Today's Durable Goods number was blistering, if only on the headline. Coming at $230.7 billion, it was up a whopping $9.4 billion or 4.2%, on expectations of a 2.5% increase. The reason for the surge: the volatile transportation segment, which rose 14.1% to $80.4 billion. This is entirely due to Boeing aircraft orders, which rose to 260 this year compared to 10% of that a year ago, which however, as Quantas reminded us yesterday, can and will be promptly reversed (see: "Boeing hit by 'biggest-ever 787 order cancellation'"). In other words next month will be a headline disaster. So what happened beneath the headline when excluding volatile series: well - Durable Goods ex-transportations decline -0.4% in July, missing expectations of a +0.5% print, with the June number revised down from -1.1% to -2.2%. It gets worse: Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft tumbled in July, and imploded to -3.4%, crashing below expectations of a -0.2% print, with the previous print revised from -1.4% to -2.7%). This means that indeed the brief blip higher in economic activity in the summer was largely transitory and was purely a byproduct of seasonal adjustment. Expect cuts to Q3 GDP forecasts to commence imminently by the sellside lemmings.
Color us unsurprised; but the UK's Independent is reporting that American officials are worried that if the Troika decides Greece has not done enough to meet its deficit targets, it will withhold the money - triggering Greece's exit from the eurozone weeks before the presidential election. British government sources have suggested the Obama administration is urging eurozone Governments to hold off from taking any drastic action before then - fearing the resulting market destabilization could damage President Obama's re-election prospects. The Troika are expected to report in time for an 8 October meeting of eurozone finance ministers which will decide on whether to disburse Greece's next EUR31bn aid tranche, promised under the terms of the bailout for the country. European leaders are thought to be sympathetic to the Obama lobbying, fearing that, under pressure from his party in Congress, Mitt Romney would be a more isolationist president than Mr Obama. So once again GRExit is assured economically; but it is an entirely political decision.
There is a frequent tendency to over state the importance of the Fed and its policies and ignore the primary fundamentals driving the gold market which are what we have long termed the ‘MSGM’ fundamentals. As long as the MSGM fundamentals remain sound than there is little risk of gold and silver’s bull markets ending. What we term MSGM stands for macroeconomic, systemic, geopolitical and monetary risks. The precious metals medium and long term fundamentals remain bullish due to still significant macroeconomic, systemic, monetary and geopolitical risks. We caution that gold could see another sharp selloff and again test the support at €1,200/oz and $1,550/oz. If we get a sharp selloff in stock markets in the traditionally weak ‘Fall’ period, gold could also fall in the short term as speculators, hedge funds etc . liquidate positions en masse. To conclude, always keep an eye on the MSGM and fade the day to day noise in the markets.
Since the GOP presidential candidate still refuses to give any substantial details on how the republicans plan to grow the country, not to mention fund the budget deficit (even as various pageview hawking blogs concurrently try to give the impression that private equity prospectuses stamped with the "confidential" seal for purely regulatory reasons will somehow provide an insight into the Bain Capital CEO's taxpaying practices, confirming that "finance for the masses" may not be the best idea), those who wish to gain some insight into the actual workings of Romney's brain may have to resort with the following Op-Ed published overnight in the WSJ titled, "What I Learned at Bain Capital: My business experience taught me how to help companies grow—and what to do when trouble arises. When you see a problem, run toward it before the problem gets worse." Read it - it may well be the only public policy "prescription" out of the republican before the election.
- So Draghi was bluffing after all: ECB Said To Await German ESM Ruling Before Settling Plan (Bloomberg)
- German finance ministry studying "Grexit" costs (Reuters) - it would be bigger news if it wasn't
- Money Funds Test Geithner, Bernanke Resolve as Schapiro Defeated (Bloomberg)
- Top Merkel MP says Greek deal can't be renegotiated (Reuters)
- China Eyes Ways to Broaden Yuan's Use (WSJ)
- Armstrong ends fight against doping charges, to lose titles (Reuters) - Dopestrong?
- Need more socialism: Public confidence in France's Hollande slips (Reuters)
- Seoul court rules Samsung didn't violate Apple design (Reuters)
- France, Germany Unify Approach to Greek Talks (WSJ)
- Stevens Sees Mining Boom Peaking, RBA Ready to Act (Bloomberg)
While we await the release of pictures for today's caption contest, namely Merkel and Samaras hugging it out, which incidentally will be today's top news, as the Greek PM enters the lioness' den and begs for more, only to hear Merkel recite Herman Cain's tax plan, here is another picture: it is of "America’s Next Top Model" contestant and MTV anchor Kim Stolz, who was just hired away by Citigroup from BTIG to be a VP in equity-derivative sales, according to Bloomberg’s Donal Griffin. This is a welcome development: with trading volumes at levels last seen in 1998, more and more banks will resort to hiring underemployed supermodels to incite their clients to transact with them (for all the obvious and not so obvious reasons). It also means that said supermodels will soon know all there is to know about delta, gamma, vega and theta. Which naturally sets the stage for Zoolander 2 and the latest and greatest face name: step aside "Blue Steel", enter "The Schwab Baby" - a look describing what happens when that massive short gamma position suddenly blows up in your face. At least the next round of Congressional hearings, when banks scapegoat the next bailout request on supermodels selling VIX, will be somewhat more attractive. Win win for everyone.
Stranger than fiction perhaps but the FT is reporting that the gold standard has returned to mainstream US politics for the first time in 30 years with a 'gold commission' set to become part of official Republican party policy. While this could simply be a reach for as many Ron Paul marginal voters as possible (with the view that the GOP would never really go for it); it appears drafts of the party platform from the forthcoming rain-soaked convention call for an audit of the Fed and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar and gold. The FT, citing a spokesperson, adds that "There is a growing recognition within the Republican party and in America more generally that we’re not going to be able to print our way to prosperity," but "We’re not going to go from a standing start to the gold standard," although it would provide a chance to educate politicians and the public about the merits of a return to gold. Interestingly, the Republican platform in 1980 referred to "restoration of a dependable monetary standard", while the 1984 platform said that "the gold standard may be a useful mechanism."
Frustrated with the know-it-all bullish 'experts' on the Chinese economy lambasting wise boots-on-the-ground deep-thinkers such as Hugh Hendry and Albert Edwards; Marc Faber (who discussed this in detail in the clip we presented here) today set about correcting some of that vacuous chatter on China's dominance (with all its current stuffed inventory). Noting that the Chinese stock market is not exactly pointing to the growth everyone is relying on (and we add since the MAR09 lows it is only fractionally better than Spain), Faber brings up one chart (courtesy of The Bank Credit Analyst) to rule them all. Alongside the mega-bubbles of: Gold in 1970s, the Nikkei in the 80s, and the Nasdaq in the 90s, Iron Ore prices since the start of 2000 have them all beat - and recently (as we noted here) have begun to roll over.
When first the speculation and subsequently the confirmation that in addition to suffering massive losses on its IG-9 position, JPM had engaged in massive, reckless and criminal CDS mismarking with the intent to defraud and to boost the appearance of profit for selfish reasons, we promptly concluded that "Jamie Dimon's "tempest in a teapot" just became a fully-formed, perfect storm which suddenly threatens his very position, and could potentially lead to billions more in losses for his firm." So far, the regulators which are currently on page two of "CDS for Absolutely Corrupt Criminal Morons", are only slowly catching up. And while the stench will eventually lead to Jamie, as what happened in the over the counter, unregulated CDS market has most certainly happened at the tens of trillions in other OTC products traded by JPM, most of which are IR swaps, tying it all back nicely to the Libor scandal of which JPM is also a part, the first person who will certainly experience some major pain as the JPM scapegoating plays out, is none other than the London Whale himself Bruno Iksil, who was loved by all at JPM when he was making money, and is now being hung out to dry, once the bank is in the prosecution's cross hairs.
Across the West, instances of abuse of authority by domestic police forces are becoming more prevalent. Just last week on August 16, 2012, former Marine Brandon Raub was forcibly taken from his home in Chesterfield Country, Virginia and is currently being held against his will in a psychiatric hospital. His alleged crime he has yet to be charged for? It’s quite easy to understand why law enforcement, as a vital enforcement arm of government, uses its authority so recklessly and with little impunity. The state’s monopoly on violence ultimately acts as a hindrance to social cooperation and rising living standards. It is regressive in the sense that monopolies have no incentive to meet the needs of consumers. In the end, law enforcement in its current form should not be looked to as a friend of peace but merely as another branch of the state’s institutionalized thuggery.
As Jevons alludes to — and especially in a world where most of us live in an irrigated industrial society — it would seem that there are many other significant factors in determining both long and short term variations in food price — technology shocks, wars, energy shocks, social changes. Food prices are a complex and multi-dimensional equation with a lot of variables. But the impressive thing is that even in a modern agriculturally mechanised and industrialised economy there remains a discernable underlying association between food prices and the solar cycle.
Why One SEC Commissioner Spoiled The Fed And Treasury's Plan For Money Market Capital Controls: In His WordsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/23/2012 20:04 -0400
Beginning in January of 2010, and continuing into July of this year, we explained how one of the most insidious attempts at capital controls undertaken by the authorities, namely to replace the $1.00 NAV method that money markets have employed since inception, forcing money markets to imposed capital buffers, and most importantly, to enact mandatory gating if and when the time comes for investors to withdraw their money when they so desired, was taking shape. In other words, to institute capital controls when it comes to money market funds. We already explained that the idea to kill money markets is not new, and originated at the Group of 30 many years ago (its members explain its interests vividly enough) , as an attempt to have investors voluntarily shift their capital allocation out of a liquid but very much inert from the fractional reserve banking system $2.7 trillion market into other liquid, but fractional banking levered markets such as stocks and bonds. In essence, this would generate an up to $2.7 trillion incremental demand as those invested in money markets would find it more "appealing" to keep their cash equivalents in the "security" of 150x P/E stocks like Amazon, or in the worst case, Treasury Bills. After all faced with the option of being "gated" or investing their money in other "non capital controlled" markets, one would be an idiot to pick the former. This is precisely what Mary Schapiro hoped would be the case when she put the vote to the SEC, only to find that she couldn't even get a majority to support her own proposal (which as a reminder was supported by two Fed presidents: uber doves Eric Rosengren of Boston and William Dudley of New York, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner) in her own co-opted house. It is also the reason one person decided to vote against Schapiro's proposal - Luis Aguilar. His explanation why he voted against money market fund capital controls is attached.
Zero Hedge covered the topic of automotive channel stuffing long before it became a conversation piece, particularly as it pertains to Government Motors, a story which has recently taken precedence after being uncovered at such stalwarts of industry as German BMW and Mercedes, implying the German economic miracle may, too, have been largely fabricated. Another core topic over the years has been the artificial and inventory-stockpiling driven (in other words hollow) "growth" of China's economy, whose masking has been increasingly more difficult courtesy of such telltale signs of a slowdown as declining electricity consumption and off the charts concrete use. It was only logical that the themes would eventually collide and so they have: the New York Times published "China Besieged by Glut of Unsold Goods" in which, as the title implies, it is revealed that China is now nothing more than one big "stuffed channel."