Three consecutive days of oil prices rising and suddenly all is well again. This is the extremely short sightedness that the markets possess. The bottom callers have come out in droves, screaming that prices will only move higher from here, but will they?
There is a possibility that oil prices may of hit a near term low, and will likely stabilize in the $40 to $45 per barrel range. However, the reasons for the recent rise in oil prices that market pundits have been expressing are simply not true.
- Greek Risk Draws Global Concern on Lehman Echo Warnings (BBG)
- Merkel to urge caution in U.S. as pressure builds to arm Ukraine forces (Reuters)
- West Races to Defuse Ukraine Crisis (WSJ)
- German-French Push Yields Ukraine Summit Plan With Putin (BBG)
- Swiss Leaks lifts the veil on a secretive banking system (ICIJ)
- Italy Lenders Seen Cleansing Books Amid Bad-Bank Plans (BBG)
- G-20 Finance Chiefs Face Tough Test in Istanbul (WSJ)
- Demand for OPEC Crude Will Rise This Year, Says Group (WSJ)... or rather prays
- U.S. Banks Say Soaring Dollar Puts Them at Disadvantage (WSJ)
In the absence of any notable developments overnight, the market remains focused on the rapidly moving situation in Greece, which as detailed over the weekend, responded to Europe's Friday ultimatum very vocally and belligerently, crushing any speculation that Syriza would back down or compromise, and with just days left until the emergency Eurogroup meeting in three days, whispers that a Grexit is imminent grow louder. The only outstanding item is what happens to the EUR and to risk assets: do they rise when the Eurozone kicks out its weakest member, or will they tumble as UBS suggested this morning when it said that "the escalation of tensions between the Greek government and its creditors is so far being shrugged off by investors, an attitude which is overly simplistic and ignores the risk of market dislocations" while Morgan Stanley adds that a Grexit would likely lead to the EURUSD sliding near its all time lows of about 0.90.
The time for the final all-in bet has arrived.
Summarizing the key points of Tsipras Sunday speech to parliament:
Greece cannot back down (mandate is clear)
Greece rejects bailout extension (implicit GREXIT unless EU backs down)
Europe cannot afford repeat mistakes - will not humiliate one nation.
Greece's first priority: humanitarian disaster
One of the bigger problems facing the new, upstart Greek government, which has set before itself the lofty goal of overturning 6 years of oppressive European policies and countless generations of Greek cronyism, corruption and tax-evasion is not so much the concern about deposit outflows and bank runs - even though it most certainly will be in the next few days unless the Tsipras government finds some resolution to the dramatic standoff with Merkel and the ECB - but something far more trivial: running out of money.
Less than a day after the head of the SNB hinted at the possibility of capital control, the head of the largest Swiss cantonal bank, and the fourth largest Swiss Bank, the Zurich Cantonal Bank or ZCB, came out and explicitly said what so many fear (and which warning they would ascribe to as the case may be "yellow journalism"), namely that "lowering Swiss National Bank’s already negative interest rate further or implementing capital controls would be "dramatic" but "certainly possible."
Even as the whispers that the imposition of capital controls by Greece, which is now running out of both time, negotiating leverage and tax money is just a matter of time, get louder with every passing day if not acknowledged by Greek officials yet, it was none other than one of the supposedly most "rock-solid" central banks in the world that fired a shot across the bow of global financial stability when it hinted that not Greece but another country may be the first to engage in capital controls. The country: Switzerland.
Update: And now this: "Moody's places Greece's Caa1 government bond rating on review for downgrade"
Europe has an unpleasant habit of dropping tape bombs at the most inopportune of times, like at 3pm or later a Friday. And while on Wednesday it was the ECB yanking repoable Greek collateral for local banks, today it was first S&P, which downgraded Greece 5 months after upgrading it, and moments ago it was none other than the Cyprus bail-in man himself, the Eurogroup's Dijsselbloem who just have Greece a 10 day ultimatum to fall into place or risk a terminal bank run and capital controls (both hinted at earlier by the post-DOJ settlement political "rating agency')
- GREECE MUST APPLY FOR BAILOUT EXTENSION ON FEB 16 AT THE LATEST TO KEEP EURO ZONE FINANCIAL BACKING -EUROGROUP CHAIRMAN DIJSSELBLOEM
This means that Greece now has 10 days, or until the Monday after next to decide whether it will stay in the Eurozone or Grexit.
Happily ignoring the 'fact' that the unemployment rate rose in the US today, talking-heads continue to proclaim the US economy will be the economic engine of the world going forward... cleanest dirty shirt... where else are you going to invest. Of course this ignores the fact that US Macro data has been a disaster over the last 2-3 months. But there is one dissident voice who dares to speak up... Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver said on Friday, although the United States is carrying the world economy at the moment, "that is simply not sustainable." Blasphemy!!
- RadioShack files for bankruptcy; Sprint to take over some stores (Reuters)
- Kansas To Issue Bonds and Invest Proceeds to Boost Pension Returns (WSJ)
- Merkel to Make Last Push With Putin as Pessimism Prevails (BBG)
- Islamic State in Syria seen under strain but far from collapse (Reuters)
- Texas Swagger Fades Fast as Oil Town Squeezed Hard by OPEC (BBG)
- SEC probes Blackberry options trading ahead of Reuters report about Samsung talks (Reuters)
- Spanish Bonds Underperform Italy’s as Podemos Gains Popularity (BBG)
- Steelworkers Union Rejects Offer From Refiners (WSJ)
- Brazil January Inflation at Fastest Pace in Nearly 12 Years (BBG)
It has been a quiet overnight session, following yesterday's epic short-squeeze driven - the biggest since 2011 - breakout in the S&P500 back to green for the year, with European trading particularly subdued as the final session of the week awaits US nonfarm payroll data, expected at 230K, Goldman cutting its estimate from 250K to 210K three days ago, and with January NFPs having a particular tendency to disappoint Wall Street estimates on 9 of the past 10. Furthermore, none of those prior 10 occasions had a massive oil-patch CapEx crunch and mass termination event: something which even the BLS will have to notice eventually. But more than the NFP number of the meaningless unemployment rate (as some 93 million Americans languish outside of the labor force), everyone will be watching the average hourly earnings, which last month tumbled -0.2% and are expected to rebound 0.3% in January.
Deflation goes hand in hand with releasing the individual from the debt enslavement that was created with the monetary policies of the past 100 years. Nigh unlimited printing of money has become the orthodox strategy to avoid deflation. Deflation was made the scapegoat for all sorts of economic ills in a century of pro-inflation propaganda. For deflation to happen government interference in money and the economy needs to stop. The endorsement of deflation goes hand in hand with safeguarding liberty. “Paper money has become the technical foundation for the totalitarian menace of our days.”
The ECB kills the Troika!
With one of the world’s leading dry bulk shipping companies, Copenhagen-based D/S Norden, having made huge losses for the last 2 years and expected to report dramatic losses in 2014 also, it is hardly surprising that the smaller bulk shipping firms are struggling as The Baltic Dry Index collapses ever closer to record all-time lows. As Reuters reports, privately-owned shipping company Copenship has filed for bankruptcy in Copenhagen after losses in the dry bulk market, with the CEO exclaiming, "we have reached a point where there is not more to do." We suspect, given the crash in shipping fees, that this is the first of many...