I have to confess, I am tired of writing "structured" articles, the ones where I have to limit my thoughts to 800 words. So with this one I am taking a break. This is an unstructured stream of thought, in no particular sequence.
Trading in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s gold ETF in India surged almost 11 fold, leading an advance in gold securities, as investors bought gold to mark the auspicious Hindu festival of Akshaya Tritiya. Volumes in GS Gold BeEs, India’s biggest exchange-traded fund backed by gold, was 937,816 units on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. at 4:54 p.m. in Mumbai, up from 85,376 units yesterday and more than the 101,914 average daily volumes in the last six months through yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This is significant volume. Each unit represents about 1 gram of physical gold and therefore 937,816 units is the equivalent of some 29,170 ounces of gold which at today’s prices is some $47 million of daily volume for just one gold ETF in India. The Goldman Sachs India gold ETF is just one of many new ETFs in India. Trading in Kotak Gold ETF jumped more than eightfold to 226,032 units. Gold demand in India, the world’s biggest importer, may climb as much as 25% to 15 metric tons on Akshaya this year, according to Rajesh Exports Ltd., the country’s biggest gold-jewelry exporter. Assets held by local gold funds reached a record 98.9 billion rupees ($1.87 billion) at the end of March, according to the Association of Mutual Funds in India. GS Gold BeEs had assets worth 29.6 billion rupees (some $563 million (USD)) as of March 31, data from the association showed. Trading in UTI-Gold Exchange Traded Fund climbed more than fivefold, while volumes in Reliance Gold ETF, the second-biggest fund, was up more than sixfold, data shows.
- Merkel Pushes Back Against Hollande Call to End Austerity Drive (Bloomberg)
- ECB's Draghi throws crisis ball back to governments (Reuters)
- Greek Bank Chief Warns of a Possible Euro Exit (WSJ)
- China’s Wen Says Economy Will Maintain Robust Expansion (Bloomberg)
- North Korea's nuclear test ready "soon" (Reuters)
- Hong Kong Peg Architect Says Convertible Yuan `Long Way Off’ (Bloomberg)
- Hollande seeks wider EU fiscal pact (FT)
- Gavyn Davies: Why UK GDP continues to lag the G7 (FT)
- U.S. Lost AAA on Danger of Liquidity Crisis, S&P’s Kraemer Says (Bloomberg)
S&P threatening to downgrade India... UK double dipping... Germany having a failed auction. It is all irrelevant, for the great fruit has spoken and people are buying iGadgets at record levels, which can only mean that once the great credit spree ends, Apple will likely be forced to use its $110 billion cash hoard to start an in house "Acceptance Corporation" vendor financing purchases of its products directly. And while the AAPL earnings beat has become a contrarian bet, now that even Gartman has said he is turning bullish on stocks, here is a summary of what happened and what will happen. In a nutshell, just like Apple was the only thing that mattered yesterday, today it is only the Fed and the subsequent press conference that matter, with the market likely to only take away whatever it wants to take away.
As we said yesterday, traders could have just slept through the entire day, ignored headlines about mad cows, auctions of European bonds maturing in a few weeks, speculation of Europe's alleged falling out favor with austerity which is very much irrelevant as all that matters is what German taxpayers/voters say, and the SEC's latest laughable scapegoating attempts, and just woken to the 4:30 pm announcement of iPhone sales in China. As expected, the entire world is now reacting. Here is Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid with the global response to the world's ongoing fascination with aspirational cell phones.
Draining your banking system dry of deposits and loans is no easy task (just see chart below), and yet the Greeks sure have succeeded. There was only one open question: where did all this money go. Now we know.
Remember when Lehman or Bear Stearns was 'too small' to matter and 'subprime was contained', we we are getting same ignorant first-order analysis now with regard Spain (or more broadly-speaking Southern Europe). The whole of Southern Europe is only 6% of global GDP - how can that matter? (especially when we can eat iPads?) Michael Cembalest, of JPMorgan, provides some much needed sense on why these small countries pack a large disruption risk punch for global markets and economies. By breaking down the world into a few categories of disruption risk, the JPM CIO notes that the southern strain of Eurovirus has a much larger non-proportional impact thanks to transmission risk via its significantly greater share of sovereign and bank debt relative to the world and how these debts are financed. The transmission risk to the much-larger Northern Europe is material. We are already seeing Germany's new orders from within the Euro-zone slumping and this week's business sector surveys were very weak. As Cembalest concludes, from an alien's perspective, Earth may be able to outrun the collapse in Europe’s periphery if the ECB keeps printing money and the IMF increases its firewall, but it’s not going to be easy.
You know its bad when...the net flow of Mexicans into the US has fallen so much that there is a high probability that it is now in reverse ending around forty years of inward migration. The Pew Hispanic Center notes that the standstill - after more than 12 million current immigrants have entered the US - more than half of whom are illegal - appears to be the result of many factors including a weakened US job and construction market, tougher border enforcement, a rise in deportations, growing dangers associated with border crossing, a long-term decline in Mexico's birth rate, and changing (read perhaps more opportunistic) economic conditions in Mexico (especially if you work at WalMex). This sharp downward trend in net migration has led to the first significant decrease in at least two decades in the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. - to 6.1 million in 2011, down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007. In the five years from 2005 to 2010, about 1.4m Mexicans immigrated to the US – exactly the same number of Mexican immigrants and their US-born children who quit the US and moved back or were deported to Mexico. By contrast, in the previous five years to 2000 some 3m Mexicans came to the US and fewer than 700,000 left it. It will be interesting to see the spin that the Obama and Romney camps put on this hot-button topic as the 'Dream Act' turns into a nightmare and hardline anti-illegal immigration stances become, well, less relevant as Mexicans become Mexican'ts.
Two weeks ago we were the first to explain that the mysterious Euro levitation observed, as newsflow out of Europe had just turned very ugly, was due solely to another iteration of a very disturbing phenomenon: EUR repatriation, as domestic banks were forced to shore up capital ahead of what they perceived as major liquidity needs such as bond auctions, and the other usual fare - insolvent banks, deposit outflow replacement, etc. As a reminder, the last time such aggressive repatriation was observed was back in October, just before the Fed was forced to ease the terms of its FX swaps, the ECB was forced to announced the LTROs and China was forced to announce an interest rate hike - in other words, the central planner were in bailout mode. Today, the first to address directly our "explanation" is Citi and specifically Stephen Englander, who notes the repatriation is likely a key driver to such inexplicable moves in the EURUSD. Of course, since Englander understands all too well the true implication of such a move (very, very negative as it means liquidity is once again becoming non-existent), he tries to mitigate it: "we find that in the recent past the repatriation theory has some support but that foreign portfolio flows are probably the dominant EUR driver": alas, that is what he said last time too. And it ended up being the other way around, in the process almost resulting in Europe's getting destroyed. Hopefully this time it is different.
While gold demand from the western investors and store of wealth buyers has fallen in recent months, central bank demand continues to be very robust and this is providing strong support to gold above the $1,600/oz level. IMF data released overnight shows that Mexico added 16.8 metric tons of gold valued at about $906.4 million to its reserves in March. Russia continued to diversify its foreign exchange reserves and increased its gold reserves by about 16.5 tons according to a statement by its central bank on April 20. Other creditor nations with large foreign exchange reserves and exposure to the dollar and the euro including Turkey and Kazakhstan also increased their holdings of gold according to the International Monetary Fund data.Mexico raised its reserves to 122.6 tons last month when gold averaged $1,676.67 an ounce.Turkey added 11.5 tons, Kazakhstan 4.3 tons, Ukraine 1.2 tons, Tajikistan 0.4 ton, and Belarus 0.1 tonnes, according to the IMF. Ukraine, Czech Republic and Belarus also had modest increases in their gold reserves. Central banks are expanding reserves due to concerns about the dollar, euro, sterling and all fiat currencies.
- China’s Biggest Banks Are Squeezed for Capital (NYT)
- Greeks detect hypocrisy as Dutch coalition stumbles (Reuters)
- Hollande Blames Europe’s Austerity Plan for Le Pen’s Rise (Bloomberg)
- In a Change, Mexico Reins In Its Oil Monopoly (NYT)
- China Tire Demand Slows as Economy Decelerates, Bridgestone Says (Bloomberg)
- Social Security’s financial forecast gets darker; Medicare’s outlook unchanged (WaPo)
- Fed’s 17 Rate Forecasts May Confuse More Than Clarify (Bloomberg)
- Senate to vote on array of Postal Service overhaul proposals (WaPo)
- Weidmann Says Bundesbank Is Preserving Euro Stability (Bloomberg)
Here is the point; Bernanke thinks he can deal with this falling growth outlook and a deleveraging consumer by adding to QE to keep rates very low. I am not sure it will work and if it doesn’t yields could start to rise and the more he throws at it the more yields actually rise as vigilantes will fear pent up inflationary pressures. This is a potential disaster for central bankers and at some point the impact of QE may be proven limited. When it is the central banks will have shot the last bullet. Why is no one discussing this?
It appears that when it comes to mocking consensus groupthink emanating from lazy career 'financiers' who seek protection from their lack of imagination and original thought, 'creation' of negative alpha and general underperformance (not to mention reliance on rating agencies, only to jump at the first opportunity to demonize the clueless raters), in the sheer herds of other D-grade asset "managers" (for much more read Jeremy Grantham explaining this and much more here), David Rosenberg enjoys even more linguistic flexibility than even us. Case in point, his just released trashing of the latest Barron's permabull groupthink effort titled "Outlook: Mostly Sunny." And just as it so often happens, no sooner did those words hit the cover of that particular rag, that it started raining, generously providing material for the latest "Roasting with Rosie."