ECB head Mario Draghi made it clear where the real battle is taking place in the world this morning. When asked what form QE would take, his response was to the point... "On what sorts of assets should be included in QE... we discussed all assets BUT gold" and gold dropped, right on cue.
Claims that the new government in Ukraine is nothing more than a Western puppet Parliament have been swirling around consistently since February. Nevertheless, we think it’s very significant that the takeover is now overt, undeniable and completely out in the open.
Meet American, Natalie Jaresko, who runs private equity fund Horizon Capital, and just became Ukraine’s Finance Minister.
Just another "unintended consequence" of modern non-stakeholder capitalism and central-planning.
It has been centuries since the Portuguese last dominated the world's seaways, but in glancing over recent headlines one would be forgiven for thinking that their pirates are still running around. With the economy still reeling from the effects of the devastating financial crisis in 2010-11, Portugal has been rocked by a series of corruption scandals which go to the very core of the political and financial establishments. Portugal's economic divergence relative to Europe’s core is striking; it has even been overtaken by an average of the newcomers that joined the European Union in 2004, many of which are former communist countries. This in spite of Portugal receiving billions in structural reform funds from Brussels for almost three decades now – a process which is still ongoing. So how did this significant underperformance come about?
A funny thing happened in China in July. Ever so quietly, and with little aplomb, the PBOC unleashed CNY 1 trillion of 'Pledged Supplementary Lending' (PSL) to China Development Bank - later dubbed "QE-Lite." Economic indicators temporarily blipped higher, a new recovery was proclaimed by the masses, and the world fell back into its stupor... despite the post-credit-impulse hangover which has seen Chinese data collapse in the last 2 months. But that did not stop speculators... tired of betting on Chinese real estate (which never goes down), the 'signal' of QE has sparked a stunning 41% surge in Chinese stocks since PSL. However, this exuberant resurgence (+4.3% last night alone) rests on shaky foundations as margin trading balances have more than doubled during this period...
When ISIS dared to steal and sell oil at below market rates, they were dire pirates that needed to be destroyed (and anyone who dared to buy it was pariah). So when, as Bloomberg reports, crude sold at the wellhead in the Bakken shale region in North Dakota fell to $49.69 a barrel on Nov. 28 (according to the marketing arm of Plains All American Pipeline), you know there is an issue in the US Shale industry. As one analyst notes, "to a producer in Wyoming, if Brent’s $70 then I’m at $50, then I have to start asking does it economically make sense to keep drilling, they might start reallocating capital, you might see projects slowed or shut down." So with every expert in financial media clinging to some hope that oil prices can't go down any more surely right? The answer is yes... and have already broken below $50... something that may indicate not just transportation issues, but desparation for crucial liquidity needs.
Stocks are down... EU bonds are down... EURUSD is up, and Draghi is not providing his usual promises. Cue The Bank of Japan proxies buying USDJPY to ignite some momentum in risk assets... USDJPY just broke above 120 (for the first time since July 2007)... ran all the stops then tumbled back down...
But, but, but all the clever talking heads said he had to do it now...
*DRAGHI SAYS ECB TO REASSESS CURRENT STIMULUS NEXT QUARTER, MAY NOT DECIDE ON NEW MEASURES IN JANUARY
*DRAGHI: DECISION TO CHANGE BALANCE SHEET LANGUAGE NOT UNANIMOUS
This is not what the market wanted to hear - Draghi kicking the can with no indication they are any closer to getting Zee Germans on board with direct monetization of European fiscal irresponsibility.
Back in March the ECB predicted 2014 inflation would be 1.0%, with prices rising to 1.3% in 2015. Since then one can say that deflation has once again taken hold, and following two consecutive cuts to 2014 inflation expectations, moments ago Draghi just released the ECB's latest set of inflation expectations. In a nutshell: in just 9 short months, the ECB's current year inflation forecast has been cut in half, with 2015 inflation also down nearly 50%, from 1.3% to 0.7%.
With a disappointingly slow asset accumulation in the ABS and Covered Bond purchase schemes, Draghi better "get back to work" soon or the market (EURUSD down 17 handles on nothing but promises) will lose its patience. As we noted earlier, Weidmann's hints suggest the oil-price-slowdown is providing cover for monetary policy and obscuring the 'bad' deflation. Crucially Draghi will need to stress the 'need' for action and the 'unanimity' of that decision to keep the algos buying...
After last week's jerk higher (now revised even higher to 314k), this week saw a modest 17k drop to 297k (magically back below the 300k Maginot Line) but still missed expectations. Obviously, initial claims still linger near 14 year lows but the smoother 4 week average rose around 5k to 299k. Continuing claims rose 39k and has hovered at these decade-long lows for 6 weeks now - though unadjusted Regular State (ex) employees claiming UI benefits jumped 125K from 2.065 million to 2.190 million.. It appears the trend of improvement has ended/stabilized.
most notable announcement by Putin was that Russia would provide a "full amnesty" for holders of offshore funds, in a push to repatriate some of the $125 billion in capital that is said to have left the nation in 2015. To entice Russia billionaires to keep their cash in Russia Putin reminded everyone how hostile the west could be toward Russian money, using the Cyprus bail-in as an example. To wit: "I announce a full amnesty for capital returning to Russia, and i repeat, a full amnesty. What does that mean? Those people who fully legalize, fully bring back their capital to Russia, should be protected from being dragged to various law enforcement agencies, and from having to prove where they got their money from, and from being exposed to criminal investigations." Do Russians want to be "ripped-off abroad" once again when the next Cyprus takes place? Their best choice is to return to Russia, Putin added.
The price drop is a head-fake: it doesn't usher in a new era of permanently cheap oil. Rather, it unleashes dynamics that impair supply on multiple levels: geophysical, geopolitical, demographic and financial.
At today’s meeting the Governing Council of the ECB decided that the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.05%, 0.30% and -0.20% respectively.