On the heels of last week's equity rout, China cuts interest rates for the third time since November. The move comes on the heels of last month's RRR cut and follows trade data that missed expectations (again) and a PPI print that betrayed persistent deflation risks. Perhaps more importantly, Chinese stocks fell last week amid still more rumors that tighter margin requirements are on the way.
The law of unintended consequences is becoming ever more prominent in the economic sphere, as the world becomes exponentially more complex with every passing year. Just as a network grows in complexity and value as the number of connections in that network grows, the global economy becomes more complex, interesting, and hard to manage as the number of individuals, businesses, governmental bodies, and other institutions swells, all of them interconnected by contracts and security instruments, as well as by financial and information flows. It is hubris to presume, as current economic thinking does, that the entire economic world can be managed by manipulating one (albeit major) subset of that network without incurring unintended consequences for the other parts of the network.
The trio of macro-prudential policy, the onset and evolution of shadow banking, and the nebulous concept of financial stability may have become a toxic cocktail which can be instrumental in moving forward the Federal Reserve’s timeline for lift-off zero bound rates. The intuition here is stooped in concepts of volatility and how market structure evolution may contribute or detract from asset volatility. Volatility is the square root of time. Financial repression times time equals volatility. Financial repression and/or macro-prudential policy times time equals the inverse of financial stability. Financial stability inverted equals volatility squared.
Just as the S&P appeared set to blast off to a forward GAAP PE > 21.0x, here comes Greece and drags it back down to a far more somber 20.0x. The catalyst this time is an FT article according to which officials of now openly insolvent Greece have made an informal approach to the International Monetary Fund to delay repayments of loans to the international lender, but were told that no rescheduling was possible. The result if a drop in not only US equity futures which are down 8 points at last check, but also yields across the board with the German 10Y Bund now just single basis points above 0.00% (the German 9Y is now < 0), on its way to -0.20% at which point it will lead to a very awkward "crossing the streams" moment for the ECB.
These are your euro money markets on central planning. The ECB is attempting to help correct the distortions created by its QE program by lending out its holdings in order to grease the wheels of European repo markets, but as JPM notes, the central bank's program will likely not be sufficient.
With more than USD 200bn of Treasury securities held by the Fed due to mature in 2016, the Fed will have to make meaningful monetary policy choices in advance. Fed VP Stanley Fischer commented on SOMA maturities in his speech last Friday, but it appears very few have taken notice as yet and even fewer comprehend the challenge soon confronting The Fed. Many believe that Twist had pushed maturities farther “into the future”. The “future” is Q1 2016. (Note: a shrinking balance sheet is a defacto tightening)
Just like yesterday, it has - so far - been mostly about Asia in the overnight session, where as reported previously, we got the latest central bank engaging in an "unexpected" rate cut, after Reserve Bank of India Governor Rajan cut rates in an unscheduled move days after the government agreed for the first time to give the central bank a legal mandate to target inflation. This was India's second rate cut in 2 months, and yet despite the Sensex surging to a all time high over 30,000, it subsequently ended up closing red on the day, down -0.7%, despite the Indian currency sliding 0.4% to 62.1463 to a dollar. Is the half-life of thany incremental rate cut in an unprecedented barage of global central bank easing now less than a day?
Fed Chair Yellen will be presenting her semi-annual monetary policy testimony - sometimes called the "Humphrey-Hawkins" testimony - on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Goldman expects Yellen not to stray far from the message of the January FOMC statement and meeting minutes, seeing it unlikely she will preempt the Committee by sending a strong signal on whether "patience" will be removed from the statement at the March meeting. The testimony will probably not be a major market mover. Nonetheless, to the extent there are risks to our "don't rock the boat" expectation, Goldman thinks they are skewed toward a slightly more dovish tilt.
Chinese Stocks Recover From Biggest Plunge In Years As 'Still-Contracting' Manufacturing Industry ImprovesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/22/2015 22:12 -0400
Following the biggest crash in Chinese stocks in 8 years on Monday (following regulator's crackdown on margin trading), The Shanghai Composite has now retraced all those losses as China's Manufacturing PMI rises and beats modestly (though remains technically in contraction at 49.8 for the 2nd month). HSBC notes marginal domestic demand improvements but employment and prices continued to deteriorate hinting at a continued manufacturing slowdown (which stocks love - bad news is good news). The problem for the reflexive equity market gamblers is that the higher stocks go, the less likely a broad-based RRR cut is to happen. Along those lines, the CNY Fix was weakened by the most in 10 months today and yesterday the first reverse repo liquidity injection in a year as Chinese year-end liquidity concerns once again move front-and-center...
With less than two hours until the ECB unveils its first official quantitative easing program, the markets appear to be in a unchanged daze. Well, not all markets: the Japanese bond market overnight suffered its worst sell off in months on a jump in volume, although for context this means the 10Year dropping from 0.25% to 0.32%. Whether this is a hint of the "sell the news" that may follow Draghi's announcement is unclear, although Europe has seen comparable weakness across its bond space as well and the US 10 Year has sold off all the way to 1.91%, which is impressive considering it was trading under 1.80% just a few days ago. Stocks for now are largely unchanged with futures barely budging and tracking the USDJPY which after rising above 118 again overnight, has seen active selling ever since the close of the Japanese session.
Market Wrap: "It's Turmoil" - Overnight Gains Wiped Out, Futures Trade Below 2000 On SNB "Shock And Awe"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 07:56 -0400
To paraphrase a trader who walked into the biggest FX clusterfuck in years, "it's total, unprecedented market turmoil." So while the world gets a grip on what today's historic move by the SNB means, which judging by the record 13% collapse in the Swiss Stock Market shows clearly that the SNB market put is dead and the SNB may be the first central-banking hedge fund which just folded (we can't wait to see what the SNB P&L losses on its EURCHF holdings will be), here is what has happened so far for anyone unlucky enough to be walking into the carnage some 2 hours late.
Tt has become quite clear that the Fed neither has the intention, nor the market mechanism to do any of that, and certainly not in a 3-6 month timeframe. Which may explain the Fed's hawkish words on any potential surge in market vol. After all, if the nearly $3 trillion in excess reserves remain on bank balance sheets for another year, then the only reason why vol could surge is if the Fed lose the faith of the markets terminally. At that point the last worry anyone will have is whether and how the Fed will tighten monetary policy.
Central banks are printing rules almost as fast as they’re printing money. The consequences of these fast-multiplying directives — complicated, long-winded, and sometimes self-contradictory — is one topic at hand. Manipulated interest rates is a second. Distortion and mispricing of stocks, bonds, and currencies is a third. Skipping to the conclusion of this essay, Jim Grant is worried: "The more they tried, the less they succeeded. The less they succeeded, the more they tried. There is no 'exit.'"
"The Economic Outlook Keeps Getting Better And Better" Says Fed President Who Last Week Unveiled QE4Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/20/2014 14:02 -0400
"I’ll be honest: These speeches get more and more enjoyable as time goes by because the economic outlook keeps getting better and better. Instead of gloom and doom with a scattering of hopeful notes, things are now pretty upbeat, with only a couple of standard economist’s caveats thrown in.... So the message is that things are getting better. We’re on track to end our asset purchases and we’re preparing for the time the economy can sustain an end to accommodation. We’ll want to see improvements in unemployment, wages, and inflation, and we’ll be driven by the data. But all in all, it’s good news—with just a few of those requisite caveats thrown in."
As we explained previously, the end-of-quarter catastrophe in reverse-repo window-dressing malarkey between The Fed and The Banks (that own it) shows the Fed simply has no idea (once again) how financial markets really work in the modern era. As Alhambra Partners Jeffrey Snider explains, “We don’t exactly know how it will work” should be stamped upon every message coming from the policymaking apparatus from this point forward, and then retroactively applied to every message in the age of risk and rate repression. Action in short-term money markets has heated up yet again, and that is not a positive statement toward vital function.