- Obama Concessions Signal Potential Bipartisan Budget Deal (BBG)
- Cerberus to sell gunmaker after massacre (CNN)
- With New Offers, Fiscal-Cliff Talks Narrow (WSJ)
- Judge rejects Apple injunction bid vs. Samsung (Reuters)
- U.S. policy gridlock holding back economy? Maybe not (Reuters)
- President fears for Italy’s credibility (FT)
- Struggles Mount for Greeks as Economy Faces Winter (WSJ)
- Abe leans on BoJ in post-election meeting (FT)
- Bank of Japan to mull 2 percent inflation target as Abe turns up heat (Reuters)
- EU exit is ‘imaginable’, says Cameron (FT)
- Mortgage Risk Under Fire in Nordics as Bubbles Fought (BBG)
- Sweden cuts interest rates to 1% (FT)
- External risks impede China recovery, more easing seen (Reuters)
Moments ago, the San Fran Fed, best known for spending taxpayer money to conduct such indepth analyses on topics including whether water is wet, and whether the Fed creates bubbles, has just released its most recent 'FedViews' economic outlook in which we read that "we expect growth to steadily accelerate in 2013 as the economy bounces back from harsh weather conditions and as the underlying expansion of consumer spending reemerges. We expect growth to register 1.7% in 2012 and 2.6% in 2013." This would be great if only a two minute Google search did not expose some of the San Fran Fed's previous attempts at forecasting the future, such as this one from October 14, 2010, in which the crack experts said that "we currently project that real GDP will expand around 2½% in 2010, below its potential of about 3% annually. We expect the recovery to gain momentum over the course of next year and that real GDP growth for 2011 will reach about 3½%." Final 2011 GDP growth: 2.4%.... or this one from June 9, 2011, in which we learned that "growth should rebound in the third quarter. We expect GDP to expand at an annualized 3½% rate in the second half of the year and to continue to strengthen throughout 2012." Final 2012 GDP growth: 1.8%. Or just 50% off. Applying the same undershoot error rate to the Fed's 2013 forecast means that real economic growth next year will be at best 1.3%. And that's with a fresh $1 trillion in monetary injections from the Fed.
Just as Byron Wien publishes his ten surprises for the upcoming year, Morgan Stanley has created a heady list of seventeen macro surprises across all countries they cover that depict plausible possible outcomes that would represent a meaningful surprise to the prevailing consensus. From the "return of inflation" to 'Brixit' and from the "BoJ buying Euro-are bonds" to a "US housing recovery stall out" - these seventeen succinctly written paragraphs provide much food for thought as we enter 2013.
To little surprise, and confirming the pre-election polls, Shinzo Abe, who previously was Prime Minister of Japan from September 2006 to September 2007, has just won a second chance in today's Japanese election, following a crushing defeat by the LDP and the concession moments ago of challenger Yoshihiko Noda (who will no longer be watchim\ng, watching, watching). As BBC reports "The LDP, which enjoyed almost 50 years of unbroken rule until 2009, is projected to have an overall majority in the new parliament. Mr Abe has already served a Japan's Prime Minister between 2006 and 2007. He campaigned on a pledge to end 20 years of economic stagnation and to direct a more assertive foreign policy at a time of tensions with China. He is seen as a hawkish, right-of-centre leader whose previous term in office ended ignominiously amid falling popularity and a resignation on grounds of ill health. But Japanese media project big gains for his LDP who they say are on course to win between 275 to 310 seats in the 480-member house." In other words, with Japan's sharp turn to the right, this time will be different, and Abe will succeed where previously he failed miserably, or so the people, who have long abandoned any hope of an economic recovery, dare to hope.
Imagine a stock - best for the hypothetical exercise is probably a tech stock - rising for 12 years without interruption. A net gain every year, sometimes a small one, sometimes a bigger one, but nicely compounding at an annual yield of more than 17.13% (that's a devilish 666.67% in 12 years). What would people say about this stock? Would there be a steady stream of negative press trying to dissuade people from buying it? We somehow doubt it, although almost every investment that has seen a great deal of appreciation has its detractors (and sometimes they are right). When it comes to gold, one could certainly debate the merits of buying it at what appears at least on the surface as a high price. Gold bulls can only profit from examining bearish arguments, in order to see if they have merit.
The assumption that households are doing much better simply because the stock market is up is really a problematic understanding of how wealth is dispersed across the United States. I vividly remember a handful of parties back during the peak of the bubble where people would often quote how much their net worth went up courtesy of the housing bubble. “My home that I bought in the 1990s is now worth over $1 million.” As all of you know, until you sell the home those gains are largely on paper and many did not sell. In fact, many tapped out large portions of that equity and spent it. This is why even with home prices moderately recovering US households still have close to record low equity in their homes. It probably does not help that low down payment FHA insured loans are such a large part of the market encouraging Americans to make the biggest purchase of their lives with very little down. The Fed reported last week on net worth figures and it is worth digging deep into the data.
Utterly boring Friday session, worsened by year end inactivity… PMI figures, which were actually needed on the more positive side to justify the latest levels in Risk were just so so in Europe. But, who cares? Periphery recovering further with Spain actually the best performer on the week (outside the bailed-out gang). US stuck despite better figures.
"Stuck in the Middle with You" (Bunds 1,35% unch; Spain 5,37% -1; Stoxx 2628 +0,2%; EUR 1,314 +60)
With few exceptions, the global capital markets which began the week with a bang, are finishing with a whimper. The US dollar is little changed against the major and emerging market currencies. Asia stocks were by and large flat, with the notable exception of Chinese stocks, where the major indices jumped a little more than 4%.
European bourses are mixed, with gains and losses mostly less than 0.25% near midday in London. Spanish and Italian bond yields are slightly lower, but activity is quiet.
Despite the subdued tone there are four developments to note
Global Central Banks agree to another year of access to FRBNY FX Swap Lines
Here, for your comparative studies analytical viewing pleasure, is the current recession recovery in context. Across activity indicators, consumer behavior, labor market developments, and housing & construction, there is a little here for everyone. From vehicle sales to disposable income and from durable goods to industrial production, it seems grading this economy's performance is a matter of 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil'.
- Bernanke Wields New Tools to Reduce Unemployment Rate (BBG)
- Home Seizures Rise as Banks Adjust to Foreclosure Flow (BBG)
- EU Backs Release Of Greek Aid (WSJ)
- Democrats Confident They Have 'Cliff' Leverage (WSJ)
- Americans Back Obama Tax-Rate Increase Tied to Entitlement Cuts (BBG)
- Goldman flexes tentacles: Treasury open to Carney radicalism (FT)
- Launch Fuels Asia Security Concerns (WSJ)
- BOJ’s Unlimited Loan Program Seen Open to Use by Hedge Funds (BBG) - there are Japanese hedge funds?
- Abe Set to Face Manufacturing Gloom as Japan Contracts (BBG)
- US and UN condemn N Korea rocket launch (Guardian)
- Eurozone agrees common bank supervisor (FT)
- Berlusconi Adds to Italy Turmoil by Signaling He’d Step Aside (BBG)
Glenn Stevens, RBA Governor: "Central banks can provide liquidity to shore up financial stability and they can buy time for borrowers to adjust, but they cannot, in the end, put government finances on a sustainable course... They can't shield people from the implications of having mis-assessed their own lifetime budget constraints and therefore having consumed too much."
Just as consensus demanded expected, the FOMC transformed sterilized 'Twist' into unsterilized QE4 in addition to QE3's MBS buying and lowered economic forecasts - dropping calendar-based rate guidance unchanged with a shift to "Evans-Rule"-like threshold-based guidance. High inflation, forget it; 'lower' unemployment, naah; market wants 'moar' so market gets 'moar'. $4 Trillion balance sheet here we come (check to Draghi's OMT and Spain or EUR 'richness' crushes hopes of recovery).
- *FED BOOSTS QE WITH $45 BILLION IN MONTHLY TREASURY PURCHASES
- *FED TO KEEP BUYING MORTGAGE BONDS AT PACE OF $40 BLN PER MONTH
- *FED SAYS MONTHLY PURCHASES TO TOTAL $85 BLN
- *FED ADOPTS ECONOMIC THRESHOLDS FOR POLICY TIGHTENING
- *FED: RATES TO STAY EXCEPTIONALLY LOW WITH JOBLESS ABOVE 6.5%
- *FED: RATES TO STAY LOW WITH INFLATION SEEN AT 2.5% OR LESS
Disappointingly for AAPL investors, there was no explicit decision to monetize mini-iPads (or their own subsidized student loan debt in the ultimate reacharound).
- Here come the low margin products: Apple Tests Designs for TV (WSJ)
- Obama and Republicans Trade Offers to Avert Fiscal Crisis (BBG)
- Carney broaches dumping inflation target (FT)
- Bernanke Critics Can’t Fight Bonds Showing No Inflation (BBG)
- Corporate Taxes on Table in Cliff Talks (WSJ)
- US business chiefs back tax rise (FT)
- Greece Confident Bond Buyback Needed for Aid Succeeded (BBG)
- New Faith in Europe's Banks (WSJ)
- European Bank Sees Little Room for Rate Cuts (WSJ)
- North Korea Claims Success in Rocket Launch (WSJ)
The US dollar and yen remain soft. The news stream has encouraged the so-called risk-on trade. The Greek debt buyback appears to have gone well enough that it will get dollop of aid. Spain reportedly received 40 bln euros of bank aid. There seems to be a potential compromise banking supervision in Europe. On top of that, of course, the market expects the Federal Reserve to announce an expansion of its quantitative easing later today and keep the door open to further steps if necessary.
The dollar made new eight month highs against the yen, just shy of the JPY83 level. These dollar gains ahead of the FOMC meeting underscores one of our interpretative points that the old drivers of dollar-yen, like interest rate differentials and general risk appetite, have broken down, trumped by Mr Abe and his aggressive monetary and fiscal rhetoric.