Two weeks ago, gold jumped to a then-2014 high, following reports out of India that the head of India's Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi was pushing the government to cut its duty on gold and other restrictions. Today, now that the upward move in gold has finally resumed, it appears that the nation with the world's most draconian gold capital controls, is finally starting to crack under pressure from the people, as well as a surge in gold smuggling via illegal channels to unprecedented levels. Reuters reports that India "will look into relaxing gold imports curbs, but won't let its current account deficit (CAD) balloon, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Monday."
Hinting that the worst is yet to come, was none other than India's Central Bank governor Raghuram Rajan himself, who yesterday in an interview in Mumbai with Bloomberg TV India, said that "international monetary cooperation has broken down." Of course, when the Fed was monetizing $85 billion each and every month and stocks could only go up, nobody had a complaint about any cooperation, be it monetary or international. However, a 4% drop in the S&P from its all time high... and everyone begins to panic.
US and European stock markets (and European sovereign bond markets) have been sliding since early in the European morning overnight. The blame for the weakness appears to be coming from a double-whammy in Germany. First the German government resolved to push for the financial transaction tax (despite banks rejection of the proposal - well they would wouldn't they) and then later in the day when Germany's emerging coalition rejected the last-best-hope for shared sacrifice (or using more of Germany's balance sheet) - The Debt-Redemption Fund - leaving more pressure back on Draghi to save the day. Anxiety in the US is clear with VIX (and credit spreads) rising as hedgers are active - and of course, markets are broken with NASDAQ options prices 'crossed' acording to some sources.
Just as it is easy being a weatherman in San Diego ("the weather will be... nice. Back to you"), so the same inductive analysis can be applied to another week of stocks in Bernanke's centrally planned market: "stocks will be... up." Sure enough, as we enter October's last week where the key events will be the conclusion of the S&P earnings season and the October FOMC announcement (not much prop bets on a surprise tapering announcement this time), overnight futures have experienced the latest off the gates, JPY momentum ignition driven melt up.
While the US economic data reporting machinery slowly starts churning again following the "reactivation" of government, last night it was China 's turn to report a slew of goalseeked economic items. Q3 GDP (+7.8% yoy), Industrial Production (+10.2% yoy), Fixed Asset Investments (+20.2% YTD yoy) and Retail sales (+13.3% yoy) for September all came in broadly in line with market consensus. The economy grew at a faster pace on a sequential basis with Q3 growth being 0.3ppts higher than Q2. Nonetheless, many observers forecast yoy Q4 GDP growth to decline due to the end of inventory restocking and the fade out of a major credit stimulus in the prior quarter, even as total Chinese debt continues to push ever higher into bubble territory.Speaking of China, however, it is worth noting that overnight the Chinese Yuan rose to the highest level against the dollar in 20 years. This happens as the USD tumbles to nearly a year low, which incidentally is the theme of the overnight session: the ongoing dollar poundage is reverberating across the globe, and the resulting unleashing of global funding carry trades looks set to take the S&P (and everything else) to fresh record highs on the back of even more generous Fed Kool Aid expectations.
Over the past year, India has unleashed the most unprecedented series of gold "capital controls" ever seen in a modern nation, shy of confiscation (and even that may be imminent). Today, India added yet another more measure to its list of prohibitions that seek to minimize the size of the gold market available to citizens, yet which will only result in even more interest and demand in the yellow metal. As Reuters reports, India increased its import duty on gold jewellery from 10 percent to 15 percent, setting it higher than the duty on raw gold in a move to protect the domestic jewellery industry. Why is the government doing this? Simple: "To protect the interests of small artisans, the customs duty on articles of jewellery ... is being increased," the ministry said.
Nearly four years after Zero Hedge first suggested an HFT tax should punish algos that "churned" quotes and blasted empty bids and offers to stimulate "momentum ignition" strategies, and generally corrupt market structure in a way that lead to both the flash crash, the BATS IPO farce, the FaceBook IPO debacle and the Nasdaq 3 hour crash, the first such tax is now a reality. And while it is not, and likely never will be implemented in a major (if declining) exchange such as the NYSE or Nasdaq, the first country to finally put an end to millions of parasitic empty quotes is Italy.
Gold Confisaction Imminent? Or Does India Simply Have An Offer For Its Citizens They Can't Refuse...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/29/2013 10:08 -0400
Even as the Indian capital outflows and current account exodus may be threatening to shut down the economy altogether (except for the three oil companies that received a last ditch USD infusion from the RBI yesterday), the central bank is planning and strategizing. And it appears to have come up with more of precisely the same that has led it to its current unprecedented predicament: prevent the population from converting their wealth into hard money, i.e., gold. But while the government's attempts to impose capital controls on gold purchases have been well documented, the latest foray is just a headspinner. Reuters reports that India is now considering a "radical plan to direct commercial banks to buy gold from ordinary citizens and divert it to precious metal refiners in an attempt to curb imports and take some heat off the plunging currency." Here we can safely assume that the commercial banks will pay for the gold in... Rupees which just hit an all time low?
Presenting The Numerous, Undisputed And Very Clear Signs That India's Currency Was Set For An Epic CrashSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/28/2013 20:45 -0400
Citizens of India have been watching, in stunned amazement, as over the past month the local currency has lost an unprecedented 15% of its value, with a record plunge taking place just last night. And, as so often happens, the population habituated to a government "acting in its best interests" is asking itself - how could we have possibly known this was coming. The answer, as usually happens, was staring everyone right in the face. As Grant Williams shows in his latest "Things That Make You Go Hmm", the warnings came loud and clear, and were very explicit in the form of not one, not two, not ten, but many more sequentially imposed and escalating forms of capital controls by the Indian central bank that sought to prevent the conversion of paper into hard currency. Gold.
Thanks to the scapegoating of the Cahuzac affair, Europe can now move from its war against finance (Hollande declaring that finance was his enemy, the financial transaction tax, capping of bonuses, etc) to an outright war against tax havens (letting Cyprus sink, arm-twisting Luxembourg into abandoning its banking-secret policy, etc). Leaving aside the EU’s increasing penchant for forcing members to adopt policies that blatantly go against national interests (like the Tobin tax in the UK), yesterday’s announcement by Luxembourg of an “open-book” policy raises the question of whether the EU is cutting off its nose to spite its face. If tax havens have existed and thrived for so long, they must have some sort of economic justification. The reality for most tax havens is that their economies are far too small to absorb the excess savings that pour into their countries. Their banks thus end up being large buyers of assets outside of the country. In this position of weakness, going out all guns blazing after rich people and their wealth strikes us as sheer madness...
In all of the tortuous moments that have taken place with the European Union the one thing that has become apparent is a radical change of mindset. In the beginning there was a kind of democratic viewpoint. All nations had a voice and while some were louder than others; all were heard. This is no longer the case. There is but one mindset now and it is decidedly German. It is not that this is good or bad or even someplace in between. That is not the real issue. The Germans will do what is necessary to accomplish their goals. There is nothing inherently bad or evil about this but it is taking its toll on many nations in Europe. It is the occupation of Poland in a very real sense just accomplished without tanks or bloodshed as money is used instead of armaments to dominate and control a nation. Politically you may "Hiss" or you may "Applaud" but there are consequences here for investors that must be understood. First and foremost is that they will not stop.
The European Commission formally endorsed the financial transaction tax agreed to by eleven of the 27 members. The tax will be set at 0.1% for stocks and bonds and 0.01% for derivatives. The tax will go into effect at the start of 2014, by which time the participating countries will give it formal approval.
There seems to be two purposes of the tax. The first is to raise revenue. The EC projects the tax will raise 30-35 bln euros annually where ever and whenever an instrument from eleven is traded. This would seem to block the ability to avoid the tax by moving transactions out of the eleven countries. It reinforces the "residence principle". This essentially means that if some one is a resident of the eleven countries, or acting on behalf of a resident, the transaction will be taxed anywhere it takes place. The other purpose is to deter the high frequency trading, which some officials see as largely unnecessary and potentially destabilizing.
In what has been a quiet start to week dominated by the G-20 meeting whose only purpose is to put Japan and its upstart currency destruction in its place, many are expecting a formal G-7 statement on currencies and what is and isn't allowed in currency warfare according to the "New Normal" non-Geneva convention. Because while there may not have been much overnight news, both the EURUSD and USDJPY just waited for Europe to open, to surge right out of the gates, and while the former has been somewhat subdued in the aftermath of the ECB's surprising entry into currency wars last week, it was the latter that was helped by statements from Haruhiko Kuroda (not to be confused with a Yankee's pitcher) who many believe will be the next head of the BOJ, who said that additional BOJ easing can be justified for 2013. He didn't add if that would happen only if he is elected. Expect much more volatility in various FX pairs as the topic of global thermonuclear currency war dominates the airwaves in the coming days.
With China offline celebrating its New Year, and potentially mobilizing forces in (not so) secret, and not much on the global event docket, the upcoming G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Moscow at the end of the week will be the key event for FX markets, which these days define every other aspect of risk. It should surprise nobody the last couple of weeks have seen increased attention on exchange rates and the frequent use of the “currency war” label by policymakers in many countries. No news announcements are expected at the BoJ meeting on Thursday, following the formal announcement of a 2% inflation target and an open-ended asset purchase program. On the data side, US retail sales on Wednesday will provide an important signal about the strength of the US consumer following the largest tax increase in decades. Although January auto and same store sales data was reasonably solid, new taxes will soon begin to weigh on spending. Also on Wednesday, Japan Q4 GDP will be released. On Thursday, Q4 GDP for France, Germany, Italy and the Euro area will be released. While Q4 contraction is assured, the key question mark is whether German can rebound in Q1 and avoid a full blown recession as opposed to a "brief, technical" one, as the New Normal economic term goes.
The market gets smoked for 1/4 Trillion in a single name, and we're trading at the highs. Go figure.