The US Dollar rally, combined with the ECB’s policies are at risk of blowing up a $9 trillion carry trade.
Due to the principal-agent problem in the asset management industry, most money managers rationally have a propensity to use a negatively skewed payoff distribution. This kind of behavior, in aggregate, is also evidenced in the historical data, which shows significant losses for professional investors during the largest market downturns. Most investors and asset allocators, in addition to these negatively skewed positions, further view the returns of hedging strategies in a vacuum, rather than as a holistic part of their broader portfolio. Thus, they are likely to consider portfolio hedging programs to be a drag on their performance numbers and further undervalue them. We believe these factors, among others, contribute to a market segmentation that creates an undervaluation in tail-risk hedges.
Minutes after last week's Swiss National Bank shocker, jokingly we mused: "Will be ironic if Soros was long EURCHF." As it turns out, we were almost correct, and according to the WSJ, Soros Fund Management, which manages more than $25 billion for investor George Soros, was betting against the Swiss franc in the fall before it removed those bearish positions. Why did the Soros so conveniently take off a bet which, with leverage, could have resulted in massive losses for his hedge fund? The WSJ says he did so after "viewing the risk as too high relative to potential gains, said people close to the matter." Well as long as "people close" think Soros did not have input directly from the Swiss central bank, or perhaps the occasional hint from Kashya Hildebrand, then one can't help but marvel at the octogenarian's impeccable timing.
Central bank policy is creating liquidity. Wrong --- the growth in broad money is slowing across the world.
Central bank policy is allowing a frictionless de-gearing. Wrong --- debt to GDP levels of almost every country in the world are rising.
Central bank policy is creating inflation. Wrong --- inflation in most jurisdictions is now back to, or below, the levels recorded in late 2009.
Central bank policy is fixing key exchange rates and securing growth. Wrong --- in numerous jurisdictions this exchange rate intervention is slowing the growth in liquidity and thus the growth in the economy.
Central bank policy is keeping real interest rates low and stimulating demand. Wrong --- the decline in inflation from peak levels in 2011 means that real rates of interest are rising.
Central bank policy is driving up asset prices and creating a positive wealth impact which is bolstering consumption. Wrong --- savings rates have not declined materially.
Central bank policy is creating greater financial stability. Wrong --- whatever positives impact central banks are having on bank capital etc they have failed to prevent the biggest emerging market debt boom in history.
Euro Crash Continues Sending Stocks Higher, Yields To Record Lows; Crude Stabilizes On New King's CommentsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/23/2015 07:03 -0500
Today's market action is largely a continuation of the QE relief rally, where - at least for the time being - the market bought the rumor for over 2 years and is desperate to show it can aslo buy the news. As a result, the European multiple-expansion based stock ramp has resumed with the Eurostoxx advancing for a 7th day to extend their highest level since Dec. 2007. As we showed yesterday, none of the equity action in Europe is based on fundamentals, but is the result of multiple expansion, with the PE on European equities now approaching 20x, a surge of nearly 70% in the past 2 years. But the real story is not in equities but in bonds where the perfectly expected frontrunning of some €800 billion in European debt issuance over the next year, taking more than 100% of European net supply, has hit new record level.
"There will first be a pernicious excitement, and next a fatal collapse." -- Walter Bagehot, Lombard Street (1844)
After over 2 years of dragging, pardon the bad pun, the market by the nose, ever since his "whatever it takes" speech in July 2012, Draghi finally folded and launched QE. This, as Credit Suisse warned last week, and as stocks are starting to realize, may have been the longest "sell the news" build up in history. Of course, CS worded it more poetically: "the QE Dream becomes reality" and far more importantly, as it also adds: "the dream may prove far more powerful as a market driver than the reality."
Who will ultimately benefit from the action? Will it be the people of Europe or only the mega-rich? For whom, we have continuously pointed out QE has greatly benefitted and as Alan Greenspan recently pointed out – QE has been a “terrific success.” The intensification of currency debasement and currency wars shows the increasing importance of owning physical gold coins and bars.
Laugh if you want to. Cry if you want to, but the bull market for the US dollar has legs and life.
In what is likely an effort to comprehend whether the market is satiated with a mere EUR 50 billion per month in printed money, this morning's leaked ECB QE announcement (due tomorrow) sparked total chaos in FX markets and, as Nanex notes, sending market liquidity to near record lows. This is a problem. With the 'real' volatility event not arriving until tomorrow, everyone has pulled out of the market already... setting the scene for a gappy Swissnado replay tomorrow morning.
World Leaders Demand "Central Bank Of Oil"; IMF Warns Price Drop Is Permanent; OPEC Expects "Rebound To Normal Soon"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/21/2015 10:17 -0500
Because nothing says 'stability' like a Central Bank in charge of things, the smartest richest men in the world have proclaimed in Davos this week that "we need a central bank of oil, like the central bank in financial world." As long as they are not Swiss, of course. Oil has been volatile today amid these calls for stability after Saudi Aramco comments on cutting projects (supply) sent prices higher, and was then talked back by the CEO bringing prices lower. Oman - the largest non-OPEC Middle East oil producer - blasted that "we have created volatility," noting it was having a "really difficult time," and that's "bad for business," demanding OPEC slow production. But it was The IMF that sparked the greatest concerns as it warned oil producers to treat this oil price drop as permanent noting that they expect these economies to lose $300 billion. only to be contradicted by OPEC's al-Badri who noted "oil prices will rebound back to normal soon."
Market Wrap: Futures Lower After BOJ Disappoints, ECB's Nowotny Warns "Not To Get Overexcited"; China SoarsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/21/2015 06:55 -0500
Three days after Chinese stocks suffered their biggest plunge in 7 years, the bubble euphoria is back and laying ruin to the banks' best laid plans that this selloff will finally be the start of an RRR-cut, after China's habitual gamblers promptly forget the market crash that happened just 48 hours ago and once again went all-in, sending the Shanghai Composite soaring most since October 9, 2009. It wasn't just China that appears confused: so is the BOJ whose minutes disappointed markets which had been expecting at least a little additional monetary goosing from the Japanese central bank involving at least a cut of the rate on overnight excess reserves, sending both the USDJPY and US equity futures lower. Finally, in the easter egg department, with the much-anticipated ECB announcement just 24 hours away, none other than the ECB's Ewald Nowotny threw a glass of cold water in the faces of algos everywhere when he said that tomorrow's meeting will be interesting but one "shouldn’t get overexcited about it."
Major central banks claim to be independent, but they are totally under the control of politicians. Many developed countries have tried to anchor an independent central bank to offset pressure from politicians and that’s all well and good in principle until the economy spins out of control – at zero-bound growth and rates central banks and politicians becomes one in a survival mode where rules are broken and bent to fit an agenda of buying more time. What comes now is a new reality...
Hours after the IMF cut its global economic growth forecast yet again (which for the permabullish IMF is now a quarterly tradition as we will shortly show), now expecting 3.5% and 3.7% growth in 2015 and 2016, both 0.3% lower than the previous estimate (but... but... low oil is unambiguously good for the economy) and both of which will be revised lower in coming quarters, and hours after China announced that its entirely made up 2014 GDP number (which was available not 3 weeks after the end of the quarter and year) dropped below the mandatory target of 7.5% to the lowest in 24 years, it only makes sense that stock markets around the globe are solidly green if not on expectations of another year of slowing global economies, which stopped mattering some time in 2009, but on ever rising expectations that the ECB's QE will be the one that will save everyone. Well, maybe not everyone: really only the 1% which as we reported yesterday will soon own more wealth than everyone else combined and who are about to get even richer than to Draghi.