"In effect, by pursuing indexation we have introduced a socialist way of allocating capital in the heart of the capitalist system... As we all know, socialism is the ultimate form of freeloading. It has never worked, and it never will. This indexation is one of the most obvious forms of parasitism we have ever encountered."
Yellen has got to be the most dovish Fed chairperson going into the most important policy initiative withdrawal phase ever to be recorded since the inception of the Federal Reserve!
Back in Feb 2013 we introduced the "Brent Vigilantes" and reminded traders how stock markets (and macro economies) react to shifts in the oil price with the two trading together to a 'tipping point' at which point strocks belief in growth breaks. We further confirmed that this is even more worrisome in the case of an oil price shock which strongly suggests that VIX at 12 is not pricing in the volatility that we have seen in the past when the oil complex starts to shake.
When The Head Of The European Central Bank Lies To Zero Hedge On The Record: Presenting Europe's "Plan Z"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/15/2014 15:16 -0400
We are happy to report that Zero Hedge is the first media outlet that Mario Draghi has very publicly, officially, and on the record, lied to. Because as we learned overnight, Europe most certainly had a "plan in place so that the markets don't basically collapse." Only it wasn't as Margio Draghi called it, Plan B. It was a different letter of the alphabet. Thanks to the FT's Peter Spiegel we now know that just over a year ago, in order to preserve the myth that Europe's power echelons are so "confident" with the Eurozone staying together they did not even consider a break up as a potential outcome, Draghi explicitly and on the record lied.
Presenting Europe's Plan Z.
When it comes to expressing democratic opinion, one can wait for one's corrupt congressional critter to do something, which will never happen if that something is against the will of the largest lobbying client, or one can take matters into their own hands. The latter is what disgruntled Libyans did moments ago. From Reuters:
- GUNMEN STORM LIBYAN PARLIAMENT, START SHOOTING AND FORCE LAWMAKERS TO ABANDON VOTE ON NEXT PM -SPOKESMAN
- SEVERAL PEOPLE WOUNDED BY SHOOTING AT LIBYA'S PARLIAMENT, GUNMEN ARE ALLIED TO ONE OF THE DEFEATED PM CANDIDATES -SPOKESMAN
It may not be the most polite way to get one's views across but it gets the job done. But more importantly, when it comes to the epic chaos that is post-CIA intervention Libya, what difference does it make if parliament is stormed by enraged vigilantes?
Krugman frequently accuses his opponents of being stupid and/or evil, when they present a view that he himself advanced in other circumstances. His typical readers would have no idea that Krugman once worried about bond vigilantes, or that his books lay out the standard case for why generous government unemployment benefits might contribute to structural unemployment. No, Krugman has led such typical readers to believe that anyone espousing such views is either a complete idiot - immune to theory and evidence that we’ve had since the 1930s - or is a paid shill who hates poor people.
"Eventually (un-manipulated) asset prices always return to their fundamental value, which is why bubbles always pop. The FOMC has backed itself into a corner. Current changes in policy are being designed around efforts to manage the unwind process seamlessly. Central bank (and government official’s) micro-management appears based on a belief that they can exert an all-encompassing central control over markets and peoples’ lives. Those in power have come to believe that policies have a precise effect that can be defined and managed. This is highly unlikely."
Following the battery of optimistic news from this morning that the debt deal is all but done, yields on short-term debt, soaring until about 9am, have tumbled as fears of an immediate default have been taken off the table. And moments ago today's most important auction, that indicating whether the "Money Market Vigilantes" have gone home, the auction of $20 billion 4-Week Bills took place. As a reminder, it was last week that yields on the same issue soared to a high of 0.35% - the most "distressed" yield since October 2009. Today, the fireworks were far more muted, however with a high rate of 0.24%, this was still a very elevated closing level, and still the second highest in years. So the question becomes: is this higher yield just a function of the lack of a definitive deal on the table, or has the broken Congress now assured that going forward so called "money equivalent" Treasury paper will have a step-wise higher clearing haircut, and if so, just how substantial is the structural damage to money markets, especially if all Congress does is kick the can forward by a few months?
The standard wisdom on gold is that it does well in times of economic bad news such as in the 1970s, a period of stagflation and recessions, when the yellow metal rose from $35/oz to peak at $850/oz in 1980. But this time, Don Coxe, a portfolio adviser to BMO Asset Management, believes, things are different. In this interview with The Gold Report, Coxe explains why gold will rise when the economy improves.
If this latest dose of harsh language from Gollum and the Bazooko Circus doesn't end the Egyptian civil war, nothing will. Maybe Egypt should just take a hint from the ECB and issue forward guidance on domestic violence, saying it will do "whatever it takes" to crack down on future coups and countercoups, or else it will fire an imaginary bazooka at the bond vigilantes.
Depending on one's sources, the death toll since the start of the "Days of Wrath" in Egypt is anywhere between 800 and several thousand. What is worse, the situation is spiraling out of control as the west, plagued by America's failed attempt at diplomatic non-intervention to preserve its "democratic transition" narrative, is paralyzed while the death toll mounts and the country is gripped by civil war in all but name. Below, via AP, is a rundown of key events that have taken place in Egypt over the past week together with a photo album of Egypt's very own Dies Irae.
With Italy's sovereign bond yields hovering at 3 year lows, one could be forgiven for falling for the constant stream of gibberish from EU leaders that the worst is over. However, aside from the 'promised' OMT foot on the wind-pipe of non-domestic bond vigilantes (fighting an inexorable demand from self-referential banks and pension funds bidding for BTPs), the situation remains bad at best and in terms of debt-to-GDP, the worst since 1925 when Mussoilini was proclaimed fascist dictator. With Letta and his allies forming the 64th cabinet since WWII (and 27th since 1980) his lifespan seems limited to change anything and with Italy accounting for 16.5% of the EU's GDP (and forecast to contract 1.9% next year) - the current real GDP is smaller now than in 2001. Attempts to revive growth are about to be thrown into tumult once again as Berlusconi's party threatens mass resignation. As we noted last night, do not be fooled by the apparent tranquility in Europe.
With all eyes fixed on GDP and unemployment data this week (and all their revised and propagandized unreality) for more hints at if (not when) the Fed will Taper; the dismal reality that few seem willing to admit is that it is when (not if) and that the announcement of a "Taper" has nothing to do with the economy. There are three key factors driving this decision: Bernanke's bubble-blowing and bond-market-breaking legacy, the political 'clean slate' his successor needs, and, most importantly, the fear that QE will be discovered for what it is - monetization. As BoJ's Kuroda admitted last night "if QE is seen as financing debt, this could lead to rise in yields." With deficits falling, the Fed's real actions will be exposed (unless QE is tapered) and as Kyle Bass has explained before, it was out of the hands of the BOJ (or The Fed) and entirely up to market psychology.
This might just be the cruelest time to be an asset allocator. Normally we find ourselves in situations in which at least something is cheap; for instance when large swathes of risk assets have been expensive, safe haven assets have generally been cheap, or at least reasonable (and vice versa). This was typified by the opportunity set we witnessed in 2007. Likewise, during the TMT bubble of the late 1990s, the massive overvaluation of certain sectors was offset by opportunities in “old economy” stocks, emerging market equities, and safe-haven assets. However, today we see something very different. As Exhibit 2 shows, today we see something very different. As Exhibit 2 shows, today’s opportunity set is characterized by almost everything being expensive. As I noted in “The 13th Labour of Hercules,” this is a direct effect of the quantitative easing policies being pursued by the Federal Reserve and their ilk around the world.
Presented with little comment... aside to ask "will those pesky oil vigilantes stall this central-bank-inspired 'recovery'?"