In June there were no POMOs on Friday. In July, when as was revealed yesterday the Fed's monthly POMO operations will add only $19 billion in net liquidity injections (below the $20 billion scheduled due to an extra $1 billion POMOed in June) the lowest since 2012, there are no POMOs on Friday and there is just one Wednesday POMO. The days of the Fed market rigging, or as the BIS called it over the weekend, the "fairy dust of illusionary riches" are coming to an end... at least until the market crashes as it did after the end of QE1 and QE2, and the Fed scrambles right back in to buy it all up again.
Here are the best and worst performing assets broken down by the three key time periods as we leave the first half of 2013 (it's not been a good year for wheat).
- Ceasefire over, Ukraine forces attack rebel positions (Reuters)
- No Good Iraq Options for Obama as Russia, Iran Jump In (BBG)
- Japan’s Cabinet Agrees to Allow Military to Help Defend Allies (BBG)
- Obama says to reform immigration on his own, bypassing Congress (Reuters)
- South Stream Pipeline Project in Bulgaria Is Delayed (NYT)
- Foreign Banks Still in the Dark About Missing Metals in China (WSJ)
- Quelle indignity: several bankers at French bank BNP Paribas will face demotions and cuts to their pay and bonuses (FT)
- Symantec Warns of Hacker Threat Against Energy Companies (BBG)
- Shrinking Office Spaces Slow Recovery (WSJ)
- Rand Paul Slams ‘Fat Cats’ With Hedge Fund in Top Donors (BBG)
"It's just going to be screwed. And relatively quickly," warns Tim Barnett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, telling The Telegraph, the situation in Las Vegas is "as bad as you can imagine". After a devastating, 14-year drought drained the reservoir that supplies 90% of the city’s water, the apparently endless supply of water is an illusion as Las Vegas population has soared. As Barnett ominously concludes, "unless it can find a way to get more water from somewhere, Las Vegas is out of business. Yet they’re still building, which is stupid."
BTFATH! That was the motto overnight, when despite a plethora of mixed final manufacturing data across the globe (weaker Japan, Europe; stronger China, UK) the USDJPY carry-trade has been a one-way street up and to the right, and saw its first overnight buying scramble in weeks (as opposed to the US daytime trading session, when the JPY is sold off to push carry-driven stocks higher). Low volumes have only facilitated the now usual buying at the all time highs: The last trading day of 1H14 failed to bring with it any volatility associated with month-end and half-end portfolio rebalancing - yesterday’s S&P 500 volumes were about half that compared to the last trading day of 1H13.
Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, The NY Times reports that the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. However, as James Risen (who himself faces jail time thanks to the White House) reports, a senior official of the notorious private security firm allegedly threatened to kill a government investigator leading the probe into the firm’s Iraqi operation. Stunningly (or not), the US embassy sided with him and forced the inspector to cut the visit short. “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law,” Richter added; now we wonder what gave them that idea?
We have forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls’ and their inevitable failure to draw upon. We know how this game ends, we just don’t know precisely when. As Orwell wrote, "in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” The reality bears restating: as the good folk of Incrementum rightly point out, "...the monetary experiments currently underway will have numerous unintended consequences, the extent of which is difficult to gauge today. Gold, as the antagonist of unbacked paper currencies, remains an excellent hedge against rising price inflation and worst case scenarios."
Tonight's round of baffle 'em with bullshit is courtesy of a diverging AsiaPacific economic picture that is anything but supportive of the 'reality' being painted by China's official PMI (which printed at 51.0 as per expectations at 2014 highs) followed by HSBC China PMI which missed its flash estimate (with employment dropping to 8mo lows). South Korea PMI collapsed to 10-month lows; Aussie PMI faded further into contraction at 48.9; and then Japan's Tankan dramatically missed expectations, tumbling to 9-month lows (only to be followed by a 51.1 Japan print (3-month highs). Just to complete the "picture", Chinese home prices fell for the first time in over 2 years. The result, USDJPY rallies and Nikkei 225 soars 200 points... baffled?
As homeownership rates tumble, perhaps it is not just the stagnation of income or piling up of 'other debts' disabling any organic buying frenzy; perhaps, as Bloomberg breaks down, it is the realization that real-estate is nothing less than another boom-bust roller-coaster ride. ??When so much wealth is tied up in one asset, the risk -- or stability -- of a local market can mean a lot to a homeowner and Bloomberg has quantified the 'riskiest' (and most stable) home markets in America... not Vegas, not Phoenix, and not LA...
Janet Yellen is an officious school marm. She constantly lectures us on Keynesian verities as if they were the equivalent of Newton’s Law or the Pythagorean Theorem. In fact, they constitute self-serving dogma of modern vintage that is marshaled to justify what is at bottom an economic absurdity. Namely, that through the primitive act of banging the securities “buy” key over and over and thereby massively expanding its balance sheet, the Fed can cause real wealth - embodying the sweat of labor, the consumption of capital and the fruits of enterprise - to magically expand beyond what the free market would generate on its own steam. Dr. Yellen, of course, claims there are no financial bubbles to worry about because the Keynesian bathtub of potential GDP has not yet been filled to the brim. Perhaps she would like to put in a bid for one of these homes...
Here are two very disturbing statistics:
- Every year, 300,000 Americans die from obesity (Source: NIH)
- Every year, 600,000 Chinese die from working too hard (Source: China Youth Daily, China Radio)
The rest, as the Chairmanwoman says, is "noise."
Long before 1984 gave us the adjective “Orwellian” to describe the political corruption of language and thought, Thucydides observed how factional struggles for power make words their first victims, "Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them." Orwell later explained the reason for such degradation of language, "Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible." The bottom-line is that tyrannical power and its abuses comprise the "indefensible" that must be verbally disguised; which seems to have never been more appropriate than now in the stream of 'disguised' words we are fed every day...
Under Article 9 of its post-war pacifist constitution, Japan is blocked from the use of force to resolve conflicts except in the case of self-defense; but, as The BBC reports, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants a new interpretation of the constitution to be agreed on. This has brought major protests in Japan, climaxing this weekend when a man set himself on fire in central Tokyo in protest at a proposed law which could allow Japan to deploy its military overseas. With stocks falling, JPY strengthening, an economy collapsing, and a surging disapproval rating, it seems Abe needs a 4th arrow - war?