- Game Changer: China Starts Drilling It Own Rig Wells (China Daily)
- Cisco says customers delay tech purchases (FT)
- Greeks May Hold $510 Billion Trump Card in Renegotiation (Bloomberg)
- Liquid heroin addicts heart Chairsatan: Bernanke Gets 75% Approval From Investors in Global Poll (Bloomberg)
- How a Radical Greek Rescue Plan Fell Short (WSJ)
- Spain takes 45% stake in Bankia (FT)
- Facebook admits to mobile weakness (WSJ)
- FDIC Would Seize Parent, Allow Units to Operate While Mess Is Cleaned Up (WSJ) - Good luck
- AT&T Fast Network a Work in Progress in Race With Verizon (BBG)
- Pointed Spat Over World Trade Spire (WSJ)
Goldman maintains “constructive” 6-month forecast, says case for higher prices remains in place. Goldman stands by its forecast for a rally in gold this year, saying that the precious metal will advance to $1,840/oz over six months as the U.S. central bank embarks on a third round of stimulus in June. The precious metal remains the “currency of last resort,” according to analysts led by Jeffrey Currie in a report released yesterday. Goldman’s gold forecast implies a 15% return in 6 months. “In early 2009, we suggested that gold had become the currency of last resort, overtaking the U.S. dollar’s status due the rising risk of sovereign default and debasement concerns,” Currie wrote in the report. Even as the U.S. currency advanced and gold fell on the European crisis in recent months, “it is too early for the dollar to reclaim this status,” they wrote. “The case for higher gold prices remains in place,” the analysts wrote. “U.S. economic and employment data has now disappointed for several weeks, European election results point to further stress in the euro area, while anecdotal data suggests that physical gold demand remains resilient.”
There was no good news overnight: CSCO (a rather prominent DJIA member) imploded on global demand weakness, China posted a larger than expected trade surplus which however was due to a greater than expected drop in imports, European industrial production was slightly better in Italy but offset by worse than expected news out of France (as for Greece - forget it), while all the attention continues to be focus on how the Greek endgame plays out, and now Spain too. Still, futures are on the cusp of greenness simply because following 6 days of declines stocks are oversold, and will desperately try to rally into any good news: such as initial claims later today, which will once again be spun as "declining" following a bigger upward revision to last week's number, making this week's appear to drop... at least until next week. As usual be on the watch for any erroneous headlines based on spurious rumors out of Greek developments: these tend to more the EURUSD, and thus ES, quite violently.
Mitt Romney's theory goes that by buying U.S. currency (so far they have accumulated around $3 trillion) and treasuries (around $1 trillion) on the open market, China keeps demand for the US dollar high. They can afford to buy and hold so much US currency due to their huge trade surplus with America, and they buy US currency roughly equal to this surplus. To keep this pile of dollars from increasing the Chinese money supply, China sterilises the dollar purchases by selling a proportionate amount of bonds to Chinese investors. Supposedly by boosting the dollar, yuan-denominated Chinese goods look cheap to the American (and global) consumer. What Romney is forgetting is that every nation with a fiat currency is to some degree or other a currency manipulator. That’s what fiat is all about: the ability of the state to manipulate markets through monetary policy. When Ben Bernanke engages in quantitative easing, or twisting, or any kind of monetary policy or open market operation, the Federal Reserve is engaging in currency manipulation. Every new dollar that is printed devalues every dollar out in the wild, and just as importantly all dollar-denominated debt. So just as Romney can look China in the face and accuse them of being a currency manipulator for trying to peg the yuan to the dollar, China can look at past U.S. administrations and level exactly the same claim — currency manipulation in the national interest.
What we have is a Central State and an economy that has borrowed and squandered trillions of dollars on consumption and malinvestment in unproductive "stranded" assets. The debt and risk pile up, while the labor that results from consumption is temporary and does not create wealth or permanent employment. Figuratively speaking, we're stranded in a McMansion in the middle of nowhere, a showy malinvestment that produces no wealth or value, and we're wondering how we're going to pay the gargantuan mortgage and student loans. Debt and the risk generated by rising debt create a death-spiral when the money is squandered on consumption, phantom assets, speculation and malinvestments. Sadly, that systemic misallocation of capital puts the job market in a death spiral, too.
Gold hit a 4 month low today despite deepening worries that the political upheaval in Greece may sink the country into chaos and endanger the euro zone's efforts to end the debt crisis – possibly leading to contagion and or a monetary crisis. Some decent demand from South East Asia has been reported at the $1,600/oz level and there are also reports from Reuters of a “semi-official buyer of gold” emerging “on dip below $1,600/oz”. Gold’s weakness yesterday may have been again due to dollar strength and oil weakness - oil is now below $97 a barrel (NYMEX). It may also have been due to wholesale liquidation which created a new bout of "risk off" which has seen global equities and commodities all come under pressure. However, gold’s weakness yesterday was also contributed to by more unusual trading activity. As trading in New York got underway, there was an unusually large bout of selling with some 6,000 gold futures contracts sold in minutes and this led to gold's initial $10 fall to the $1,615/oz level. Momentum driven algorithm trading may have then led to follow through selling and the initial sell off may have emboldened tech traders to sell more leading to the falls below $1,600/oz.
European equities continue the trend of the week as they move lower throughout the morning session, as no news is bad news from Greece. In the early hours of the session, reports from German press revealed that the Troika have cancelled their May mission to the country, on the grounds that the current political instability could derail the rescue effort. The continued risk-aversion in Europe is evident in the strong demand for both German and British securities, as both countries sell strongly in their respective auctions. As such, the German Bund contract has hit on all time highs several times in the session today and the Spanish yield on their 10-yr government bond remains elevated above the 6.00% mark. Overnight source comments speculated that the Spanish government are pressing their national banks to set aside between EUR 20-40bln in funds for bad loan provisions and capital buffers. The reports have weighed down on the IBEX 35 throughout the morning, which is currently severely underperforming its European counterparts.
All you need to read and some more.
We are in the last innings of a very bad ball game. We are coping with the crash of a 30-year–long debt super-cycle and the aftermath of an unsustainable bubble. Quantitative easing is making it worse by facilitating more public-sector borrowing and preventing debt liquidation in the private sector—both erroneous steps in my view. The federal government is not getting its financial house in order. We are on the edge of a crisis in the bond markets. It has already happened in Europe and will be coming to our neighborhood soon. The Fed is destroying the capital market by pegging and manipulating the price of money and debt capital. Interest rates signal nothing anymore because they are zero. Capital markets are at the heart of capitalism and they are not working.
Just a month ago we warned that all was not well in the political elites of China. Critically, expectations of some coordinated and massive stimulus to save the world were far overblown since "the last thing Hu & Co. would want in their final months in office would be to unleash another oligarch-enriching orgy of speculation". Sure enough, as Reuters just reported, 'China's ruling Communist Party is seriously considering a delay in its upcoming five-yearly congress by a few months amid internal debate over the size and makeup of its top decision-making body as the party struggles to finalize a once-in-a-decade leadership change.' The delay will likely further unnerve global financial markets whose perception of Chinese politics as a well-oiled machine has already been shaken this year by the extraordinary downfall of an ambitious senior leader, Bo Xilai, in a murder scandal.
Gold just lost the $1600 handle for the first time since January 5th and is suffering its biggest one-day loss in over two months as Europe's meltdown is driving broad liquidations. Are hungry Chinese central bankers more than happy to soak up the precious metal at a discount from levered longs liquidating into the European fiasco?
"Uncivilized" China Quietly Building Gold Reserves As Gold Imports From HK Soar By 587% In First QuarterSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/08/2012 10:00 -0400
A month ago we ended up with the hilarious situation where the US was actively considering releasing petroleum from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve even as China was demonstratively and concurrently adding to its strategic inventory. Now, as the developed world is seeing day after day of gold hammering on amusing flights of fancy that central banks won't be forced to engage in more and ever bigger rounds of monetary dilution, and where the seller apparently has no regard for getting a "good" price, but merely seeks to crash the bid stack slams various PM prices, we see the same inversion with gold. Because as Bloomberg reports, "Mainland China's gold imports from Hong Kong surged more than sixfold in the first quarter, to 156 metric tons, adding to signs that the country may displace India as the world's largest consumer of the precious metal on an annual basis." And the punchline: "The purchases through Hong Kong may signal that the mainland is accumulating reserves, London-based brokerage Sharps Pixley Ltd. said in February. The nation last made its reserves known more than two years ago, stating them at 1,054 tons." Yep ladies and gents: the PBOC is very grateful that it can add hundreds of tons of gold to its reserve holdings in a stealthy operation which it will announce only after its conclusion, at which point, like true 13F chasing lemmings, retail will send gold soaring. But in the meantime, dear hedge funds worried about your margin calls and 1 month performance reports, please proceed calmly along with the lemming herd, and keep pushing gold lower and cheaper for our new Chinese overlords, and for everyone else who, without P&L timing constraints, takes delight in such brief arbitrage opportunities.
There are some people who also believe that the private Federal Reserve with the Treasury in tow has the ability to prolong the worst symptoms of the collapse indefinitely, or at least, until they have long since kicked the bucket and don’t have to worry about it anymore (the ‘pay-it forward to our grandkids’ crowd) . I can say with 100% certainty that most of us will live to see the climax of the breakdown, and that this breakdown is about to enter a more precarious state before the end of this year. You can only stretch a sun-boiled rubber band so far before it snaps completely, and America’s financial elasticity has long been melted away. A pummeling hailstorm of news items and international developments have made the first half of 2012 almost impossible to track and analyze. The frequency at which negative information has surfaced is almost dizzying. However, a pattern and a recognizable motion are beginning to take shape, and, I believe, a loose timeline is beginning to form.
While Turkey has assured the U.S. government it will cut purchases of oil from Iran by 20% this year, its total trade with the Islamic Republic increased 47% to $4.8 billion in the first quarter from a year earlier. Sanctions aimed at isolating Iran because of its nuclear program, combined with revolutions in the Middle East, have spurred a tripling in the region’s purchases of Turkish precious metals and jewels to $942 million in the first three months, from $282 million in the same period last year. This 30% increase in demand is contributing to gold remaining above $1,600/oz in what has all the hallmarks of another period of consolidation prior to higher prices. “Turkey is exporting massive quantities of gold to Iran and Arab Spring countries as citizens in those countries switch to portable wealth,” Mert Yildiz, chief economist for Turkey at Renaissance Capital, told Bloomberg on April 30. The increase in trade with Iran comes as sanctions make it harder for trading partners such as Turkey, India and China to pay in dollars and euros. Iran said in February it would accept payment in any local currency or gold. Reuters report today that Iran is accepting payments in yuan for some of the crude oil it supplies to China, the Iranian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday. "Yes, that is correct," Mohammed Reza Fayyaz told Reuters when asked to comment on an earlier report in The Financial Times.