It seems four years of centrally-planning the US economy wears on a man. As WaPo notes, now his face has deeper creases and crow’s feet, while his hair has turned white. "You look at the picture when they’re inaugurated and four years later, they're visibly older," said Connie Mariano, White House physician from 1992 to 2001. "It's like they went in a time machine and fast-forwarded eight years in the span of four years."
The situation in MalgeriaTM continues to remain uncertain but the following updates should provide some color as to where they stand currently (and a primer on the initial French intervention). Critically, Stratfor warns that the escalation in Algeria will possibly lead to further militants crossing the Mali border, further endangering Westerners and energy infrastructure (which is important as Algeria is one of the largest exports of light, sweet crude oil in the world and a significant natural gas exporter to Europe).
Technically the addition of 572 tons, or a massive 18,378,092 ounces of physical silver, to the SLV ETF, in one day is not a record, as it excludes one amount which however was a year end rebalance at the end of 2007 offset promptly on the next day, but it certainly is the biggest one day addition of physical silver to SLV in ordinary course operations. It is also more silver added to the ETF in all of 2012, when just 544 tons were added in the entire year. This was driven by the creation of some 19,000,000 shares of SLV overnight which brought the total to 356.8 million shares. And since there has been no move in the price of silver, which certainly would have soared had this amount been purchased in the open market we can only assume this has to do with in kind basket creation taking place. Whether this was due to arbitrage, or simply the need to create inventory we don't know: we are confident however, that SLV custodian, money laundering expert extraordinaire HSBC, will have no comment. Just as there is no comment why in the days following the epic May 1, 2011 take down of silver, a nearly just as large 522 tons of silver poured out the ETF on May 4, 2011. What is certain is that a move of this size is certainly notable.
By order of their various 'independent' masters, the world's central banks have "got to work" over the past few years. Running the printing presses under the guise of various multi-syllabic programs designed to optically lower interest rates and feed fungible resources to its banks - that will inevitably (surely) flow to the real economy and make everything right with the world. Well, perhaps the following chart will explain just good a "job" they are doing with that real-world real-economy recovery...
It is neither pessimism nor optimism but a squaring up with the facts and, when done, it is the inescapable conclusion that we have backed ourselves into a corner of our own making and that to escape this dark and dangerous place will be a painful experience. The scheme rests upon various feet; Central Banks acting in collusion to lower yields and provide capital as an off-set to the government in America and the governments on the Continent who cannot bear, for political reasons, to do what should be done and that is to cut expenditures. The entire world’s financial system encased in a bubble and nowhere to go, nowhere to hide and nowhere to be safe. The worry then is how does it all end, what do you do in the meantime and how and what do you do when the bubble is pricked.
A month ago we mocked the Philly Fed number which printed at an outlier level of 8.1, slamming expectations of a negative print, and sending algos into overbuydrive. A week ago we were validated when the annual revision brought that number down from 8.1 to 4.6. Today we get confirmation that the December print was a total farce, with a January Philly Fed print which is once again solidly in negative territory, or -5.8, which just happens to be the biggest miss to expectations of 5.6 in seven months. Yet while a month ago the huge beat was a reason for the robots to ramp stocks, today's miss is a reason to... ramp stocks even more. Why? Because moments before the disappointing announcement the Fed decided to inject even more liquidity in addition to the now daily unsterilized POMO, following the resumption of repos, which injected some $210 million in reserves into dealers. This is in addition to the $3 or so billion that today's POMO will add as stock purchasing dry powder for banks.
Whether the repatriation of only some 20% of Germany's gold reserves from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Banque of Paris back to Frankfurt manages to allay German concerns remains in question. Especially given that the transfer from the Federal Reserve is set to take place slowly over a seven year period and will only be completed in 2020. The German Precious Metals Association and Germany's ‘Repatriate Our Gold’ campaign said that the move by the Bundesbank did not negate the need for a full audit of Germany's gold. They want this to take place in order to protect against impairment of the gold reserves through leases and swaps. Indeed, they have called for independent, full, neutral and physical audits of the gold reserves of the world's central banks and the repatriation of all central bank gold - the physical transport of gold reserves back into the respective sovereign ownership countries. It seems likely that we may only have seen another important milestone in the debate about German and global gold reserves.
The last few months have seen US equity markets swinging from confidence to grave concerns (briefly) and back to exuberance even as the looming 'debt ceiling' and sequester remains dead ahead. The pattern is eerily similar in price (and volatility) terms to the movements ahead of the Summer 2011 'debt ceiling' debacle. What is just as concerning is, as Bloomberg's Chart of the Day shows, is the mass psychology aspect, as mentions of the words 'debt ceiling' are once again gathering pace, just as they did in 2011. Markets may not repeat, but they do echo; and as UBS' Art Cashin noted, this month marks the 40-year anniversary of a significant top in the market as stocks broke to all-time highs and "all appeared right with the world." Perhaps, it is our inexorably optimistic belief that the politicians will fix it all (or kick the can) at the last minute - so there is nothing to fear but fear itself; or perhaps this time, there is a line in the sand that both sides need to defend.
No commentary necessary.
Initial jobless claims saw their biggest beat in almost 4 years to the lowest absolute (seasonally adjusted level) in almost 5 years. The market's initial reaction was a shrug (is good bad now that the Fed is pinned to jobs or is the market getting wise in the ways of seasonal-adjustment shenanigans?) but now it appears to be buying the new 'old' normal (+6 points). In the unadjusted data, things look very different - with a lag, New York (37,189), Georgia (15,354), and North Carolina (13,606) saw major rises in initial claims with only Michigan (-12,536) seeing a decent drop in claims - as we note that non-seasonally-adjusted claims rose notably less than in the prior 4 years, and assuming seasonal-adjustments are triggered from those, this will reflect very rosily on today's seasonal adjustment. With Claims back to 'normal', what will the Fed do?
The Algeria hostage situation reported yesterday, where alleged Al Qaeda operatives took numerous hostages at a local BP, Statoil and Sonatrach JV gas plant in retaliation for the French incursion into Mali, has rapidly gone from bad to worse as some 34 hostages (out of the 41 originally reported) have been killed.
While Citi's stock is getting hammered in the pre-market for missing both top- and bottom-lines, three things stand out to us at first glance. First, legal costs were well above expectations; second, they reduced their exposure to GIIPS during Q4 - just when the rip-roaring rally in Europe really took off; and third, and more importantly, Citi did not take a huge loan loss reserve drawdown like every other bank.
- *CITIGROUP 4Q REV. $18.66B, EST. $18.92B :C US
- *CITIGROUP 4Q ADJ. EPS 69C WITH/WITHOUT ITEMS MISSES EST. 96C
- *CITI 4Q GIIPS NET CURRENT FUNDED EXPOSURE $8.9B VS 3Q $9.5B
- *CITIGROUP 4Q LOAN LOSS RESERVE RELEASE $86M VS $1.5B PRIOR YR
The question is, why would Citi not take advantage of the investing public's ignorance like every other bank and release more from loan-loss-reserves - have they maxed out their previous releases? or are they less exuberant at the housing un-recovery? (we note that 90-179-Day Delinquencies rose)
- Obama's Gun Curbs Face a Slog in Congress (BBG)
- Euro Area Seen Stalling as Draghi’s Pessimism Shared (BBG)
- China Begins to Lose Edge as World's Factory Floor (WSJ)
- EU Car Sales Slump (WSJ)
- Fed Concerned About Overheated Markets Amid Record Bond-Buying (BBG)
- Australia Posts Worst Back-to-Back Job Growth Since ’97 (BBG)
- Abe Currency Policy Stokes Gaffe Risk as Amari Roils Yen (BBG)
- Japan Opposition Party Won’t Back BOJ Officials for Governor (BBG)
- Fed Reports Point to Subdued Economic Growth (WSJ)
- China Set to Exit Slowdown by Boosting Infrastructure (BBG)
- Greece not out of woods, must stick to reforms: finance minister (Reuters)
- Russian Rate Debate Flares Up as Cabinet Seeks Growth (BBG)
Bank Of America Earnings Plagued By Legacy Countrywide Woes Offset By $900 Million In Loan Loss Reserve ReleasesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/17/2013 08:54 -0400
Bank of America just reported yet another quarter marked by a bevy of "one-time" charges, which have now become normal course of business, even as NIM declined Y/Y, and sales and trading revenues declined sequentially. Loan loss reserve releases of $900 million more than offset the declining Noninterest income, and contributed to a positive pre-tax net income number. The biggest threat continue to be private Rep and Warrant outstanding claims which increased by almost 42 billion in the quarter to a total of $12.3 billion.