Top Trade #6: Short CHF/SEK.
- Top Trade #7: Bearish Copper relative to Nickel, on supply divergence.
- Top Trade #8: Long US Dollar against a basket of ZAR and HUF.
- Banks Had Unfair Advantage From Commodity Units (Bloomberg)
- Report Notes Deals Between Goldman, Deutsche and Others Drove Up Aluminum Prices (WSJ)
- Goldman, Morgan Stanley Commodity Heyday Gone as Units Faulted (BBG) - because when you can no longer manipulate, you move on...
- Lenders Shift to Help Struggling Student Borrowers (WSJ)
- Immigrants face major hurdles in signing up to new Obama plan (Reuters)
- Distressed Debt in China? Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, Buyers Say (BBG)
- Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds (Reuters)
- Amazon Robots Get Ready for Christmas (WSJ)
"QE is a necessary condition for recovery in Europe, but is not sufficient in itself. The question is where does this bridge take us? The eurozone can survive a couple more years of miserable growth, but it can’t go on forever like this before people lose hope. There is political risk almost everywhere."
While hopes of the J-Curve recovery in the deficit are long forgotten in the annals of Goldman Sachs history, silver-lining-seekers will proclaim the very modest beat in tonight's Japanese trade deficit a moral victory for a nation whose economic data has been nothing but abysmal for months. However, the near $1 trillion Yen deficit is the 44th month in a row as exports to US and Europe rose modestly in Yen terms but dropped to China and US in volume terms. USDJPY continues its march higher (now 118.25) but, unfoirtunately for Abe's approval ratings, Japanese stocks continue to languish an implied 1000 points behind - unable to break back above pre-GDP levels... as faith in Kuroda's omnipotence falters.
Having done nothing but rally since the FOMC statement on 10/29 that ended QE, the minutes provide little additional info aside from to note that some participants wanted to drop "considerable time":
- *MANY FED OFFICIALS SAW LIMITED IMPACT FROM GLOBAL SLOWDOWN
- *FED OFFICIALS SAW NEED TO WATCH FOR INFLATION EXPECTATIONS DROP
- *FOMC OPTED NOT TO MENTION FINANCIAL MARKET TURMOIL AFTER DEBATE
If they don't mention, it never happened
For 'years' the US stock market has traded on 'fun-durr-mentals' - tracking USDJPY tick for tick day in day out as algos tickle leveraged currency trades to ignote momentum in US equities and guarantee 'proof' in the recovery. The correlation, however, between USDJPY and stocks (US and Japanese) has begun to deteriorate rapidly since Kuroda unleased Godzilla QQE... and today it is very clear...
Once again all eyes are on the carry-trade driving Yen, whose avalance into oblivion is picking up speed, and where the formerly unimaginable USDJPY level of 120 as presented here in September, is now looking like this week's business, with the only question how long until Albert Edwards' next target of 145 is hit leading to nuclear currency warfare between Japan, Korea, China and ultimately, the US and Europe. Unfortunately, for Japan, at this point the terminal currency collapse will do nothing to incrementally boost exports or its economy, and the former Japan finmin was on the tape warning again that the Japanese recession will persist as USDJPY over 115 is now hurting Japan, something which should by now have been clear to most.
If you were forced to admit that everything you believed about markets and monetary policy was in fact completely fallacious, as this week's Japanese GDP collapse proved of Abenomics and devaluing yourself to prosperity, could you do it? Or would you stick to your blinkered views of the world... The following characters continue to have faith in the self-proclaimed ponzi scheme...
“If [They're] Right, Everything The Fed Has Been Doing To Try To Stimulate The Economy Isn’t Just Useless — It’s Backward”
"My premise hasn’t really changed since I published my paper explaining why I had become more constructive towards risk assets this time last year. That is to say, the structural deficiency of global demand continues to radicalise the central banking community. I believe they are terrified: the system is so leveraged and vulnerable to potentially systemic price reversals that the monetary authorities find themselves beholden to long only investors and obliged to support asset prices. However, I clearly confused everyone with my choice of language. What I should have said is that investors are perhaps misconstruing rising equity prices as a traditional bull market spurred on by revenue and earnings growth, and becoming fearful of a reversal, when instead the persistent upwards drift in stock markets is more a reflection of the steady erosion of the soundness of the global monetary system and therefore the rise in stock prices is something that is likely to prevail for some time."
While we no longer live in a world in which debt matters - because central banks will just monetize it in their ongoing and no longer covert effort to reflate the final bubble - and thus debt ratings are an irrelevant anachronism from a bygone era, we can't help but recall a certain statement by S&P from September of last year, in which the rating agency reminded everyone just why Japan has to proceed with both its first sales tax hike from 5% to 8%, (which, together with weather, has now been blamed on Japan's shocking quadruple-dip recession), but also the follow up from 8% to 10%, which as we now know, has been delayed indefinitely, and which was supposed to prefund welfare spending for Japan's demographic disaster which with every passing day gets closer and closer.
"My personal fond hope and expectation is still for a market that runs deep into bubble territory (which starts, as mentioned earlier, at 2250 on the S&P 500 on our data) before crashing as it always does. Hopefully by then, but depending on what the rest of the world’s equities do, our holdings of global equities will be down to 20% or less. Usually the bubble excitement – which seems inevitably to be led by U.S. markets – starts about now, entering the sweet spot of the Presidential Cycle’s year three, but occasionally, as you have probably discovered the hard way already, history can be a snare and not a help." - Jeremy Grantham
After weeks of relentless flashing red headline barrage whose only purpose was to force snap algo buying of the USDJPY pair time after time after time, Japan is once again out of FX algo danging carrots after moments ago Abe confirmed what everyone had known already: he called a snap election to seek a mandate for his decision to delay by 18 months a further sales-tax increase that had been planned for next year; he also said he would dissolve the lower house of parliament on Nov. 21 in preparation for an election in December, without specifying a date. Cited by the WSJ, Abe said "To ensure the success of Abenomics, I’ve concluded that it shouldn’t be carried out next October and instead be postponed by 18 months,” the prime minister told a nationally televised news conference, stressing that the additional tax burden would risk putting the economy back into deflation. “I will seek the people’s judgment over our economic policy."