One Minute Macro Update

Markets dour in the early AM as oil rises on escalating geopolitical concerns. Yesterday’s ADP report was once again more bullish than expectations ahead of Friday’s Payroll data. The ADP “preview” of Friday’s job numbers reported a 187K gain v 140KE. The track record of the indicator was tarnished last month by divergent results as the indicator foresaw a 247K jump in payrolls while the BLS reported Private Payrolls rose only 113K. Today will see numbers for labor inputs, weekly claims data, factory orders, and ISM Non-Manufacturing data. Eyes remain on geopolitics and the European periphery ahead of tomorrow’s data. TBAC recommending Treasury issue 100Y bonds to lock in low rates.

Egypt Promptly Turns Ugly Again As 4 Protesters Killed By Pro-Mubarak Supporters: Al Jazeera, Al Masriya And CNN Live Feeds

After what was largely a quiet day, events in Cairo's Tahrir square have taken a turn for the worse, after at least four protesters were killed and thousands more injured after semi-automatic gunfire erupted, supposedly out of the pro-Mubarak supporters, some of whom were previously exposes as being Egyptian police. End result - Egypt CDS (ignoring that ludicrous $25.5 million AUM EGPT ETF, which for some ungodly reason is supposed to represent the entire Egyptian stock market) are about to bounce once again, two days ahead of the February 4-5 "Days of Rage" in Syria, and as concerns about a Suez stoppage and Saudi contagion spread yet again.

Supermarket Chain Delhaize Forces Franchisers To Sell Food Products Below Cost

The latest inflation fighting strategy in a world that has now completely forgotten the threat of "disinflation", and instead is relishing 30 year highs in sugar and 150 year highs in cotton, comes from Belgium where supermarket chain Delhaize has been exposed as coercing 120 franchisers to sell products at a loss. As a result, said franchisers, formerly on very good terms with the supermarket operator, have organized themselves into an interest group with its own steering committee to make their grievances heard. And while the outcome of this escalation will certainly not be pleasant for any of the parties involved, one thing is certain: prices at both Delhaize supermarkets, and Belgian competitors who follow suit, are about to surge as retailers have no choice but to seek avoiding bankruptcy through reindexing prices. Which makes us wonder just how many supermarket stores and grocery retailer in the US use comparable tactics? But have no fear: according to the CPI, food inflation in December at 0.1% was the lowest it has been in five months. And with nobody having the guts to tell Bernanke that the food emperor is completely naked, we are 100% confident that everyone in America will be able to afford the 0.1% increase in food prices.

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What if a rating agency downgraded a country and no one listened?

With all of the news outlets focused on tensions in the Middle East, have we forgotten about the elephant(s) in the room? Ireland’s credit rating was downgraded one level to A- today by Standard & Poor’s - leaving it four levels above “junk” status. To add insult to injury, S&P said that the country remains on “credit watch with negative implications.” Nonetheless, the market barely shrugged. In fact, we remain within points of the post meltdown highs. The real kicker was the fact that Ireland’s 5-yr Credit Default Swaps FELL 4.6% today in the face of the downgrade. Perhaps the market has become numb to the rating agencies.

Guest Post: Beware of Lurking North Africa & EU Bank Runs

This is a warning to prepare for potential stealth bank runs cascading from North Africa and Ireland through to EU regional banking centers. Stealth bank runs are the unrecognized and perilous serpent lurking presently below the European financial surface. They prey on slower moving archaic bond vigilantes and anyone else swimming in these dangerous uncharted waters. Investors need to fully appreciate that a modern bank run looks and operates differently than what is depicted in the movies and what we most likely expect to occur! For starters, it isn't the individual depositor lining up, it's now Corporate CFOs or Treasurers at their terminal en masse! Secondly, it isn't driven by local depositors; it is now driven internationally by Corporate Finance committees! Thirdly, there are no telltale line-ups at bank doors. It is stealth, which will happen in an unexpected electronic 'flash crash' panic blur! Today, a triggering event will initiate global 'key strokes' that will move unprecedented amounts of money within hours.

Knight Capital's European Macro Notes - Why the Rally?

The talk regarding the EFSF having the potential to buy bonds raises more questions than answers to us. For one, at what price will they be purchased? Banks that hold the sov debt are reticent to sell below par since that would make them realize a loss. The EFSF can ill afford to purchase bonds from banks at par when they are trading in the open market at prices well below that, and such a subsidy does not seem to make economic sense either. The aforementioned voters will soon recognize that this debt purchasing is a transfer and represents taxation on core country’s citizens to support periphery debt. Also, who might sell? The ECB’s program has a scant €76.5B to sell into such a scheme against an aggregate periphery debt load of over €3.2T. Direct issuance is a possibility, but then the EFSF becomes an even bigger CDO performing funding arb – at an unknown cost. With only €440B available, it seems that the funding for only a portion of the periphery would be achieved. Further, the AAA rating on the bond issuance out of the EFSF has a participant element to it. If a country needs funding, it is prohibited from contributing to the facility and whatever it draws comes out of the facility. Would a purchase of a particular country’s bonds by the facility constitute a drawdown per the facility’s rating requirements? It would seem so, though details are sketchy right now. Either way, this would seem to impact the ratings that were so important they took five months to obtain last year.

Treasury Sees $194 Billion Drop In Borrowing Needs Due To SFP Program Roll Off, Over Half A Trillion In Financing Needs For Jan-Mar Quarter

Today, the Treasury issued its revised merkatble borrowing estimate. And while the last time the Treasury issued this forecast, it had expected a $431 billion need of marketable borrowing financings (while expecting a $454 billion total Financing need), this number has now plunged by $194 billion to $243 billion. But don't be fooled that this is due to an expectation that treasury revenues are suddenly going to pick up. Oh no. In fact, total Financing Needs have increased by $49 billion to $503 billion for one quarter! The only reason why the marketable borrowing estimate has plunged is due to the roll off of the SFP program, which will bring down EOQ cash from a previous estimate of $270 billion to $65 billion, a $205 billion decline in cash. In other words, the Treasury now sees adding $237 billion in marketable debt to the total December 31 debt which means that the US will be close to breaching the debt ceiling by the end of March even with the SFP program roll off. What is amusing is that the Treasury now expects financing needs in Q2 to plunge from $503 billion to $258 billion, which in turn will need $299 billion in marketable debt to be issued over the April-June time period. We are willing to write naked CDS, and sell the TVIX against this number being revised by at least 20% at the next forecast revision, some time in late April.

Paging Jim O'Neill: It Is Time To Revise The N-11

About half a year ago, after it became painfully clear that the BRIC concept was dead (which has since become quite obvious with surging inflation and liquidity tightening across the board, and markets in China, India and Brazil reacting appropriately), the man who was subsequewntly sent to exlie to manage Goldman's cloaca division, the GSAM which carries about the same clout on Wall Street as Bank of Lynch, penned the term "N-11." Supposedly, these were the countries that were expected to carry the world to the next massive leverage induced consumption boom. As a reminder: here are the countries: Bangladesh, Vietnam, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, Mexico, Turkey, Korea. Well... make that N-10 now... And soon to be N-0, as the policies of Jim's drinking buddy, Gen(ocide) Ben, become fully transparent to the developing world. That said, the N-11 list (RIP) is a great indicator of where speculator should be bidding all CDS to the limit up hilt (we jest... obviously CDS has no limit up locks... Unlike rice - which just hit one).

Here Comes The Greek Brady Plan Together With 35% Bond Haircuts...And A Caption Contest

Just in case you were expecting a full recovery on those Greek bonds stashed away under the mattress (ahem ASSGEN) here comes Euro Intelligence to spoil your day (and maybe, just maybe, wreak some havoc with your CDS). In a nuthsell: we are about to see a Brady plan with 35% haircuts. If true, we may be seeing some pretty interesting unintended consequences in the near to very near-term future.

As Perfectly Expected, Moody's Cuts Revolutionary Egypt From Ba1 To Ba2, Outlook Negative, CDS Spikes

The most predictable, (and certainly worthless: see Mark Zandi) entity in the world has gone ahead and done precisely what Zero Hedge said 24 hours ago it would. Moody's has just downgraded Egypt's bond rating from Ba1 to Ba2, with the outlook changed from stable to negative. The move which was as a surprise to idiots everywhere comes as "Moody's notes that Egypt suffers from deep-seated political and socio-economic challenges. These include a chronic high rate of unemployment, elevated inflation and widespread poverty. These, together with a desire for political change, have fueled popular frustrations." And as we predicted yesterday, Egypt CDS continues to slide ever higher, pushing around 460 on the offer side, in those rare occasions it is actually offered.

Goldman On What Happens To Oil As Egypt Contagion Flares

A week after Zero Hedge first speculated what may happen to oil prices should the Suez Canal be shut down, Goldman arrives on the scene... And as expected, to Goldman it is all (mostly) priced in - the risk of contagion to Saudi is zero. After all, rich people never revolt... And things must always evolve according to what only Goldman Sachs has foreseen.

Step Aside Egypt CDS.... Here Come The Saudi Contagion Vigilantes

By now everyone knows that over the past few days, Egypt CDS has taken a hard right angle and has doubled from 200 bps to well over 400 bps (making it just slightly riskier than Illinois). And tomorrow Egypt risk will add another 80 or so basis points. No surprise there. What may surprise some, however, is that just like Egypt, Saudi CDS has also gone vertical. And with momentum chasers finally realizing that there is a direction other than tighter, expect the contagion vigilantes to do some serious damage here. If history is any precedent, there is a long way to go.

Portuguese, Spanish Bonds Back To All Time High Yields

One would think that judging by all the frequency of lies about Europe's latest CDO knight in shining armor, also known as the EFSF, that bond spreads would be rushing headlong to zero as yet another form of perpetual taxpayer backstop is implemented. One would be wrong. Spreads on the Portuguese and Spanish 10 Years are now back to their widest levels in history. It is fairly complicated to reconcile this stickiness with the daily barrage of mendacity from all ECB apparatchiks. Basically, the market, unlike Goldman (see below), is fairly unconvinced that any of the currently planned rescue plans have any chance of being successful.

Egyptian Stock Market Plunges Over 11% To Fresh Multi-Year Lows; Is A Suez Canal Transit Halt Imminent?

Ever wanted to see what a market plunge looks like into a revolution-inspired bidless open? Look no further than Egypt: after being halted briefly earlier, the market is now in freefall, dropping 11% in the span of minutes. This brings the two day drop to over 16%, and brings the EGX30 to the lowest level since 2009. Egyptian CDS have surged over 10% to 385 mid, a jump of 40 bps on the day. Anyone who purchased protection on the riot-torn country after we first suggested it is about to roll this weekend, congratulations. And while the important part of the world may ignore what is happening in Egypt, after all it is not US banker money thay is being lost, they may want to consider this: according to reports, there has been live fire in Suez, where the police headquarters have been taken over. More importantly, according to the Guardian, we may see the first army insubordination in this city: "a lawyer and executive director for the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, has tweeted that some army units in Suez are refusing to support the crackdown against the people." Which means the government may be about to lose control over Suez... And the Suez Canal.

Nic Lenoir Takes Goldman Head On, Says Time To Sell EURUSD Is Here

Nic Lenoir throws down the gauntlet and takes on Goldman Sachs directly following their recent upgrade of the EURUSD target to 1.40: "Not that many layups or exciting trades in the G10 out there with equities in a slow melt up and the long end in Fixed Income stuck in a range for the last month. If you missed out on the sell-off in metals or did not have the UK GDP data ahead of the market don't despair just yet, we have a very interesting set-up to sell EURUSD here...We stand below the 61.8% of the sell-off since the November highs, the hourly divergence is staggering also. I strongly favor shorts here. Less convinced traders traders can wait for the break of the trend support which comes around 1.3640. Given the recent advance I think we should see a retracement back to at least 1.34 even if we are to utlimately advance further. I am bearish EUR as I don't believe this currency has a place in this world anymore, but even raging bulls should be cautious here."