Going into the US open, markets are digesting the news that the Greek PSI deal has been completed, with the announcement being made at 0600GMT. The Greek Finance Ministry have announced that 85.8% of bondholders have agreed to the swap, and with CACs enforced, the participation rate can rise to 95.7%. However it should be noted that the Greek government have not enacted the CACs as yet. This has prompted a muted market reaction as participants await any further news from European officials. In the next few hours, the Eurogroup are holding a conference call concerning the recent activity in Greece, and the ISDA are also meeting to determine whether a Greek credit event has occurred. International market focus will now shift towards the key US Non-Farm Payrolls data, due at 1330GMT: US Change in Non-Farm Payrolls M/M (Feb) Exp. +210K (Prev. +243K, Dec +200K). Chinese demand for US Treasuries could slow for a second year as the country as well as others find themselves holding fewer USD to use on US debt. This could see yields moving higher in 2012, according to analysis by Bank of America.
Credit markets closed at their best levels of yesterday and traded in a very narrow (much less risk hungry mode) range as stocks zoomed 1% higher than yesterday's best levels on volumes considerably less than the year's average so far. With tonight's PSI 'news' unlikely to be a surprise (and certainly not unexpectedly bullish as CACs are enacted and likely to trigger CDS), overnight China inflation, and tomorrow's NFP print seemingly priced into the market for perfection, it is apparent the marginal equity trader is far more comfortable with uncertainty (remember participation does not mean agreement still) than the marginal credit trader. The usual suspects did well with Materials, Industrials, and Financials all outperforming (and the majors bouncing back) but we do note that the average contract size in ES (the e-mini S&P 500 futures contract) was its highest in five weeks (even if it was roll week). Treasuries melted slowly higher in yield all day continuing yesterday's trend to complete the largest two-day rise in 30Y yields in six weeks. This de-risking along with JPY weakness and AUD/EUR strength supported risk but we do note that CONTEXT (our broad risk asset proxy) lagged Equity's excitement all day even as it leaked higher. Commodities benefited from USD weakness with WTI managing to get back over $107 briefly and back to positive for the week, Gold getting above $1700 and a wild ride in Silver leaving it in line with Copper -2.5% on the week so far.
European stock futures have trended higher today in relatively light volumes as the market awaits key interest rate decisions (BoE & ECB) and with the deadline for the Greek debt swap deal looming. The latest talk this morning has been that the participation in the PSI deal has been well received and coupled with speculation of a Chinese RRR cut overnight and stops tripped in the E-mini S&P and Eurostoxx futures earlier this morning, contributed to a large portion of the move higher. As a consequence, the USD index has weakened (-0.5%) which has lifted the EUR/USD pair back firmly though the 1.3200 level to the upside and Brent/WTI crude futures are seen higher ahead of the NYMEX pit open. Looking ahead we await the ECB press conference as well as the latest jobs data from the US due at 1330GMT.
- Investors help Athens over bailout hurdle (FT)
- Greece Moves Closer to Swap (WSJ)
- U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers (WSJ)
- China offers other Brics renminbi loans (FT)
- Court Challenges EU on Bank Downsizings (WSJ)
- QE blamed for surge in pensions shortfall (FT)
- Tang: Open to adjusting dollar trading band (WSJ)
- U.S. Report to Warn on Cyberattack Threat From China (WSJ)
Albert Edwards: JPY devaluation exacerbates risk of China hard landing, drags them into currency warSubmitted by Daily Collateral on 03/08/2012 06:49 -0400
"We are a hair's breadth or, more exactly, one recession away from a market panic on outright deflation -- a panic that will send the central banks into a printing frenzy that will make their balance sheet expansion so far seem like a warm-up act for the main show." Albert Edwards
Perhaps not so shockingly, AP is reporting tonight that satellite images of Iranian military facilities show trucks and other earth moving vehicles. Diplomats, accredited to the IAEA, suggest this indicates attempted cleanup of radioactive traces possibly left by tests of a nuclear-weapon trigger. As sanctions grow more burdensome and Israel's pre-emptive rhetoric rises, the discovery of this sanitization effort only raises the stakes as the images are said to be very recent and updated constantly and suggest evidence of tests of a small experimental neutron device. This wouldn't be the first time a site has been 'sanitized' prior to IAEA inspector visits but as The Boston Globe reports IAEA expert teams have tried twice - and failed - in recent weeks to get Iranian permission to visit this area and now (following the apparent clean-up) they have finally been granted access. As the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China postpone their meeting, in an effort to find more moderate language to criticize Iran, it seems to us that actions may just start having more impact than words very soon.
Today we observed how as the US is considering releasing crude from its Political, pardon Strategic Petroleum Reserve, China was doing just the opposite. Now, in a further step confirming that China is acting as a much more rational capitalist power, and is rapidly encroaching on the "reserve" status of the sacrosanct USD, the FT writes that China intends to extend renminbi loans to other BRIC nations in "another step toward the internationalisation of its currency." To those following the stealthy Chinese incursion into currency markets as a dollar alternative, this is not news: already we know that China and Japan have bypassed the dollar entirely and now engage in direct bilateral trade using JPY and CNY (even as most other nations in Asia have developed bilateral agreements to transact in a non dollar basis). This is merely the latest incremental step which will see China become the dominant player in the currency arena, and further puts to doubt the fate of the US Dollar as the default currency. Of course, the market will not acknowledge any of this until the developing (i.e., non-insolvent world) is transacting entirely with US intermediation. And at that point, the US will be merely another Zimbabwe case study, where it can print all the money it wants to fund its deficit, and the only ones who care will be wheelbarrow manufacturers.
As US Contemplates Releasing Crude From The Strategic Reserve, China Resumes Building Emergency InventorySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/07/2012 11:46 -0400
A tale of two civilizations, one in ascent and one in decline, can probably be best summarized by how they ration for the future in that most important of commodities - energy, in this case vis-a-vis the respective treatment of the strategic oil reserves of China and the US. Because while all the rage in D.C. political gab in recent weeks has been whether the US will allow a release of oil from the SPR, just to appease those Obama voters who actually have a job and have to take a car to get to it, things over at America's nemesis in civilizational conflict are diametrically opposite. As Bloomberg reports, China has "started filling its emergency petroleum reserve at Lanzhou in the nation’s northwest, according to an official at the nation’s largest crude producer." Unlike the US, where everything is now a function of market liquidity, evil speculators, and political ambitions (rest in peace supply and demand), China is completely ignoring all the day to day mundane drivel, and is doing what is right - which is to make sure it is prepared for an "eventuality" in the crude supply. Said eventuality is 100% guaranteed to happen if the Panetta-McCain is given a green light to allow the liberation of Iranian crude to finally proceed following years of foreplay.
Markets appear to be tentatively recovering some of yesterday’s heavy losses, recording modest gains so far this morning. Comments made overnight by the German finance minister as well as senior officials from the Greek finance ministry may have mercifully given market participants some hope as they are confident the Greek PSI deal will be completed by the deadline tomorrow evening. The DAX index has underperformed the other European equity indices in recent trade following the release of some disappointing factory orders data for January, with markets expecting an expansion of 0.6%, however the reading came in at -2.7%, moving DAX stock futures into negative territory. WTI crude and Brent have also retraced some of their losses made earlier in the week following a drawdown in US gasoline inventories reported last night as well as a generally weak USD index in the FX markets today. Markets are awaiting US ADP employment change later in the session, as well as the weekly DOE oil inventories casting further light on the US energy stocks.
Something funny happened in January as the EURUSD rose from its period low in the 1.26 level: German Industrial Orders imploded as the joint currency strengthened. But not so much for domestic orders within the Eurozone, which actually increased by 0.9% in January (as a reminder, the sole reason mercantilism still works efficiently within the Eurozone is that the Bundesbank, via TARGET2 and the ECB, subsidizes the import economies of the periphery via recycled Current Account proceeds, as shown here). Where the demand collapse came from was non-Eurozone (read China and America) orders which fell a whopping 8.6% in January, after posting a 12.1% rise in December as the EUR was plumbing 2011 lows. As a result, the blended orders rate was down 2.7% on expectations of a 0.6% increase. Does it become clear now why resolving the Greek crisis is not in Germany's interest, as all that would do is send the EUR even higher, and impair German industry - the lifeblood of Europe - even more? Alternatively, does it become clear why Bernanke is just itching to shift the weak currency regime from Europe and back to the US again, with the only thing holding him back being the fear of crude exploding, especially if some Made in Israel bunker busters explode somewhere deep in the Zagros mountains?
- Key rate for $350 trillion market in limbo - Libor Links Deleted as U.K. Bank Group Backs Away From Rate (Bloomberg)
- Rift Grows Between Germany's Bundesbank and ECB (Spiegel)
- Athens issues threat to bond holdouts (FT)
- SNB to Reveal Board Members’ Currency Transactions After Hildebrand Furor (Bloomberg)
- Sarkozy Floats New Corporate Tax (WSJ)
- Super Tuesday Ensures a GOP War of Attrition (WSJ)
- Martin Wolf - The pain in Spain will test the euro (FT)
- Refinancing Fees Are Reduced for Some F.H.A. Borrowers (NYT)