The ECB's "whatever it takes" ponzi strategy of keeping the dream alive in Europe's financial system has finally been caught as rapid collapse in the banking system is contagiously spreading to peripheral sovereigns once again. Portugal risk spreads are up 120bps in the last 3 weeks and Spain and Italy are soaring over 35 and 50bps respectively as the almost self-dealing nature of banks buying "risk-free" EU bonds and repoing for cash via The ECB comes home to roost...
As a result of the rush to global NIRP, which now sees central banks and their sovereigns accounting for over 25% of global GDP, amounting to around $6 trillion in government bonds, trading with negative yields, a question has emerged: when will corporate bonds follow this govvie juggernaut and how soon until investors pay not government but companies to borrow? That is the focal piece in today's note by our favorite DB credit strategist Jim Reid who muses as follows.
If the eurodollar and wholesale banking system had been sliced to such a thin margin again by 2011 so as to so heavily depend on the modern duality of gold, it not only would not survive it literally could not survive. The paper dilution we see now may just be that judgement finally seeking open admission.
"When the market speaks, as it has done in recent days, it is right that bank executives and shareholders comprehend the need for serious and swift intervention."
Giant Sucking Sound ...
Gold is poised to rebound dramatically this year, mean reverting out of its recent deep secular lows. The drivers of gold’s weakness have soared to such extremes that they have to reverse hard. The resulting heavy buying from dominant groups of traders will fuel gold’s 2016 upleg.
While the market might have been disappointed by the ECB’s “underdelivery in December, it came as a relief for the Riksbank, the SNB, the Norges Bank, and the Nationalbank who are effectively forced to cut each time the ECB eases or risk seeing upward pressure on their respective currencies. That dynamic has led to a veritable race to the Keynesian bottom with Norway as the last man standing in terms of conducting monetary policy with rates above zero. As we enter the new year, a number of questions remain regarding Europe's headlong plunge into NIRP-dom.
Important pillars of the bull case evaporated throughout 2015. Global price pressures weakened, the global Credit backdrop deteriorated and the global economy decelerated. The huge bets on central bank policies left markets at high risk for abrupt reversals and trade unwinds – 2015 The Year of the Erratic Crowded Trade. Indeed, a global bear market commenced yet most remain bullish. Serious and objective analysts would view this ominously.
As 2016 begins, there are clear signs of serious debt/default squalls on the horizon. We can already see the first white-capped waves.
“To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious, but the stupid have an answer for everything.” ~Edward Abbey
While EM sovereigns as a group may be in better shape now in terms of “original sin” (i.e borrowing heavily in foreign currencies) than they were during say, the Asian Currency Crisis, the confluence of factors outlined above means no one is truly “safe” in the current environment as moving from liquidation back to accumulation will entail a sharp reversal in commodity prices and a pickup in the pace of global growth and trade.
BIS Warns That "Uneasy Calm" In Markets May Be Shattered By Fed Hike Imperiling $3.3 Trillion In EM DebtSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/06/2015 10:06 -0500
"Very much in evidence, once more, has been the perennial contrast between the hectic rhythm of markets and the slow motion of the deeper economic forces that really matter. Markets can remain calm for much longer than we think. Until they no longer can."
"The hardest questions we are trying to reconcile here are how is that possible to see all these signs of weakness under the surface being balanced by very strong equity markets and upbeat employment picture. One of these sides has to be wrong..."
The hardest questions we are trying to reconcile here are how is that possible to see all these signs of weakness under the surface – including weak commodities, tightening credit, retrenching consumer spending – being balanced by very strong equity markets and upbeat employment picture. One of these sides has to be wrong in its assessment of the current macro environment, and seeing both of them extending well into the future appears unlikely to us.
Editor’s Note: The tragic events in Paris, terrorism and war throughout the world, show geopolitical risk remains high. These risks will likely impact economies and financial markets and will see continuing safe haven demand for gold. “The future is uncertain and gold is the most effective insurance against that.”