The political pressure on Germany is rising in Europe. The country faces a choice: Continue business as usual or change the strategy? Only the latter option may give it real influence on shaping the future course of economic and political affairs in Europe. Playing defense is the comfortable choice, but it may be the wrong strategy. What needs to be done? Below is a proposal for saving the Eurozone in a way that would safeguard Germany’s interests, too
Does it really take purportedly intelligent people six years to see that the macros are not responding? Better still, isn’t it time for the Fed to explain the exact channel by which its interest rate pegging and forward guidance is supposed to be transmitted to the main street economy? After all, if these channels are blocked or ineffective - then its flood of liquidity never leaves the canyons of Wall Street. In that event, the central bank actually functions as a financial doomsday machine, inflating the next financial bubble until it bursts. Then, apparently, its job is to rinse and repeat.
Sometime after the initially soft Q1 GDP “print” expect a “trial balloon” of more debt monetization [QE4] issued by some FOMC constituent. Naturally this will weaken the dollar and immediately suspend/reverse the Fed’s dollar based concerns articulated earlier in this post. However, this will also serve to “piss” off both Kuroda [BoJ] and Draghi [ECB]…as their heavily depreciated and shorted currencies will, at least initially, sharply reverse course…and the continual game as to which global economic zone can depreciate their currency the fastest is “on”…again.
Janet’s Yellen’s pettifogging today about her patient lack of impatience was downright pathetic. Her verbal hair-splitting is starting to make medieval ritual incantations sound coherent by comparison. But unlike the financial media’s dopey dithering about “dot plots”, Yellen at least has something to hide behind all the gibberish. Namely, she and her merry band of money printers are becoming more petrified each month that they will trigger a thundering Wall Street hissy fit if they move to “normalize” interest rates - even as they are slowly beginning to realize that continuance of ZIRP much longer will only intensify the market’s addiction to rampant speculation, free money carry trades and the associated risks to financial stability.
Moments ago the January TIC data update was released, and while China continued selling US paper, liquidating another $5.2 billion in January and bringing its new total to the lowest since January 2013, Japan - yes that Japan whose central bank is now moentizing 100% of its own debt issuance because the country is now effectively insolvent and absent constant monetization of its debt it is finished - bought $8 billion in US debt, in the process trying China as America's largest foreign creditor for the first time in history, with both nations holdings $1.239 trillion in US TSYs.
When even JPMorgan strongly implies that the ECB's QE is about to fail, one short week after it started, now may be a time to panic: "In all, we note the above analysis challenges the ability of the Eurosystem to meet its quantitative target without distorting market liquidity and price discovery."
Rich valuations point to the likelihood of low returns across asset classes. [W]e develop a cross-asset approach to risk premia and implement it across the asset classes. The results show that valuations are rich across the board. This indicates markets may become shaky as we get closer to the first Fed rate hike in nine years.
China is in the midst of attempting to help local governments refinance a mountain of debt, some of which was accumulated off balance sheet via shadow banking conduits at relatively high rates. According to UBS, "Chinese domestic media are saying that the authorities are considering a Chinese "QE" with the central bank funding the purchase of RMB 10 trillion in local government debt."
While the dollar strength this morning, which has pushed it to a fresh 13 year high and has accelerated the EURUSD plunge to under 1.06 - a drop of over 300 pips since the start of the week - has been a recap of yesterday's trading action, the main difference is that unlike yesterday, the USDJPY has managed to find a strong bid in the overnight session, pushing not only the Nikkei up by 0.4%, but also lifting US equity futures as the entire global marketplace is now merely a sandbox in which the central banks try to crush their currencies as fast as possible.
The entire formerly rich world is addicted to debt, and it is not capable of shaking that addiction. Not until the whole facade that was built to hide this addiction must and will come crashing down along with the corpus itself. Central banks are a huge part of keeping the disease going, instead of helping the patient quit and regain health, which arguably should be their function. In other words, central banks are not doctors, they’re crack dealers and faith healers. Why anyone would ever agree to that role for some of the world’s economically most powerful entities is a question that surely deserves and demands an answer.
Mario Draghi is forced to buy "small" amounts of EGBs on first day of QE, casting further doubt on the viability of PSPP. If the ECB is unable to meet its monthly asset purchase targets expect chaos, as the market has spent the last several months front running the program and would be absolutely horrified if DOMO has to be downsized.
We already know that the Bank of Japan will monetize 100% or just over of all Japanese gross sovereign bond issuance (source). As for Germany, on a run-rate basis, and assuming allocation based on the abovementioned capital key, it means that for the next 12 month period, assuming no major funding changes in Germany, the ECB will swallow more than a whopping 140% of gross German issuance! Or, said otherwise, the entities who will buy more than all gross German and Japanese issuance for the next 12 months, are the ECB and the Bank of Japan, respectively.
It was not all smiles and jokes as Mario Draghi's European QE officially launched in Europe, with Greece leaving the proverbial turd in the monetary punch bowl.
They will reflate - There won't be growth - There will be blood!