Reuters

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Gold Sentiment Improving - Market Looks For Signal This Week





Gold held steady above $1,620/oz on Monday, as investors wait for the central banks from Europe and the US to give definite signs on their plans for more QE. QE3 would be bullish for gold and increase the inflation outlook which would benefit gold as a hedge against the rising prices. The public is now interested in the yellow metal again, with investors adding to their physical positions. Market watchers will take their clues from the data out this week. More investors are trading euro gold than ever before and  using euro gold as the barometer of internal health of the gold market right now, says analyst Edel Tully of UBS.  Euro gold is up 9% this year versus US dollar gold's +3% performance. The markets await the Fed’s move.  Certainly some form of QE3 is inevitable whether it is announced this week or at the next FOMC meeting scheduled in early September

 
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Frontrunning: July 30





  • Schäuble View on Eurozone at Odds With US (FT)
  • Juncker: Euro zone leaders, ECB to act on Euro (Reuters)
  • German Banks Cut Back Periphery Lending (FT)
  • Monetary Policy Role in EU Debt Crisis Limited: Zoellick (CNBC)
  • Bond Trading Loses Some Swagger Amid Upheaval (NYT)
  • As first reported on ZH, Deflation Dismissed by Bond Measure Amid QE3 Anticipation (Bloomberg)
  • Record Cash Collides With Yen as Topix Valuation Nearing Low (Bloomberg) - but, but, all the cash on the sidelines...
  • Greek Leaders Agree Most Cuts, Lenders Stay On – Source (Reuters)
  • Chinese Investment in US 'set for record year' (China Daily)
 
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Eurogroup Head Confirms "It Has Become Serious", As He Is Back To Lying





The insolvent banana continent is back. Recall back in May 2011: 

When it becomes serious, you have to lie." -Jean Claude Juncker

Ergo, things in Europe are very serious again because the Eurogroup's head, who until recently promised he was quitting his post because "he had gotten tired of the Franco-German interference in managing the region's debt crisis", only to spoil the fun and say he was lying about that too, is back to doing what he does best - lying. To wit: "the euro countries are preparing together with the bailout fund EFSF and the European Central Bank to buy government bonds if necessary clip euro countries." And now cue Schauble: "Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has rejected speculation about impending purchases of government bonds by Spanish EFSF and ECB."

 
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September: Crunchtime For Europe And Germany





"September will undoubtedly be the crunch time," one senior euro zone policymaker said. "In nearly 20 years of dealing with EU issues, I've never known a state of affairs like we are in now," one euro zone diplomat said this week. "It really is a very, very difficult fix and it's far from certain that we'll be able to find the right way out of it."

 
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Spain Discussed €300 Billion Full Bailout, Germany "Uncomfortable"





While the EUR was soaring, and Spanish bond yield were (very briefly) plunging in the past 48 hours, the reality behind the scenes was very different than what was blasted publicly in the headlines. Namely, Spain was on the verge of requesting a full blown sovereign bailout, one which would see it become the next country after Greece, Ireland and Portugal to fall under the Troika's control. From Reuters: "Spain has for the first time conceded it might need a full EU/IMF bailout worth 300 billion euros ($366 billion) if its borrowing costs remain unsustainably high, a euro zone official said. Economy Minister Luis de Guindos brought up the issue with German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble in a meeting in Berlin last Tuesday as Spain's borrowing costs soared past 7.6 percent, the source said. If needed, the money would come on top of the 100 billion euros already agreed to prop up Spain's banking sector, stretching the euro zone's resources to breaking point, and Schaeuble told de Guindos he was unwilling to consider a rescue before the currency bloc's ESM bailout fund comes on line later this year." So why the sudden attempt to talk up European risk in the last two days? Simple - Germany did not agree to fund Spain's bailout. Which meant it was suddenly up to Europe's apparatchiks to jawbone markets into cooperation. "De Guindos was talking about 300 billion euros for a full program, but Germany was not comfortable with the idea of a bailout now," the official told Reuters."

 
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Frontrunning: July 27





  • Bundesbank Maintains Opposition to ECB Bond Buying (WSJ)
  • Greek Budget Talks Stumble as EU Urges Samaras to Deliver (Bloomberg)
  • Fortified by euro, Finns take bailouts on the chin (Reuters)
  • China Job Market for Graduates Shows Stress on Slowdown (Bloomberg)
  • China Exports Fade as Inflation Eludes Targets: Cutting Research (Bloomberg)
  • Japan Falters as Ito Calls for Euro Buys to Rein in Yen: Economy (Bloomberg)
  • Government weighs social insurance reforms (China Daily)
  • Colombia’s Split Central Bank to Weigh First Rate Cut Since 2010 (Bloomberg)
 
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As Europe Desperately Attempts To Talk Down Bond Yields Further, Bundesbank Finally Says "Nein"





Following two days of desperate attempts by the ECB to talk down record peripheral bond yields without any actual action, it is only logical that while Merkel is on holiday, we get a third day of talking to buy some time purely thanks to rhetoric and jawboning, before the Chancellor comes back and spoils the party. Sure enough, here it comes via French Le Monde, whose host nation knows very well that after Spain and Italy, France is next:

  • ECB PREPARING TO BUY SPANISH, ITALIAN DEBT, LE MONDE SAYS

But while the cat may be away, the Bundesbank has decided to take at least some matters into its own hands:

  • BUNDESBANK SAYS IT HASN’T CHANGED STANCE ON ECB BOND BUYING, REMAINS OPPOSED TO FURTHER BOND BUYING BY THE ECB

Then just to confirm that nobody in Europe has any clue what is going on and its politicians are now just making things up on the fly, we get this:

  • HOLLANDE-MERKEL TO SPEAK BY PHONE AT 1 PM ON HELP: LE MONDE

And the logical response:

  • STREITER SAYS `DOESN'T KNOW' ABOUT MERKEL-HOLLANDE CALL

Sigh - when one sees such relentless lies and confusion what else can one say but... "Europe."

 
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In Case Of Collapsing Earnings, Expand Multiples And Pray





Both earnings and revenues for 2012 have been cut dramatically in the last three months, rejuvenating a sliding consensus trend for 2012 that began in the middle of last year, and now Q3 expectations are negative YoY for the first time since Q3 2009. However, as we are told again and again, the economy must be doing fine because the market is up so much in that period. In fact, what is even more fun to hear is that the market is cheap (never mind the incredulous hockey-stick expectations for Q4 this year). In fact, the market is not cheap at all. The correlation between the S&P 500 in the last two years and the P/E multiple shows that performance has been driven almost entirely by multiple-expansion alone. Forward P/E is now getting close to recent peaks suggesting the market is far from cheap and on a longer-term view (based on both an as-reported and operating basis), the S&P 500 appears expensive - and perhaps these charts will re-anchor whatever cognitive bias that seems to pervade the long-only manager's herding mentality.

 
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Hong Kong Completing 1,000 Ton Gold Vault





In Hong Kong they are completing work on its largest gold vault due to open in September which can hold 22% of the gold that is in the US facility Fort Knox.   The new secure storage facility will compete with services set up by the Airport Authority Hong Kong in 2009 that serviced governments, commodity exchanges, bullion banks, refiners, wealthy individuals and exchange-traded funds. The new facility is within the international airport compound and its capacity is 1,000 metric tons. This signals the growing interest from China currently the world’s second largest consumer of gold in owning physical gold bullion.  

 
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Frontrunning: July 26





  • Draghi Says ECB To Do Whatever Needed As Yields Threaten Europe (Bloomberg)
  • Spain not mulling seeking further EU help (Reuters)... and it won't need a Bank bailout either. Oh wait
  • Weak lending adds pressure for ECB action (Reuters)
  • Sweden's economy still resilient to eurozone woes (Reuters)
  • Bo Xilai’s Wife, Zhang Xiaojun, Prosecuted for Homicide (Xinhua)
  • China’s Changsha City Unveils $130 Billion Investment Plan (Bloomberg)
  • Foreclosure Filings Increase in 60% of Large U.S. Cities (Bloomberg)
  • Free ECB’s hand to aid states, says minister (FT)
  • Hungarian Premier Says Aid Deal Not Near (WSJ)
  • Nomura Chief Resigns Over Insider Trading Scandal (NYT)
 
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Frontrunning: July 25





  • ECB's Nowotny - ESM banking license could be advantageous (Reuters) - just keep regurgitating headlines until they generate a short squeeze
  • IMF Says China Downside Risks Significant as Growth Slows (Bloomberg)
  • Moody's cuts outlook on EU stability facility to negative (Reuters)
  • Rome places spending controls on Sicily (FT)
  • Big banks' glory days feared to be gone for good (Reuters)
  • China's CNOOC scoped Nexen, partnered, then pounced (Reuters)
  • Germany backs Spanish austerity plans (FT)
  • Are 2012 Games one too many for London? (Reuters)
  • Euro Crisis Spreading East Damps Growth, Development Bank Says (Bloomberg)
  • Japan Flags Yen-Sales Impact as BOJ Eyes More Easing (Bloomberg)
 
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Nowotny "Hilsenraths" EUR, Futures By Reviving Doomed "Red Herring" Discussion Of ESM Banking License





Europe is once again scrambling by clutching at broken straws and juggling dead ends.  To wit: instead of actually proposing a realistic solution to its massive debt overhang, the ECB's Ewald Nowotny "said there are arguments in favor of giving Europe’s rescue fund a banking license, reviving the debate on bolstering its firepower as leaders face the prospect of a full-scale Spanish bailout." As a reminder, this is an absolute dead end that Germany and the ECB have both repeatedly rejected as implementation would confirm just how hollow the European gutted shadow banking market (you can't have shadow banking without credible collateral). Further slamming the Nowotny comment was Daiwa which called the Nowotny statetment a Red Herring and that "remarks that ECB council member sees arguments for giving bailout fund banking license "look to be just noise," Grant Lewis, head of research at Daiwa Capital Markets Europe, says in client note. Comments appear to have been off the cuff and purely personal opinion; such a move remains “highly improbable,” as Germany and ECB “implacably opposed” to this. Finally Daiwa adds that markets will soon focus again on fact that if ESM can’t be activated in early autumn, there’s no money available to bail out Spain, “let alone Italy." 

 
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British Double Dip Accelerates Following "Terrible" GDP Data





If the UK was desperately hoping for a "terrible" economic print, it got it this morning after preliminary Q2 GDP printed 0.7% on expectations of a -0.2% decline, following a -0.3% drop in Q1, cementing the country's double dip collapse. Reuters explains: "The Office for National Statistics said Britain's gross domestic product fell 0.7 percent in the second quarter, the sharpest fall since early 2009 and a bigger drop than any of the economists surveyed in a Reuters poll last week had expected. The figures confirmed that Britain is mired in its second recession since the financial crisis, with the economy shrinking for a third consecutive quarter. It will add pressure on Osborne to get the economy growing again after a crisis that has left many Britons poorer as rising prices and higher taxes ate up meager wage increases. Sterling hit its lowest in nearly two weeks against the dollar after the data, and government bond prices rallied on speculation that the Bank of England may have to provide more economic stimulus than expected. Earlier this month the BoE has announced another 50 billion pound program of gilt purchases with newly created money to soften a grim economic outlook, but Wednesday's data is likely to add to market speculation that it may cut interest rates later this year. "This is terrible data. Frankly there's nothing good that comes out of these numbers at all," said Peter Dixon, an economist at Commerzbank. "The economy looks to be badly holed below the water line at this stage. It's a far worse period of activity than we'd expected."" Amusingly, according to Goldman "It is difficult to reconcile the weakness of today’s official GDP data with any other indicator of economic or labour market activity." We knew the peripherals were doing all they can to sabotage their economies and be eligible for more aid and bailouts. But the UK?

 
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Frontrunning: July 24





  • Greece now in "Great Depression", PM says (Reuters)
  • Geithner "Washington must act to avoid damaging economy" (Reuters)
  • Moody’s warns eurozone core (FT)
  • Germany Pushes Back After Moody’s Lowers Rating Outlook (Bloomberg)
  • Austria's Fekter says Greek euro exit not discussed (Reuters)
  • In Greek crisis, lessons in a shrimp farm's travails (Reuters)
  • Fed's Raskin: No government backstop for banks that do prop trading (Reuters)
  • Campbell Chases Millennials With Lentils Madras Curry (Bloomberg)
 
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