With the US closed, the afternoon simply dragged on with a light ROff feeling as the Periphery drifted slowly wider, France on stand-still and the Core squeezed tighter. Credit weaker with Financials giving back yesterday’s gains and more. Sudden change of mind in equities, paring morning losses loss ahead of tomorrow in very low volume.
Nothing strong, nor concrete, nor very firm, but Core EZ unease with the ESM discussions of last week, as seen by the South, is just seeping through. Opposition parties, Central Bankers, junior government partners, constitutional issues in the Northern part all seem via titbits and comments ready to sand in some of the discussions or to delay the processes. Give it another 2 weeks and everyone will have gone on holiday (despite the ECOFIN claiming to remain on stand-by).
Closing in unconvinced ROff mode and treading water ahead of tomorrow’s Spanish auction, ECB / BOE meetings and US claims numbers. EUR ticking down to low 25s Yet another not especially inspirational day to write about. Libor-gate turning into mudslinging contest, with possible further fall-outs on the industry.
Despite economic miss after miss, the momentum players in the market continue unfazed, dodectupling down on Bernanke Put Double Zero, pushing stocks to new highs simply on continued hopes that something in Europe may have changed with Merkel's so-called defeat last week, even as Merkel's key CSU coalition partners voiced an open threat earlier today to no longer support Eurozone aid if there is no conditionality - supposedly Mario Monti's biggest victory (ignoring that the German constitutional court is also faced with a barrage of demands to undo the ESM), and on hopes that tomorrow the ECB will announce something more drastic than the now widely expected 25 basis point cut. In other words a hope rally, even as bonds, and FX have now diverged dramatically with the hope gripping the global stock market. And hope is good, however if it becomes an investing "strategy" total loss is virtually guaranteed. That said, perhaps for the first time ever, bonds are wrong, and stocks are right, and all the bad news has been priced in (unlike all those other times when everyone said the same, and when everyone was certain they would sell first ahead of the herd). Which brings us to the question that Citi's Steven Englander has just asked himself: "So what can go wrong?" Here is his answer (in five parts).
The past few years have produced an impression of the Chinese government that it is invincible, and it has miraculous control over the economic machine, that the slowdown is “intentionally” engineered by the government and everything within the economy is still very much under control. Unfortunately, most who use this argument to justify that the slowdown is not a big problem have all invariably forgotten that most economic slowdowns in recent memories started with central banks tightening monetary policy to control inflation and slow down the economy, and most, if not all, of the cases ended with recession that they did not want to get into. Many have also not realized how difficult it would be for China to relate its way out of a debt deflation. So how different China is in this regard is totally beyond our comprehension, and we are forced to suggest that the believers of China cult have gone delusional. As the economic slowdown becomes a reality and a hard landing unavoidable, more of the problems we have identified will surface. The cult will surely die within the next few years at most. The only questions are when it will finally die, and whether it will suffer a violent death or slow death.
Closing in unconvinced ROn mode. European equities taking their final lead from US peers. Peripherals pushing just the last basis points tighter. Note that these curves are finally steepening through renewed short end strength with both 2-3 YRS area down 20bp on the day. On the other hand, Core EGBs have not been driven into the wall, as one could have expected in full ROn modus. German 2 / 5 / 10s about unchanged from Friday.
Tug of war between wary optimists and tired pessimists? Glass half full or empty? Dusty diamonds, anyone?
Not a highly inspirational day to write about. Reduced volatility and very range-bound. Lack of real news flow. Action more in the financial people press, as it stands. And in EUR New Issues, as borrowers have come to learn that windows of opportunity, when seeing one, should be used. Knowing, too, that new issues will grind to an end probably as of the end of next week. Hence, EUR 7.5bn senior bank debt served in 2 days. Ce qui est pris n’est plus à prendre…
US Military Re-Surging In Persian Gulf As Turkey Scrambles Jets For Third Day And Iran Fires Medium-Range MissilesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/03/2012 09:34 -0400
US military "surge" is back in the Persian Gulf + Iran fires medium-range missiles + Turkey scrambles jets for third day in a row = $100+ Brent
After two days of solid gains, European equities continue the upward trend and are seen higher at the North American crossover, with the Basic Materials sector leading the way, followed by financials. The moves in equities follow overnight reports from Chinese press, once again calling for the PBOC to slash their RRR, as well as expectations that this Thursday both the ECB and the BoE will conduct monetary easing, possibly boosting future commodity demand. In the fixed income markets, the European 2s/30s curve continues to see bear-steepening following last night’s announcement from the Dutch Central Bank that has changed Dutch insurers’ Solvency II interest rate curve; modifying the maturities in which the firms must hold assets towards the longer-end. Today also saw official confirmation from the Irish debt agency that they are to return to capital markets with T-bill issuance on July 5th, their first return to the market since 2010. Investor reaction to this news is evident in the shorter-end of the Irish yield curve, where the 2-yr bond yield spread against their German counterpart is firmly indicating the risk of returning to the market; currently wider by around 20bps.
A worldwide phenomenon – just as the slowdown is cascading around the globe.
While conflicts within and with the Middle East region are still among the top global risks, the paradigm has definitively shifted to China and Europe.
Given Friday’s announcements and subsequent rally, the relative dearth of weekend snippets and analyses seems a little surprising.
And so we have recoupling, with the ISM printing below 50 (i.e. contraction) at 49.7 for the first time since July 2009. Expectations of a 52.5 print were obviously blown away, as the final number came well below the lowest Wall Street forecast of 50.5. Prices plunge to 37 on expectation of 57 and there go your corporate margins; Employment down from 56.9 to 56.6, and New Orders implode from 60.1 to 47.8. Epic disaster which proves that no, decoupling, does not exist and now puts the Fed back in play, which however, with the S&P just shy of 2012 highs, can do didley squat.
The spread between HSBC's and China's version of Manufacturing PMI increased a little over the weekend when the headline of China's data point managed to cling perilously above the 50-line of expansion over contraction (while HSBC's drifts lower and lower under 50). The headline print - still its lowest since Nov 11 - however, hides a much less sanguine truth in the sub-indices with the new orders index fell once again staying in the contractionary territory under 50. What is more worrisome for China (and implicitly the rest of the world) is that while transport equipment and electrical machinery improved (explicitly thanks to government funded infrastructure projects) there has been no multiplier effect of a broad-based investment rebound. As Credit Suisse notes: "The stimuli launched in middle of May seems to have failed to jump-start the overall economy, yet the moderation in PMI is not severe enough to justify a much more aggressive rescue package."
Despite the July 4th mid-week holiday, the coming week will be packed with major economic updates. Goldman Sachs summarizes what to look for in the next 5 days.
The markets are getting mislead, one more time, by the spin that Europe places on events; by the focus that the giant European propaganda machine spits out from various sources again and again and again. You may recall, in the not too distant past, how the firewall was the thing, how the money needed to be bigger and how we were all led to believe that this giant, massive wall of Euros would protect the core nations of Europe. These nations included Spain and Italy without question and now the first mighty oak has fallen as Spain stepped up to the plate and swung the begging bat. Firewalls, of any size, do not do one thing to stop the infection of those that are heading economically south and Europe has placed its full concentration on the totally wrong aspect of the problem which has been to ward off the evil spirits of the bond vigilantes instead of on fixing the financial problems of the nations and so the problems continue and worsen. Over the weekend Spain said their second quarter results would be worse than the first quarter and Italy said there may come a moment when she needs help and the basis of what is driving the markets heightens as the economies of a mostly recession bound Europe are getting worse. What have we learned in short, in brief, in actuality is that the concept of some mighty firewall is a failed concept and Spain has just proved the truth of that.
- The Real Victor in Brussels Was Merkel (FT)
- German Dominance in Doubt after Summit Defeat (Spiegel)
- Euro defeat for Merkel? Only time will tell (Reuters)
- The Twilight Zone has nothing on Europe: European Banks Bolster Capital With Shunned Bonds (Bloomberg)
- Krugman is baaaaaack and demands even more debt: Europe’s Great Illusion (NYT)
- Republicans See Way to Repeal Obamacare (FT)
- Hollande Ready to Tackle Public Finances (FT)
- China’s Manufacturing Growth Weakens as New Orders Drop (Bloomberg)
- Protesters March in Hong Kong as Leung Vows to Fight Poverty (Bloomberg)
Markets are true democracies. The allocation of resources, capital and labour is achieved through the mechanism of spending, and so based on spending preferences. As money flows through the economy the popular grows and the unpopular shrinks. Producers receive a signal to produce more or less based on spending preferences. Markets distribute power according to demand and productivity; the more you earn, the more power you accumulate to allocate resources, capital and labour. As the power to allocate resources (i.e. money) is widely desired, markets encourage the development of skills, talents and ideas. Planned economies have a track record of failure, in my view because they do not have this democratic dimension. The state may claim to be “scientific”, but as Hayek conclusively illustrated, the lack of any real feedback mechanism has always led planned economies into hideous misallocations of resources, the most egregious example being the collectivisation of agriculture in both Maoist China and Soviet Russia that led to mass starvation and millions of deaths. The market’s resource allocation system is a complex, multi-dimensional process that blends together the skills, knowledge, and ideas of society, and for which there is no substitute. Socialism might claim to represent the wider interests of society, but in adopting a system based on economic planning, the wider interests and desires of society and the democratic market process are ignored. This complex process begins with the designation of money, which is why the choice of the monetary medium is critical. Like all democracies, markets can be corrupted.