"If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door. If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving. And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read."
Since 2012, there’s been an unprecedented call from foreign nations to repatriate their gold from Federal Reserve vaults in the U.S. This is an incredible development given many countries’ 71-year reliance on the Fed as a custodian for their bullion. Something huge must of happened in the last few years to prompt such action. That something may be a break in foreign gold holders’ trust in the Fed as a custodian of their precious metals.
There is a practical benefit to shifting our attention away from the stock market. Any market that can yo-yo 10% within a day for no apparent reason, or undergo multiple booms and busts in a 20 year period should not be given too much credibility. The wealth-effect on the way up always turns into the wealth-destruction effect on the way down.
This is how DB summarizes what has been the primary feature of capital markets this week - the huge move in European bond yields: "On April 17th, 10-year Bunds traded below 0.05% intra-day. Two and a half weeks later and yesterday saw bunds close around 1000% higher than those yield lows at 0.516% after rising +6.2bps on the day." Right out of the European open today, the government bond selloff accelerated with the 10Y Bund reaching as wide as 0.595% with the periphery following closely behind when at 9:30am CET sharp, just as the selloff seemed to be getting out of control, it reversed and out of nowhere and a furious buying wave pushed the Bund and most peripheral bonds unchanged or tighter on the day! Strange, to say the least. Also, illiquid.
"If you were to ask me, since we’re making forward-looking statements, what will the second quarter look like in Las Vegas? Weak. Do you hear me? Weak. So I’m trying to lower expectations here. This notion of a big recovery is a complete dream," Steve Wynn says, underscoring not only the weakness in gaming revenue from the Vegas strip to Macau, but also the fact that there simply is no economic recovery in the US.
And the 'incidents' just keep coming for Japan. Lax safety checks at Kwai Chung container terminal - the only sea entry point for food from overseas - have allowed banned imports from Japan to enter Hong Kong, according to Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan. As The South China Morning Post reports, radioactive contaminated food may have been entering the city unnoticed for years because of deficiencies in safety controls on fresh produce since the ban following the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident in 2011.
With the Federal Reserve now indicating that they are "really serious" about raising interest rates, there have come numerous articles and analysis discussing the impact on asset prices. The general thesis, based on averages of historical tendencies, suggests there are still at least three years left to the current business cycle. However, at current levels, the window between a rate hike and recession has likely closed rather markedly.
To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, anyone who wants the government and Federal Reserve to create a housing recovery, deserves to get it good and hard, like a four by four to the side of their head. Subprime mortgages, subprime auto loans, and subprime student loans driven by preposterously low interest rates are the liquefying foundation of this fake economic recovery. Most rational people would agree that loaning money to people who will eventually default is not a good idea. But it is the underpinning of everything the Fed and government apparatchiks have done to keep this farce going a little while longer. It will not end well – Again.
The world economy is in the grips of a dangerous delusion. As the great boom that began in the 1990s gave way to an even greater bust, policymakers resorted to the timeworn tricks of financial engineering in an effort to recapture the magic. In doing so, they turned an unbalanced global economy into the Petri dish of the greatest experiment in the modern history of economic policy. They were convinced that it was a controlled experiment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This was the “Rubicon” moment: the instant at which Central Banks gave up pretending that their actions or policies were aimed at anything resembling public good or stability
Greenlight's David Einhorn has come out swinging at the Fed-fueled fracking frenzy and, after pointing out facts that are extremely widely known, and have been explained innumerable times here, sent Shale stocks tumbling... led by the so-called "MotherFracker" - Pioneer Natural Resources... Einhorn concludes, "Either way the frackers are fracked."
1) governments are unable to eliminate deficits
2) global government debt is increasing exponentially
3) 0% interest rates are allowing governments to borrow more to pay off old loans and fund deficits
4) Global growth is declining despite money printing and bailouts And, we've saved the latest and greatest fact for last: as stunning as 0% interest rates sound, the mathematically-challenged-fantasyland called Europe has just one upped everyone by introducing NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES.
Morgan Stanley breaks down the buyback-equity rally relationship while WSJ flags "big borrowing" by both corporations and investors. In short: corporate debt issuance is at record levels and so are buybacks, stock prices, and margin accounts. When the cycle finally turns, look out below.
Quickly looking at the potential market moving events this week, US payrolls on Friday will be the clear focus. In terms of expectations, our US colleagues are expecting a +225k print which matches the current Bloomberg consensus, while they expect the unemployment rate to drop one-tenth to 5.4%. Elsewhere, Thursday’s UK Election will be closely followed while Greece will once again be front and center.
Unfortuantely, until three things change dramatically, there will never be a capex boom, corporate revenues will keep declining, and companies will continue artificially inflating their stock prices by diverting every last profitable dollar into instant gratification for "activist" shareholders (and option-compensated management) instead of investing into long-term growth.