Based on Credit-Suisse's Panic-Euphoria model of risk appetite, US bond markets are on the verge of the short-term capitulative "Panic" mode. Each time we have reached this level of 'selling' in the last 6 years, Treasury yields have compressed significantly. At the same time, equity risk appetite remains bearish and US credit risk appetite has resumed its decline (but relative to Treasuries they are significantly over-sold). Not a pretty picture...
Dare 'Ye Test the Analysis To Ascertain It's Virility? Madness, I say! Sheer, Utter Madness! In other words - SYSTEMIC RISK is here, NOW!
Following on from our annual update on the wealth (re)distribution of nations, we thought it important to look at the other side of the household balance sheet - that of 'debt' to see just how much 'progress' has been made in the world. In the aftermath of the credit crisis (and the ongoing crisis in Europe), government debt levels continue to rise but combining trends in household debt highlights countries that have sustainable (and unsustainable) overall debt levels - and thus the greatest sovereign debt problems. Whether the 'number' is from Reinhart & Rogoff or not, the reality is that moar debt is not better and the nations with the highest debt-per-capita may surprise many. Critically, despite the rise in 'wealth' from 2000-2008, the ratio of debt-to-net-worth rose on average by about 50% (and in many nations continues to rise). The bottom line - in almost all countries, government liabilities exceeded government financial assets in 2011, leaving the government a net debtor.
Back in 2010 we started an annual series looking at the (re)distribution in the wealth of nations and social classes. What we found then (and what the media keeps rediscovering year after year to its great surprise) is that as a result of global central bank policy, the rich got richer, and the poor kept on getting poorer, even though as we predicted the global political powers would, at least superficially, seek to enforce policies that aimed to reverse this wealth redistribution from the poor to the rich (a doomed policy as the world's legislative powers are largely in the lobby pocket of the world's wealthiest who needless to say are less then willing to enact laws that reduce their wealth and leverage). Now that the topic of wealth distribution (or rather concentration) is once again in vogue, below we present the latest such update looking at a global portrait of household wealth. The bottom line: 29 million, or 0.6% of those with any actual assets under their name, own $87.4 trillion, or 39.3% of all global assets.
Global risk appetite surged to 4.53 (5 being 'euphoria'), its highest level since the euphoria event of 2006, and up from 1.76 one month ago according to Credit Suisse. Other risk appetite indices, as well as market anecdotes, confirm the “almost euphoric” environment. US credit risk appetite has charged higher and is now at 3.22. Furthermore, as they note, the current risk rally has several unusual features. First, it clearly lacks the usual support of strong global growth momentum. Global IP momentum (as we noted here) is almost always above its long-term average when risk appetite hits euphoria, but currently is below 5%, which is somewhat sluggish. Second, the current near-euphoria is strongly driven by one asset class: Japanese equities. The bottom-line, they conclude, is that the current risk-loving environment is related much more to recent policy innovations than growth data. And confirming this 'euphoria' Investors Intelligence notes that newsletter writers classified as bulls rose to 55.2% from 54.2% with readings of ~55% "suggestive of a trading top," last seen in Oct. 2007. No surprise there but with markets statistically 'euphoric' caution seems warranted at least...
- IMF Tells Central Europe to Spend More (WSJ)
- Tornadoes Blast Oklahoma (WSJ)
- Frenetic search for survivors as 91 feared dead in tornado-hit Oklahoma (Reuters)
- JPMorgan investors on edge over vote on Dimon; what if they win? (Reuters)
- Wealthy bank depositors to suffer losses in EU law (Reuters)
- Yen Slips as Amari Backtracks (BBG)
- Japan Ready for More Yen Weakness Despite Recent Comments (WSJ)
- IRS officials back on Capitol Hill hot seat over targeting (Reuters)
- Li Keqiang pledges China boost to India trade (FT)
- Europe's Recession Sparks Grass-Roots Political Push (WSJ)
- Obama and Xi to meet in effort to calm growing US-China rivalry (FT)
- Berlin plans to streamline EU but avoid wholesale treaty change (FT)
- France must reform or face punitive measures - EU's Oettinger (Reuters)
Not a day passes without the financial media denouncing gold as an investment option and hailing the bureaucrats heading the world's monopolist monetary central planning agencies as superheroes. It began prior to gold's recent breakdown, with widely cited bearish reports on gold published by Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, among others. Never mind that most of their arguments were easily unmasked as spurious. It should be no wonder though: gold's rise was the most conspicuous evidence of faith in central banking being slowly but surely undermined. The banking cartel relies on the fiat money system remaining intact; the legal privilege of fractional reserve banking provides it with what is an essentially fraudulent profit center unparalleled by any other in the world (fraudulent in terms of traditional legal principles, but not in terms of the current law of course). As a subtle reminder, in October (before the Nikkei began its 80% rally), a full 76% of the 'big money' fund managers surveyed declared themselves bearish on Japan. Currently, 69% of the managers surveyed in the most recent Barron's poll are bearish on gold.
With home prices rising at near-record paces in SoCal, corporate debt yields at record-lows, equity markets surging at near-record rates, and high quality assets dwindling by the minute under the heel of a central bank jack boot; it is perhaps no surprise that investors have switched from finding leverage through the balance sheet (i.e. crappy quality firms) to finding leverage through the instrument (i.e. structured credit). The trouble this time is that yields (and spreads) being so low, the creators of the new-normal ABS, CDOs, and CLOs have to stoop to the old tricks to make their money (as we noted here). As Bloomberg reports, bond issuers are once again exploiting the credit rating agency pay-for-performance business model to create "high-quality" collateralizable assets from utter garbage - such as auto loans.
As the global economic slump continues central bankers, such as Mario Draghi, and politicians have vowed “to do whatever it takes” to get economies back on track. Such policies while having near term benefits are considered extremely risky in the longer run by many commentators as they could beckon runaway inflation or stagflation, with ruinous results.
Shinzo Abe unleashed his plan with the blessing of the Bank of Japan to begin aggressive government bond purchases. This has led to a massive growth of 60% on the Nikkei and is deflating the yen and boosting their exports.
Kenya, Australia, Poland and now South Korea. The country, whose net exports represent nearly 60% of GDP, and which have been deeply impacted by the recent collapse in the Yen, finally threw in the towel overnight and cut the benchmark seven-day repurchase rate from 2.75% to 2.50%, as only 6 of 20 economists predicted. The reason the move was surprising is that just like China, which overnight reported CPI of 2.4% on expectations of 2.3%, the country still has pent up inflation concerns, however it appears that preserving economic growth and its export potential is more important to the country bordered by North Korea, than price stability. The result of this largely unexpected move is a strengthening in the Yen overnight, if only by some 30 pips in the USDJPY.
- Pentagon Plans for the Worst in Syria (WSJ)
- Russia and US agree to Syria conference after Moscow talks (FT)
- Hedge Funds Rush Into Debt Trading With $108 Billion (BBG)
- Detroit is the new "deep value" - Hedge funds in search of distress take a look at Detroit (Reuters)
- Commodities hedge funds suffer weak first quarter (FT)
- But... but... Abenomics - Toshiba posts 62% decline in Q1 net profit (WSJ)
- Americans Are Borrowing Again but Still Less Than Before Freeze (WSJ)
- Man Utd announce Alex Ferguson to retire (FT)
- Asmussen Says ECB Discussed ABS Purchases to Spur SME Lending (BBG)
- Benghazi Attack Set for New Review (WSJ)
- Belgium Says 31 People Arrested Over $50 Million Diamond Theft (BBG)
- Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevêdo wins WTO leadership battle (FT)
- Bangladesh Garment Factory Building Collapse Toll Reaches 782 (BBG)
When it is on the receiving end of coure.
Using cheap debt to buy assets makes a lot of sense right now, but only if it's done right. That wasn't the case with the world's largest retail M&A deal this year.
Youth unemployment has become a worrying phenomenon with 74.6 million young people unemployed globally in 2012. Rising youth unemployment has a detrimental effect on economic growth, political and social stability as well as on the ability to exploit the potential demographic dividend. Young people who are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET) are a particular social concern. The economic and social impact of a growing number of NEET young people aged 15 - 24 has raised concerns as they represent a dead weight burden.
It is one thing for the market to no longer pay attention to economic fundamentals or newsflow (with the exception of newsflow generated by fake tweets of course), but when the mainstream media turns full retard and comes up with headlines such as this: "German Ifo Confidence Declines After Winter Chilled Recovery" to spin the key overnight event, the German IFO Business climate (which dropped from 106.2 to 104.4, missing expectations of 106.2 of course) one just has to laugh. In the artcile we read that "German business confidence fell for a second month in April after winter weather hindered the recovery in Europe’s largest economy... “We still expect there to have been a good rebound in the first quarter, although there is a big question mark about the weather,” said Anatoli Annenkov, senior economist at Societe Generale SA in London." We wonder how long Bloomberg looked for some junior idiot who agreed to be memorialized for posterity with the preceding moronic soundbite because this really is beyond ridiculous (and no, it's not snow in the winter that is causing yet another "swoon" in indicators like the IFO, the ZEW and all other metrics as we patiently explained yesterday so even a 5 year old caveman financial reported would get it).