"Houston, we have a problem"
The US is clearly heading into another recession in the context of a larger depression. And it’s doing this while in the worst economic shape in its post-WWII history. We’ve never once entered a recession when the average duration of unemployment is at an all time high, industrial production has failed to break above its previous peak, and food stamp usage is at a record high. We’ve never done this.
All those who were patiently waiting for the S&P futures to close at new 2012 highs as the catalyst for Bernanke to announce QE3, can now exhale (if we end here): with S&P 500 2012 year-end earnings estimates the lowest they have been all year; with corporate revenues now negative quarter-over-quarter; and with US economic output sliding and GDP back under 2%; coupled with another step backward in housing; it was only logical that the S&P would close at fresh 2012 highs. And now, it is time for the NEW QE, LTRO 3 and more RRR and Interest Rate cuts from China and all shall be well.
Margin Hiker-In-Chief Awakes: White House "Dusting Off" Plans For Strategic Petroleum Reserve ReleaseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/16/2012 13:34 -0500
It must be election season because moment ago Reuters just reported that the White House is "dusting off old plans on a potential SPR release as prices rise" according to a source with knowledge of the situation. This too, just like the earlier Corzine news, should not be a surprise. Obama made it expressly clear that with the election fast approaching, he would either force the CME to hike margins, which is also coming, or would proceed with the far dumber step of an SPR release, just so China can full up its own strategic release faster and at a lower cost. The spun version, of course, has to do with Iran, and the fear of "undermining" Iran sanction success. The same sanctions which the US granted key Iran client China a compliance waiver...
Organic growth is slow and painful (Boo!), central bank money fast, cheap and with few strings attached (Yes!)…And anyway, QE and other supports have already been priced in… Can’t change the programme.
The World Gold Council released its quarterly report today, Q2 2012 Gold Demand Trends Report and can be read in full on the World Gold Council website here. Accumulation of gold bullion from central banks was the bright spot in demand last quarter, as total demand fell 7% globally, which was driven by a 38% fall in consumer demand from India. Price sensitive Indians have been shunning gold and many have been opting for far cheaper poor man’s gold – silver. Jewellery and investment demand both fell. Jewellery consumption was down 72.3 tonnes at 418.3 tonnes, while investment fell 88.3 tonnes to 302 tonnes. The report shows how while record levels of demand from western markets, China and particularly India have been followed by a decline – the seismic shift that is central banks going from being bet sellers to net buyers has provided a new fundamental pillar of support for the gold market. Physical demand slowed down in western markets and especially in India in recent months but large buyers continue to accumulate - both hedge funds and central banks and this is providing fundamental support to gold above the $1500 to $1,600/oz level. 2Q total central bank gold purchases were double the level reported a year ago as emerging market sovereign nations sought to diversify away from the dollar and euro and heightened economic insecurity. Gold purchases among central banks hit its highest quarterly levels (157.5 metric tons) since the sector became a net buyer of the yellow metal in 2Q 2009.
European equities opened higher, risk appetite boosted following overnight comments from Chinese Premier Wen that easing inflation in China left more room for monetary stimulus. However, summer thin volumes saw these gains pared, with particular underperformance in the FTSE 100, which currently trades in negative territory, despite stronger than expected UK retail sales for July. European CPI data for July was in line with market expectations, with no reaction seen across the asset classes following the release. Elsewhere, reports that Spain is to accelerate the bank bailout and is about to receive an emergency disbursement from the EUR 100bln bailout failed to support domestic bond market; the Spanish 2-year spread with respect to the German equivalent trading 6bps wider, though the Spanish 10-year spread is tighter on the day by 3.2bps and the 10-year yield is lower on the day, currently at 6.852%. The Spanish IBEX is outperforming on the back of this news, led by Bankia and Banco Santander.
- JPMorgan provided rescue financing to Knight (WSJ)
- HSBC hands U.S. more staff names in tax evasion probe (Reuters), HSBC, Credit Suisse Sacrifice Employees to U.S., Lawyers Say (BBG)
- Hong Kong shares slide to two-week closing low, China weak (Reuters)
- Israel Would Strike Iran to Gain a Delay, Oren Says (Businessweek)
- Britain 'threatened to storm Ecuador's London embassy' to arrest Julian Assange (AP)
- You have now entered the collateral-free zone: Spain Said to Speed EU Bank Bailout on Collateral Limits (BBG)
- China Can Meet Growth Target on Positive Signs, Wen Says (BBG)
- Risk Builds as Junk Bonds Boom (NYT)
- Berlin maintains firm line on Greece (FT)
- Brazil unveils $66bn stimulus plan (FT)
With Gold & Silver, Why Does the General Population Consistently Get the “Buy Low, Sell High” Mantra Backwards?Submitted by smartknowledgeu on 08/16/2012 06:14 -0500
The reasons why interest is so incredibly low in buying gold and silver among the general masses when they are screaming bargains, and why the general populace’s interest in PMs only perk up after prices have moved much higher, or worse yet, never at all, is a testament to the disinformation campaign waged by the bankers against the people.
As Goldman observed last night, the "metaboring" meme continues, as things go from boringer to boringest. Nothing notable has happened overnight. Some things that did happen was news that Spain is about to receive an emergency disbursement from its €100 billion euro bank bailout because of restriction imposed by the ECB on bank borrowings; Italian banks announced plans to dispose of more bad loans to avoid "potentially bigger losses" (to whom? the ECB?), non-voting Fed member Kocherlakota saying that cutting IOER would have a minimal impact (are you paying attention former visiting Fed advisor David "the Fed will bail everyone out always and forever" Zervos), UK retail sales coming in stronger on bigger gas and food purchases (so aside from being ignored for inflation purposes these are useful when extrapolating economic "growth"), July Eurozone inflation coming in just as expected unchanged at 2.4% Y/Y, China FDI collapsing 8.7% as data revealed the longest run of declining inward investment growth in China since the 2008-09 financial crisis sending local markets to 2 week lows as the MOFCOM said the country's 2H export outlook will be even more grim and Premier Wen said easing inflation (not in food) allows for more room to adjust monetary policy, a statement that had zero impact on domestic stocks. As a result we have seen minimal flattening in Spanish and Italian 2s10s, and a continued gradual drift lower in the EURUSD. And this, aside from another week of initial claims that will have the prior week's data revised higher, and a Philly Fed, may be as good as it gets, as volume is set to plumb another multi-year low, and with the 2s10s flattening again, guarantees that bank profits in Q3 will be atrocious, forcing banks to fire even more (or cause various unnamed market makers to accidentally activate 1000x buy algos).
The Hoarding Continues: China Has Imported More Gold In Six Months Than Portugal's Entire Gold ReserveSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/15/2012 14:20 -0500
While the highly "sophisticated" traders that make up the gold market continue to buy or sell the precious metal based on whether the Fed will or will not do the NEW QE tomorrow (or just because, like Bruno Iskil, they have a massive balance sheet, and can create margin position out of thin air with impunity), China continues to do one thing. Buy. Because while earlier today we were wondering (rhetorically, of course) what China is doing with all that excess trade surplus if it is not recycling it back into Treasurys, now we once again find out that instead of purchasing US paper, Beijing continues to buy non-US gold, in the form of 68 tons in imports from Hong Kong in the month of June. The year to date total (6 months)? 383 tons. In other words, in half a year China, whose official total tally is still a massively underrepresented 1054 tons, has imported more gold than the official gold reserves of Portugal, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and so on, and whose YTD imports alone make it the 14th largest holder of gold in the world. Realistically, by now China, which hasn't provided an honest gold reserve holdings update to the IMF in years, most certainly has more gold than the IMF, and its 2814 tons, itself. Of course, the moment the PBOC does announce its official updated gold stash, a gold price in the mid-$1000 range will be a long gone memory.
From HFT to LIBOR manipulation and European bond legal-covenants, and now Auto-manufacturer channel-stuffing; all conspiracy 'theories' proved conspiracy 'facts' - as Gabby Douglas might say "Nailed It!" We have been vociferously pointing out the incredible levels of channel-stuffing occurring at GM in the US, then China, and most recently into Europe (must read here) and now the WSJ confirms the latter; as sales of BMW and Mercedes, helped by heavy discounts and contingencies to dealers, are being questioned. Kenn Sparks, a BMW spokesman, said its July sales total includes vehicles that were purchased by its dealers for use as what are known as "demos"— cars used on lots for test drives. He declined to say how many reported sales were demos, saying BMW doesn't release the figure. "These vehicles may stay on the lot because they are used as demo models," he said. BMW's incentives appeared to help propel the car maker to a 1,900-vehicle lead over Mercedes-Benz (as stunningly ridiculously surprisingly 7-Series sales tripled MoM, and 3-Series doubled).
Think the US has it bad with its "soaring" gas price, which is now back to $3.75 per gallon? Think again. Here, courtesy of Bloomberg, is a list of the countries whose gasoline cost puts what Americans pay at the pump to shame. In order of descending gas prices, below are the 20 places in the world where one does not want to "fill 'er up."
When one thinks US Treasurys, and demand thereof, two entities pop into mind: the Federal Reserve, which over the past 3 years has been the biggest institutional buyer of US paper, and China, which is the largest foreign holder of US TSYs. Yet over the past year something curious happened: when it comes to setting marginal demand for US Treasurys, it was neither the Fed, whose sterilized Operation Twist has kept its holdings of US Tsys relatively flat, nor China, which has actually been a major seller of US paper, that has been the dominant source of marginal demand for Uncle Sam's never to be repaid obligations. Japan.
The European morning session has been fairly quiet, with European equities opening lower following over night reports from China that the People's Bank of China might buy back government debt in the secondary market making the much speculated reserve ratio requirement cut it less likely. With several market closures across the Euro-area thanks to the Assumption of Mary holiday, volumes have been particularly light, and with a distinct lack of European data, market focus was on the release of the Bank of England's minutes for the August rate decision. As expected, the MPC voted unanimously to keep the APF unchanged at GBP 375bln and the benchmark rate unchanged at 0.50%, though some MPC members noted there was a good case for further expansion of QE. The better than expected UK jobs report also helped strength GBP.