Update: And it gets better. Now Dow Jones:
- Euro-Area Countries Ready To Provide IMF With Bilateral Loans, According To Draft Seen By Dow Jones
Yet earlier today, none other than Mario Draghi said that loans to the IMF to purchase European bonds would be legally unworkable. Brilliant
With just 30 minutes until the close we were cutting it close to a rumorless, headlineless session. So here is Reuters to the rescue:
- ESM BAIL-OUT FUND TO BE GIVEN BANKING LICENCE - DRAFT
- EU DETERMINED TO STRENGTHEN BAILOUT MECHANICS - REUTERS
And from earlier:
- ESM BECOMING A BANK "OFF THE TABLE"
Why The UK Trail Of The MF Global Collapse May Have "Apocalyptic" Consequences For The Eurozone, Canadian Banks, Jefferies And Everyone ElseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/08/2011 00:06 -0400
Reposting by popular demand, and because everyone has to understand the embedded risks in this market, courtesy of the shadow banking system.
In an oddly prescient turn of events, yesterday we penned a post titled "Has The Imploding European Shadow Banking System Forced The Bundesbank To Prepare For Plan B?" in which we explained how it was not only the repo market, but the far broader and massively unregulated shadow banking system in Europe that was becoming thoroughly unhinged, and was manifesting itself in a complete "lock up in interbank liquidity" and which, we speculated, is pressuring the Bundesbank, which is well aware of what is going on behind the scenes, to slowly back away from what will soon be an "apocalyptic" event (not our words... read on). Why was this prescient? Because today, Reuters' Christopher Elias has written the logical follow up analysis to our post, in which he explains in layman's terms not only how but why the lock up has occurred and will get far more acute, but also why the MF Global bankruptcy, much more than merely a one-off instance of "repo-to-maturity" of sovereign bonds gone horribly wrong is a symptom of two things: i) the lax London-based unregulated and unsupervised system which has allowed such unprecedented, leveraged monsters as AIG, Lehman and now as it turns out MF Global, to flourish until they end up imploding and threatening the world's entire financial system, and ii) an implicit construct embedded within the shadow banking model which permitted the heaping of leverage upon leverage upon leverage, probably more so than any structured finance product in the past (up to and including synthetic CDO cubeds), and certainly on par with the AIG cataclysm which saw $2.7 trillion of CDS notional sold with virtually zero margin. Simply said: when one truly digs in, MF Global exposes the 2011 equivalent of the 2008 AIG: virtually unlimited leverage via the shadow banking system, in which there are practically no hard assets backing the infinite layers of debt created above, and which when finally unwound, will create a cataclysmic collapse of all financial institutions, where every bank is daisy-chained to each other courtesy of multiple layers of "hypothecation, and re-hypothecation." In fact, it is a link so sinister it touches every corner of modern finance up to and including such supposedly "stable" institutions as Jefferies, which as it turns out has spent weeks defending itself, however against all the wrong things, and Canadian banks, which as it also turns out, defended themselves against Zero Hedge allegations they may well be the next shoes to drop, as being strong and vibrant (and in fact just announced soaring profits and bonuses), yet which have all the same if not far greater risk factors as MF Global. Yet nobody has called them out on it. Until now.
"This Time Will Not Be Different": Interactive Chart Of Market Reactions To All Prior 2011 Eurozone Summits And MeetingsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/07/2011 21:18 -0400
Looking at this Friday's nth European summit, one could be forgiven to forget that so far in 2011 there have been no less than 10 Eurozone finance minister meetings and summits. TEN. And courtesy of Reuters we have an annotated overlay of the MSCI Eurozone bank index' performance so far in 2011. Unfortunately, one quick glance at the chart leads us to two very sad conclusions: i) the time will not be different, and ii) a "favorable" market response will require an hourly barrage of FT/Guardian/La Stampa/Nikkei rumors just to get the ES green, if only for a few minutes. So without further ado, here is the interactive annotated superimposed analysis showing the Eurozone historical meetings/summits and the reaction in bank stocks, Greek and Italian bonds, and the all important Euro.
Attempt Made On Deutsche Bank Head's Life: Explosive Package Addressed To CEO Intercepted, ECB Return Address GivenSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/07/2011 16:38 -0400
It seems that popular anger at the banker minority will no longer be confined to tent-based vigils in public parks. In Germany, someone just escalated a bit to quite a bit. The irony, in this case, is that the package was addressed from the ECB. If it weren't for a potentially sensitive topic, the amusing implications could be severe. From Reuters: "A suspected parcel bomb addressed to Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann was intercepted at a Deutsche office in Frankfurt on Wednesday, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said. The package was discovered around 1 p.m. Frankfurt time (7 a.m. EST/1200 GMT) in a mailroom, the official said. Initial analyses by investigators confirmed that it contained explosives and extra shrapnel, he told Reuters. A spokesman for Deutsche Bank in New York declined to comment. After receiving reports about the package, the New York Police Department stepped up security around Deutsche Bank's offices in New York and also notified corporate security executives around the city, the law enforcement official said. The official said the suspected bomb carried a return address from the European Central Bank, which is also headquartered in Frankfurt."
New Independent Research: Gold Is Crucial Diversification - Hedge Against Monetary and Systemic RiskSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/07/2011 10:39 -0400
More excellent independent research was released yesterday confirming gold's unique role as a diversifier and foundation asset in the portfolios of investors, especially at a time of heightened currency and investment risk. The independent research from highly respected New Frontier Advisors (NFA) confirms the importance of gold as a portfolio diversifier to investors in Europe and to investors exposed to the euro. During a period of extraordinarily serious economic uncertainty in the Eurozone, continued concerns about economic growth in the US heading into an election year, and the possibility of an economic slowdown in China, the World Gold Council (WGC) wanted to examine the relevance of gold as a strategic asset for euro-based investors to protect their portfolios and to mitigate the systemic risks being faced. The report, ‘Gold as a strategic asset for European investors’, commissioned by the World Gold Council, explores gold as a strategic asset across five sets of asset allocation studies, including four using historical data spanning 1986 to 2010, and one using the 1999 to 2010 time frame. The third party research builds on the now considerable research and academic literature showing that gold adds significant diversifying power due to its low or negative correlation with most other assets in an investment portfolio. Gold’s relevance as a strategic asset is continuing to grow. This will continue in a world facing the real risk of a global recession and even a Depression, poor investment returns, currency devaluations and wars and very high monetary and systemic risk. Put simply, when used as a foundation asset, gold has preserved wealth throughout history and again today.
- According to the FT, last-minute negotiations have commenced to create a much bigger financial "bazooka" to present at this week's EU summit that could include running ESM and EFSF together as well as winning increased support for the IMF. However, the report was later denied by a senior German government official
- According to a senior German government official, he is more pessimistic than last week on overall summit deal. He also said that he can't foresee running EFSF and ESM simultaneously, and he is not sure if the summit will reach conclusion on using IMF funds in the Eurozone crisis
- ECB funding to Italian banks rose to EUR 153.2bln at the end of November from EUR 111.3bln at the end of October
- Bund futures received a boost following a strong Bobl auction from Germany
- ECB allotted USD 50.685bln in its 3-month USD operation vs. Exp. USD 10bln
- CHF moved lower after the SNB slashed its 7-day USD repo rate, and weakened further after a Swiss minister said that Switzerland is still looking at negative rate options
- Euro zone leaders may raise ESM, EFSF capacity limit (Reuters) - since denied by Germany
- EU talks on doubling financial firewall (FT) - since denied by Germany
- Martin Wolf: Merkozy failed to save the Eurozone (FT)
- Ireland to seek cheaper bail-out (FT)
- Fast-track ‘fiscal compact’ drawn up (FT)
- Clarke rejects call for EU power grab (FT)
- Obama Sets Campaign Theme as ‘Make-or-Break Moment’ for the U.S. Economy (Bloomberg)
- Spain Weighing a Fast, Costly Cleanup of Banks (WSJ)
As expected, virtually everyone, or a total of 39 banks (compared to 2 the week prior), scrambled to receive dollars from the ECB following the cut in the USD swap line rate from OIS + 100 to OIS + 50. Specifically, $50.7 billion in 84 day swaps (34 banks asking for dollars at a new and reduced rate of 0.59%) and $1.6 billion in 7 day swaps (5 banks at 0.58%) was just opened for a total of $52.3 billion. The expectation had been that just about $10 billion would be demanded, indicating how close to the cliff Europe's banks had been. This compares to just over $2 billion in the week before, and demonstrates the severity in the funding market that threatened to topple European banks like dominos last week until precisely a week ago the global central bank cartel announced an emergency dollar funding band aid. Reuters confirms: "Banks took more than $50 billion from the European Central Bank on Wednesday in its first offering since slashing the cost of borrowing dollars, a sign that some euro zone banks have problems finding dollar funding as the region's debt crisis intensifies." Elsewhere dollar libor continued to rise, passing 0.54% for the first time in years. This will continue rising as the self-reported dollar funding cost closes down to the OIS+50 differential, or where European banks can borrow from the Fed. And now that the dollar funding squeeze has been confirmed, all eyes turn to the ECB's LTRO announcement tomorrow. "What really matters is what the ECB does tomorrow afternoon, and in that especially what they do with the long-term refinancing operations (LTROs) and on the collateral rules," Societe General economist Michala Marcussen said. "What would be extremely helpful right now is if we get longer maturity LTROs." The ECB is expected to announce ultra-long 2-year or even 3-year refinancing operations after its meeting on Thursday." Needless to say, all these are stopgap liquidity measure to fix what is increasingly a pan European (in)solvency crisis, and thus will achieve nothing in the long run. And what is worse is that the non-USD liquidity indicators have once again hit an inflection point and turned negative: 3-mo Euribor/OIS spread rose to 1.002 vs 0.999 yesterday, near last wk’s high of 1.006 which was most stressed since March 2009. In other words, as we have been saying, the funding squeeze has now managed to shift away from USDs and is impacting the EUR market itself, something the Fed has no control over.
Investor Demand Soars For German 5 Year Paper As Germany Refutes FT Rumor, Lofty Summit ExpectationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/07/2011 08:07 -0400
Following late November's disastrous 10 year Bund auction, in which the goal seekers saw everything from a failure of the repo market to the Bundesbank trying to fail the auction on purpose, yet which was nothing more than a simple case of little demand and high supply, today, following a steady leak wider in yields in the entire bund curve, Germany sold €4.09 billion in 1.25% 5 year bonds, with the maximum amount of €5 billion selling easily following bids for a total of €8.67 billion. The Buba retained €0.91 billion, which it always does, and is not an indication of some ulterior motive to have the ECB bailout Europe. As expected the Bid To Cover was a soaring 2.1x compared to 1.5x on the last 5 year auction on November 2. In other words, a stunning success and demonstrating what happens when you actually have demand for paper following a decline in prices. Below are the Wall Street responses to this strong auction. So that takes care of that. What is more important, and why futures are down is that as expected, yesterday's deux ex FT was promptly denied by Germany after a "senior German official" spoke to Reuters and said they are "not sure if summit will reach conclusion on using IMF funds in eurozone crisis" and "can't forsee running EFSF and ESM simultaneously". They have also said they are "more pessimistic than last week on overall summit deal". In other words, look for many moresuccessful Bund auctions as things resume their downward trajectory all over again.
Attached is today's picture of a 'touching' moment of "someone else has to pay for it" European cohesion.
While everyone was celebrating "record" black Friday sales, we noted that the bulk of this was due to sales channels taking on negative margins, and due to a "cash for clunkers" like effect in which future sales were pulled forward. Sure enough, we now learn that this is precisely the case, after Reuters reports that "more than a third of U.S. shoppers are already done with most of their holiday shopping, a survey showed on Monday, signaling that retailers need to offer bigger incentives to win sales in the few weeks before Christmas... About 32 percent of people surveyed by America's Research Group said they finished a majority of their Christmas shopping in November. Last month included Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when stores pulled out all the stops on discounts to woo shoppers during their biggest season of the year. More than 6 percent completed most of their holiday shopping in the first weekend of December." In other words so much for holiday shopping as a driver of stocks, as there is no way that the remaining two thirds of shoppers can carry the entire season regardless of what massive discounts retailers provide. This is also quite disturbing for US GDP which relies primarily on PCE as a driver to growth (although when that fails retailers can pretend they are stocking up on inventory), and will likely mean that banks which most recently (as of a week ago), had an upgrade round to Q4 GDP will be forced to promptly cut it back down. Lastly, as Rosenberg noted yesterday, once the bills come in January, that's when the wheels will really come off, just in time for the non-extension in the payroll tax.
Japan will reward investors who buy reconstruction bonds with half an ounce of gold, an added incentive that could boost the return by nearly six times according to Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi. Individual investors who purchase more than 10 million yen ($129,000) in the debt with a 0.05 percent return and keep it for three years will receive a gold commemorative coin weighing 15.6 grams (0.55 ounces), the Finance Ministry said in Tokyo today, worth about $948 based on current prices for the precious metal. The offer suggests the return could be boosted to 89,000 yen should gold prices remain at current levels, more than the approximate 15,000 yen one would receive from the bond. The coupon on conventional three-year retail government debt to be sold on Jan. 16 is 0.18 percent. 10 year debt remains near multi record lows of 1%. Silver coins weighing 31.1 grams issued as 1,000 yen currency will be distributed to those who own more than 1 million yen of the bonds, the government said. The coins will be offered for debt going on sale in March. All investors receive a thank-you note from the minister, who showed his to reporters in Tokyo today as proof of his purchase. Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura also bought the bonds, Azumi said, without saying how much. This is a sign that the Japanese government like governments internationally is very concerned that they will not be able to sell their government debt.