The BoJ's Takahide Kiuchi warns of “dire consequences” if the central bank continues to blatantly disregard the “side effects” of QE and also expresses skepticism about the ability of further asset purchases to boost inflation, going so far as to suggest that the BoJ’s prediction of 2% inflation by mid-2016 is nothing more than a fairytale.
Has the DNA of the global economy been gradually altered by endless injections of quantitative easing, morphing it into a freakish mutant? Are things that are not supposed to happen for centuries on end going to become common occurrences? The collapse of oil prices and jump in the Swiss franc have forced us to puzzle over these weighty questions. In isolation, these events and the direction of their moves did not worry us, but their magnitude, velocity and proximity to each other sent me on an intellectual quest.
Four months ago, in another failed attempt to boost confidence in the Eurozone and stimulate lending (failed because three months later the ECB finally launched its own QE), the ECB conducted its latest stress test, which as we explicitly pointed out was an utter joke as even its "worst-case" scenario did not simulate a deflationary scenario. Two months later Europe was in outright deflation. It was initially unclear just how comparably laughable the Fed's own stress test assumptions were, but refuting rumors that Deutsche and Santander would fail the Fed's stress test (perhaps because former FDIC head and current Santander head Sheila Bair wasn't too happy about her bank being one of the failed ones), moments ago the Fed released the results of the 2015 Fed stress test, and.... it seems there was no need to provide a sacrificial lamb as with stocks at record highs. In fact everything is awesome! FED STRESS TEST SHOWS ALL 31 BANKS EXCEED MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
The establishment has done everything in its power to hide the most foundational of economic realities, namely the reality of dying demand. Why? Because the longer they can hide true demand, the more time they have to steal what little independent wealth remains within the system while positioning the populace for the next great con. For now we will only say that the program of manipulation we have seen since 2008 is clearly changing. The fact of catastrophic demand loss is becoming apparent. Such a loss only ever precedes a wider fiscal event.
You wouldn't know it if you looked at the price of oil, but arguably the world's largest economy just unloaded a kitchen sink of fears, warnings, and downgrades on its economy; the most notable being:
*CHINA SETS 2015 GDP GROWTH TARGET AT ABOUT 7% (from 7.5% in 2014)
In a report to be delivered to the government tonight, Premier Li Keqiang warned China may face more economic difficulties in 2015 vs 2014 and downward economic pressure is still growing (despite Western 'analysts' proclaiming China fixed). The currency is weakening on the news and AsiaPac stocks are lower and as Chinese stocks open lower (despite hints at more easing), millions of newly minted "can't lose" Chinese investors begin to worry.
The stock market is totally mispricing what's coming.
Recency bias no doubt once again playing a role, but more likely it is this new-ish trend to deny any damaging economic possibility as it might disrupt the balance of financialism. Any system that cannot even countenance just a small possibility of contrary thought is not robust or “resilient” at all. As we saw in 2008-09, oil liquidations were entirely appropriate for economic conditions; how can “everyone” deny outright something even slightly similar?
Financial systems that seem robust are more often than not inherently fragile - China is no exception!
Accommodative monetary policy, which is ostensibly supposed to stimulate aggregate demand thereby encouraging businesses to spend and hire, is now perversely causing people to work longer and preventing new employees from having access to a secure retirement.
Just a day after Blackrock saw its biggest Bond ETF outflows in history ($525.8 million pulled on Monday), Actavis sold $21 billion of almost-junk 'BBB-' rated debt (at a minsicule yield of only 3.5%) in the 2nd largest bond issuance ever (2nd only to Verizon's massive $49 billion deal in 2013). The issue was oversubscribed 4.5x (around $90bn in the order book) as a ten-part offering varying from 18-month floaters to 30Y fixeds all went off below guidance. With Treasury liquidty disappearing fast, one wonders just how much rate-locking on this massive deal was responsible for a net short overhang on the Treasury complex the last few days...
Yesterday we warned that with the BOJ greedily sucking up all gross JGB issuance and stoking volatility in the process, all it will take is a couple of more weak debt auctions for things to go awry — and that’s just what happened overnight as demand was tepid at March's 10-year auction.
When do you know that Wall Street has officially succeeded in turning back the clock 5 years? When the market’s collective mind state has been reconditioned to the point where analysts feel comfortable creating research notes with titles like this one: “Keep Calm and Lever Up.”
"The BOJ’s purchases have had a 'huge' impact on the market’s liquidity. Buying bonds at a faster pace would make it more difficult for the BOJ to exit from its easing policy when the time comes to reduce stimulus."
After trading at its steepest (short-term volatility lowest vs medium-term volatility) in 5 months last Monday, VIX rallied notably (and the curve flattened) on the week to 2015 lows. At the same time, in the 'traded' VIX product world, 2 rather notable things happened: first, VIX futures, which were at a record net long positioning at the end of January, have plunged to a net negative (short VIX) positioning once again; and second, and more stunningly, VXX (the VIX ETF) saw the biggest surge in units created since record began. Between these violent swings and the push-pull weights of oil's high vol and AAPL dominance of any dispersion, we suspect VVIX (vol of vol) will pick up notably from its 3-month lows. However, it is the fragility that this kind of move exposes that worries us the most.