Greece will remain the main focus of attention. As it stands at the moment, the Greek Parliament will begin to debate the medium-term fiscal plan and the implementation laws on Monday. Voting on the legislation will occur on Wednesday for the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy and Thursday for the implementation law. After the government won a vote of confidence, the assumption is that the required legislation will pass through parliament. However, reports that several PASOK members will potentially vote against the measures will likely add to the uncertainty ahead of the outcome of the parliamentary vote. On the assumption that Greece passes the required legislation, on July 3, the Eurogroup will authorise the disbursement of the fifth tranche of the current package, and on July 11, will unveil the new funding package for Greece. Again on the assumption that Greece passes the required legislation, the macro data will become front and center on Friday, given it is the first day of the month we will get the release of PMIs globally.
A global public debt crisis, in which private sector deleveraging is offset by public debt, to the point where Reinhart and Rogoff say "no more" (and often times beyond) has only four possible outcomes. These are: 1) a debt trap; 2) hyperinflation; 3) austerity but in conjunction with actual economic growth and 4) default. Currently in the developed world, the only two outcomes actively pursued, are (1), the debt trap, best seen in the US, where the only solution to debt is "more debt", and half of (3), austerity, although not coupled by the critical "growth" component, but merely more strikes, more economic deterioration, and more austerity in a closed loop to the bottom as a disenchanted population decides to let it all burn down in the process of losing its entitlements safet net. And with 3) so far a failure in every iteration (the closest it is to an actual empirical outcome is in the UK, where it has so far produced nothing but stagflation), what happens next will be, as UBS' senior economic advisor George Magnus says, "or else."
While the fact that over the past few quarters private payrolls have increased has been widely touted by the administration as an indication that the economic recovery has taken root (even if recent NFP numbers have been decidedly below consensus), the fact is that spin of NFP data looks solely at one part of the monthly change in payrolls data: the new payrolls one. Alas, as the 12 Month rolling average chart straight out of JOLTs below demonstrates a just as important, and far less spin-friendly, part of the equation is jobs "separations." The simple math is that the monthly change in payrolls, establishment or household survey aside, is simply equal to new hires less total separations. And it is the latter that is now at decade lows. Said otherwise, payrolls are only up because of the rate of firings is the lowest in the past ten years now that companies have virtually nobody left to fire. This also means that as far as wage negotiations are concerned, workers will have absolutely no leverage. Which can be seen on the second chart. While having picked up modestly in the past several months, the percentage of people voluntarily quitting their job is nearly half of where it has been during the past decade. It also appears to be once again plateauing, now that the jobless recession has double dipped again, and "New Jobs" postings are once again on the wane. The bottom line, the "employment gains" have not been due to increased hiring, but due to ever more desperate people no longer daring to leave whatever job security they may have (and willing to take pay cuts as a condition of keeping said jobs).
Perhaps even more than exposing the instability of the worldwide economic ponzi system, so far 2011 has been most remarkable for fully demonstrating the fragility of the global energy complex, which in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear crisis (and the moratorium on nuclear energy in Germany now, and soon other places), and the MENA revolutions, have raised the question of what happens in a world in which crude is getting ever scarcer, while the one main legacy energy alternative, fission-based nuclear power, just took a giant step back. The topic of limitations in conventional and possibilites in alternative energy has gripped the general public's mind to such an extent that Popular Science magazine has dedicated its entire July edition to answering that very critical question. As PopSci says: "Oil’s amazing efficiency is one reason it remains in such high demand, especially for transportation, and it’s also why finding an alternative will be so difficult. But find one we must. We have already burned our way through most of the world’s easy oil. Now we’re drilling for the hard stuff: unconventional resources such as shale and heavy oil that will be more difficult and expensive to discover, extract, and refine. The environmental costs are also on the rise." So what is the existing line up of future alternatives to the current crude oil-dominated energy paradigm. Below we present the complete list.
China's European Bailout (And TBTF) Bid Hits Overdrive, As Wen Jiabao Is Now In The Market For Hungarian BondsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/25/2011 12:47 -0400
In continuing its recent pursuit of "white knight on full retard tilt" policies vis-a-vis the endless European bailout, and throwing good money after bad after horrible after totally lost, today Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said that not only would China do everything in its power to preserve the EUR (after all that CNY needs to be cheap against some currency) and "work for expeditious recovery and stable growth" but also unveiled that it is now preparing to go ahead an buy Hungarian bonds. As if owning Greek, Portuguese, Spanish and Irish debt was not enough. It seems China has learned from the best, and either knows something others don't (except for the SHIBOR market of course) or is actively preparing to become Too Biggest To Fail by making sure that should something bad happen to it literally the entire world will follow it into the depths of hell. Which, as Jamie Dimon, Vik Pandit, Lloyd et al have known for the past 3 years, is not a bad strategy. Look for China to keep buying up ever more European debt as it intertwines its fate with that of the rest of the central planning cartel: a development we can only compare to the ever deteriorating Spanish Cajas desire to buy up as many semi-healthy banks as they possibly can to prevent a policy determination to shut them, and their billions of bad debts, down.
With the resurgence of Greece back to the top of global news, incompetence and labor strikes charts (just like back in 2010 at roughly this time, which is to be expected since 2011 has been following the 2010 script to the dot) there has been far too little focus in the mainstream media on the family whose actions were responsible for Greece's rise to glory and subsequent collapse into default. As Associates Press notes in its report the ruling family, "One family has dominated Greek politics for more than half a century: the Papandreous." For all those who are wondering who the men behind the curtain, or as the case may be, front and center, are, the following expose is for you.
Identify the common characteristic of these three statements:
1. The Federal Reserve will never let the stock market decline, i.e. the "Bernanke put"
2. The Chinese government will never let property prices decline
3. The European Central Bank will never let Greece default
The answer of course is moral hazard: a person who is insulated from risk will have an insatiable appetite for risky bets because any gains will be theirs to keep but any losses will be covered by the central bank or government. The global financial authorities’ success in propping up assets (stocks in the U.S., real estate in China, banks in Europe, etc.) over the past three years has strengthened this asymmetric disregard for systemic risk into a dangerously quasi-religious faith that central banks and governments have essentially unlimited power to keep asset prices aloft via printing money, manipulation of markets and financialization of their economies.
The most concise summary of this week's bullish and bearish events.
Well not quite the CIA, but close enough. The good ex-spies of BIA Behavioral Intelligence Analysis have conducted another behavioral assay, this time targeting global overlord Ben Bernanke and specifically his Wednesday press conference, focusing not on the script but what was left unsaid between the lines. For those unfamiliar, "The BIA team represents a diverse mix of highly accomplished professionals from the national intelligence and business communities, who came together to create and deliver BIA’s ground-breaking solutions for our clients. Our intelligence experts average more than 20 years experience in interviewing, evaluating and collecting information across the globe and have been working with premier firms since 2001 to improve investing and business outcomes through application of our unique methodologies." In lieu of a lie detector being hooked up to the Chairman (Simpsons scene comes to mind), this may be one of the better analyses in interpreting what was said... and unsaid.
A comparison between equity and Subordinated CDS (inverted scale) levels on STD (that would be Spanish mega bank Santander) indicates that while stocks are still balls to the wall in hopium, credit is getting far more concerned about both recovery and viability prospects of the bank which is considered by many as the gateway to a full blown Spanish sovereign funding crisis. Where STD goes, so goes Spain. And the last time we checked, equities were right at the expense of credit... never. Is it time to just say not to STD? The CDS certainly says so.
With the Obama economy limping along thanks in part to the Administration’s policies in favor of extreme dollar weakness, there’s growing speculation as to his re-election chances in 2012.
The Great Recession has now earned the dubious right of being compared to the Great Depression. In the face of the most stimulative fiscal and monetary policies in our history, we have experienced the loss of over 7 million jobs, wiping out every job gained since the year 2000. From the moment the Obama administration came into office, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs, only in part-time jobs. This is contrary to all previous recessions. Employers are not recalling the workers they laid off from full-time employment. The real job losses are greater than the estimate of 7.5 million. They are closer to 10.5 million, as 3 million people have stopped looking for work. Equally troublesome is the lower labor participation rate; some 5 million jobs have vanished from manufacturing, long America's greatest strength. Just think: Total payrolls today amount to 131 million, but this figure is lower than it was at the beginning of the year 2000, even though our population has grown by nearly 30 million...The inescapable bottom line is an unprecedented slack in the U.S. labor market. Labor's share of national income has fallen to the lowest level in modern history, down to 57.5 percent in the first quarter as compared to 59.8 percent when the so-called recovery began. This reflects not only the 7 million fewer workers but the fact that wages for part-time workers now average $19,000—less than half the median income.
Yesterday's very disappointing initial claims number was quickly forgotten as algorithms latched on to any positively sounding headline out of Europe in order to push the Dow over the mythical 12,000. Alas, this is very shortsighted, because as Bloomberg economist Joseph Brusuelas is quick to point out, based on historically close Claims-NFP correlations, the June NFP number will be a big miss to expectations, and print in the 75-125K range. This ugly number which will merely further cement the case for further monetary or fiscal stimulus (and forget the latter), will come just in time for the Manufacturing ISM to print sub 50, and send the confirmation that we have all been waiting for that the US economy is now officially contracting.
Christine Lagarde, who is quick to play the gender card, has released her formal statement to the IMF Executive Board pitching her candidacy. As she herself prioritizes her qualifications: "Having clarified this situation let me state the following: I stand here as a woman, hoping to add to the diversity and balance of this institution." etc. Translation: no need to worry I will (allegedly) rape maids, so pick me. Then there's everything else, which for a bailout agency which is now wholly in China's shadow, is very much irrelevant.
- Bernanke Public Approval Falls to Lowest (Bloomberg)
- On Governments as Portfolio Managers (El-Erian) - good read on the distinction between good and bad inflation
- Of Wealth and Incomes: Why Americans are so unhappy with this economic recovery (WSJ Editorial)
- Wen Says China Succeeding in Inflation Battle with Price Gains Set to Slow (Bloomberg)
- EU Halts New Greek Backtrack (WSJ)
- Greek Austerity Measures Still Unclear (Market News)
- Greek Default Insurance Costs Drop (WSJ).... yes, sub 1 point profit taking in 20 pts up CDS is now headline worthy
- Feds to Launch Probe of Google (WSJ)
- Italy’s Draghi Appointed to Succeed Trichet as ECB President (Bloomberg)