As expected, the stench in market rigging, be it Libor, FX, gold or anything else, goes to the very top...
With the USDJPY repeatedly hitting 116.00 as a result of the same pair of headlines hitting either Reuters, the Nikkei or Sankei every 6 or so hours for the past 3 days, namely that Japan will delay its sales tax hike by almost two years, and that Abe is preparing early elections, perhaps the algos realized they were pricing in the same event about 4 times in one day, and unable to break the 7-year-high resistance level, slid dropping nearly 100 pips to just over 115 at least check, which may well be today's "tractor" level, which in turn has also dragged down both European stocks and US futures. But the thing that made the vacuum tubes really spark is that at a press conference yesterday in Beijing, Abe was quoted as saying that he "has never made any reference to the dissolution of parliament", this came after the chief cabinet secretary Suga saying that the decision on whether or not to go to the polls would be Abe’s only.
As one would expect with half the market away, US equity volumes were terrible (but fiunnily enough not much worse than yesterday) with most major indices trading in a very tight range around unchanged. Overnight strength in stocks on the back of USDJPY's momo ignition after Reuters headlines on Japan tax delays. Trannies, however, surged out of the gate, stalled into the European close, tumbled on oil weakness, then rallied back in the last hour - amid now news. Treasury futures were very quiet and went nowhere. The real story of the day was in the FX markets, which saw notable USD weakness led by EUR and AUD strength, and a late day rally in JPY (USDJPY tagged 116.00 stops then faded... that's 8 handles in 9 days). The USD weakness - which started around the European close - sparked a rally in copper, gold, and silver (and gold miners surged). Oil prices tested cycle lows before also bouncing back in a v-shaped recovery to close higher. Despite early intraday record highs in Dow and S&P futures, they ended practically unchanged as VIX was notably divergent. Late-day panic-buying lifted the Dow (+0.007%), S&P, and Russell 2000 green.
Currency wars are set to warm up again, after Japan's radical decision to further debase its currency through an intensification of already significant monetary easing. There was a palpable coldness from China's Premier Xi Jinping as he greeted Japan's President Abe at the APEC summit in Beijing.
Things just got much worse for Ukraine, which has been on life support by its "western allies" ever since the US State Department-coup early in the year. Because those same allies look like they may have had enough. According to Reuters, some in Brussels are disillusioned by the experience of helping Ukraine. EU generosity in waiving import duties and funding gas supplies from Russia may be being abused, they say. "Some in Ukraine's elite may be colluding with Russia, even as fighting in the east has begun to escalate again. "The Ukrainians are manipulating the EU," a senior EU official involved in negotiations told Reuters, saying the bloc was "waking up" to a need to better defend its own interests."
- No Sign of Thaw in Obama’s Brief Encounters With Putin (BBG)
- Japan Lawmakers Prepare for Snap Elections as Abe Mulls Tax (BBG)
- Global stocks rise, Brent crude hits four-year low (Reuters)
- U.S., China to Drop Tariffs on Range of Tech Products (WSJ)
- ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ Rule Would Raise Bar for Bank Capital (WSJ) ... and mean even bigger taxpayer bailouts
- Pot in New York: $100 Ticket. No Charges. No Record. No Nothing (BBG)
- Microsoft unveils first Lumia smartphone without Nokia name (Reuters)
- Davos-Man Ackermann Lured to Cyprus Bank by Billionaires (BBG)
- Alibaba, Apple Talks on Payments Tie-Up Focused on China (WSJ)
With the bond market closed today due to Veteran's Day and the correlation and momentum ignition algos about to go berserk without any parental supervision, it was only a matter of time before some "stray" headline sent first the carry pair of choice, i.e., the USDJPY, and subsequently its derivative, the Emini, into the stratosphere. And sure enough, just before 3am Eastern, it was once again Reuters' turn to leak, only this time not about the ECB but Japan, as usual citing an unnamed "government official close to Abe's office", that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was likely to delay a planned sales tax increase.
- JAPAN MORE LIKELY TO DELAY SALES TAX INCREASE, REUTERS REPORTS
Which of course is a repeat of what Reuters said 2 days ago but since it came on the weekend, the momentum ignition algos didn't notice. The result was an instant surge in the USDJPY, which shortly thereafter touched on 116.00 the highest level in 7 years, and is up now 200 pips since yesterday as the obliteration of Japan's economy proceeds, in turn pushing European stocks, and shortly, the S&P, higher
Manipulation of markets can work effectively in the short term. However, in the long term prices will be dictated by the global supply and the global demand of 7 billion people, many in Asia who believe in gold as a store of wealth. Not to mention, sovereign central banks including the People’s Bank of China and the Russian central bank - who also believe in gold as an important monetary asset.
Following the massacre of 43 students who were allegedly abducted by corrupt police in southwestern Mexico in September, violent anti-establishment protests have broken out across the nation. As Reuters reports, demonstrators set fire to the door of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's ceremonial palace in Mexico City as the Mexican people are angered at Nieto's visit to China (at a time when he should, in their eyes, be focused on domestic issues). The violence has been condemned, "You can't demand justice while acting with violence," said Nieto but it seems the people's restlessness is growing - not helped by the cancellation of a high-speed rail contract last week as opposition lawmakers accused the government of rigging the bidding.
The Central Bankers bet the financial system that their theories were correct. They were wrong. Horribly wrong. And we will all pay the consequences for it.
Almost three years ago, Iran reportedly downed a US drone. The RQ-170 Sentinel recon drone that was reportedly captured has apparently been reverse-engineered, and now, as Reuters reports, Iran state news agency IRNA reports the drone-clone has taken its first flight. Iran's Supreme Leader noted, "Today is a very sweet and unforgettable day for me." Of course, this 'news' should be taken with a modest pinch of salt but, as with everything in foreign policy these days, Brigadier General Ali Hajizadeh states that "a film of the flight will be released soon."
- Obama urges China to be partner in ensuring world order (Reuters)
- China Sees Itself at Center of New Asian Order (WSJ)
- Xi Dangles $1.25 Trillion as China Counters U.S. Refocus (BBG)
- China's Xi, Japan's Abe hold landmark meeting after awkward handshake (Reuters)
- Revenue Softness Worries Stock Investors (WSJ)
- How BOJ’s Kuroda Won the Vote for Stimulus Expansion (WSJ)
- Bonus Season Brings More Pain for Traders (WSJ)
- Russia’s Military Encounters Risk Clash in Europe (BBG)
Following Friday's sticksave, where the usual 3:30 pm ramp brigade pushed futures just barely green into the close despite a miss in the payrolls report which the spin brigade did everything in its power to make it seem that the hiring a few hundred thousand young female waitresses was bullish for the economy, overnight we have seen a listless session, dominated by more USD-profit taking as increasingly more wonder if the relentless surge higher in the Greenback is massively overdone, especially considering that stocks are screaming "worldwide recession" excluding the US, if only for now, because as Goldman explained soaring USD means plunging Oil, means tumbling E&P capex, means lower GDP, means less growth, means lower corporate profits, and so on. That said, we expect the now trivial Virtu JPY momentum-ignition algos to activate shortly, pushing the USDJPY and its derivative, the S&P500, higher in the coming minutes, and certainly before the US market opens in under 3 hours.
We often hear that if there is not enough oil at a given price, the situation will lead to substitution or to demand destruction. Because of the networked nature of the economy, this demand destruction comes about in a different way than most economists expect–it comes from fewer people having jobs with good wages. With lower wages, it also comes from less debt being available. We end up with a disparity between what consumers can afford to pay for oil, and the amount that it costs to extract the oil. This is the problem we are facing today, and it is a very difficult issue.
“A Luxembourg structure is a way of stripping income from whatever country it comes from,’’ said Stephen E. Shay, a professor of international taxation at Harvard Law School and a former tax official in the U.S. Treasury Department. The Grand Duchy, he said, “combines enormous flexibility to set up tax reduction schemes, along with binding tax rulings that are unique. It’s like a magical fairyland.”