Paulson & Co. sold a third of the their SPDR holding which is quite a large liquidation. However, Paulson remains bullish on gold as was seen in positive comments he made recently so it would seem likely that this sale may have been an effort to raise cash after his fund suffered sharp losses in the last quarter. Some hedge funds sold the ETF to cover losses during a rout that erased $7.8 trillion from the value of global equities since May. Soros Fund Management LLC held 48,350 in the SPDR Gold Trust as of Sept. 30, compared with 42,800 shares at the end of the second quarter. The increase in Soros gold holdings are meager at some $10 million worth but suggest that Soros is not as bearish on gold as the multitude of news headlines, regarding his comments regarding gold being “the ultimate asset bubble”, would suggest. Soros added 145,000 call options and 120,000 puts in SPDR Gold in the third quarter. This confirms that Soros is not as bearish on gold as some would have us believe. There is also the real possibility that Soros’ fund, like other hedge funds, may have opted to own allocated bullion rather than a gold trust. Some hedge funds have opted for allocated gold bullion due to it being more discreet with a lack of disclosure (no quarterly filings), due to the lower long term costs and due to allocated accounts having less counter party risk than a trust with many indemnifications. Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors LP and New York- based Touradji Capital Management LP established gold positions in the third quarter. SAC Capital, which manages $14 billion and is based in Stamford, Connecticut, held 184,601 shares in the SPDR Gold Trust as of Sept. 30. Paul Touradji had 45,000 shares compared with none on June 30, the filings show.
- Debt turmoil and political uncertainty in Spain and Italy witnessed widening of the Spanish/German and Italian/German 10-year government bond yield spreads, despite decent T-Bill auctions from Spain. Also, yield on the Italian 10-year government bond breached the key 7% level to the upside
- According to the ZEW, there will be at least one negative quarter in Germany, most likely in Q1 2012
- BoE's King said he expects inflation to fall back sharply in the next 6 months, and will reach around the BoE’s target by the end of 2012
- SNB’s Jordan said that the SNB would act if the economic outlook and deflation trends demand
- Monti faces resistance on cabinet as market honeymoon turns sour (Bloomberg)
- Papademos urges Greece to commit to bail-out terms (FT)
- New York police evict anti-Wall Street protesters (Reuters)
- Power price hike looms in China amid plants' whopping losses (Xinhua)
- Scalia and Thomas dine with healthcare law challengers as court takes case (LA Times)
- Loan Backer's Cash Runs Low (WSJ)
- UBS names Ermotti CEO to reassure investors (Reuters)
- IMF warns on Chinese financial system (FT)
- Risks may blunt tough U.S. talk on China (Reuters)
ECB Intervenes: Briefly Brings Italian Yields Under 7%... And Sends French Yields To Fresh Record HighsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/15/2011 08:29 -0400
ECB is back to playing Whack-a-mole. Just as BTPs seemed poised to collapse to new all time records, and yields reenter the stratosphere, the ECB stepped in aggressively bringing the yield to just under 7%, at 6.996% last, however briefly. The problem, as pointed out previously, is that now the vigilantes will simply focus on those bonds where the ECB can not spoil the party. Such as France. French OATs just hit a fresh all record yield, and low price as technocratic NWO is scrambling to find a third Mario, who just so happens to be is a Goldman and Fed alum, to take over Sarko and head France.
Italian Yields Back Over 7%, CDS Passes 600, Futures Tumble On Abymal Spanish Auction, Lack Of Monti Government ConsensusSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/15/2011 08:06 -0400
It took Europe two days to go from fixed to fully broken all over again. Those curious why they are waking up to a see of red, Italian 10 Year yields back over 7%, stock futures tumbling, the EUR/$ sliding, Italian, French and Belgian CDS at fresh records, and a record scramble for Bund short-dated bonds (2 Year under 0.030%) is due to two main things: a failed Spanish auction now that contagion is back to sleepy Iberia, which sold €3.2 billion of bills, below the €3.5 billion target, with the yield soaring to 5.02% from 3.61% at Oct. auction leading to Spanish 2-, 10-yr yield spreads to Germany both significantly wider to records. The second main factor is the realization that Mario Monti is not the second coming and will in fact face major resistance to form a government. Bloomberg reports: "Monti, a former European Union competition commissioner, struggled to get political parties to agree to participate in his so-called technical Cabinet during talks in Rome yesterday. A government lacking political representation will find it harder to muster support from the parties in parliament to pass unpopular laws. Monti said he’ll conclude his talks today." And if Monti can't do it, nobody can. Which explains why the fulcrum European security, the Italian 10 year BTPs, just fell off a cliff, and is now yielding back over 7% at a euro price of under 85 cents. This could well be crunch time: there are no more magic rabbits in the hat, or deus ex prime minister resignations in the hat for Italy.
Ron Paul: "It Is Estimated That US Banks Have Over A Trillion Dollars Tied Up At-Risk With German And French Banks"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2011 15:58 -0400
The global economic situation is becoming more dire every day. Approximately half of all US banks have significant exposure to the debt crisis in Europe. Much more dangerous for the US taxpayer is the dollar's status as reserve currency for the world, and the US Federal Reserve's status as the lender of last resort. As we've learned in recent disclosures, this has not only benefitted companies like AIG, the auto industry and various US banks, but multiple foreign central banks as they have run into trouble. Nothing has been solved, however, by offering up the productivity of Americans as a sacrificial lamb. Greece is set to be the first domino to fall in the string of European economies at risk. ...The US has a relatively small exposure to overwhelmed Greek banks, but much larger economies in Europe are set to follow and that will have serious implications for US banks. Greece is technically small enough to bail out. Italy is not. Germany is not. France is not. It is estimated that US banks have over a trillion dollars tied up in at-risk German and French banks. Because the urge to paper over the debt with more credit is so strong, the collapse of the Euro is imminent. Will the Fed be held responsible if the Euro brings the US dollar down with it?
For the first time since 1949, when the Communist Party took power, China will open the regional authority debt markets (muni markets) to the public. Much is being made of the fact that this first issuance - for Shanghai no less - enabled it to dramatically cut its interest expense - as investors were clearly comforted by the increasingly transparent documentation. However, we worry that that this will cause a multi-tier market to evolve very rapidly between the haves and have-nots as we suspect the more than 6000 companies set up by local governments will bifurcate just as the Chinese IPO market did in the US. Color us even more skeptical but when we read the Wall Street Journal's story on Wenzhou's Annus Horribilis this evening, even vibrant thriving (over-stretched and over-levered) city-states are feeling the recoupling pain of a European recession, US residential construction depression, and European bank deleveraging impacting credit conditions in Asia. The bottom-line is more openness is better, more transparency is better, and meeting the demands of yield hungry money managers is reasonable but we hope they go in with eyes wide open as we suspect this move is much more about $1.7tn risk transfer from the public central planner's balance sheet and on to the private capital markets of the world.
The ever increasing un-invisible hand of intervention, manipulation, and disintermediation by central planning regimes around the world is an oft-quoted topic among our discussions. UBS's Global Macro Team published a thoughtful piece late last week on global political issues and the rise of the state. Governments are encroaching into more and more areas of the world economy. This is not just through political drama (as we have seen in the Euro area), nor even through the conventional mechanisms of foreign exchange intervention. Regulation (and regulatory uncertainty), sovereign wealth funds, bond market manipulation and default risks all play a role in financial markets, and all are intensely political in their nature. A more politically nuanced world raises an interesting unintended consequence for global financial markets. Directly, as a result of increased regulation, or indirectly, as a result of increased costs associated with assessing foreign political risk, investors may feel that the rise of the state will increase the home country bias of capital flows - exactly as leaders look for global burden sharing.
Watch Rosenberg And Krugman Debate Larry Summers and Ian Bremmer On Whether The US Is Turning Into JapanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2011 22:54 -0400
Minutes ago, the always delightful Munk Debate on the American economy concluded, which pitted two skeptics: David Rosenberg and (yes, he is a skeptic when it comes to his belief in the "proper" implementation of Keynesianism) Paul Krugman on the one hand defending the null motion of the debate, against Larry "Warren (watch the clip)" Summers, best known for destroying capitalism, and Ian Bremmer. The core debate topic was as follows: "North America faces a Japan style era of high unemployment and slow growth an accurate forecast of the future." Naturally, as Krugman immediately explained, by North America the organizers mean the US, simply because Canada is too small and hasn't screwed up enough (we would add that the screw up has not been perceived yet: everyone has screwed up, but luckily we have enough distractions for the time being). Either way, the progression of the debate should not come as a surprise to most, neither how each particular economist will perform: that Rosie sees Japan in every aspect of the US should not surprise anyone; that Krugman does too unless the politicians agree to being invaded by aliens, is also to be expected. On the other side, "Warren" Summers' argument can be simplified to his fallback motto of Keynesianism and Central Planning 101 in which he believes that the printing of money and job creation are sufficient to fix all US problems. No surprise there either: after all this is the man who three weeks ago said: "The central irony of financial crisis is that while it is caused by too much confidence, too much borrowing and lending and too much spending, it can only be resolved with more confidence, more borrowing and lending, and more spending."
US production of crude oil peaked in 1970 at 9.637 mbpd (million barrels per day) and has been in a downtrend for 40 years. Recently, however, there's been a tremendous amount of excitement at the prospect of a "new era" in domestic oil production. The narratives currently being offered come in the following three forms: 1) the US has more oil than Saudi Arabia; 2) the US need only to remove regulatory barriers to significantly increase production; and 3) the US can once again become self-sufficient in oil production, dropping all imported oil to zero.
So in the Perry aftermath, is everyone now going for the sympathy "I am just as big an idiot as Dubya" card, or are all Republican candidates seriously insane and/or raving, deranged lunatics? Will it seriously be that difficult to give Ron Paul a full body botox, cut off his frontal lobe, have him grope several women, promise to bomb someone or something, execute a few hundred illegal immigrants, and see him gain 200 extra pounds? Because if that is what it will take to make him "appeal" to the general Joe Sixpack, so be it: if America ends up with one of these other muppets it is doomed. Doomed.
The Rumors Were True: Paulson Liquidates A Third Of His GLD Gold Share Class; Buys More Bank Of America And Capital OneSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2011 19:05 -0400
Well, he may not be liquidating, and he may be telling others he has experienced barely any redemptions, but Paulson's gold share class, represented entirely by the fund's GLD holdings would beg to differ: as of September 30, Paulson's total holdings of GLD were down by a third from 31.5 million shares or $4.6 billion at the end of Q2, to 20.2 million or $3.2 billion. And as is well known, GLD is not an actual investment for Paulson, but merely a representative asset class for those who opt to have their fund holdings represented in gold (the smart ones) instead of in dollars. Indicatively the only Paulson & co investors who made any money, or at least did not lose much, were those who opted for a gold share class. Either way, it is now safe to assume that at least a third of the fund has been permanently redeemed, further confirmed by the drop in the AUM from $29 billion to $20.7 billion as per the actual filing. But wait, there's more: while Paulson was busy selling across the board, in the process liquidating all of his JPM holdings as well as his positions in Comcast (no CNBC for you), Savvis, NYSE Euronext and State Street, and following in Tepper's footsteps in selling across the board, the former Bear trader did what all other allegedly doomed institutions do and added to, you guessed it, the biggest loser Bank of America, increasing his position by almost 4 million shares... even as the total value of his 64 million BAC stake, which closed Q3 at the same price it is today, dropped by $269 million! And that's why he is a billionaire and you are not. At least we know who Tepper was selling to. But that's not all: Paulson also added 1.1 million share to his CapitalOne position, bringing the total to 22.2 million shares, even as the total value of his revised position dropped by $210 million to $880 million. And so forth. Some other names in which he took brand new stakes in (picture that: he did not spend all of Q3 selling) in Motorola Mobility, Nalco, Cephalon, AMC and a bunch of irrelevant others. So to all those who are now in the same place they were in 2008: tough, but at least your fees made JP into a multi-billionaire. Congratulations.