Wonder why all bank earnings over the past 3 years are fake? Wonder why few if any banks ever dare to take major write offs and represent the true nature of their financials? Wonder no longer: Bloomberg's Jonathan Weil explains.
- HOUSE TO VOTE JAN. 18 ON OBAMA'S DEBT-LIMIT INCREASE REQUEST
Two days ago we wondered how long it would take for Obama to restart the debt ceiling theater. Not that long it turns out.
- OBAMA SENDS CONGRESS REQUEST TO RAISE DEBT CEILING
- OBAMA NOTIFICATION STARTS 15-DAY CLOCK FOR CONGRESS TO VOTE
So with Congress in recess, will Obama succeed in passing another automatic vote using base trickery? The same Obama, who as recently as 3 hours ago warned Congress that any attempts to pass approval on the Keystone Pipeline without his involvement are "counterproductive"... In other news, America' new debt ceiling of $16.3 trillion, or 107% of GDP is now just a formality, about to be interrupted by a little circus clowning.
UPDATE: Oil Sub $100.
And so the escalation ends, if only for the time being, as Iran chalks a (Pyrrhic?) victory.
- EU IRAN OIL EMBARGO SAID TO BE LIKELY DELAYED BY SIX MONTHS
Why? Because the world slowly realized that the potential surge in oil prices would tip a world already on the verge of a recession even deeper into economic contraction. Not rocket science, but certainly something the US president apparently has been unable to comprehend, especially if hoping that he would merely transfer exports from Iran to his close ally Saudi Arabia which would cement its European market monopoly even further. Or, perhaps, someone just explained to Obama that Embargo in January + QE3 in March = No Reelection...
In other news, crude is now dumping.
Dear U.S.A.--your overdraft protection is about to be pulled.
Dear United States of America: We regret to inform you that your withdrawals exceeded your deposits last year by $1,600,000,000,000 ($1.6 trillion), including your "supplemental appropriations" spending.
Your account does have an overdraft protection, and so bonds were sold to cover your $1.6 trillion overdraft. While we value your business, we feel obligated to remind you that this is the third year that your overdraft protection exceeded 10% of your gross national product (GDP), and it seems your account is on course to register yet another $1.6 trillion overdraft in fiscal year 2012.
Currently, your overdraft account exceeds your GDP of $15 trillion.
Just like in yesterday's weakish 10 Year auction, the thunder from Tuesday's strong 3 Year has all but gone. In today's issuance of $13 billion in 30 year reopening, the results were anything but strong, with the bond pricing at 2.985%, a a 3 bps tail compared to the 2.955% When Issued. Furthermore, the BTC was a big drop compared to last auction's record 2.98, coming at 2.60, compared to 2.68 in the last 12 auctions. And with Indirects taking down just 31.9%, and Directs sliding to a one year low of 7.2%, it means that it was the Fed, via the Primary Dealer repo mechanism that once again took down a whopping 60.9% of the entire auction. Needless to say, the bond market response was not pleasant, but was to be expected as the Fed continues to artificially massage the curve in any and every way possible. Most hilarious, however, was the tweet sent out by Bill Gross in the minutes after the auction which we present below: it speaks for itself.
On the day when Greek 1Y yields broke above 400% for the first time, a consideration of just what Greece would look like post-exit is perhaps fruitful. Looking at hypothetical forward rates (generated from covered interest rate parity between EURUSD FX and EMU sovereign interest rates), MSCI has an interesting analysis of what a decoupled Drachma (and for that matter Lira, Escudo, and Irish Pound) would look like. Given the Greeks entered the EMU in January 2001 at 340.75 Drachma to the Euro, the current market is pricing in a massive devaluation to around 1530 Drachma to the Euro. Perhaps as further evidence of the market's perspective that a devaluation is likely, from extremely high correlations just over a year ago, the implied new Greek Drachma vs Euro has dropped to almost negligible correlation against an implicit Deutschmark vs Euro. As the PSI discussions go from bad to worse (as we expected and discussed yesterday), it seems the market is increasingly expecting at best a coercive agreement (if not outright exit).
Following today's increasingly more adverse news for Sears, which saw primary vendor funder CIT cut ties with the Eddie Lampert mega investment, it was only a matter of time before the market realized that the jig for the once bankrupt retailer may be up, and a Chapter 22 is the only possible option. Sure enough, the first to respond to this is the rating agency that not only is capable of forward looking activity, unlike all the other NRSROs, and also managed to get Jefferies to admit it had a far greater European exposure than the market was comfortable with (resulting in a major cut in gross and net, and a far greater transparency into its balance sheet). As of minutes ago, Egan Jones just downgraded Sears Holdings to the lowest rating just above default: C, from CC.
Curious what has provoked a vicious year end (and 2012 year beginning) Santa Rally, which until today had seen the S&P trade higher on 12 out of 15 consecutive days? Wonder no more: the reason is the same it has always been - year end short covering, which in turn has spilt over into the new year's momentum chasing HFT brigade and the occasional retail momo who still has some cash left after covering commission costs. According to the latest NYSE biweekly update, the short interest as of the end of 2011 was a modest 12.8 billion shares, a sharp drop from the 13.4 billion and 14.2 billion 2 and 4 weeks prior, and certainly a very far cry from the over 16 billion shares short which market the market bottom in late September. Also, for anyone wondering why so far 2012 is an identical replica of 2011, decoupling and all, look no further than the SI data as of early 2011 - SSDD. Short covered, and only as the year unwound did they dare to challenge the central banks and to increase their shorting activity.
Wondering how wives of (ex) central bankers would engage in insider trading if that was their intent (forgetting for a second that if one is the wife of a central banker one probably should not be engaging in any FX transaction to begin with)? Now we know, courtesy of this first interview with the wife of the former SNB head following his departure in which she tell us how a former Moore Capital currency trader would engage in FX insider trading "if one wanted to..."
While economic data may be manipulated daily, and markets can be pumped in any of many different ways (such as the ongoing preparation by the ECB to accept any collateral for the upcoming LTRO which will bring the ECB's deposit facility usage to $1 trillion), there is one true indicator of economic prospects: immigration. Long a target for immigrants from all over the world, something has changed very drastically for Italy in recent days. Art Cashin explains why the one indicator that matters - Italy's desirability for immigrants from countries such as Afghanistan and Bangladesh, means everything has changed now.
UPDATE: EURUSD at highs of day now 1.2790, sovereigns and corps/fins tightening back modestly
The ECB press conference has begun and immediately the headlines are flying and driving EUR weaker (ironically not helped by the dismal US macro data that just printed). European sovereign spreads are leaking wider, stocks are underperforming, treasuries outperforming bunds, and corporate and financial spreads are widening rapidly on his comments, via Bloomberg:
- *DRAGHI SAYS ECONOMIC OUTLOOK FACING SUBSTANTIAL DOWNSIDE RISKS
- *DRAGHI SAYS FISCAL COMPACT MUST HAVE UNAMBIGUOUS WORDING
- *DRAGHI SAYS FISCAL CONSOLIDATIONS ARE UNAVOIDABLE
- *DRAGHI SAYS ECB WILL ACT AS AGENT FOR EFSF
- *DRAGHI SAYS HARD DATA DON'T YET SHOW STABILIZATION
- *DRAGHI SAYS HILDEBRAND WAS `VERY, VERY GOOD' GOVERNOR
- *DRAGHI SAYS ECB DIDN'T DISCUSS CUTTING DEPOSIT, MARGINAL RATES
- *DRAGHI SAYS ONGOING TENSIONS KEEP DAMPING ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
- *DRAGHI SAYS ECB `VERY CONCERNED' ON HUNGARY
- *DRAGHI SAYS ANY WAY TO INCREASE THE 'FIREWALL' FIREPOWER WELCOME
- *DRAGHI: NATIONS SHOULD HAVE HAD CAPITAL READY ON STRESS TESTS
- *DRAGHI SAYS NEW COLLATERAL RULES EXPANDED POTENTIAL RISK
- *DRAGHI SAYS PSI WAS RESPONSE TO `SELFISH' BEHAVIOR
- *DRAGHI SAYS ECB EXPECTS SUBSTANTIAL DEMAND FOR SECOND LTRO
- *DRAGHI SAYS GREEK CASE IS `UNIQUE'