The topic of ‘currency war’ has been bantered about in financial circles since at least the term was first used by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega in September 2010. Recently, the currency war has escalated, and a ‘sanctions war’ against Russia has broken out. History suggests that financial assets are highly unlikely to preserve investors’ real purchasing power in this inhospitable international environment, due in part to the associated currency crises, which will catalyse at least a partial international remonetisation of gold. Vladimir Putin, under pressure from economic sanctions, may calculate that now is the time to play his ‘gold card’.
For the 25th day in a row (one short of an all-time record), the S&P closed above its 5-day moving-average. Despite dismal Asian, European, and US PMIs, US equity markets sreaked higher at the US Open, tagging yesterday's highs, then stalling when Europe closed. Small Caps led the day as shorts were squeezed once again but Trannies and Russell 2000 remain negative on the week. US Treasury yields dropped notably after European and ended the day 2-3bps lower (with 30Y unch on the week). The USD rose very modestly close-to-cvlose but traded lower thru the EU and US sessions (AUDJPY was in charge of stocks today). Copper dropped on China growth fears but oil, silver, and gold rose on the day (leaving gold +0.5% on the week). HY credit slammed tighter with stocks early then decoupled after EU closed. Dow & S&P close at record highs.
Halliburton’s takeover of Baker Hughes is setting out to be the oil and gas merger of the year. One of the largest such deals in years, it has not, however, met with unanimous approval. From antitrust concerns to management frictions and negative market forces, this has not been a smooth ride. And with a $3.5 billion break-up fee promised to Baker Hughes by Halliburton should the merger fall through, failure would come at a hefty price. Here are five reasons why the deal might still capsize.
Because nothing says rational human stock-buying like the entire world's PMIs collapsing to multi-month lows. Thank the lord of the markets for AUDJPY which took over the mantle from USDJPY as US equities opened... Of course, it is OPEX tomorrow, so this all makes perfect sense. Now all we need is for a stock exchange to break and the unrigged game is complete...
Recovery, we have a problem... November's Flash US Manufacturing PMI printed a 10-month lows 54.7, missing expectation sof 56.3 by the most on record and tumbling for the third month in a row. The last 2 mnths have seen the biggest drop since June 2013 ands as Markit notes, suggests a further drop in GDP growth expectations of only 2.5% in Q4. Output is down for the 3rd straight month and Surprise!! Export market weakness is being blamed... as it seems the US cannot decouple from the rest of the world's slump after all and is - as we have explained numerous times - merely on a lagged cycle. We're gonna need more Fed-fueled subprime-auto-loan malarkey to keep this dream alive.
- Banks Had Unfair Advantage From Commodity Units (Bloomberg)
- Report Notes Deals Between Goldman, Deutsche and Others Drove Up Aluminum Prices (WSJ)
- Goldman, Morgan Stanley Commodity Heyday Gone as Units Faulted (BBG) - because when you can no longer manipulate, you move on...
- Lenders Shift to Help Struggling Student Borrowers (WSJ)
- Immigrants face major hurdles in signing up to new Obama plan (Reuters)
- Distressed Debt in China? Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, Buyers Say (BBG)
- Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds (Reuters)
- Amazon Robots Get Ready for Christmas (WSJ)
Global Slowdown Confirmed By PMIs Missing From Japan To China To Europe; USDJPY Nears 119 Then SlidesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/20/2014 07:00 -0500
The continuation of the two major themes witnessed over the past month continued overnight: i) the USDJPY rout accelerated, with the Yen running to within 2 pips of 119 against the dollar as Albert Edwards' revised USDJPY target of 145 now appears just a matter of weeks not months (even though subsequent newsflow halted today's currency decimation and the Yen has since risen 100 pips , and ii) the global economic slowdown was once again validated by global PMIs missing expectations from Japan to China (as noted earlier) and as of this morning, to Europe, where the Manufacturing, Services and Composite PMI all missed across the board, driven by a particular weakness in France (Mfg PMI down from 48.5 to 47.6, below the 48.8 expected), but mostly Germany, after Europe's growth dynamo, which disappointed everyone after yesterday's rebound in the Zew sentiment print, printed a PMI of only 50.0, down from 51.4 a month ago, down from 52.7 a year ago, and below the 51.5 expected. And just as bad, Europe's composite PMI just tumbled to 51.4, the lowest print in 16 months!
For the 13th month in a row, according to Bloomberg data, China Manufacturing PMI missed expectations. Printing at a 6-month low of 50.0 (against expectations of 50.2), the most notable individual component was the slump in output to a contractionary 49.5 reading for the first time since May. New export orders (umm US decoupling?) also dropped. It seems after last month's idiocy (take a look at these charts for a good laugh), that Japan's Manufacturing PMI is also catching down to reality having missed expectations and dropped to 52.1. Chinese and Japanese stocks are tumbling after this data (with Nikkei 225 200 points off US day session closing levels).
The average person assumes the powers-that-be actually know what they are doing and would never lead us into disaster, but quoting my breakfast companion, that would be a very poor assumption. Simply, while mass war on the level of the wholesale slaughter commonplace in the last century is unimaginable to most in the modern context, it is never more than the equivalent of a faulty alarm system away from occurring. Those history buffs among you will confirm that up until about a week before World War I began, virtually no one in the public, the press, the political class, or even the military had any idea the shooting was about to start. And 99.9% of the people then living had no idea the war was about to begin until after the first shot was fired.
While hopes of the J-Curve recovery in the deficit are long forgotten in the annals of Goldman Sachs history, silver-lining-seekers will proclaim the very modest beat in tonight's Japanese trade deficit a moral victory for a nation whose economic data has been nothing but abysmal for months. However, the near $1 trillion Yen deficit is the 44th month in a row as exports to US and Europe rose modestly in Yen terms but dropped to China and US in volume terms. USDJPY continues its march higher (now 118.25) but, unfoirtunately for Abe's approval ratings, Japanese stocks continue to languish an implied 1000 points behind - unable to break back above pre-GDP levels... as faith in Kuroda's omnipotence falters.
In a nation in which 1 out of every 3 homes is unaffordable, you’d think the primary goal of public policy wouldn’t be to ensure real estate becomes even more out of reach for the average citizen. It’s bad enough that American financial oligarchs have leveraged free money polices of the Federal Reserve to purchase tens of billions of dollars in real estate only to rent it back to people who were kicked out of their homes during the 2008 crisis, but the government is now going out of its way to allow Chinese (and other foreign criminals) to launder money via U.S. property.
Instead of reading between the lines of the 28 page FOMC minutes, we have The Wall Street Journal's Jon Hilsenrath to explain to us what we should believe. His message is not dovish. Despite tumult in financial markets, weak economic conditions abroad, and risks that low inflation could drift lower, Hilsenrath notes that the Fed forged ahead with a decision to end the central bank’s bond-buying program because the domestic economy and labor market appeared to be on course for further improvement. Furthermore, officials added a new twist: a debate about whether they should add new information in their official policy statement on how quickly rates will rise once increases commence.
"... members considered the advantages and disadvantages of adding language to the statement to acknowledge recent developments in financial markets. On the one hand, including a reference would show that the Committee was monitoring financial developments while also providing an opportunity to note that financial conditions remained highly supportive of growth. On the other hand, including a reference risked the possibility of suggesting greater concern on the part of the Committee than was actually the case, perhaps leading to the misimpression that monetary policy was likely to respond to increases in volatility."
With growth rates for steel products at or near record lows and prices for end-product having plunged to record lows, it is little surprise that the Steel industry would provide the largest Chinese bankruptcy yet in this cycle. As Bloomberg reports, unlisted Haixin Iron & Steel - which halted production and defaulted on CNY3 bn in March - has started bankruptcy proceedings. Having spent 8 months hoping for the government bailout that every Western onlooker believes is every firm's god-given right, a reorganization application for the Wenxi, Shanxi province-based company (with $1.7 billion of total debt) was accepted by the Yuncheng City Intermediate People’s Court. This is just the start as "Haixin Group’s bankruptcy will be followed by others," warns one analyst, adding that the major flaw of producers of iron ore, the most traded commodity after oil, is they tend to be “over-bullish.”
- Yellen Inherits Greenspan’s Conundrum as Long Rates Sink (BBG)
- West African Mining Projects Take Hit From Ebola Crisis (WSJ)
- Saudi oil policy uncertainty unleashes the conspiracy theorists (Reuters)
- Senate Rejection of Keystone XL Measure Sets Up 2015 Showdown (BBG)
- Ferguson, Missouri, remains on edge ahead of grand jury report (Reuters)
- Putin Said to Stun Advisers by Backing Corruption Crackdown (BBG)
- Italian ‘Invasion’ Has Swiss Fuming as Immigration Vote Looms (BBG)
- Apple and Others Encrypt Phones, Fueling Government Standoff (WSJ)