It would appear the concerns regarding rising rates in the Treasury Bond market are overblown - no matter how much the inflation break-evens spike. Implied volatility for the Interest Rate market is practically at all-time record lows currently as the Fed continues to remove duration and high convexity assets from the market. One thing concerns us though - the velocity of spikes in volatility once it gets down to these levels has empirically been tremendous - though we are sure this time it's different. In fact this time is different, since this time it is the Fed (as majority owner) that faces the pain from the now-marginal Minsky-like seller of Treasuries running away from inflation-flares (or China/Japan tensions) - and what would Treasury do without that pass-through ponzi revenue from the Fed's winnings? Or as Taleb wrote: "There is no freedom without noise - and no stability without volatility."
The Philly Fed's current September Business Indicators index, long ignored when bearish and cheered when bullish, came slightly above expectations of -4.5, printing higher from last week's -7.1 to -1.9. This was the fifth consecutive negative print. And while there were no major highlights in the index, whose New Orders rose from -5.5 to 1.0 at the expense of Shipments and Inventories, both of which imploded to worse then -20, the real story is the Six Months expectations index, which exploded from 12.5 to 41.2: this was the biggest spike may not ever, but certainly in the past 22 years! Is there any wonder why everyone is transfixed with hope that Q4 will be the deus ex that saves the US economy. And so we are back to being a hopium driven economy - when reality sucks, there may not be much change, but there is always hope that finally, the central planners will get it right, and the future will be so bright you've gotta wear Made in China shades. One word of caution: if the so very much anticipated and 100% priced in Q4 recovery does not materialize, and with the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling issues still unresolved, get the hell out of Dodge, as the spread between hope and reality comes crashing.
We explained last week why the initial exuberance from QEternity was likely to fade since it basically removed all suspense from futures FOMC announcements - i.e. that bad news would once again become bad news as opposed to bad news stoking the hopes or more-er QE. Well this morning's bad news - to wit: China PMI, Europe PMI, and US initial claims - has indeed had a detrimental impact on S&P futures as they approach fresh post-FOMC lows.
Presented with no comment - except to suggest that perhaps it is time to revise the near-daily "China bails out [insert insolvent "developed" country here]" rumor algorithm...
We have seen consecutive weeks of bullish strength in the gold and silver markets. Gold has completed what is known as a ‘Golden Cross’ and silver is poised to complete one in the coming days. A ‘Golden Cross’ occurs when not only the current price, but also shorter-term moving averages such as the 50 day moving average “cross” or rise above the longer term 200 day moving average. Gold’s 50 day moving average (simple) has risen to $1,651/oz and is now comfortable above the 200 day moving average (simple) at $1,645/oz and accelerating higher. Silver’s 50 day moving average (simple) has risen to $29.86/oz and will soon challenge the 200 day moving average (simple) at $30.47/oz.
Over the past week much has been made over a picture of what appears to be hundreds of Chinese fishing boats which subsequent media plot goalseeking "assured" was headed toward the Senkaku islands. Turns out this may have been merely wishful sensationalist thinking on behalf of the press. According to JIJI press, information that a large number of Chinese fishing boats are heading for the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture is false, the chief of a Japan Coast Guard office in the southern prefecture said Tuesday. "Hiroshi Majima, who heads the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, told Okinawa Lieutenant Governor Yoshiyuki Uehara visiting the office that talk of the fishing season's start and the departures of Chinese boats from their ports may have been misunderstood. According to the coast guard headquarters, China's fishing season stops every year in June-September in the East China Sea, where the islands are located. This year, the ban was lifted on Sunday. According to Uehara, Majima told him said that there is no evidence that Chinese fishing boats are gathering near Okinawa. In their meeting, Uehara requested the coast guard ensure the safety of Okinawa fishermen who operate in waters around to the islands."
One of the classic short cons, three-card Mario is a new swindle that uses official and misleading statements and trickery to swindle victims out of large amounts of cash. It’s one of the oldest cons around, and dates back to “the shell game,” a similar scheme that was popular during the Middle Ages. The new version uses a Central Bank and a Ponzi Scheme that loans money for debt, substitutes debt for collateral and then returns cash back to the grifter as he pledges the collateral back to those that lent him the money. This new European con has eliminated the use of cards in its play. Investors are the ‘marks’ and governments are the perpetrators.
- Obama, Romney tiptoe around housing morass as they woo voters (Reuters) ... just as ZH expected
- Poll Finds Obama in Better Shape Than Any Nominee Since Clinton (Bloomberg)
- Romney on Offense, Says Obama Can’t Help Middle Class (Bloomberg)
- Fed’s Fisher Says U.S. Inflation Expectations Rising (Bloomberg)
- Citigroup Warns Irish Investors to Plan for Losses (Bloomberg)
- Central Banks Flex Muscles (WSJ)
- China says U.S. auto trade complaint driven by election race (Reuters)
- Brussels sidesteps China trade dispute (FT)
- How misstep over trading fractions wounded ICAP's EBS (Reuters)
- Ex-CME programmer pleads guilty to trade secret theft (Reuters)
- Income squeeze will persist, says BoE (FT)
- South African miners return to work, unrest rumbles on (Reuters)
As if depressing PMI data out of China overnight was not enough (it was certainly enough to send the Shanghai Composite tumbling 2.08% to 2024.8 and just off fresh 4 year lows), we then got Europe to join in the fray with a composite PMI print of 45.9, down from 46.3, and a miss to expectations of a modest rise to 46.6 (driven by a manufacturing PMI of 46.0 up from 45.1, and a Services PMI down from 47.2 to 46.0). The biggest surprise was the sheer collapse in French manufacturing data which tumbled from 46.0 to a 4 year low of 42.6 on expectations of a rise to 46.4, which sent the EURUSD firmly into sub 1.30 territory and not even several good paradoxical bond auctions from Spain (because a good auction here means no bailout, means those who bought the bonds will soon suffer big losses) have managed to dent the very poor overnight sentiment which now implies a European GDP contraction of -1% of more. Reality has also halted the global easing euphoria (the USDJPY is now 40 bps below where the BOJ announced the injection of another Y10 Trillion), and has everyone wondering, now that QEternity is priced in, what next?
Presented with little comment since our jaws just hit our chest - these stunning headlines from a PWC report:
*CHINA TOP 10 LISTED BANKS' OVERDUE LOANS REACH 489B YUAN END-1H
*CHINA OVERDUE LOANS RISE FROM 112.9B YUAN END-2011: PWC
*INCREASE IN CHINA OVERDUE LOANS SHOWS NPLS MAY RISE, PWC SAYS
*PWC CITES BANKS' REPORTS FOR OVERDUE LOAN DATA
Just two days ago we tweeted the rather stunning 'slogan' that a happy-smiley joy-joy bunch of Audi-China staff 'celebrated' at their dealership. The somewhat subtle translation of the banner: "We will kill every single Japanese person, even if it means deaths for our own; even poverty will not deter us from reclaiming the Diaoyu Islands" has now been addressed by Audi management:
- *AUDI CHINA JV SAYS ANTI-JAPAN BANNER INCIDENT AN ISOLATED CASE
- *AUDI CHINA JV ASKED DEALERSHIP TO REMOVE BANNER, LU SAYS'
- *AUDI CHINA JV URGES `REASONABLE' EXPRESSION OF PATRIOTISM
UPDATE: *SHANGHAI COMPOSITE INDEX FALLS 1%, APPROACHES 2009 LOW
September's HSBC China Flash PMI just printed at 47.8, a slight beat of the final August print at 47.6 but still below 50 - for the eleventh month in a row. With only one month of expansion according to this data since June of last year, it seems more reverse repos are ahead (since as we already discussed in detail here - they are caught between a rock and a hard place on easing as the economy 'supposedly' transitions not-so-softly). Market reaction to this potentially good-is-bad data print (i.e. not cold enough to warrant massive China stimulus) is USD strength, EUR weakness, and modest S&P futures selling pressure.
What Do the Experts Say? Are People Actually ACCEPTING Gold As Money?
Retail has long been a source of both low-skill entry-level jobs and well-paid careers. Yes, people love to browse and stroll down the mall or shopping district, and this social/novelty function will continue. But can retailers make money off of people browsing? If retail contracts, what does this do to skyhigh commercial property valuations? The same can be asked of cubicle-farm office parks. As telecommuting and contract labor expand, the need for energy-wasting office parks and long commutes will also decline. Technology cannot be stopped, and neither can the drive to cut costs by cutting what can be cut, labor. We can legislate certain aspects of how technology is used, and fiddle with tax incentives and trade restrictions, but we cannot make people drive somewhere to go shopping or stop the 3-D printing/fabrication revolution. What all this calls into question is the entire financialization (debt-based)-consumerist model of "growth" and employment. Decades ago, young men were employed to pump gasoline at gas stations; these jobs all went away as self-service fueling became the norm. At least one state (Oregon, I believe) mandates that all gasoline is pumped by an employee of the station. This rule has created hundreds of jobs that are not necessary in terms of market-demand but that are certainly welcome.
The record US, and global, drought has come and gone but its aftereffects are only now going to be felt, at least according to a new Rabobank report, which asserts that food prices are about to soar by 15% or more following mass slaughter of farm animals which will cripple supply once the current inventory of meat is exhausted. From Sky News: "The worst drought in the US for almost a century, combined with droughts in South America and Russia, have hit the production of crops used in animal feed - such as corn and soybeans - especially hard, the report said. As a result farmers have begun slaughtering more pigs and cattle, temporarily increasing the meat supply - but causing a steep rise in the price of meat in the long-term as production slows. "Farmers producing meat are simply not making enough money at the moment because of the high cost of feed," Nick Higgins, commodity analyst at Rabobank, told Sky News. "As a result they will reduce their stock - both by slaughtering more animals and by not replacing them." Somewhat ironically. food prices are now being kept at depressed prices as the "slaughtered" stock clears the market. However once that is gone look for various food-related prices to soar: a process which will likely take place in early 2013, just in time to add to the shock from the Fiscal Cliff, which even assuming a compromise, will detract from the spending capacity of US (and by implication global) consumers.