Swiss National Bank
The ongoing gold accumulation strategy by Russia, Kazakhstan and other ex Soviet states is a reserve diversification strategy. It may also be an attempt to undermine western markets and the vulnerable COMEX gold market in the U.S. It is likely a coordinated monetary policy, since Russia and Kazakhstan are members of the Eurasian Customs Union along with Belarus.
China is slowly moving to dominate the global gold market and it is important to join the dots regarding a few key recent developments in China relating to gold. When the International Board of the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) was launched last Thursday September 18 during an evening trading session, it was notable that the first transactions were put through by a diverse group comprising HSBC, MKS (Switzerland), and the Chinese banks, ICBC, Bank of China and Bank of Communications. One encouraging factor about the SGE and the SGE international platform is that there is a lot of physical gold flowing through the Exchange. Therefore, price discovery is not just based on an inverted pyramid of mostly unallocated gold as in London or mostly cash-traded futures paper gold as in New York.
Yesterday's market reaction to Yellen's commentary was curious: there was none, because when all was said and done the S&P and DJIA traded precisely where they traded just before the show began. Which, of course, was unacceptable, because one way or another the hawkish for the USD - the USDJPY just traded at the highest since 2008 - statement and conference had to be promptly interpreted for the algos as dovish for stocks - Futures are again just why of record highs - if not so much for the Fed-hated bonds, and sure enough, European equities traded in the green from the get-go even as RanSquawk notes, "there has been no major fundamental catalyst behind the spike higher seen in the morning, although do note that the move comes in the backdrop of the positive close on Wall Street which saw the S&P 500 (+0.13%) touch record highs before paring a large portion of the gains." In other words, the upside volatility in the intraday move is now a bullish catalyst, closing print notwithstanding. And what did US equity futures do? Why they followed Europe higher, with the ES now +8, on what is "explained" as a European move to intraday US futures previously. That, ladies and gentlemen, means we may have finally achieved perpetual motion, because all that would take to send the market higher is... for the market to go higher, etc, ad inf.
Just like the US and the EU, Switzerland at the federal level is ruled by a group of elites who are more concerned with their own status, well-being, and international reputation than with the good of the country. The gold referendum, if it is successful, will be a slap in the face to those elites. The Swiss people appreciate the work their forefathers put into building up large gold reserves, a respected currency, and a strong, independent banking system. They do not want to see centuries of struggle squandered by a central bank. The results of the November referendum may be a bellwether, indicating just how strong popular movements can be in establishing central bank accountability and returning gold to a monetary role.
Forget the Siren calls of the impending end of days and the imminent collapse of civilization. Here is a non-polemical non-bombastic overview of three key events in the week ahead: FOMC meeting, TLTRO launch in Europe and the Scottish referendum.
Simple review of technical condition of the capital markets. Light on polemical zeal, and heavy on technical analysis.
We have recently noted the increasing pressure on the Swiss National Bank (SNB) over its peg to the EUR in the midst of a capital flood from Europe. The slow bleed strengthening of CHF against EUR had many concerned the SNB would be forced (by exogenous factors) to adjust the peg. But, this morning, it appears they tried to draw a red line... CHF has plunged after SNB's Mosler said negative interest rates remain an option should its minimum exchange rate (peg) come under threat. So, first NIRP in Europe, then in Japan (as per our overnight discussion), and now the Swiss warning NIRP is coming there next...
Some believe that actions today were jointly agreed to by the Fed and ECB to allow the stimulus baton to be passed from one major central bank to another. Could this be to help ease the risk-off fallout that is likely to ensue in anticipation of the first Fed hike? Maybe the price action in US equity markets today should serve as an early warning signal.
Draghi cut rates and announced ABS/covered bond purchase plan to start next month. Balance sheet between TLTO and purchase scheme to increase by ovre 1 trillion euros
The chance of EURCHF breaking the peg at 1.2000 have increased from 10% to 25-30% based on European Central Bank monetary policy, geopolitical risk and a lack of policy choices for the Swiss National Bank. This means that being long EURCHF no longer is a safe bet and although the 70% chance of the floor being both defended and protected is still high, the tail-risk involved is becoming too concerning.
HIGHLIGHTS > Gold reserves destination unknown after moved from Ottawa vault as part of Bank of Canada HQ renovation > Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden say they hold gold in Ottawa > Upcoming Swiss vote on gold repatriation could lead to gold repatriation from Bank of Canada > Bank of Canada only acts as gold custodian to four foreign central banks > Bank of Canada no longer a major gold custodian; Canada has virtually no gold reserves
When a tin-foil-hat-wearing blog full of digital dickweeds suggest the dollar's reserve currency status is at best diminishing, it is fobbed off as yet another conspiracy theory (yet to be proved conspiracy fact) too horrible to imagine for the status quo huggers. But when the VP of Research at the New York Fed asks "Could the dollar lose its status as the key international currency for international trade and international financial transactions," and further is unable to say why not, it is perhaps worth considering the principal contributing factors she warns of.
The trend of the end of the dollar hegemony continues to slowly creep through the world's financial systems (no matter how many mainstream media 'king dollar' stories we see). The Swiss National Bank and the People’s Bank of China reached a currency swap agreement this week. While this is not a huge trend changer in the near-term, it demonstrates the continued rising roled of China as the largest economy and to be the next financial capital of the world when Europe and the USA blow themselves apart with defaulting socialism.
This is not "different times", the system's low volatility will be replaced by higher volatility, the zero bound leads to bubbles by definition unless you of course believe in eternity and most importantly, mean-reversion and compounding remains the two most powerful tools in finance. It feels like an eternity since the market last traded like a real market, but make no mistake, exactly when you think more of the same is destined to be your strategy, things do change despite the feeling of infinity.
India’s gold policy over the last several years is about as dysfunctional as any government policy we have ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. In a nutshell, Indians were buying too much gold for their government’s comfort, so the “authorities” stepped in with duties and import restrictions in an attempt to stifle the trade. So smuggling soared. Fast forward to today. It appears the government has finally realized they can’t stop their citizens penchant for gold, so they have decided to dump central bank gold onto the market. They are justifying this act with a so-called 'swap' into phantom gold at the Bank of England - the favored global hub of shady, rent-seeking, banker oligarchs. This begs the question of who really needs the gold, the RBI, or London bankers?