goldman sachs

goldman sachs

Which Country's Gold Will Be Sold Next?

The first time the Status Quo/Troika tried to force a (not so) stealthy gold confiscation on an insolvent European country was back in early 2012, when as part of the most recent Greek bailout MOU, it was disclosed that "Greece’s lenders will have the right to seize the gold reserves in the Bank of Greece under the terms of the new deal." However, the public outcry was so loud that the Troika had no choice but to shelve its plans and proceed with a full scale bondholder restructuring instead. Fast forward to last week, when Europe's appetite for physical gold came back with a bang, this time as part of the Cyprus "Debt Sustainability Analysis", and subsequent comments from Mario Draghi, demanding that tiny Cyprus, whose opposition, already weakened by the confiscation of uninsured deposits would be far less vocal than Greece's, sell off €400MM, or virtually all of its sovereign gold, over 10 of its 13.9 total tons, to cover the excess costs of its ever ballooning sovereign bailout. So who's next? It remains to be seen, although we are certain there will be a very clear correlation between the next country to see its gold "purchased" by the status quo, likely some time in the next 1-3 months, and the amount of total non-performing loans on said country's bank balance sheets. The usual suspects are presented below. And, in the parlance of Goldman Sachs, these countries better scramble to sell, sell, sell now before gold hits 0, or maybe even goes negative.

Frontrunning: April 15

  • Venezuela Says Chávez Successor Wins Vote (WSJ)
  • China growth risks in focus as first quarter data falls short (Reuters)
  • Japan Gets Calls From U.S. to Europe Not to Drive Down Yen (BBG)
  • EU Set to Clash on Bank Deal as Germany Sees Treaty Limit (BBG)
  • Dish Launches $25.5 Billion Bid for Sprint (WSJ)
  • Commodities Tumble, Stocks Slide as China Growth Slows (BBG)
  • Top fund managers take home $8bn less (FT)
  • Obama Programs Derided by Republicans as Pejorative Entitlements (BBG)
  • Gene swapping makes new China bird flu a moving target (Reuters)
  • McDonald's Cranks Up The Volume on 'Value' (WSJ)
  • UK pension deficits set to rise by £100bn (FT)

All Eyes On The Gold Rout, Most Oversold In 14 Years

While China's trifecta miss of GDP, Retail Sales and Industrial Production all coming lower than expected was likely a factor in the overnight rout of gold, the initial burst of selling started well before the Chinese data hit the tape, or as soon as Japan opened for trading with forced financial institution selling to prefund cash for any and all future JGB VaR-driven margin calls. It was all downhill from there, literally, with overnight selling of gold punctured by brief burst of targeted stop hunting, sending the metal down $116 per ounce, as spot touches $1385 after trading nearly at $1500 yesterday and down $200 in 4 days. End result, whether due to a re-collapsing global economy, margin calls, fears forced Cyprus gold selling will be imposed on all other insolvent European countries, coordinated central bank slams, hedge fund positioning, long unwinds, liquidations, fears about future demand, or whatever the usual selling suspects are, is that gold tumbles an unprecedented 7.8% on 230,000 contracts in one day, and well over 10% in two days, pushing the yellow metal 14 day RSI band to 18, meaning it is now most oversold since 1999. In brief, it is an all out panic, with Goldman still telling clients to sell, i.e., buying every shiny ounce all the way down (not to mention India, where accordingto UBS Friday demand was double the average).

Ex-Soros Advisor Sells "Almost All" Japan Holdings, Shorts Bonds; Sees Market Crash, Default And Hyperinflation

Former Soros' Japan advisor Fujimaki takes center stage: “The volatility in the JGB market as well as the fact that there is large selling represent fear among investors,” Fujimaki said. “They are early signs of a larger selloff and we should continue to monitor the moves in the long-term bonds.” Fujimaki said he recently bought put options for Japanese government bonds of various maturities, without elaborating. He continues to hold real estate in Japan and options granting the right to sell the yen against the greenback expiring in less than five years. He also holds assets in U.S. dollars and currencies of other developed nations. "Japan’s finance is sinking into the ocean,” Fujimaki said. “There’s no escape from a market crash in the future when you have such enormous debt.”  By expanding the monetary base to 270 trillion yen, the BOJ is making a huge bet which I think it will ultimately lose,” Fujimaki said in an interview in Tokyo on April 11. “Kuroda’s QE announcement is declaring double suicide with the government. The BOJ will have to share the country’s fate and default together. Shirakawa did more than enough and he had good reasons to not do any more,” said Fujimaki. “There will be tremendous side effects from monetary stimulus. QE doesn’t work and has no exit... Things may look rosy for now as stocks rise, but should we see hyper-inflation, JGBs will see a huge selloff, leading to a stock market crash,” said Fujimaki, adding that he sold “almost all” of his Japanese stock holdings some time ago.

Guest Post: The Return Of The Money Cranks

The lesson from the events of 2007-2008 should have been clear: Boosting GDP with loose money can only lead to short term booms followed by severe busts. A policy of artificially cheapened credit cannot but cause mispricing of risk, misallocation of capital and a deeply dislocated financial infrastructure, all of which will ultimately conspire to bring the fake boom to a screeching halt. The ‘good times’ of the cheap money expansion, largely characterized by windfall profits for the financial industry and the faux prosperity of propped-up financial assets and real estate (largely to be enjoyed by the ‘1 percent’), necessarily end in an almighty hangover. The crisis that commenced in 2007 was therefore a massive opportunity: An opportunity to allow the market to liquidate the accumulated dislocations and to bring the economy back into balance. That opportunity was not taken and is now lost – maybe until the next crisis comes along, which won’t be long. It has become clear in recent years – and even more so in recent months and weeks – that we are moving with increasing speed in the opposite direction: ever more money, cheaper credit, and manipulated markets (there is one notable exception to which I come later). Policy makers have learned nothing. The same mistakes are being repeated and the consequences are going to make 2007/8 look like a picnic.

Guest Post: The Tunnel People That Live Under The Streets Of America

Did you know that there are thousands upon thousands of homeless people that are living underground beneath the streets of major U.S. cities?  It is happening in Las Vegas, it is happening in New York City and it is even happening in Kansas City.  As the economy crumbles, poverty in the United States is absolutely exploding and so is homelessness.  In addition to the thousands of "tunnel people" living under the streets of America, there are also thousands that are living in tent cities, there are tens of thousands that are living in their vehicles and there are more than a million public school children that do not have a home to go back to at night.  The federal government tells us that the recession "is over" and that "things are getting better", and yet poverty and homelessness in this country continue to rise with no end in sight.  So what in the world are things going to look like when the next economic crisis hits?

Overnight Sentiment: Lower

There was little in terms of overnight newsflow to spook algos, but the tone is decidedly sour this morning following a lack of either the now traditional Japan or Europen-open buying ramps. The primary reason for this may well be the ongoing decline in the USDJPY which failed to breach the 100 barrier yesterday, coming as close as 99.95 before the Mrs. Watanabe onslaught had to be called off despite some more jawboning from Kuroda whose headlines are now summarily ignored, and which appears to have set a line in the sand for Japan, whose market naturally closed lower following this strengthening in its currency. Similarly troubling was the dip in the SHCOMP which closed down -0.58%, this despite the epic M2 and credit injection reported yesterday: if new liquidity can't send the market higher, what can?

Frontrunning: April 11

  • Obama to report to his bosses today: Obama Meets With Blankfein, Dimon and Moynihan Today (BBG)
  • 2007 is here all over again: Seeking Relief, Banks Shift Risk to Murkier Corners (NYT)
  • Kuroda Calls BOJ Inflation Target 'Flexible' (WSJ)
  • Lagarde warns over three-speed world (FT)
  • N. Korea’s Retro Propaganda Calls U.S. Boiled Pumpkin (BBG)
  • Luxembourg To Ease Bank Secrecy Rule, Share Data In 2015 (BBG)
  • Bank of Korea Keeps Policy Steady (WSJ)
  • BOE Stimulus Dilemma Persists as Inflation Seen Higher (BBG)
  • EU Sounds Alarm on Spain (WSJ)
  • Qatar gives Egypt $3bn aid package (FT)
  • RBNZ Says Deposit Insurance May Increase Risk of Bank Failure (BBG)
  • Plosser Calls for Reducing QE Pace Citing Gains in Labor Market (BBG)
  • Obama budget aims to kick start deficit-reduction talks (Reuters)

Breaking Bad

With earnings season underway, perhaps pulling back to 30,000 feet is worthwhile to glance at the macro environment that is backing these new all-time high nominal stock prices. These six charts say it all...

Fed Releases Names Of Early FOMC Minutes Recipients: Include Employees Of ECB, Goldman, Barclays, JPM, Law And PE Firms

We will release the full list of named recipients once we get it, but here is what we now for now, via BBG and CNN:


In other words: absolutely everyone who trades risk assets for a living.

Housing 'Recovery' Shifts To Contraction

Despite the market knowing better, the so-called housing recovery has hit a speed-bump (or brick-wall). Goldman's housing swirlogram shows that the revisions from an exuberant few months into January 2013 have dragged the reality of the 'recovery' rotating into full-blown 'expansion' to a crumble back into 'contraction'. Of course, we have seen homebuilder stocks exuberant like this before in the face of disappointing facts, but even the NAHB (desperate to portray confidence) is 'admitting' things are not as rosy as all-time highs in stocks might suggest.

The Banks' "Penalty" To Put Robosigning Behind Them: $300 Per Person

Back in late 2010, there was much hope that as a result of the unfolding robosigning "Linda Green" scandal, not only would banks would be forced to fix their ways by incurring crippling civil penalties (because not even the most optimistic hoped any bankers would ever face criminal charges for anything), but that the US housing market may even reprice to a fair price as for a brief moment there nobody had any idea who owned what mortgage. Ironically, what did end up happening was to provide banks with a legal impetus to slow down the foreclosure process to such a crawl that an artificial backlog of millions and millions of houses at the start of the foreclosure process  formed, bottlenecking the foreclosure exits even more and in the process providing an artificial, legal subsidy to housing prices manifesting itself best in what is erroneously titled a "housing recovery" for many months now. What this did was to allow banks to aggressively reprice the mortgage-linked "assets" on their balance sheets much higher, and in the process unleash much capital, primarily for bonus and shareholder dividend purposes. Yet this epic self-benefiting act did not come without a cost. Yes, it turns out the banks will have to fork over some out-of-pocket change to put not only the robosigning scandal behind them but the indirect housing subsidy from which they have benefited to the tune of hundreds of billions. That quite literally change, which is what the final cost of the release and bank indemnity amounts to, is roughly $300 for each of the affected borrowers!