- Headline of the day: U.S. Risks Joining 1933 Germany in Pantheon of Deadbeat Defaults (BBG)
- As Senate wrestles over debt ceiling, Obama stays out of sight (Reuters)
- The "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" that threatened to gum up traffic in the capital was a dud as of Friday afternoon (WSJ)
- China New Yuan Loans Top Estimates as Money-Supply Growth Slows (BBG)
- Vegetable prices fuel Chinese inflation (FT)
- China Slowing Power Use Growth Points To Weaker Output Data (MNI)
- London Wealthy Leave for Country Life as Prices Rise (BBG)
- Gulf oil production hits record (FT)
- Every year like clockwork, analysts start out bizarrely optimistic about future results, then “walk down” their forecasts (WSJ)
- Weak Exports Show Limits of China’s Growth Model (WSJ)
We assume it is a coincidence that on the day in which we demonstrate China's relentless appetite for gold, driven by what we and many others believe is the country's desire to have a call option on a gold-backed reserve currency when the time comes, just posted in China's official press agency, Xinhua, is an op-ed by writer Liu Chang in which he decries the "US fiscal failure which warrants a de-Americanized world" and flatly states that the world should consider a new reserve currency "that is to be created to replace the dominant U.S. dollar, so that the international community could permanently stay away from the spillover of the intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States." Of course, if China were serious, and if the world were to voluntarily engage in such a (r)evolutionary reserve currency transition, then all Magic Money Tree theories that the only thing better than near infinite debt is beyond infinite debt, would promptly be relegated to the historic dust heap of idiotic theories where they belong.
Hong Kong's richest are busy offloading local assets which institutions are happy to buy. It's exhibit A why institutional money often represents dumb money.
For the greater part of human history, leaders who were in a position to exercise power were accountable for their actions. The problem we are faced with today is that our political and (frequently) business leaders are not being held responsible for their actions. Thomas Sowell sums it up well: "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." Fortunately, there is an institution that exercises control over the academics at the Fed; it is called the 'real' market economy... and it has badly humbled the professors at the Fed.
On September 5, 2008, Citi's Matt King wrote a report titled "Are the brokers broken?" which in its rhetorical question (the answer was and still is yes), implicitly explained why ten days later the world would experience the largest bankruptcy in the history of western civilization, crushing confidence in the financial system to this day, and forcing the Fed for five consecutive years to be the marginal source of credit money in a "not without training wheels" world in which the longer the central bank is the only backstop of anything and everything, and where failure and risk are prohibited through artificial means, the less faith there is in any and every financial counterparty. So when Matt King sat down to pen his latest warning in which he showed how the world is now "positioning for the wrong sort of recovery", we naturally listened. Below are the key charts which not only show the lifecycle of the source of every modern Keynesian empire's boom and best, namely debt, but why 5 years later, "the slate has still not been wiped clean."
The popular take on the current debt ceiling stand-off is that the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has a delusional belief that it can hit the brakes on new debt creation without bringing on an economic catastrophe. While Republicans are indeed kidding themselves if they believe that their actions will not unleash deep economic turmoil, there are much deeper and more significant delusions on the other side of the aisle. Democrats, and the President in particular, believe that continually taking on more debt to pay existing debt is a more responsible course of action. Even worse, they appear to believe that debt accumulation is the equivalent of economic growth.
Pulling from an extensive record of public speeches and FOMC meeting transcripts, Goldman Sachs reviews Fed Chair-nominee Janet Yellen's views on a number of policy-relevant issues.
Contrary to the all "rose-colored glasses" reports by the Fed released in the past year, which constantly talked up the "economic recovery" only to punk everyone - economists and market participants alike - when it stunned markets with its no taper announcement in September, over fears what this would do to the economy, the Federal Advisory Council's view on things is decidedly less "rosy."
Planned job cuts in the third quarter rose 25% from a year ago. With September jobs cuts up 19% from last year, it represented the fourth month in a row in which job cuts were higher than the same month last year. Despite the current trend, employers are on pace to cut roughly the same number of jobs that were cut last year. We already have declining real wages. Small businesses are geting wiped out by taxes, regulations, and Obamacare. These mega-corporations are firing thousands. Retail and restaurant sales are plunging. Consumers are scared straight and are reducing credit card debt. Government spending in states and localities is declining because they are required to balance their budgets. The Boomers are old, with no savings. They can no longer live in a delusionary credit bubble. Sounds like a reason to buy stocks.
With Gallup indicating the biggest 3-week decline in economic confidence since Lehman, it is hardly a surprise that UMich consumer confidence slumped to its lowest since January having fallen 3 months in a row. This is the 2nd monthly miss in a row - and biggest 3-month drop in 25 months - and appears to confirm the cyclical turn we have been discussing for a few months. And remember, the exuberance of multiple expansion relies on the ever-rising confidence of the people to lift it back to nebulous heights.
Take all the talk about how "soaring" (to below 3%) rates will not impact housing, or that rising rates are great for banks because they help boost Net Interest Margins, and dump it in the trash. Why? Exhibit A - Wells Fargo, the bank which is most reliant on the housing market (unlike such prop trading powerhouses as JPM and Goldman) to generate revenues (which missed expectations) which just announced its Q3 earnings. The numbers of note were not among the fudged top or bottom-line headline grabbers. They were far uglier, and were as follows.
Presented with no comment...
Initial Jobless Claims spike 66k this week, to its 2nd highest print of the year. For 5 weeks in a row we have see initial claims slide lower as the market celebrated multi-year lows and rallied on recovery hopes... and now it's all gone. Continuing claims has also missed expectations for the second week in a row. The Labor department explains this credibility-destroying data as due to the government shutdown and to "glitches" in the California computer system (which were supposedly resolved two weeks ago when the claims number was printing in the mid 200k range) as well as due to 15,000 non-Federal workers filing claims (being fired) due to the government shutdown. Of course, anyone fired in the past week can and likely will say they were fired due to the shutdown. The market shrugged off this data as irrelevant, which it is for the simple reason that initial claims reporting, now flawed for 5 weeks in a row, has become the latest "data" set to succumb to total farcism.
In what had already been exposed as a 'contentious' meeting the minutes of the last Un-Taper FOMC meeting show a Fed in turmoil...
- *MOST FED OFFICIALS SAW QE TAPERING THIS YEAR, HALTING MID-2014
- *FOMC FORECAST `GRADUAL ABATEMENT' OF HEADWINDS SLOWING GROWTH
- *A NUMBER OF FOMC PARTICIPANTS SAW RISING FISCAL POLICY RISK
- *SEVERAL FOMC PARTICIPANTS SAW FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AS TIGHTER
Of course, the question is - will Yellen be a consensus-seeker or dictator?
Pre - S&P 500 Futs 1653, 10Y 2.66%, 10/17 bill 40bps, EUR 1.3515, Gold $1310
Just a few weeks ago, the Icelandic government started threatening to use the European 'template' of removing guarantees on large deposits (though maintaining its capital controls) indirectly pressuring the wealthy to spend (for fear of haircuts). However, the capital controls have backfired as Bloomberg notes, Iceland’s private sector is running out of cash to repay its foreign currency debt, according to the nation’s central bank. The Prime Minister has said that the FX shortfall - exacerbated by his own policy restricting the selling of Krona - is "a matter of huge concern." The government’s biggest challenge is to allow capital to flow freely without triggering a krona sell-off that would cause Iceland’s foreign debt to spike and undermine the nation’s economic recovery.