Particularly light on hard data, take away from this week’s action was reduced volatility in the EGB world (unlike rather more jumpy and eventually depressed equities).
After rainy weeks, better weeks, we pretty much had a rather sleepy week.
"The European Union is a horrible, stupid project. The idea that unification would create an economy that could compete with China and be more like the United States is pure garbage. What ruined China, throughout history, is the top-down state. What made Europe great was the diversity: political and economic. Having the same currency, the euro, was a terrible idea. It encouraged everyone to borrow to the hilt. The most stable country in the history of mankind, and probably the most boring, by the way, is Switzerland. It’s not even a city-state environment; it’s a municipal state. Most decisions are made at the local level, which allows for distributed errors that don’t adversely affect the wider system. Meanwhile, people want a united Europe, more alignment, and look at the problems. The solution is right in the middle of Europe — Switzerland. It’s not united! It doesn’t have a Brussels! It doesn’t need one."
While we already know that 59-year-old (current Vice-President) Xi Jinping will become China's next President a mere two days after the US votes; the political and economic challenges he will face makes the appointment in the midst of structural upheaval a considerable 'unknown' for the many Western investors trying to decipher the CCP/PBoC's next steps (fiscally or monetarily). Stratfor's Colin Chapman and Rodger Baker succinctly discuss what we know about Xi Jinping and what the implications are for faster reform as the nation faces the end of the current economic model. Everything you wanted to (and need to) know about China's transition but were too tired to read.
The IMF's World Economic Outlook (WEO) provided a plethora of data, trends, and extrapolations for investors to prognosticate upon. One that caught our eye is the rising trend of the 27 Developing Asian economies as a share of World GDP. Bloomberg's Chart of the Day notes that by the end of 2012, Developing Asia will account for 17.9% of World GDP - trumping, for the first time - Europe's 17-nation 16.9% share. The euro-area crisis has merely accelerated a trend that has been ongoing for several years - and we suspect, as former IMF board member Domenico Lombardi notes, makes it clear that euro-area economies need to address their structural reforms rapidly. America should not be too complacent however, as while China will top Europe by 2017 (as a share of global GDP), USA will welcome its own overlords in five short years when Developing Asia will have topped the USA for the first time ever.
Imagine if in 2007, Ben Bernanke, Mervyn King, Jean Claude Trichet et al, had actually possessed the analytical foresight to see what was coming, organised a meeting with the world's media and explained how, using their collective wisdom, they would solve the problem.
"There's going to be a massive global crisis, but there's no need to worry. We're just going to print money."
"Is that it?"
How would most people have reacted then? We think they would have laughed out loud. Why are so many of us reacting differently now? The nature of markets is that they periodically forget the lessons of history. Confidence in the status quo seems as entrenched now as it was in 2007 but Gold appears to be exhibiting 'Giffen-like' behavior where, instead of falling, demand is rising as prices rise.
While the entire 'developed' world is now openly engaged in destroying the balance sheet of its assorted central banks - the sole means to devalue local currencies, a liability, by accepting ever more toxic 'assets' as currency collateral - thereby pursuing strategies which until now were strictly relegated to the banana republic playbook, there are some countries who see what is coming over the horizon, and refuse to join the printing frenzy. One such place is China, for whom, as we have repeatedly shown the threat of a fast onset of inflation is far greater (3x more bank deposits as a % of GDP than in the US, means a soaring capital market as a result of inflation will benefit far less while a deposit exodus will cause hyperinflationary havoc in minutes) than any other developed world country. And with the inability to hide "non-core" CPI as a result of food and energy being such a greater portion of overall inflationary bean counting than in the US, it means that despite the demands of Tim Geithner for immediate more easing by China, the PBOC is now stuck waiting to import everyone else's inflation: this includes the Fed, ECB, BOE, BOJ, Korea, Australia and all other bank engaged in adding liquidity, while its own hands are quite tied. Because recall that it was only last year that the NYT said that: "Inflation in China Poses Big Threat to Global Trade." Now we are told that lack of inflation poses the same threat, when in reality what they mean is that with the world tapped out, one more source of marginal liquidity is needed. Judging by overnight comments from the PBOC's head Zhou Xiaochuan that liquidity, suddenly so very needed to keep the game of musical chairs going, is not going to come from China just as we have warned for months on end.
Everyone is aware of a multitude of problems that besets our world, however the nature of these problems and why they exist is distorted by the media and by governments all over the world. Our leaders, corporate heads, military top-brass etc. all have a fairly good idea of what is really happening, they just don’t want us – the ignorant masses known as the general public to know what they know. The multiple crises on this planet are caused by our insane mode of living – one that seems to be dominated by economics. Our way of life (unfortunately now for most of the world) depends on an ever-expanding economic system, for if it is not expanding it is contracting. This system was all well and good while there was plenty of capacity for continued expansion, but unfortunately for all of us the limits of expansion are not far off.
With the election right around the corner, the chickens are going to come home to roost. Our ability to print our own currency and buy all the commodities we want with it is the exorbitant privilege that allowed us to export most of the problems within the monetary system elsewhere first. As Nixon’s Treasury Secretary John Connelly said when confronted by a group of European Finance Ministers: “it’s our currency, but your problem.” At the time he was correct, as we were at the very beginning of the fiat dollar standard. 41 years later the system is in its final days and our currency is about to become our problem as well. There were always going to be massive consequences to keeping this ponzi alive. The main point here is one I was hammering on in my last piece The Global Spring. You can only push people so far into hardship before things snap. They snapped in North Africa. They snapped in Southern Europe. They snapped in China. They are about to snap here. Oh, and one last thing. What do you think all of this signals for corporate margins?
With equities sat the edge of an ugly-looking cliff and precious metals leaking lower, FX markets remain somewhat less shell-shocked (for now). Citi's Steve Englander provides a quick-and-dirty view of the five key issues FX investors are focusing on.
Charts Of The Day: Why America Needs To Embrace The Fiscal Cliff Instead Of Kicking The Can Once AgainSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/12/2012 12:20 -0500
To quote David Rosenberg: "there is no good time, but better now than waiting to be shocked into the retrenchment later on. If left unchecked, the Federal debt/GDP ratio will breach 100% within the next two or three years. Do we really need to turn European? And more importantly, even under a sustained low interest rate policy, debt service costs will continue to bite into the revenue base - so much so that they will soon begin to absorb more than 20% of total tax receipts. At a time when grim demographic realities will push dependency ratios higher and with that ever-spiralling entitlement spending, the power of compound interest on a continued mountain of debt even assuming years of low rates will ensnare fiscal finances and seriously limit our policy flexibility in the future."
Stronger Periphery trapping European equities, with the latter dragged down by US apathy.
Risk adverseness factors (equities – Periphery - EUR) decoupling.
US equities seem utterly tired.
Somehow the last months’ rally ahead of QE has tired everyone and since delivery every step seems sooooo heavy.
California Demands Business Insider Retract False Story On Jobless Claims Misreporting; Business Insider RefusesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/12/2012 08:24 -0500
After yesterday Zero Hedge first reported the reason for the surprising plunge in the past week's initial claims, which as the BLS explained was due to "a state" (whose identity despite all tabloid speculation to the contrary is still unknown) not reporting "some" figures, assorted blogs picked up on what has since been confirmed to be an incorrect report by Business Insider's Henry Blodget claiming that "Well, we're glad to say that we've finally gotten to the bottom of what happened" and that the state in question is none other than California (supposedly as opposed to Illinois to shut up those wacky conspiracy theorists). Turns out the site known best for its slideshow presentations (which will soon double down as advertisements) may have once again fibbed just a little, following an official demand by none other than California state Employment Development Department direct, Pam Harris, that BI retract its article. To wit: "Reports that California failed to fully report data to the U.S. Department of Labor, as required, are incorrect and irresponsible... It’s unfortunate this ‘reporter’ and others who repeated the article’s erroneous statements chose to speculate rather than report, failing to confirm this information with EDD." Sure enough, the 'reporter' in question replied, and it appears that Business Insider is better informed than California when it comes to matters such as these, and has refused to retract.
One-year "money" is offered at .9750. The .9700 bid is vulnerable. I don't get it.