If Greece gives in, Germany will have won, but its bully status will come to bite it in the face. European nations don’t accept bullying, and certainly not from Germany. It’ll be a Pyrrhic victory: the beginning of the end. If Greece however stands firm in its demands, it’s also curtains for the EU. If Greece leaves, it won’t leave alone. Only the third option, Germany caving to Greek demands, can save the EU. But Merkel and Schäuble have prepped their people to such an extent with the wasteful lazy Greeks narrative that they would have a hard time explaining why they want to give in. The EU may thus fall victim to its own propaganda
It turns out that the next best thing to Greek contagion in this bizarro, centrally-planned world is... anti-contagion.
With historically low long-term interest rates, the opportunity cost of holding gold and silver are close to zero or even negative, in other words you would “lose” money if you buy bonds (the benchmark) instead of gold and silver. When people realize that their money is not “safe” with the banks they will start withdrawing cash from their accounts and buy physical gold and silver instead. Depending on circumstances this could possibly bring down the (fractional) banking system. Why keep money in an account that gives you a negative return? Swiss banks are already witnessing stronger than normal interest for physical gold.
I assume that the overall costs (and risks) of Greece saying "Goodbye To All That" are considered too high by both the Eurogroup and the new Greek government. (In practice: a 5- day bank holiday, issuance of Drachmas, the conversion of euro assets into Drachmas and the announcement that 90% of outstanding debt will no longer be honoured.) Eventually, there will be a compromise aimed primarily at gaining time. The Eurogroup will continue to allow the minimum financing of the Greek state ("extension") and say that they will need time to think how a "debt restructuring" could like like. Mr Tsipras and Mr Varoufakis will be content having secured "bridge funds" for another 6-9 months while still in possession of the trump card "Grexit".
API released its crude oil inventory data to subscribers and it printed an enormous 14.3 million barrel build (EIA tomorrow forecast at 3 million barrel build). This has sparked further weakness in WTI (not helped by refinery strikes, refinery fires, and storage capacities), pushing it to a $50 handle...
The housing and mortgage evangelists on mainstream media are going to have to rewrite their “2015 is going to be a big year for housing!” meme. Nirvana it isn’t.
The January statement had only modest changes so reading the tealeaves of the FOMC Minutes 'should' provide little additional color with the main focus on the meaning of 'patient', fears over 'international developments', the 'right' gauge of inflation, and pace of rate lift-off...
- *MANY FED OFFICIALS INCLINED TO STAY AT ZERO LONGER: MINUTES
- *MANY OFFICIALS FELT DROPPING `PATIENT' MAY LEAD TO DATE FOCUS
- *MANY FED OFFICIALS SAW RISKS IF FOREIGN WEAKNESS WORSENED
- *FED OFFICIALS AGREED POLICY SHOULD STAY DATA DEPENDENT
It appears The Fed is 'worried' again... lower for longerer. Pre-FOMC Minutes: S&P Futs 2091.25, 10Y 2.122%, Gold $1201.50, WTI $52.05
The fact that there is a debate about a quarter-point rate hike tells us that extraordinarily low interest rates have mostly failed to deliver a robust recovery. That people opposed to even the tiniest increase in rates are resorting to hyperbole tells us that they too know this. The thinking seems to be that six years into near-zero policy, the only reason it hasn’t worked is because it hasn’t been tried long enough. Meanwhile, the dangerous side effects of year after year of artificially low rates continue to grow.
There was much confusion yesterday when algos went into a buying frenzy on news that Greece would submit a request for a 6 month loan extension, believing this means Greece has caved and will agree to a bailout programme extension as well. Nothing could have been further from the truth as we explained first moments after the headline struck, and also as Reuters validated moments ago when it said that "Greece will submit a request to the euro zone on Wednesday to extend a "loan agreement" for up to six months but EU paymaster Germany says no such deal is on offer and Athens must stick to the terms of its existing international bailout." But since the political nuances of diplomacy are lost on the math Ph.Ds who program the market-moving algos, the S&P did manage to roar above 2100 on what was another headfake and then forgot to sell off on the reality.
Since the Great Financial Crisis, the only two categories that have seen a net increase in debt are Student and Auto Loans.
While certainly a revision is pending after today's latest, disastrous Eurogroup meeting after which the two sides are further apart from reaching a deal than a week earlier, here is the latest set of questions asked by UBS clients on the topic of "what could go wrong" with the biggest Swiss bank's mutedly optimistic outlook on the "global recovery" (aided no doubt by the biggest intervention of central banks in history) which is characterizes as "uneven", especially when one considered that even UBS itself admitted last week that a "dislocation" in the market (which is "underestimating Grexit Risks") is necessary in order to overcome the Greek impasses.
From here, the question is whether the current uptick is any more than a bout of short-covering which is doomed to relapse and print new lows once the overstretch inherent in an almost uninterrupted 60% plunge is worked off, or whether some more meaningful recovery can be staged. We still have our doubts about the latter outlook and would watch for behaviour near the 2009 low and the old range high (or in terms of the most heavily weighted of the constituents, crude oil, whether it will hold above first $40/bbl then $35). If not, we face the possibility of a reversion to the mean/mode of that 1974-2005 band at a level loosely corresponding to $20/bbl oil.
"European leaders resolved a bitter financial dispute with Greece today, paving the way for Spain and Portugal to join the Common Market at the start of next year. Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou of Greece had threatened to veto an agreement reached this week on Iberian membership unless the other nine members gave Greek farmers $2 billion in special subsidies to help them compete with Spain and Portugal. But after two days of negotiations at a European Economic Community meeting here, Greece was persuaded to accept about $1.4 billion in new agricultural aid in return for lifting its veto threat."
- March 31, 1985
By reviewing the earnings transcripts from the companies of the S&P 500, Goldman Sachs notes 4 key themes emerge from the maelstrom of double-speak, bravado, and actual data (GAAP or non-GAAP). Without question the US Dollar strength is a drag on multinationals and CEOs are resolute in that (despite mainstream media prognostications that 'king dollar' is "unequivocally good") but what CEOs and CFOs seems just as resolutely positive about is that while macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties still exist in Asia and Europe, they expect solid US economic growth in 2015. It appears - given the data - they will be disappointed.