Watch out for exchange controls in Switzerland this weekend.
Central bank gold demand remains robust as central banks continue to diversify out of the euro and the dollar. Further central bank demand is confirmed in the news this morning that Kazakhstan plans to raise the share of gold in its international reserves from 12% to 15%. So announced central bank Deputy Chairman Bisengaly Tadzhiyakov to reporters today in the capital, Astana. “We’ve already signed contracts for 22 tons,” Tadzhiyakov said. Bloomberg report that immediate-delivery gold was little changed at $1.620.41 an ounce at 10:50 a.m. in Moscow, valuing 22 metric tons of gold at about $1.2 billion. “The bank is ready to buy when suppliers are ready to sell,” Tadzhiyakov said. Kazakhstan said yesterday it will cut its holdings in the euro by a sixth. It was reported in the Reuters Global Gold Forum that the central bank buys all the gold produced in Kazakhstan and owned 98.19T at the end of April, according to the IMF's most recent international finance statistics report. Meanwhile, supply issues remain and South African gold production continues to plummet. South African gold production fell 12.8% in April from a year earlier, Juan -Pierre Terblanche, a spokesman for Statistics South Africa, told Bloomberg.
Just as expected an hour ago...
- JAPANESE FINANCE MINISTER AZUMI SAYS G7 WILL NOT ISSUE A JOINT STATEMENT
- AZUMI: G7 DID NOT DISCUSS GREECE LEAVING THE EURO
- AZUMI: G7 AGREED WILL WORK TOGETHER TO DEAL WITH PROBLEMS IN SPAIN, GREECE - RTRS
- AZUMI URGED EUROPE TO EASE CONCERNS OF FINANCIAL MARKETS
- AZUMI: G7 AGREES TO COOPERATE TO RESOLVE SPAIN, GREECE PROBLEMS
Luckily, they did discuss the.... Yen?
Thus we have the world’s three most important Central banks as well as the global economy’s “economic miracle” retreating from aggressive monetary intervention.
All you need to read and some more.
A picture says more than a hundred words, so I wanted to present in graphical terms what happened at the Swiss National Bank over the last few quarters. Central banks have tried to “manage” currencies in the past. Sooner or later, market forces win. As all other major central banks keep printing additional Euros, Dollars, Yen etc., the SNB looks prone to lose this game. A run on the Swiss Franc could lead to a further increase in prices of Swiss government bonds. Swiss equities however would decline, at least measured in Swiss Francs.
The reality that the global Status Quo has fixed absolutely nothing in four years is finally coming to roost in the global economy. Though there is an endless array of complexity to snare the unwary, the source of instability is both visible and easily understood: too much debt that will never be paid back. Making matters much worse, much of the money that was borrowed--by sovereign governments, local governments, households and private enterprises--was squandered on consumption or malinvestments, and so there are precious few assets or collateral underlying the debt. Even when there is an asset--for example, a vacant house in a vacant development in Spain, or a Greek bond--the market value is considerably lower than the purchase price. The reality is that trillions of dollars, euros, yen and renminbi in phantom wealth will disappear when the losses that have already taken place are finally recognized. Everyone in the world with exposure to the global economy will become poorer in terms of abundant money floating around buying goods and services as credit dries up and deleveraging wipes out trillions of dollars, euros, yen and renminbi of phantom wealth.
- Spain Seeks Joint Bank Effort as Pressure Rises on Merkel (Bloomberg)
- Banks Cut Cross-Border Lending Most Since Lehman: BIS (Bloomberg)
- Shirakawa Bows to Yen Bulls as Intervention Fails (Bloomberg)
- Merrill Losses Were Withheld Before Bank of America Deal (NYT)
- Investors Brace for Slowdown (WSJ)
- China's lenders ordered to check bad loans (China Daily)
- Obama Seeks Way Out of Jobs Gloom (WSJ)
- Noda Reshuffles Japan Cabinet in Bid for Support on Sales Tax (Bloomberg)
- China to open the market further (China Daily)
- Australian Industry Must Adapt to High Currency, Hockey Says (Bloomberg)
- Tax-funded projects to be more transparent (China Daily)
On the heels of Fitch's sovereign credit downgrade to A plus (the fifth-highest investment grade), Japan's government debt continues to swell. With its debt at over 200% of its GDP, the Land of the Rising Sun appears to be embarking on a trek into the debt-laden unknown. As with any well-known macro-trend, there are speculators eager to capitalize on it. A ballooning government debt is often associated with sovereign debt crises, as market shocks can send the interest rate paid on the debt to unsustainable levels. Coupled with Japan's shrinking population (and thus tax base), the country is setting itself up for a hairy situation (data for both charts are from the IMF's World Economic Outlook Database). Enter Kyle Bass, one of the few hedge fund managers who made a killing when he bet against housing during the subprime mortgage bust. He and his fund have now set their sights on Japan, specifically shorting Japanese yen and Japanese government debt. His thesis is simple: with a debt-to-GDP ratio over 200% and a contracting population, it's only a matter of time before a sovereign debt crisis sets in, thus triggering a rise in Japanese interest rates – which the government would be unable to service with a shrinking and aging tax base. So far this strategy hasn't worked as Bass intended: according to ValueWalk, Bass' fund lost 29% of its value in April alone. That's not to say Bass' assumptions are incorrect. But there are alternative ways of looking at Japan's situation.
- Germany shifts, gives Spain more time on deficit (Reuters)
- Europe must prepare an emergency plan (FT)
- EU Spain reveals €100bn capital flight (FT)
- Spain’s Guindos says future of Euro at stake in Spain (Bloomberg)
- ECB, EU officials warn euro’s survival at risk (Reuters)
- China can ‘cope’ if Greece exits Euro, NDRC Researcher says (Bloomberg)
- Japan Warns Against Rising Yen (WSJ)
- Global stocks investors head for exits (FT)
- Hot Copper Shorts Burning Commodity Firms (Caixin)
It's blood in the streets out there: nobody wants Euros because nobody knows if Greece will be in the EMU on Monday... Or Spain for that matter, which is now fresh out of towels. You just happen to have the position of an FX trader at the SNB and everyone wants your money. What do you do? What do you do?
Einhorn Eviscerates Buffet: "If You Wrap Up All $100 Bills In Circulation, It Would Form A Cube 74 Feet Per Side"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/30/2012 11:00 -0400
In Greenlight's latest letter we learn that "At quarter end, the largest disclosed long positions in the Partnerships were Apple, Arkema, General Motors, gold and Seagate Technology. The Partnerships had an average exposure of 98% long and 62% short." Also, we find a spirited defense of AAPL (if one which breaks no real new ground with the ever louder recent criticisms of the company), some thoughts on STX, a discussion on the Yen, some of the firm's profitable shorts, including DMND, GMCR, and JOE, but most delightful is this scathing attack on old crony capitalist, TBTF money bags himself...