This objective one-stop-shop report concisely summarizes the important macro events over the past week.
Government Spends Tens of Trillions On Unnecessary, Harmful Projects … But Won’t Spend $100 Million to Prevent the Greatest Threat
"All good things come to an end, sadly. So it is with my time here alongside Albert, Andy and the rest of the gang at SG. I’m signing off, checking out, moving on to pastures new. It’s been a wonderful time. But after three years of trying to sound clever it’s time for me to do something altogether more difficult, and actually be clever. So early next year, I will join a small but outstanding investment practice. Naturally, I hope it will be a great success."
- Boehner comments show tough road ahead for "fiscal cliff" talks (Reuters)
- Argentina angry at hedge fund court win (FT)
- EU Spars Over Budget as Chiefs See Possible Deadlock (Bloomberg)
- Merkel doubts budget deal possible this week, more talks needed (Reuters)
- Greek deal hopes lift market mood (FT)
- Greek Rescue Deal Faltering Cut in Rescue-Loan Rate (Bloomberg)
- Japan's Abe Pushes Stimulus (WSJ) - Unpossible: a Keynesian in Japan demanding stimulus? Say it isn't so.
- Authorities Tried to Flip Trader in Insider Case (WSJ)
First it was Greece, which Europe couldn't "resolve" on Monday night despite Juncker's vocal promises to the contrary, and was embarrassed into postponing until next Monday when everything will surely be fixed. Now, the time has come to delay the "resolution" of the EU budget, which was supposed to be implement last night, then a decision was delayed until today, and now every European government leader is saying a new meeting will likely be needed to resolve the budget impasse. As BBG summarizes, "Divisions between rich and poor countries flared over the European Union’s next seven-year budget, leading German Chancellor Angela Merkel to rule out an accord until the new year. France defended farm subsidies, Britain clung to a rebate and Denmark demanded its own refund, while countries in eastern and southern Europe said reduced financing for public-works projects would condemn their economies to lag behind the wealthier north. “Positions remain too far apart,” Merkel told reporters early today after the first session of a summit in Brussels. “Probably there will be no result at the end of this summit. There may be some progress but it is probable that we will need to meet again at a second stage." In other words the same old absolute and total chaos from the European Disunion we have all grown to love, in which the only solution each and every time is to delay reaching a solution, at least until after Merkel is reelected and in the meantime kicking the ever greater ball inventory in Draghi's court, where he too will promise to make everything better as long as he actually dosn't have to do anything.
The question whether China will suffer a "hard" or "soft" landing is, in the long-term, largely irrelevant and misleading. A far more critical question is whether the period of 10%, or even 7% annual growth, for the world's biggest marginal growth dynamo of the past decade, is now over. Read on for the answer.
US closing fine, Asia closing fine. PMIs a tick better than expected. Fine. Spanish auction fine. Greek bonds fine. All fine. Slight Risk On. Fine. Fine, fine, fine… All is good. Free that Bird – or Eat it!
"Free Bird" (Bunds 1,43% +0; Spain 5,64% -6; Stoxx 2534 +0,6%; EUR 1,288 +60)
Hopes for an early recovery in the global economy may be overoptimistic, according to CLSA's Russel Napier, as he notes the expansion of China's reserves, which has been an engine of global economic growth, is about to come to a shuddering halt. As eFinancial News notes, Chinese reserves have decelerated dramatically over the last five years and are now close to zero. Napier said of the graph: "It is the most important chart in the world. The growth in Chinese reserves has determined all the key developments in financial markets in the last two decades. It printed lots of currency and artificially depressed the US yield curve. It has been the cornerstone of global growth, and now it's over."
Most recently, in "Elliott Management Vs Argentina Round 2: Now It's Personal" we laid out the story of how in the ongoing legal fight between Argentina's prominent distressed debt creditor, and exchange offer holdout, Elliott Management (and to a smaller degree Aurelius), and distressed debtor Argentina, the moving pieces continue in flux, even as various US legal institutions have demanded that Argentina proceed with paying the holdouts despite the Latin American country's vocal prior refusals to do so, and most importantly, the lack of a sovereign payment enforcement mechanism. Last night, the fight escalate one more, and perhaps final time, before the Rubicon is crossed and Argentina either pays Elliott, "or else" the country proves all those who furiously bought up Argentina CDS in the past two weeks correct, and the country redefaults on $24 billion of debt. Because as Reuters reports, late last night, US District Judge Griesa overseeing the Argentina case, ordered the Latin American country to make immediate payment with a deadline for escrow account funding of December 15.
The Austrian central bank keeps most of its 280 metric tons of gold reserves in the United Kingdom, Vice Governor Wolfgang Duchatczek was quoted as saying in the finance committee of the country’s parliament today, according to Bloomberg. Answering lawmakers’ questions, Duchatczek said 80%, or 224.4 metric tons of the metal was stored in the U.K., 17% or 48.7 metric tons in Austria and 3% in Switzerland, according to a summary of a closed-door committee meeting provided by the parliament. The reserve has been unchanged since 2007, Duchatczek was quoted as saying. The central bank has earned 300 million euros ($385 million) over the last ten years by lending the gold, he said.
With America shut for Thanksgiving today, what was going to be an abysmal volume day, coupled with the usual any news is good news levitation following the lowest volume day of the year, will be even worse. Sure enough, the overnight session started off with a bang, when in the vacuum of night, a lift everything algo sent the EURUSD soaring by 40 pips higher on no news. With the entire risk complex firmly anchored to the EURUSD pair as the key driver, it pushed risk across the entire market well higher to set the early session mood with the very first trade. Followed light trading and a gradual drift lower which could not be offset even with a China HSBC Flash PMI print of 50.4, up from 49.5 in October, and the first 50+ print in 13 month (to accompany the new political regime: after all, the US is not the only nation where economic data mysteriouly levitate with key political events). This continued until about Europe open, when the monthly release of European PMIs came out, which once again were confusing to say the least with France posting the biggest and most surprising pick up, after its Manufacturing PMI rose from 43.7 to 44.7, on expectations of 44.0, while the Services PMI increased from 44.6 to 46.1, well above the expected 45.0 print. Germany was less exuberant with manufacturing rising from 45.5 to 46.2, although the Services PMI dropped from 48.4 to 48.0, missing expectations of 48.3, sending the series to its lowest in 41 months.
Greece? Sorry, what’s with Greece? French downgrade. Unexpected, but then again not that much. So what? Fiscal Cliff? As no one speaks about it, it can be ignored. Risk? If it doesn’t fall, it has to rise.
"Rise To The Occasion" (Bunds 1,43% +2; Spain 5,7% -9; Stoxx 2518 +0,4%; EUR 1,282 +10)
What does the Fed's QE 3, a Spanish default, the systemic crisis in the EU and Lehman all have in common?
We know it may appear unduly harsh to discuss America's self-destructive dietary "monster Id" right before the Thanksgiving day feasting, but when is it more appropriate? There are a great many disconnects between reality and what Americans believe out of convenience ("no snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche") or propaganda, but perhaps none is more visible than the disconnect between what we're collectively doing to our health with the food we consume. The Chinese have an apt saying" "Disease comes through the mouth," meaning disease comes from what we eat. There are several parts to the food-illness disconnect.
No, really. The LDP, as most know by now, will take over at the December 16th elections as the next party in charge of Japan, at least until the early elections 3-6 months later, when power will shift once more, as the great Keynesian basket case experiment proves ungovernable yet again. But in the meantime, there will be much humor, such as this...