The Swiss National Bank just threw gasoline on Swiss F.I.RE. Expect to see combustive contagion in the Swiss banking, insurance and real estate giants as knock-on effects spread from so-called hedges
And to think so many otherwise very bright people still don't get it.
January 12, 2015: "We took stock of the situation less than a month ago, we looked again at all the parameters and we are convinced that the minimum exchange rate must remain the cornerstone of our monetary policy," SNB's Jean-Pierre Danthine.
January 15, 2015: "Recently, divergences between the monetary policies of the major currency areas have increased significantly – a trend that is likely to become even more pronounced. The euro has depreciated considerably against the US dollar and this, in turn, has caused the Swiss franc to weaken against the US dollar. In these circumstances, the SNB concluded that enforcing and maintaining the minimum exchange rate for the Swiss franc against the euro is no longer justified."
Chaos was seen in financial markets today as participants were thrown a curveball with the SNB 'reset'. In just 13 minutes, from 0930 to 0952 BST, the franc collapsed by 30%. Swiss shares fell more than 12% - their largest crash since 1987. Stock markets around Europe fell with investors buying "safe haven" assets such as German bunds and gold bullion ...
UBS' Take On The Swiss Shocker: "The SNB's Standing Is Undermined... There Could Be A Significant Deflationary Shock"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 09:01 -0400
The other question is about the cost of today's decision for the SNB, both in monetary and credibility terms. The SNB is holding roughly half of their CHF500bn in euros, which implies a loss of possibly not dissimilar to the CHF38bn that the SNB made in profit last year. The monetary impact might thus be manageable. The credibility impact might be harder to gauge though. Domestically, many economic actors relied on what was seen as a 'promise' to hold the 1.20 floor. Internationally, following the negative rates confusion back in December today's decision might be further undermined the standing of the SNB among investors.
"It's Carnage" - Swiss Franc Soars Most Ever After SNB Abandons EURCHF Floor; Macro Hedge Funds CrushedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 07:07 -0400
Over a decade ago, George Soros took on the Bank of England, and won. Less than two hours ago the Swiss National Bank took on virtually every single macro hedge fund, the vast majority of which were short the Swiss Franc and crushed them, when it announced, first, that it would go further into NIRP, pushing its interest rate on deposit balances even more negative from -0.25% to -0.75%, a move which in itself would have been unprecedented and, second, announcing that the 1.20 EURCHF floor it had instituted in September 2011, the day gold hit its all time nominal high, was no more. What happened next was truly shock and awe as algo after algo saw their EURCHF 1.1999 stops hit, and moments thereafter the EURCHF pair crashed to less then 0.75, margining out virtually every single long EURCHF position, before finally rebounding to a level just above 1.00, which is where it was trading just before the SNB instituted the currency floor over three years ago.
People are becoming more critical of our current monetary system. In the past six years, central banks have promised us growth within six months’ time. They and the whole monetary and financial system have lost credibility. The banks’ profit to GDP is the highest in history in an economic environment where we have the highest amount of unemployment since WWII. There is something very wrong with the way the system works and this is all due to the overemphasis on trying to minimize the business cycle. The real conclusion of QE can only become visible if we experience the full business cycle. In Jakobsen's view, we have never been allowed to have a down cycle since 2008. But now, there is finally going to be a down cycle because central planners can’t print more money. As Jakobsen puts it: “Now is the time for the real economy to take over”.
If you worry about the size of the Fed's balance sheet you should be horrified by what is happening in Switzerland.
And they are picking up shares in all kind of (precious metal) miners...
There could be some (nasty) side effects...
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
When the dollar falls, we are told it is logical. The empire is crashing and burning. When the dollar rises, the markets, we are told are manipulated. Well, the dollar is back, and the technical correction ended, near we told you it would.
"There is no automatic adjustment of current account deficits and surpluses, they can get totally out of hand. There are effects from big countries to little ones, like Switzerland. The system is dangerously unanchored. It is every man for himself. And we do not know what the long-term consequences of this will be. And if countries get in serious trouble, think of the Russians at the moment, there is nobody at the center of the system who has the responsibility of providing liquidity to people who desperately need it. If we have a number of small countries or one big country which run into trouble, the resources of the International Monetary Fund to deal with this are very limited. The idea that all countries act in their own individual interest, that you just let the exchange rate float and the whole system will be fine: This all is a dangerous illusion."
Virtually every day there is an eruption of lunacy from one central bank or another somewhere in the world. In short, the central banks of the world are embroiled in a group-think mania so extreme and irrational that it puts one in mind of the spasm of witchcraft trials that erupted in the Massachusetts Bay Colony nearly four centuries ago. As a practical matter, this mania amounts to a race to the currency bottom and the final extinguishment of the price discovery mechanism in every financial market on the planet. Flying blind, the financial markets are thus bubbling - in the delirium phase - like never before. That is, until they don’t.
- Icahn, Paulson Suffer Large Losses as Energy-Related Bets Sour (WSJ)
- Oil Investors Keep Betting Wrong on When Market Will Bottom (BBG)
- U.S. to sell final $1.25 billion shares of Ally Financial from bailout (Reuters)
- Ally Financial Gets Subpoena Related to Subprime Automotive Finance (WSJ)
- Russia's parliament rushes through bill boosting banking capital (Reuters)
- How a Memo Cost Big Banks $37 Billion (WSJ)
- ECB considers making weaker euro zone states bear more quantitative easing risk (Reuters)
- How the U.S. Could Retaliate Against North Korea (BBG)