... Rothschild’s Penney wrote that the U.S. “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world.” The U.S., he added in language later excised from his prepared remarks, lacks “the resources to enforce foreign tax laws and has little appetite to do so.”
With just two days left in 2015, the main driver of overnight global stocks and US equity futures remains the most familiar one of all of 2015 - crude oil, which, after its latest torrid bounce yesterday has resumed the familiar "yoyo" mode, and again stumbled dropping below $37 on yesterday's surprising API 2.9 million crude inventory build, as well several more long-term "forecasts" by OPEC members, with Kuwait now budgeting for $30 oil, while Venezuela's Maduro said the oil price fell to $28/bbl and is "headed downward." As a result U.S. futures declined and European stocks fell, extending their worst December drop since 2002 in thin volume on the last full trading day of the year.
Today the Swiss Federal Government confirmed that it had received enough signatures and would hold a referendum as part of the so-called "Vollgeld", or Full Money Initiative, also known as the Campaign for Monetary Reform, which seeks to ban commercial banks from creating money, and which calls for the central bank to be given sole power to create the money in the financial system. In other words, an initiative to ban fractional reserve banking, and revert to a 100% reserve.
With the ECB's December meeting just one week away, Mario Draghi and co. are still debating how best to package a new round of easing measures. As Reuters reports, the central bank is considering a tiered system for the application of negative rates in an effort to mitigate the effect on banks. Translation: the ECB may be preparing to "overwhelm" with an even larger cut to the already negative depo rate that analysts were expecting.
"We have determined that applying a negative rate was a more transparent and fairer solution for our clientele. This decision on negative rates is costing us a lot of money -- pretty much the equivalent of our entire annual profit last year."
If you thought we'd seen the depths of NIRP, think again because as Deutsche Bank notes, the ECB, Riksbank, SNB, and Nationalbank will likely dive further into the monetary Twilight Zone in the months ahead. Only when rates become negative enough to spark a depositor revolt will we have reached the "real" lower bound, but at that point, it will be far too late...
For the past two weeks, the thinking probably went that if only the biggest short squeeze in history and the most "whiplashy" move since 2009 sends stocks high enough, the global economy will forget it is grinding toward recession with each passing day (and that the Fed are just looking for a 2-handle on the S&P and a 1-handle on the VIX before resuming with the rate hike rhetoric). Unfortunately, that's not how it worked out, and overnight we got abysmal economic data first from China, whose imports imploded, then the UK, which posted its first deflation CPI print since April, and finally from Germany, where the ZEW expectation surve tumbled from 12.1 to barely positive, printing at just 1.9 far below the 6.5 expected.
- Commodities in crisis as Asian shares tumble and shipper files for bankruptcy (Reuters)
- Global Rout Eases as S&P 500 Futures Advance With Oil, Glencore (BBG)
- Chinese Stocks Decline Most in a Month in Hong Kong on Economy (BBG)
- India cuts interest rates by more than expected (BBC)
- Glencore Rebounds as $50 Billion Plunge Is Seen as Excessive (BBG)
- How Congress May Have Saved Goldman Sachs From Itself (BBG)
In today's centrally planned world, the proliferation of NIRP means that nothing is sacred - not even a Swiss bank account...
In spite of all the attention the nation has received in recent years, SCMP reports that thousands of so-called "politically exposed persons”, or PEPs - a category that includes heads of state and other top officials - hold Swiss bank accounts, a Swiss foreign ministry official said. But, perhaps not for much longer as Bern aims to finalize a law aimed at simplifying the process of freezing and unblocking such funds.
Earlier today, the SNB which is perhaps the most transparent hedge fund of all central banks and actually lays out its financial statements in a respectable manner every quarter, released its results for the second quarter (and first half) of 2015. The result: another absolutely epic loss, amounting to €50.1 billion ($51.8 billion) of which €47.2 billion on currency positions - a whopping 7% of Swiss GDP - meaning that in Q2 the SNB lost another €20 billion. This happened despite the SNB having invested 17%, or $94 billion, in foreign - mostly US -stocks.
The one undeniable truth about the debt drama in Greece is that each of the conventional narratives - financial, political and historical - has some claim of legitimacy. These facts matter not only because contagion from Greek debt defaults may ripple in dangerous ways through the financial system, but because they are also true for many other members of the Eurozone. The Euro is a fatally-flawed monetary concept and what we now seeing playing out was eminently predictable from the start.
Switzerland is set to open its first Bitcoin bank, multiple sources tell Handelszeitung. Meanwhile, Xapo, the self-appointed "Fort Knox" of the crypto currency world, is relocating from Silicon Valley to Zurich.
Easy come (print), easy go! A trillion here... a trillion there... Sooner or later we're talking some real money!
"Greece is to allow money held abroad by its taxpayers to be declared without penalty and taxed at a discount rate, a move to help overcome a cash crunch threatening the country with bankruptcy," Reuters reports. This may sound like a good idea in principle, but we’re not entirely sure why this represents a compelling value proposition for those who are storing their euros in the safe confines of Swiss bank accounts.