As of today, we now have three consecutive quarters of tightening lending standards. In fact, based on the latest survey, net lending standards tightened even more than during Q4 as shown in the chart below, and are now the tightest on net since the financial crisis. Needless to say, if a recession and a default cycle has always followed two quarters of tighter lending conditions, three quarters does not make it better.
Bernanke's Former Advisor: "People Would Be Stunned To Know The Extent To Which The Fed Is Privately Owned"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/12/2016 18:23 -0400
Earlier today, former central bank staffer and Dartmouth College economics professor Andrew Levin, special adviser to then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke between 2010 to 2012, said something shocking. "A lot of people would be stunned to know” the extent to which the Federal Reserve is privately owned." Is the truth finally starting to come out?
In a quiet start to the week following last week's surprisingly strong rebound which followed a stronger than expected jobs report (perhaps to demonstrate that good news is once again good news), Japan stocks continued to sink as the USDJPY dropped to fresh lows, while commodities declined for a fifth day as the supply glut from crude to copper weighed on prices, dragging down commodity currencies. European equities rose, rebounding from a one-month low.
The result of the recent mega short squeeze in oil, has been a significant revulsion to shorting oil directly or indirectly, either by way of the underlying commodity or energy stocks, many of which have soared in tandem. And yet the shorts remain, and continue to press their bets on the troubled energy sector. However, instead of directly shorting crude and various first-derivative oil and gas companies, short sellers - burned by the recent squeeze - have changed their strategy and shifted their sights to secondary exposure, namely those regional banks that do business with the industry.
With Europe back from Easter break, we are seeing a modest continuation of the dollar strength witnessed every day last week, which in turn is pressuring oil and the commodity complex, and leading to some selling in US equity futures (down 0.2% to 2024) ahead of today's main event which is Janet Yellen's speech as the Economic Club of New York at 12:20pm, an event which judging by risk assets so far is expected to be far more hawkish than dovish: after all the S&P 500 is north of 2,000 for now.
"The jump in basis swaps is an extremely serious problem,” said Hidetoshi Ohashi, the chief credit strategist in Tokyo at Mizuho. "If it continues widening, financial firms will need to reduce their overseas holdings or diversify their investments into other regions."
Today Janet Yellen and the FOMC will go back to square one and try to reset global expectations unleashed by the ill-fated December rate "policy mistake" hike, when at 2pm the Fed will announce assessment of the economy, even if not rate hike is expected today. Just like in December the Fed will be forced to telegraph that it is hiking rates as a signal of a strengthening US, and global, economy where "risks are balanced" and hope that the subsequent global reaction will not be a rerun of what happened in January and February when confusion about the Fed's intentions led to a global market rout.
It Was True After All: The Government Is "Breathing Down The Neck Of Banks To Limit Their Energy Exposure"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/21/2016 17:18 -0400
As it turns out what we reported about the Dallas Fed was spot on after all: "The OCC is breathing down the neck of the large commercial banks to limit their energy exposure."
Not even this morning's mandatory European open ramp has been able to push US equity futures higher, and as a result moments ago the E-mini hit session lows on rising concerns about Brexit as talks drag on in Brussles, but mostly as a result of overnight confusion about China's loan explosion and whether the PBOC has lost control over its maniacally-lending banks.
"Now, while your borrowing base might be upheld, there will be minimum liquidity requirements before capital can be accessed. It is hitting the OFS sector as well. As one banker put it, "we are looking to save ourselves now," with banks selling company debt for as low as $0.10 on the dollar on companies that only had a 50-75% borrow rates to start."
S&P Downgrades Banks With Highest Energy Exposure; Expects "Sharp Increase" In Non-Performing AssetsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/09/2016 18:35 -0400
Moments ago S&P continued its downgrade cycle, this time taking the axe to the regional banks with the highest energy exposure due to "expectations for higher loan losses." Specifically, its lowered its long-term issuer credit ratings on four U.S. regional banks by one notch: BOK Financial Corp., Comerica Inc., Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc., and Texas Capital Bancshares. The outlooks on these banks are negative.
Simply put, either large cap Financials are cheap, or the entire U.S. equity market is still overpriced. Their precipitous decline year to date means markets fear they are both the transmission mechanism for a global slowdown/recession to come and a primary victim of that event.
"HY primary markets are all but shut except for very high quality issuers. And if this trend continues for a while (the probability of which in our opinion is very high), we could envision a world where enterprises, big and small, find it harder to acquire financing across all industries, leading to widespread defaults, even outside of commodities."
PLANNED MARCH SALE OF 10-YEAR JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BONDS THROUGH BANKS TO BE CANCELED AMID EXPECTED BELOW-ZERO YIELDS - NIKKEI
JAPAN'S MINISTRY OF FINANCE IS EXPECTED TO ANNOUNCE WEDNESDAY THE FIRST-EVER DECISION TO CALL OFF SALES OF 10-YEAR JGBS- NIKKEI