A few days ago China telegraphed it refuses to continue to be seen as the world's rescuer and the dumbest money in the room. Many assumed China was only kidding: after all how would China let its biggest export partner flounder? And furthermore, all China does is provide vendor financing, right? Well, as it turns out, wrong, because to China the current state of Europe is far from the terminal crisis Europe is trying to make it appear. This is happening even as a thoroughly desperate and grovelling Europe, kneepads armed and ready, has said via the EFSF's Regling that it will even consider issuing Yuan-denominated bonds. Alas, China is less than impressed. As AFP reports, "China’s state media Sunday warned that the country will not be a “savior” to Europe, as President Hu Jintao left for an official visit to the region including a G20 summit. Hu’s visit has raised hopes that cash-rich China might make a firm commitment to the European bailout fund, but in a commentary, the official Xinhua news agency said Europe must address its own financial woes. “China can neither take up the role as a savior to the Europeans, nor provide a ‘cure’ for the European malaise. “Obviously, it is up to the European countries themselves to tackle their financial problems,” it said, adding that China could only do so “within its capacity to help as a friend." A friend, who at this point is quite sensible, and realizes far better deals are to be had down the line if one merely waits. That said, we are certain China is not the only one out there with an instant notification pending the second Santorini, Ibiza or the Isle of Capri hits E-bay.
Broken Market Chronicles: Nasdaq Proposes To Make Legal What Exchanges Have Been Doing Illegally For YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/30/2011 12:36 -0400
A new proposal by Nasdaq has the market purists such as our friends at Nanex and all those (very few) who still care about how broken the market is and demand something be done about it, writhing in disgust, particularly this section:
\5\ The Exchange is also changing its policies and procedures under Regulation NMS governing the data feeds used by its execution system and routing engine. Current policies state that those systems use data provided by the network processors. In the future, those systems will use data provided either by the network processors or by proprietary feeds offered by certain exchanges directly to vendors.
Nasdaq's proposal admits that exchanges are supposed to use the SIP (CQS/UQDF) data for their execution system and routing engine! They want to formally change things to match what they've been doing all along so they can avoid fines and more! Why would you submit a proposal to change something you've already been doing? In other words, what the exchange is proposing, is already common practice. If exchanges are granted this proposal, Reg NMS, for all practical purposes, is no longer relevant, and there is no point in having the SIP calculate the NBBO, because it will have no meaning. Translated: the market will be, for all intents and purposes, officially two-tiered and terminally broken.
In the big picture, the market continues to be torn between two conflicting desires. On the one hand, there is a need to remain nimble and keep any "risk-on" positioning light, given that a permanent solution for the Euro zone remains elusive and that US and global growth may remain slow as also indicated in our forecasts. On the other hand, in the wake of the risk sell-off in August and September the market, in our view, remains underweight risk, which was underscored once again this past week by the outsized rally following what was really a relatively tepid EU summit. In short, while substantial uncertainty remains, there is always a possibility this gets brushed aside into year-end. Given this uncertainty, we monitor two things. First, the European policy process obviously remains key, and we will be monitoring developments into the Nov. 3-4 G-20 Summit in Cannes and the Nov. 7 Eurogroup meeting in Brussels closely. The former will be key in fleshing out any emerging market contributions to the SPV announced in the EU summit statement from this past week. The Eurogroup has been tasked with finalizing the implementation of EFSF leveraging and the SPV in November. Second, we are closely watching cyclical data in the US and elsewhere, and whether downside risks to growth are abating. In this regard, the coming week brings the global PMIs, including the all-important ISM and October payrolls, where at 75k, we are below consensus (95k). In terms of central bank meetings, we expect the FOMC to leave policy unchanged on Nov. 2.... Mario Draghi's first policy meeting as President of the ECB will be important to watch on Thursday. We hold firm to our view that a rate cut will only come in December (50bp), and the market is pricing low odds for a cut this week.
With the question of who will fund the majority of the EFSF, or the €560 billion of the €1 trillion, still outstanding, and with China no longer the slam dunk "dumb money" everyone had expected it to be, Europe turns to the next biggest beneficiary of maintaining the ponzi - the entire G20 itself. Below is the letter just sent out from the two Eurostooges in which they make it all too clear that money talks, or Europe walks. "We will implement these measures rigorously and in a timely manner, and we are confident that they will contribute to the swift resolution of the crisis. However, whilst we in Europe will play our part, this cannot alone ensure global recovery and rebalanced growth. There is a continued need for joint action by all G20 partners in a spirit of common responsibility and common purpose." Too bad Bernie Madoff went to jail before he could send out comparable letters to his own investors who by implication would have become "voluntary partners" with a gun to their head.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm.... Such As An Empty Box Filled With Promises Of Money, And Europe's Soup NaziSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/29/2011 23:53 -0400
Some amusing weekend observations from TTMYGH's Grant Williams: "The EFSF is basically an empty box filled with promises of money - many of them from the very people who are most likely to need to borrow that same money. Should they need to borrow the money, they won’t be able to make good on their promises so there will be less money for them to borrow. Now the brain trust running Europe have decided, in their collective wisdom, to apply leverage to the non-existent money in the empty box that they have yet to actually borrow, so it can backstop even more of the hundreds of billions of Euros of sovereign debt issued by countries whose finances are in such dire straits that they either require the kind of robust growth that is hardly likely to materialize any time soon or the forgiveness by the holders of that debt of a large part of it....Of course, granting Greece the package they did this past week, the Eurocrats have rather incredibly found yet another corner into which to back themselves. You can hardly champion the ‘One Europe’ manifesto on the one hand but then, as the next country lines up at the counter, declare “No soup for you!” - but that seems to be the ‘plan’ at this stage."
"We are all Greeks" - so begins one of the best reports on the unsustainability of the status quo, and on what "the new world order" will look like, created by SocGen's Veronique Riches-Flores. Her overarching observation: "No one can claim immunity from a Greek-style spiral" because "Our economies are mature, with weak potential GDP, especially post the financial crisis" and due to that old standby which everyone chooses so conveniently to forget, yet which is the biggest threat to the world's "welfare-state" stability, in existence since 1860 and which has been responsible for not only the longest period of peace in world history, but for the longest stealth plundering of middle-class wealth (there is indeed no such thing as a free lunch): "We are aging - we have no chance to see our future income improving substantially in the long run ; our savings capacities are shrinking and our health and pensions spending is increasing." That, in a nutshell, is it, no matter how many protracted essays one reads predicting the future (or war in Europe): the truth is there is increasingly less cash flow, coupled with increasingly more demands for cash.
The date is October 29, 2018, and Britain faces its darkest hour. On the battlefields of Europe, our Armed Forces have been humiliated. In makeshift prison camps on the continent, thousands of our young men and women sit forlornly, testament to the collapse of our ambitions.From the killing grounds of Belgium to the scarred streets of Athens, a continent continues to bleed. And, in the east, the Russian bear inexorably tightens its grip, an old empire rising from the wreckage of the European dream. Yesterday, after a run of military defeats unequalled in our history, the Prime Minister offered his resignation. There is talk of a National Government, but no one has any illusions of another Churchill waiting in the wings. In suburban streets across Britain, old men and callow teenagers are digging defensive positions in the cold autumn air. But with equipment scarce and ammunition non-existent, the Home Guard would barely last a week. And all the time, across the Channel, enemy forces make their final preparations for the inevitable invasion. Some talk of surrender; no one speaks of victory. Less than ten years ago, millions still believed in a peaceful, united Europe. How did it come to this? When future historians look back on our humiliation, they will surely judge that the turning point was the last week in October 2011. Largely forgotten today, the main event was yet another interminable European summit in Brussels — the 14th attempt to ‘save the euro’ in just 20 months. Hoping to secure German support for a massive one trillion euro rescue package, Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her parliamentarians a chillingly prescient warning. ‘No one should believe that another half century of peace in Europe is a given — it’s not,’ she said. ‘So I say again: if the euro collapses, Europe collapses. That can’t happen.’ At the time, many observers scoffed that she was being absurdly melodramatic. But, seven years on, no one is laughing.
While it is not the bears doing the explaining in this latest all too realistic summary of the European non-bailout, it is the next best thing.
Recent anecdotal evidence out of Asia suggests that the flight training received by some civilian airline pilots is based entirely on the aircraft's autopilot functions. Recall that an autopilot is a mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic system used to guide a vehicle without assistance from a human being. This deficiency in their training has been revealed in a most disconcerting fashion: when the aircraft's autopilot malfunctions, the pilots do not know how to actually fly the airplane. In other words, pilots are not actually trained to fly aircraft, i.e. to know how the aircraft responds in real time to actual human intervention/control; they're trained to monitor and manage the autopilot system which does the actual flying. This is a precise analogy for the European Union's leadership: they don't know how the financial system actually works, they only know how to follow the banking system's autopilot. Now that the financial system's autopilot has been fried, they are clueless and increasingly panicky: what does this lever do? Why is the stick so sluggish? We're losing power... there must be an auxiliary power switch, like in Star Trek... Good God, doesn't anyone know how to actually fly this thing? Sadly, the answer is no. The EU leadership, just like that of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government, only know how to blindly follow the system's autopilot program: increase leverage and debt, keep interest rates low so everyone (and every nation) with a pulse can increase their debt load, and let high-frequency trading (HFT) programs goose the stock market ever higher.
The headline GDP number was apparently enough growth to completely erase all thoughts of any renewed recession. However, most of us know that one quarter is not a trend and that the quarterly numbers are often statistically adjusted beyond something non-statistically meaningful. If we look at the headline numbers in sequence, it certainly seems that the economy is picking up from the weak first half. From these numbers it looks as if the economy slowed in the middle of 2010, hit a bottom in the first quarter of 2011, and has rebounded through the rest of 2011. I have little doubt that the economics profession has assumed a lagged effect from monetary stimulation, meaning the data largely confirms QE’s stated goals. From this interpretation, it looks as if Bernanke and his crew were exactly right to begin just when conditions were deteriorating and we are now set to bask in the successful afterglow of monetary intervention. A funny thing happens, though, when you remove the seasonal adjustments. This data presents an entirely different picture of the economy. From this point of view, GDP growth peaked toward the end of 2010 (just when QE 2.0 was announced) and has been decelerating ever since. The economy’s deceleration matches perfectly the increase in the price index, the BEA’s uneven proxy for inflation. Intuitively this makes far more sense, and from that we can draw far different conclusions about the efficacy of monetary interventions.
While only the market, and no one else, seems to have a grasp on the unknown unknowns in the Eurozone crisis, and has voted two toes up, despite really having no clue what is coming for Europe, here is a report from Exclusive-Analysis that summarizes the known unknowns, and comes up with a bleak conclusion: "We remain very doubtful that the relative optimism that has followed the EU summit will last. Last time, the 10th of October, following a Berlusconi announcement of austerity in the previous week, it took markets only a few days to distinguish between the detail of what was agreed and the more optimistic principles that were announced." So as everyone scrambles to figure out what is still missing from European bailout plan, perhaps focus on what is already present, because if that is any indication, the Thursday rally is nothing but yet another confirmation of just how broken the market as a discounting mechanism truly is.
With ex-?goldmanite ‘super mario’ at the helm of the ECB, expect more money printing, a two tier banking system, and a bigger role for the IMF. After 8 years of Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB gets a new face: the Italian Mario Draghi. From his recent statements in the press and elsewhere, many assume he will rather be a ‘hawk’ than a ‘dove’, meaning that Draghi will only print little money and will not lower interest rates aggressively. But a look into the past of this man makes us wonder: hawk for whom?
Germany "Raises" €55.5 Billion, or 1% Of Its Debt/GDP Ratio, Thanks To Derivative "Accounting Error"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/28/2011 22:11 -0400
As usual, the most surreal news of the day, perhaps week, is saved for Friday night, when we learn that Germany has magically raised over a quarter of its total EFSF obligation of €211 billion by way of what is essentially magic. The Telegraph reports that "Germany is €55bn richer than it previously thought because of an accounting error at state-owned bank Hypo Real Estate Holding. The mistake at "bad bank" FMS Wertmanagement, happened because collateral for derivatives wasn't netted between the asset and liability side, an FMS spokesman said. As a result, FMS will only contribute about €161bn to Germany's debt this year, down from €216.5bn in 2010." Another way of representing the error is that it is equal to a ridiculous 1% of the country's debt to GDP ratio. "Germany's 2010 debt-to-GDP ratio also drops, to 83.2% from the previous 84.2%, a finance ministry spokesman said." In other words, the modern world, best characterized by the imploding fiat ponzi, has discovered a way to raise capital (electronic, naturally) courtesy of CDS bookmarking errors. And now, we have seen it all.
Two days ago we noted that foreigners are selling US paper at a record pace, whether to raise capital in a locked out liquidity environment like French banks, or to make a politicial statement, like China. Today we get the first confirmation to this from Norway's Sovereign Wealth fund, best known for its prediction that it would buy and hold Greek bonds in perpetuity back in September 2010. Just recall: "Norway has taken the view that [Greek bonds] will not [default]. The Greek holdings are particularly interesting because the consensus in the market is that they will at some point restructure or default." Well, about a year later it is now official that the best the Norway SWF can hope for is a 50% recovery. So what does it do? It proceeds to dump US paper. Mortgage Backed Securities first. Because if it announced that a sovereign wealth fund instead of buying into the biggest ponzi ever, we finally defecting from it, then all bets would be of. Bloomberg reports: "Norway’s $570 billion sovereign wealth fund sold all its holdings in U.S. mortgage-backed securities as part of a shift of its fixed-income portfolio.“We’ve reduced our holdings of mortgage-backed securities,” he said. “MBS has been taken out of our internal policy benchmark. This means that we don’t have mortgage-backed securities issued by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae any longer." The stated reason for the dump: prepayment risk: "The debt was sold primarily because of the refinancing risk, he said. In the U.S., when a borrower refinances a mortgage it can cut short the maturity of the bond backed by the loan and reduce the expected interest over time, so-called prepayment risk." The real reason? Why shoring up capital of course. "The fund held 36 billion kroner ($6.6 billion) in bonds from Fannie Mae at the end of the second quarter and 11.5 billion kroner from Freddie Mac at the start of the year." And with the Fed telling us that almost $100 billion in US bonds and MBS having been sold in the past two months, one can be absolutely certain that i) it is not just MBS and ii) it is not just Norway.
One would think that considering that their debt, or rather about 60% of it, was haircut over the past 2 days, the Greeks would be grateful to Germany who not only orchestrated this transaction over the vocal protests of her French vertically challenged counterpart, but effectively has pledged a substantial portion of German GDP to preserve not only the Greek welfare state but soon that of all the other European countries. One would be wrong.