Rejected: Saudi Oil Minister Saying OPEC Is Not Considering An Extraordinary Meeting

Today's rumor mill will apparently focus on whether OPEC will or will not miraculously push the "gush" button. After earlier we reported rumors that OPEC would raise oil supplies, and quoted the Kuwait oil minister, now the Saudi oil minister was caught on tape saying there will NOT be an extraordinary meeting. Which means that the Italian guy was spreading false rumors. Which means that whatever the offer for Italian CDS is, it is cheap. WTI, naturally, rallies on the news.

Libyan Delivery Of Natural Gas To Italy Slowing Down, Situation "Worsening"

More trouble for Italy, whose CDS has surprisingly not spiked in OTC trading yet. In addition to a "technical glitch" halting its stock exchange, now Reuters reports that the country's natural gas deliveries may be compromised. "Political unrest has hit Libya, which is Italy's biggest oil
supplier and covers about 10 percent of its gas needs. Gas is
carried via underwater pipeline Greenstream, which is controlled
by oil and gas major Eni.
"Supplies have not been interrupted, but the situation is
very complicated," Industry Undersecretary Stefano Saglia told a
conference on Tuesday.
Gas flows from Libya into Italy through the 510 km pipeline
have been slowing since late Monday, and the situation is
Italian energy publication Staffetta Quotidiana said,
quoting sources close to the situation. Who would have thought that African revolutionary butterflies can flap their wings and cause the price of that most hated of products - nattie, to be on the verge of surging.

Pervasive Cross-Asset Liquidations Force Halt Of Italian Stock Exchange

Yesterday we pointed out that UniCredit, the bank which had fallen by 5% in day trading, was 7% owned by Libyan interests (we also noted  some other odd Libyan holdings). Today, this stigmata is far more of a curse than a blessing, as not only the bank, but the entire Italian stock exchange, the Borsa Italia, is in major unwind mode, and has been halted all day. FT reports: "Borsa Italiana, the Italian exchange, failed to open as usual on Tuesday amid concerns in the Italian broking community about possible fallout from turmoil in Libya. The outage, which left brokers unable to process orders, came a day after the main Italian stock market index closed down 3.6 per cent, making it the worst performing European market on Monday. Traders in London said the failure to open meant that the crucial opening auction, which sets initial prices at the Borsa, had also not taken place. Yet there was growing demand from investors to trade certain blue chip Italian stocks." Following up with a European market participant we got the following: "stock exchange suspension has been ordered to handle massive unwind of positions in some of the largest index components. Significant dislocation occurring on swap and option market on the FTSE MIB as well.... So you see, it's not just in the US that it is forbidden to sell." In other words, when faced with a huge deluge of selling, best to implement the biggest known circuit breaker of all and just shut it down. In the meantime, UniCredit CDS trading away from Italy was 3% wider this morning as concerns about that "7%" spook risk holders.

MBIA Risk Plunges On CDS Commutation Speculation, And Is There More In Store

All those focusing on the politburo policy tool known as stocks have missed what is by far the biggest mover in corporate (distressed) land so far in 2011. MBIA, whose CDS had traded in 2010 at levels assuming virtually no recovery, have plunged from 55 points up front a fortnight ago to just 37 up today (a 4 pt tightening today alone), a pick up that could make many a distressed credit fund's (sorry Oaktree) quarter. And while the move has been stunning in its velocity, many have been left scratching their heads as to the reason why. Enter Protium: a Barclays 2009 spin off fund which according to the British bank's results posted yesterday, entered into a CDS commutation with an unnamed monoline effective January 2011. And since it was already known by the market that banks such as JPM and Barclays had dropped lawsuits against MBIA in 2010 in exchange for comparable CDS commutations, it was immediately assumed that the beneficiary of this generous 'Protean' gift is none other than MBIA. The net result? A boost to creditor recoveries, a surge in unsecured claim prices, and a near 20 point tightening in CDS.

Silver 12 Cents Away From Post Hunt Brothers Closing High

Now that we know that JPM had a statistically impossible 97% win track record in 2010, we can't help but drool in jealousy. However, we wouldn't be doing our journalistic duty if we didn't inquire just how much did JPM brush under the rug on their underwater gold and silver short exposure, and whether or not Blythe Masters' bank is even accounting under GAAP for the now documented price suppression scheme? After all, Blythe is the master brain behind such no margin "bearish exposure" products as CDS - it would be only logical that she discovered some way to make her massive paper silver short carried on the books at a minute fraction of gross notional exposure. Furthermore, it is no wonder that today Gary Gensler demanded a pound of flesh for his kickbacks to the banker lobby which allowed JPM to be grandfathered in with their huge short positions (claiming the CFTC would need to fire hundreds of worthless staffers if the corrupt agency's 2011 budget wasn't lifted, despite O'Malia's protest). We ask all this because despite all the unprecedented manipulation: the close banging, the paper shorts, the AM-PM session divergence, silver is now at $30.80, and is just 12 cents away from its post-Hunt Brothers record close, which was printed on New Year's Day at $30.92.

One Minute Macro Update

Markets mostly positive this morning, breaking its recent pattern. Today will show several retail industry-related releases, including advance retail sales and import price index. Surveys reflect expectations of bullish data. We also note a recent creep in LIBOR-OIS to 16bp (+4bp YTD). Emerging market stocks rallied yesterday after the release of China’s positive export figures and the announcement of Egypt’s intent to form a democracy. Inflation continues to rise in China, as its CPI increased 4.9% YoY missing expectations of 5.4% and PPI increased 6.6% YoY v 6.2%E. The CPI increase included a change in the basket of goods that reduced the weight of food which has recently risen in price dramatically. The BOJ left its target rate unchanged at 0.1%, in line with consensus estimates. Japan also saw a 3.3% MoM gain in industrial production over last month’s +3.3%.

Charting The US Treasury's Toxic Debt Spiral (And Get Ready For GDP-Linked Bonds)

The recently released Presentation to the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (consisting of a 13-member committee of bond dealers and investors that meet quarterly with Treasury officials), which somehow managed to slip by under the radar, is a must read for anyone curious about the funding ability of the US government. A closer examination (and it is chock-full of must read observations) reveals far more conclusively than whatever today's budget myth may reveal, the US is truly in a dead-end situation, and that there is no way the Fed can now possibly step away from indefinite future debt monetization. And the stunner that nobody has yet mentioned: the US is actually considering GDP-linked bonds: the last recourse of a country about to go bankrupt.

"Get Ready For Higher Food Prices" Goes Mainstream

While nothing new to Zero Hedge readers, the realization that everyone's purchasing power is about to be yanked from underneath them has gone mainstream. has just come out with a headline that leaves little to the imagination: "Get ready for higher food prices." The issue is that no matter how Chairsatan Rudolf Vissarionovich von Bernankestein spins this to whatever congressional minions he is supposed to be lying to at any given moment, the undisputed truth is that consumers have just gotten that much poorer, as prices of staples surge, and as a result capital available for discretionary trinkets plunges (here's looking at you Guitar Hero which has just been discontinued due to lack of interest... Coming to an Apple store near you in 3-5 years). Because no matter what economic voodoo Bernanke, concocts there is little he can do to change the laws of mathematics. So for those who wish to stock up on staples in advance of a price surge (thereby bringing the price jump forward), and still haven't done so, here is the "mainstream" explanation for why now is a very good time to start doing so.

Reggie Middleton's picture

The overly optimistic Case Shiller index shows NYC as being the only major condo market to actually show an increases in prices. Anyone who lives here knows that it is damn sure not for a dearth of supply! Why are prices going up amid a glut of supply? Let's ask Dr. Bernanke, AKA Dr. FrankenFinance for a greater level of understanding. Warning: this will probably piss off anybody who's not a banker.

It's NFP Day, Do You Know Where Your Vapor Melt Up Volume Is?

Non-Farm Payroll day has traditionally been one of the top three most volatile and highest volume days each month. No more. If the primary scourge for the banking community has been the total collapse in market participation, leading to a drop in flow and commission revenues, then Q1 earnings will be a bloodbath. Today alone ES volume is 25% below average, and this is on the week's traditionally most active day. So once again we wonder out loud: is anyone left trading stocks at all, or has everyone now shifted to the far less manipulated FX, bond and commodity markets? And, following up with our second question: when will CDS trading for retail finally be approved? Obviously nobody wants to trade equities any more, and Goldman will be more than delighted to skim pennies off the top as OTC goes global.

Must Read: Standard Chartered Issues The Definitive Report On Global Inflation And Its Miscontents

Every now and then, Standard Chartered has a knack for coming up with that one report that is miles ahead of the competition and promptly becomes the definitive guidebook for the industry. Its most recent one: "Inflation: illusionary, inflammatory" is arguably one of the most detailed and comprehensive reports to come out from an institutional entity in a long time, dealing with the ever so sensitive topic of, you guessed it, inflation. And while it is guaranteed that the Fed will read neither this report, nor today's earlier announcement that food prices hit another all time high in January, we urge all readers to at least familiarize themselves with the contents herein. In addition to providing a case by case geographic atlas of which the next riskiest Tunisia-like countries are, the report includes a unifying thematic overview that explains not only why the global liquidity glut is long overdue to be pulled back, but what the next (and last) steps available to central bankers are before a wave of global unrest undoes 100 years of failed Federal Reserve policies. An absolute must read.

Leo Kolivakis's picture

Markopolos went on to say, “The banks that are doing it, it's 25-33% of their bottom line net income per year, so it's like being addicted to heroin, they can't afford to pull the needle out because their share prices will collapse."

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.