How will the central planners contain this MONSTER?!
A five sigma event signifies extreme conditions, or an extremely rare occurrence. To bring this discussion from sports and weather to the financial world, we can relate a 5 sigma event to the stock market. Since 1975 the largest annual S&P 500 gain and loss were 34% and -38% respectively. A 5 sigma move would equate to an annual gain or loss of 91%. With a grasp of the rarity of a 5 sigma occurrence, let us now consider the yield spread, or difference, in bond yields between Germany and The United States. As shown in graph #1 below German ten year bunds yield 0.19% (19 one-hundredths of one percent) and the U.S. ten year note yields 1.92%, resulting in a 1.73% yield spread. This is the widest that spread has been in 30 years.
After a few days of dollar weakness due to concerns that the Fed's rate hike intentions have been derailed following some undisputedly ugly economic data (perhaps the Fed should just make it clear there will never be rate hikes during the winter ever again) the USD has resumed its rise, and as a result risk assets, after surging early in the overnight session driven by the Nikkei225 and the Emini, the "strong dollar is bad for risk" trade has re-emerged, with the Nikkei dropping almost 500 points off its intraday highs, with US equity futures poised to open lower once more, sliding nearly 20 points in the overnight session, and surprising the BTFDers who have not seen five consecutive days of "risk-off" in a long time.
BNP is out with a note calling China’s equity bubble “a microcosm for the overall economy: unsustainable growth in leverage masking ever-deteriorating fundamentals and increasing future downside risks. Margin purchases are now accounting for almost 20% of equities daily turnover which itself has soared to wholly unprecedented levels in another sign of self-feeding speculative frenzy. What happens next is clearly an ‘unknown-unknown’."
"There's a liquidity conundrum in fixed income markets facing policy makers and investors: how it’s resolved will have long term investment implications across banks, asset managers and infrastructure players," a new report from Morgan Stanley and Oliver Wyman notes. The joint effort is an attempt to dig deep into the all important issue of credit market liquidity (or lack thereof) and determine the short term and long term implications.
"Proactive central banks figure this out early and fight the inevitable slowdown by implementing QE and weaker currencies. They grab the other guy’s pizza slice. Their asset markets soar. As Figure 5 shows, 70% of the world’s developed markets have inflation below 0.5% – almost as high as the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. So the USD8.6tn in central bank balance sheet expansion (from the Fed, ECB, BOE, BoJ, and PBoC, which amounts to 130% growth over Dec-07 to now) has been unable to get inflation going." - Bank of America
What happens in the event a Fed rate hike triggers widening corporate credit spreads in a corporate bond market devoid of liquidity? Could it indeed be the case that the Fed’s highly anticipated “lift-off” will serve as the catalyst for credit market carnage? Some traders think so.
For merchants in Italy, there's a tradeoff for putting up an awning that may end up casting a shadow on the sidewalk.
The only market year to date that has shown truly impressive gains in both local currency and USD terms, is also the best performing market of 2014 - China, which is now up almost 100% in less than a year! Here, courtesy of UBS, is the complete list of what may be causing China's relentless stock market surge.
the next time someone asks "why is Yellen so terrified of even the smallest possible rate hike", show them this chart above and explain that the Fed vividly remembers what heppened when LTCM blew up. What the Fed doesn't want, is not one but one thousand LTCMs going off at exactly the same time in what is now the world's most levered trade...
Borrowing in USD was risk-on; buying USD is risk-off. As the real global economy slips into recession, risk-on trades in USD-denominated debt are blowing up and those seeking risk-off liquidity and safe yields are scrambling for USD-denominated assets. Add all this up and we have to conclude that, in terms of demand for USD--you ain't seen nuthin' yet.
unlike the late summer and early fall of 2014, when the rise in the Chinese stock market could be attributed to the PBOC's PSL "QE Lite", the relentless buying leg that started in mid-November has stunned most people, as nobody has been able to figure out just who is responsible for all this buying. Until now. According to Reuters, it is precisely China's trust firms, with total assets of $2.2 trillion, and who together with Banker Acceptances comrpise the bulk of China's shadow banking pipeline, are shifting more cash into frothy capital markets and over-the-counter (OTC) instruments instead of loans. In other words, instead of using their vast cash hoard of over $2 trillion to re-lend and stimulate China's economy, China's unregulated, shadow banking conduits are now directly buying stocks!
When even JPMorgan strongly implies that the ECB's QE is about to fail, one short week after it started, now may be a time to panic: "In all, we note the above analysis challenges the ability of the Eurosystem to meet its quantitative target without distorting market liquidity and price discovery."
Central banks' ability to distort markets, inhibit price discovery, and create systemic risk is alive and well as ECB asset purchases ripple through euro money markets. "The ECB’s liquidity bazooka will likely create the conditions for all rates money markets to stay in negative territory. This would represent a very challenging environment for investors, especially those focusing on the euro money markets, whose resilience to negative rates has not fully tested yet," Barclays warns.