Merrill

Merrill

It Was Never About Oil, Part 2: It Was Always Leverage & Volatility

Unfortunately, we remain stuck in the cleanup phase so long as economists and their ability to direct policy continue to suggest the Great Recession was anything other than systemic revelation along these lines; a permanent rift between what was and what can be. It is and was never about oil; only now that oil projects volatility into the dying days of eurodollar leverage.

Frontrunning: February 4

  • EU Slashes 2016 Inflation Forecast to 0.5% as Growth Seen Slower (BBG)
  • Bank of England cuts UK growth forecasts (FT)
  • Investors Cast Wary Eye on Fed Rate Increases (WSJ)
  • U.N. halts Syria talks as government closes in on Aleppo (Reuters)
  • Credit Suisse Drops as Investment Bank Slump Deepens Losses (BBG)
  • Six OPEC states ready for emergency meeting with non-OPEC members — Venezuela's minister (TASS)

The Keynesian Monetary Quacks Are Lost - Grasping For The Bogeyman Of 1937

What’s a Keynesian monetary quack to do when the economy and markets fail to remain “on message” within a few weeks of grandiose declarations that this time, printing truckloads of money has somehow “worked”, in defiance of centuries of experience, and in blatant violation of sound theory? In the weeks since the largely meaningless December rate hike, numerous armchair central planners, many of whom seem to be pining for even more monetary insanity than the actual planners, have begun to berate the Fed for inadvertently summoning that great bugaboo of modern-day money cranks, the “ghost of 1937”.

US Economy: On A Knife's Edge

We may not yet have final confirmation that a recession is imminent, but so far nothing suggests that the danger has receded.

25 Years Of Fed Fueled M&A - The Enabling Of A Banking Oligopoly

Between 1990 and 2010, eventually 37 banks would become JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup. The “Big Four” retail banks in the United States collectively hold 45% of all customer bank deposits for a total of $4.6 trillion... as the biggest got biggest-er all thanks to the very visible hand of The Fed's free money.

John Paulson Puts Up Personal Holdings To Secure Credit Line As AUM Plunges

Back in August we noted that John Paulson managed to get himself and his investors involved in two rather dubious "firsts" in 2015: Puerto Rico became the first US commonwealth in history to default, and Greece became the first developed country to default to the IMF. Paulson had invested in Puerto Rican and Greek assets. Now, amid a client exodus, the billionaire is putting up his own holdings to secure a longstanding line of credit with HSBC.

Chinese Stocks Face Derivatives-Driven Trigger Of Doom

Despite the collapse in Chinese stocks, Bloomberg reports annual sales of Chinese equity-linked structured notes across AsiaPac rose to a record (prompting Korea's financial regulator to warn investors in August that their holdings had become too concentrated in notes tied to the China H-Shares index). When banks sell the structured products to investors, they take on an exposure that's similar to purchasing a put option on the index... which needs to be hedged via index futures; and if BofAML is right, Chinese stocks in Hong Kong are poised for a fresh wave of selling now that HSCEI has crossed 8,000 as banks are forced to hedge.

Someone Is Trying To Corner The Copper Market

It may not be as sexy as gold and silver, but sometimes even doctor copper needs a little squeeze and corner love as well, and according to Bloomberg, that is precisely what someone is trying to do. One company whose identity is unknown, is "hoarding as much as half the copper available in warehouses tracked by the London Metal Exchange."

Equity Futures Rise After Oil Rebounds From 12 Year Lows; US Markets Closed

With the US closed today for Martin Luther King Holiday, global risk tone has once again been set entirely by oil, which opened sharply lower at fresh 12 year lows on fears of an Iran oil glut, but has steadily rebounded on the latest OPEC comments, and at last check both WTI and Brent were unchanged trading in the low $29's on muted volume. With Asian markets mixed, European shares swung between gains and losses, while the yen weakened as China stepped up efforts to curb foreign speculation against its currency. Crude oil rose from a 12-year low after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast a decline in supplies from rival producers.

Cracks At The Core Of The Core

It is the “Core of the Core” that now concerns us the most. That is where Federal Reserve (and global central bank) policies have left their greatest mark. It is at the “Core of the Core” where momentous misperceptions and market mispricing have become deeply entrenched. It’s the “Core of the Core” that has attracted enormous amounts of “money” over recent years. It’s also here where I believe leverage has quietly been used most aggressively. Over recent years it became one massive Crowded Trade. Now the sophisticated players must contemplate beating the unsuspecting public to the exits.

Order Book For Biggest Bond Sale Ever Takes Shape: Over $100BN In Orders For $40BN AB InBev Offering

While the market for corporate bond issuance has been relatively quiet among the recent broader market turbulence, in a few hours a historic new bond is about to price and be sold to investors. Earlier today, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the acquiror in the second largest M&A deal of 2015 valued at $117 billion and just shy of Pfizer's massive $160 billion merger with Allergan, started offering bonds that will back its takeover of SABMiller Plc in a sale that according to Bloomberg will stretch into Europe and is set to become the biggest corporate-debt offering on record.

Global Stocks, Futures Dragged Lower By Commodities As Oil Slumps Back Under $37

With just two days left in 2015, the main driver of overnight global stocks and US equity futures remains the most familiar one of all of 2015 - crude oil, which, after its latest torrid bounce yesterday has resumed the familiar "yoyo" mode, and again stumbled dropping below $37 on yesterday's surprising API 2.9 million crude inventory build, as well several more long-term "forecasts" by OPEC members, with Kuwait now budgeting for $30 oil, while Venezuela's Maduro said the oil price fell to $28/bbl and is "headed downward." As a result U.S. futures declined and European stocks fell, extending their worst December drop since 2002 in thin volume on the last full trading day of the year.