What is more amusing than the pathological liars that are Tim Geithner or Ben Bernanke testifying to congress? Both of them testifying at the same time. Such as now. From C-Span: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke go before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday to discuss lessons learned from Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. In a hearing titled, “Europe’s Sovereign Debt Crisis: Causes, Consequences for the United States and Lessons Learned,” both financial chiefs will share their personal experiences. Since the crisis, the Federal Reserve has assisted foreign counterparts by provide monetary support. In November, the Fed and it's worldwide counterparts announced a cut in the interest rate premium charged to over seas banks which borrow in dollars. The monetary policy targeted struggling European banks. In a Senate hearing earlier this year, leading economists also testified on the European debt crisis and the outlook for the eurozone. They said that the U.S. should treat the crisis as a wake-up call and urged lawmakers to bring down debt and spending to sustainable levels.
Inflation, Dollar devaluation, and war with Iran -- Happy Monday
Overnight sentiment is significantly negative, with stocks, bond yields, risk currencies lower after G-20 over the weekend refused to increase IMF funding. The result is an end to the buoyant market sentiment of recent days which has seen the Dax down 1.2%, bund, UST yields lower, and US futures lower. As many had expected, the G-20 has rebuffed EU leaders' request for more assistance, which in turn has placed the onus on Germany to find a way to resolve its internal conflict vis-a-vis a Greek bailout, ironically as many believe that it is Germany who more than anyone wants Greece out. This happens as the Bundestag votes today on second aid package today; Merkel’s government must decide whether to back plans at this week’s summit to combine EFSF and ESM. In other news, tomorrow the ECB will call for bids for the second 3 Year LTRO tomorrow, with results announced on February 29. And with the ECB's deposit facility at €477 billion, it is rather clear that the banks will park the bulk of new proceeds with the ECB once again, where it will continue to be a negative carry trade, earning 0.25% at a cost of 1.00%. And somehow this is favorable for the European sovereign bond market, which continues to ignore the various layers of subordination it is now working under. We expect the market revulsion to this flaw to be violent when it comes, and will result in a rapid and sudden divergence between the various subordinated tranches of sovereign bonds.
Benefitting from two diametrically opposed systems.
One thing is for certain, the litigation is beginning to shift from minor players to major players at the core of the Financial Crisis. Investors take note, this is a major shift and needs to be monitored as it will have major implications for market dynamics going forward.
A few days after Germany proposed the stripping of Greek fiscal authority from the insolvent country, in exchange for providing funding for what German FinMin Schauble called today a "bottomless pit" (and Brüderle chimed in saying that "a default of the Greek government would be bitter but manageable), Sarkozy decided to demonstrate his "muscle" if not so much stature, and openly denied Germany, saying "There can be no question of putting any country under tutelage." Sure enough, it was now Germany's turn to reciprocate the favor. According to Bloomberg, "Finance ministers from the four euro- area countries with AAA ratings -- Germany, Finland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands -- will meet in Berlin tomorrow afternoon, a German Finance Ministry spokesman said." And as is well known, FrAAnce no longer a member of this, however meaningless, club. "The gathering is part of a a series of meetings convened by officials from the highest-rated euro states, the spokesman said, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity. Ministers will discuss current issues without briefing reporters after the meeting." And so the gauntlet of public humiliation is now once again back in Sarkozy's court. The good news: if the de minimis Frenchman does not get his act in order, and overturn the massive lead that his challenger in the April presidential elections has garnered, he will need to endure the humiliation for at most 3 more months. In other news, it appears that when it comes to saving political face, the rating agencies are actually quite useful.
Which is why we were delighted that after months of modest confusion on the topic, the Congressional Committee on Financial Services (including subcommittee chairman Ron Paul), have demanded that not only Geithner make his stance on a US-funded IMF bailout of Europe crystal clear, but that they are openly opposed to "American taxpayer dollars being used to bail out Europe...through additional contributions to the IMF." We are curious to see just how Geithner will weasel his way out of responding to this: perhaps the only logical stall tactic is to reply that he will be busy helping Mitt Romney in his tax "revisions" over the next several months.
A down day in the US on Tuesday could begin to trigger intermediate sell signals...~ Lee Adler
Pres. Barack Obama has launched new international diplomatic poker with “a trailing hand”. It is impossible to exaggerate the forces at play, economic as well as political, foreign and domestic, and their interplay.
The last time intermodal traffic dipped to this level, we were in denial about a Recession and the Dow continued to march from 11,500 in January of 2008 all the way to just above 13,000 in May.
UPDATE: Oil Sub $100.
And so the escalation ends, if only for the time being, as Iran chalks a (Pyrrhic?) victory.
- EU IRAN OIL EMBARGO SAID TO BE LIKELY DELAYED BY SIX MONTHS
Why? Because the world slowly realized that the potential surge in oil prices would tip a world already on the verge of a recession even deeper into economic contraction. Not rocket science, but certainly something the US president apparently has been unable to comprehend, especially if hoping that he would merely transfer exports from Iran to his close ally Saudi Arabia which would cement its European market monopoly even further. Or, perhaps, someone just explained to Obama that Embargo in January + QE3 in March = No Reelection...
In other news, crude is now dumping.
You won't find this kind of hard hitting investigative roasting anywhere else folks...