So after 2 hell of positive weeks with fairy dust sprinkled by the CBU (Central Banks United), things seem a little out of breath here.
Post-Central Bank intervention depression, so to speak, as the question on everyone’s mind is “What’s next?
Add to that soured geopolitics that stirred spirits in Asia, MENA and to some extend in regional Spain.
One of the most astute financial analysts in the world, Jim Grant, founder of highly respected Grant's Interest Rate Observer, was asked by Maria Bartiromo on CNBC yesterday “how high can gold go”? Grant responded that "there is no telling."
- Europe’s crisis will be followed by a more devastating one, likely beginning in Japan. (Simon Johnson)
- Porsche, Daimler Indicate Europe’s Car Crisis Spreading (Bloomberg)
- No progress in Catalonia-Madrid talks (FT)
- Hilsenrath speaks: Fed's Kocherlakota Shifts on Unemployment (WSJ) - luckily QEternity made both obsolete
- Lenders Reportedly Consider New Greek Haircut (Spiegel)
- Fed Officials Highlight Benefits of Bond-Buying (WSJ)
- ESM to Launch without Leverage Vehicle Options (WSJ)
- Japanese companies report China delays (FT)
- Borg Says Swedish Taxes Can’t Go Into Ill-Managed European Banks (Bloomberg)
- Greek Leaders Struggle With Spending Reductions (Bloomberg)
- Asian Stocks Rise as iPhone 5 Debut Boosts Tech Shares (Bloomberg)
- China government's hand seen in anti-Japan protests (LA Times)
If you wanted to sum up the just-concluded Casey Research/Sprott Inc. Summit titled Navigating the Politicized Economy, you could say "The situation is hopeless but not serious." More than 20 speakers – many of them world-renowned financial experts and best-selling authors – gathered in Carlsbad, CA, from September 7 to 9 to ascertain exactly how hopeless, and what investors can do to protect themselves.
According to data released by ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) new passenger car registrations fell 8.9% in August after a decline of 7.8% in July. In 2011, Germany produced 5.8 million passenger cars, of which 77% (4.5m) were exported, making cars and parts the most valuable export good (EUR 185bn). A heavily export-dependent German automotive industry looks vulnerable to setbacks in important markets.
What's Really Going On?
It’s not like anvils are flying low, nor shoes dropping.
No major news, but jittery here.
Financialization and the build-out of China provided Europe the illusion that the worker-to-retiree/beneficiary ratio could fall to 2-to-1 and be maintaned indefinitely. Now that the fast-growth phase of China's build-out has ended, and the disastrous consequences of financializing everything under the sun are apparent, the illusion has run aground on fiscal reality. Expectations that have been raised to unrealistic levels for decades are now in the process of being adjusted down to reality, and everyone who felt entitled to promises that cannot be kept is angry, frustrated, disillusioned and seeking a scapegoat for processes that are running entirely independent of the leadership of the moment. How long will this false calm of official reassurances last? Nobody knows, but if crises track an exponential curve like so many natural dynamics, the next phase of the Eurozone crisis will quickly reach escape velocity and accelerate beyond the reach of politicos and PR.
It would appear the concerns regarding rising rates in the Treasury Bond market are overblown - no matter how much the inflation break-evens spike. Implied volatility for the Interest Rate market is practically at all-time record lows currently as the Fed continues to remove duration and high convexity assets from the market. One thing concerns us though - the velocity of spikes in volatility once it gets down to these levels has empirically been tremendous - though we are sure this time it's different. In fact this time is different, since this time it is the Fed (as majority owner) that faces the pain from the now-marginal Minsky-like seller of Treasuries running away from inflation-flares (or China/Japan tensions) - and what would Treasury do without that pass-through ponzi revenue from the Fed's winnings? Or as Taleb wrote: "There is no freedom without noise - and no stability without volatility."
The Philly Fed's current September Business Indicators index, long ignored when bearish and cheered when bullish, came slightly above expectations of -4.5, printing higher from last week's -7.1 to -1.9. This was the fifth consecutive negative print. And while there were no major highlights in the index, whose New Orders rose from -5.5 to 1.0 at the expense of Shipments and Inventories, both of which imploded to worse then -20, the real story is the Six Months expectations index, which exploded from 12.5 to 41.2: this was the biggest spike may not ever, but certainly in the past 22 years! Is there any wonder why everyone is transfixed with hope that Q4 will be the deus ex that saves the US economy. And so we are back to being a hopium driven economy - when reality sucks, there may not be much change, but there is always hope that finally, the central planners will get it right, and the future will be so bright you've gotta wear Made in China shades. One word of caution: if the so very much anticipated and 100% priced in Q4 recovery does not materialize, and with the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling issues still unresolved, get the hell out of Dodge, as the spread between hope and reality comes crashing.
We explained last week why the initial exuberance from QEternity was likely to fade since it basically removed all suspense from futures FOMC announcements - i.e. that bad news would once again become bad news as opposed to bad news stoking the hopes or more-er QE. Well this morning's bad news - to wit: China PMI, Europe PMI, and US initial claims - has indeed had a detrimental impact on S&P futures as they approach fresh post-FOMC lows.
Presented with no comment - except to suggest that perhaps it is time to revise the near-daily "China bails out [insert insolvent "developed" country here]" rumor algorithm...
We have seen consecutive weeks of bullish strength in the gold and silver markets. Gold has completed what is known as a ‘Golden Cross’ and silver is poised to complete one in the coming days. A ‘Golden Cross’ occurs when not only the current price, but also shorter-term moving averages such as the 50 day moving average “cross” or rise above the longer term 200 day moving average. Gold’s 50 day moving average (simple) has risen to $1,651/oz and is now comfortable above the 200 day moving average (simple) at $1,645/oz and accelerating higher. Silver’s 50 day moving average (simple) has risen to $29.86/oz and will soon challenge the 200 day moving average (simple) at $30.47/oz.
Over the past week much has been made over a picture of what appears to be hundreds of Chinese fishing boats which subsequent media plot goalseeking "assured" was headed toward the Senkaku islands. Turns out this may have been merely wishful sensationalist thinking on behalf of the press. According to JIJI press, information that a large number of Chinese fishing boats are heading for the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture is false, the chief of a Japan Coast Guard office in the southern prefecture said Tuesday. "Hiroshi Majima, who heads the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, told Okinawa Lieutenant Governor Yoshiyuki Uehara visiting the office that talk of the fishing season's start and the departures of Chinese boats from their ports may have been misunderstood. According to the coast guard headquarters, China's fishing season stops every year in June-September in the East China Sea, where the islands are located. This year, the ban was lifted on Sunday. According to Uehara, Majima told him said that there is no evidence that Chinese fishing boats are gathering near Okinawa. In their meeting, Uehara requested the coast guard ensure the safety of Okinawa fishermen who operate in waters around to the islands."
One of the classic short cons, three-card Mario is a new swindle that uses official and misleading statements and trickery to swindle victims out of large amounts of cash. It’s one of the oldest cons around, and dates back to “the shell game,” a similar scheme that was popular during the Middle Ages. The new version uses a Central Bank and a Ponzi Scheme that loans money for debt, substitutes debt for collateral and then returns cash back to the grifter as he pledges the collateral back to those that lent him the money. This new European con has eliminated the use of cards in its play. Investors are the ‘marks’ and governments are the perpetrators.