• Sprott Money
    03/01/2015 - 23:51
    Clearly if Western governments were ‘merely’ drowning in debt-to-GDP ratios of roughly 100%, then theycould still argue that attempting to manage these debt-loads was legitimate rather than...

Stress Test

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Frontrunning: March 2





  • Hilsenrath: Fed Ushering in New Era of Uncertainty on Rates (WSJ)
  • Is Supreme Court's chief justice ready to take down ObamaCare? (The Hill)
  • Netanyahu arrives in U.S., signs of easing of tensions over Iran speech (Reuters)
  • Nemtsov Murder Fuels Suspicion, Fails to Spur Russia Selloff (BBG)
  • ECB uncomfortable with leading role in Greek funding drama (Reuters)
  • Video shows Los Angeles police shooting homeless man dead (Reuters)
  • Iraq Military Begins Campaign to Reclaim Tikrit (WSJ)
  • How Billionaires in London Use Secret Luxury Homes to Hide Assets (BBG)
 
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Annaly CEO: Central Bankers Are Witch Doctors, Demands "Return To Market-Driven Pricing"





"My hope is that as policy makers of the world continue to prescribe their remedies for the ailing economic patient, that they do not render it worse off... As with their predecessors, I suspect there is no doubt in the minds of our central bankers that they are the smartest they’ve ever been. Yet, I fear they are not the smartest they will ever be."

 
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The Are Two Big Problems With Deutsche Bank Failing The Fed's Stress Test





A bank which has €54.7 trillion, or a little over $62 trillion at today's exchange rate, in derivatives - a number that is 20 times greater than the GDP of Germany -  just failed a central bank stress test due to lacking governance and risk management controls and, just maybe, has insufficient capital? What can possibly go wrong.

 
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Germany Slams Greek Bailout Extension Proposal As "Trojan Horse" - Full Text





As leaked by Reuters moments ago, here is the text of a document that describes Germany's position on Greece's letter requesting an extension of its bailout facility as nothing short of a Trojan Horse.

 
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Mark Spitznagel On The Value Of Tail-Hedged Equities





Due to the principal-agent problem in the asset management industry, most money managers rationally have a propensity to use a negatively skewed payoff distribution. This kind of behavior, in aggregate, is also evidenced in the historical data, which shows significant losses for professional investors during the largest market downturns. Most investors and asset allocators, in addition to these negatively skewed positions, further view the returns of hedging strategies in a vacuum, rather than as a holistic part of their broader portfolio. Thus, they are likely to consider portfolio hedging programs to be a drag on their performance numbers and further undervalue them. We believe these factors, among others, contribute to a market segmentation that creates an undervaluation in tail-risk hedges.

 
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SNB Decision Sparks Calls For Polish Mortgage Bailout; Central Bank Against It





As we noted last week, the Swiss National Bank's decision to un-peg from the Euro (thus strengthening the CHF dramatically) will have very significant repercussions - not the least of which is for Hungarian and Polish Swiss-Franc-denominated mortgage-holders. The 20% surge in Swiss Franc translates directly into a comparable jump in the zloty value of loan principles and and monthly payments for about 575,000 Polish families owing a total $35 billion in mortgages denominated in the Swiss currency which has prompted calls for Poland's government to bail them out. Never mind the FX risk, the low-rates were all anyone cared about and now yet another 'risk-free' trade has exploded, Deputy PM Piechocinski says, if the franc "remains above the 4 zloty level, the government may provide support" to debtors but Poland's Central Bank is not supportive of the bailout.

 
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What The Soaring Swiss Franc Means For Hungarian And Polish Mortgages





Spoiler alert: nothing good, because what until yesterday was, indicatively, a 1 million mortgage (in HUF or PLN terms) is suddenly a 1.2 million mortgage. But what about the details? Here they are, courtesy of Goldman Sachs.

 
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First Euroarea Deflation Since Lehman Sends Futures Higher; Brent Tumbles Below $50 Then Rebounds





Things in risk land started off badly this morning, with the worst start to a year ever was set to worsen when European equities came under early selling pressure following news of German unemployment falling to record low, offset by a record high Italian jobless rate, with declining oil prices still the predominant theme as Brent crude briefly touched its lowest level since May 2009, this consequently saw the German 10yr yield print a fresh record low in a continuation of the move seen yesterday. However, after breaking USD 50.00 Brent prices have seen an aggressive bounce which has seen European equities move into positive territory with the energy names helping lift the sector which is now outperforming its peers. As a result fixed income futures have pared a large majority of the move higher at the EU open. But the punchline came several hours ago courtesy of Eurostat, when it was revealed that December was the first deflationary month for the Eurozone since the depths of the financial crisis more than five years ago, when prices dropped by -0.2% below the -0.1% expectation, and sharply lower than the 0.3% increase in November, driven by a collapse in Energy prices.

 
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Two Months After Saying "Deflation Isn't Going To Happen" ECB Warns "Negative Inflation" Is Coming





ECB's Vitor Constancio, October 26, 2014: "The scenario of deflation is not there because indeed we don't consider that deflation is going to happen."

ECB's Vitor Constancio, December 20, 2014:" "We now expect negative inflation in the coming months."

 
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2014 Year In Review (Part 2): Will 2015 Be The Year It All Comes Tumbling Down?





Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."

"I’m tired of being outraged!"

 
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Frontrunning: December 17





  • Citigroup is pleased: Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters)
  • Oil holds below $60 as OPEC, Russia keep pumping (Reuters)
  • 5 Things to watch at the December Fed Meeting (WSJ)
  • Russia Tries Emergency Steps for 2nd Day to Stem Ruble Rout (BBG)
  • Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power (Reuters)
  • Apple Curbs Russia Sales as McDonald’s Lifts Prices (BBG)
  • Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold (BBG)
  • China Warms to a More Flexible Yuan (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: December 16





  • Ruble Sinks to 80 a Dollar Defying Surprise Russia Rate Increase (BBG)
  • Oil slumps near $59 for first time since 2009 on oversupply (Reuters)
  • Oil sinks, Russian moves fail to quell nerves (Reuters)
  • Fed Seen Looking Past Low Inflation to Drop ‘Considerable Time (BBG)
  • Students Among Dead as Pakistan Gunmen Kill 126 at Army School (BBG)
  • Repsol to buy Talisman Energy for $13 billion (Reuters)
  • Indonesia’s Rupiah Erases Decline After Central Bank Intervenes (BBG)
  • Anti-Islam Rally Grows as Immigrant Backlash Hits Europe (BBG)
  • Saudi Arabia is playing chicken with its oil (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: December 15





  • Sydney Siege Sparks Muslim Call for Calm Amid Backlash Fear (BBG)
  • Oil Spilling Over Into Central Bank Policy as Fed Enters Fray (BBG)
  • Biggest LBO of 2014: BC Partners to acquire PetSmart for $8.7 billion (Reuters)
  • Tremble algos: the SEC has hired... "QUANTS" (WSJ)
  • When the bubble just isn't bubbly enough: There’s $1.7 Trillion Locked Out of China’s Stock Rally (BBG)
  • Oil price slide roils emerging markets, yen rises (Reuters) - may want to hit F5 on that
  • Libya Imposes Force Majeure on 2 Oil Ports After Clashes (BBG) ... and will resume production in days
  • Amid Crisis, Pimco Steadies Itself (WSJ)
 
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Crude Drops, Yields Slump, Futures Tumble





Anyone who was hoping the market would rebound on last-minute news that the US government has gotten funding for another 9 months, will be disappointed this morning, when futures are finally starting to notice the relentless decline in crude, and with Brent down another 1% as of this writing following yet another cut in the forecast of Global oil demand by the IEA (the 4th in the last 5 months) and with Chinese industrial production also missing estimates (recall that the Chinese slow-motion hard landing has been said by many to be the primary catalyst for the crude collapse) which however pushed Chinese stocks higher on hopes of even more stimulus, the S&P is trading lower by some 14 points, the 10 Year is in the red zone at 2.12%, and the USDJPY is close to session lows. In short: Kevin Henry's "ETF" desk at the NY Fed will have its work cut out to generate one of the now traditional pre-weekend feel good, boost confidence stock market ramps.

 
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"These Are Astonishing Figures, Evidence Of A 1930s-Style Depression"





"...What is clear is that the world has become addicted to central bank stimulus. Bank of America said 56pc of global GDP is currently supported by zero interest rates, and so are 83pc of the free-floating equities on global bourses. Half of all government bonds in the world yield less that 1pc. Roughly 1.4bn people are experiencing negative rates in one form or another. These are astonishing figures, evidence of a 1930s-style depression, albeit one that is still contained. Nobody knows what will happen as the Fed tries break out of the stimulus trap, including Fed officials themselves."

 
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