- Risk-aversion remains the dominant theme, with particular emphasis on Greece
- According to Eurozone and banking sources, Germany is pushing to delay the second rescue package for Greece until September, which was later reiterated by a German government source
- IMF's Zhu said the IMF is very concerned by Greece, and the situation has changed dramatically in the last 24 hours. However, EU's Rehn said he is confident that Greece will get the next tranche in July, and will be able to avoid a default
- There are growing signs of diminishing confidence in the Greek PM Papandreou, as the number of deputies resigning from the ruling party grows. The PM is chairing a meeting of lawmakers at 1630 local time today
- A sharp decline in retail sales data from the UK weighed on GBP/USD
- The IEA raised its 2011 oil demand forecast, which provided support to WTI crude futures
Gold Robust Over $1,500 As Stagflation Deepens And Greek Default Risks Eurozone Break Up And Financial ContagionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/14/2011 06:42 -0500
Stagflation Threatens Major Global Economies - Inflation in China at 5.5% and UK at 4.5%. Another fundamental factor supporting gold prices and likely to lead to further gains are the increasing signs of stagflation in major global economies. UK inflation data released this morning shows that inflation remains high at 4.5%. The Bank of England expects inflation to reach 5% later this year prior to falling but the Bank’s credibility is increasingly strained as inflation has now exceeded the BoE’s target of 2% for 34 of the last 40 months. British savers and pensioners are suffering from negative real interest rates and this continues to make gold an attractive diversification from a devaluing pound. There appears to be a gathering “perfect storm” of deepening inflation, slowing economic growth and double dip recessions, stagflation, sovereign debt crisis in many major western economies and the risk of sovereign and banking contagion.
Exclusive: The Fed's $600 Billion Stealth Bailout Of Foreign Banks Continues At The Expense Of The Domestic Economy, Or Explaining Where All The QE2 Money WentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/11/2011 23:25 -0500
Courtesy of the recently declassified Fed discount window documents, we now know that the biggest beneficiaries of the Fed's generosity during the peak of the credit crisis were foreign banks, among which Belgium's Dexia was the most troubled, and thus most lent to, bank. Having been thus exposed, many speculated that going forward the US central bank would primarily focus its "rescue" efforts on US banks, not US-based (or local branches) of foreign (read European) banks: after all that's what the ECB is for, while the Fed's role is to stimulate US employment and to keep US inflation modest. And furthermore, should the ECB need to bail out its banks, it could simply do what the Fed does, and monetize debt, thus boosting its assets, while concurrently expanding its excess reserves thus generating fungible capital which would go to European banks. Wrong. Below we present that not only has the Fed's bailout of foreign banks not terminated with the drop in discount window borrowings or the unwind of the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, but that the only beneficiary of the reserves generated were US-based branches of foreign banks (which in turn turned around and funnelled the cash back to their domestic branches), a shocking finding which explains not only why US banks have been unwilling and, far more importantly, unable to lend out these reserves, but that anyone retaining hopes that with the end of QE2 the reserves that hypothetically had been accumulated at US banks would be flipped to purchase Treasurys, has been dead wrong, therefore making the case for QE3 a done deal. In summary, instead of doing everything in its power to stimulate reserve, and thus cash, accumulation at domestic (US) banks which would in turn encourage lending to US borrowers, the Fed has been conducting yet another stealthy foreign bank rescue operation, which rerouted $600 billion in capital from potential borrowers to insolvent foreign financial institutions in the past 7 months. QE2 was nothing more (or less) than another European bank rescue operation!
Amid the usual meandering propaganda, Tim Geithner finally catches up to Zero Hedge from February 2010: "The three largest U.S. banks account for 32 percent of total banking assets in the United States, in comparison to 46 percent for the three largest in Japan, 58 percent in Canada, 63 percent in the UK, 65 percent in France, 70 percent in Germany, 71 percent in Italy, and 76 percent in Switzerland. And total banking assets are 461 percent of GDP in the UK, 178 percent in Germany, and 820 percent in Switzerland." Supposedly this is intended to indicate just how much less concentrated the US banking system is compared to other nations: "Some argue that the U.S. financial system is too concentrated, which could promote systemic risks. But the U.S. banking system today is less concentrated than that of any other major economy. And
total banking assets in the United States today are only about the size
of U.S. GDP – much lower than in other developed economies." So just because the entire system is broken beyond repair, it makes sense to tout that the US is broken just a little bit less than everyone else? Also, where is the mention of the fact that the bulk of these balance sheets are chock full of toxic US securitized detritus and that without the US selling its worthless crap around the world, we would not be in the predicament we are in now. In the meantime, here is what Zero Hedge presented in February of last year...
The Real "Margin" Threat: $600 Trillion In OTC Derivatives, A Multi-Trillion Variation Margin Call, And A Collateral Scramble That Could Send US Treasurys To All Time Records...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/05/2011 20:42 -0500
While the dominant topic of conversation when discussing margin hikes (or reductions) usually reverts to silver, ES (stocks) and TEN (bonds), what everyone so far is ignoring is the far more critical topic of real margin risk, in the form of roughly $600 trillion in OTC derivatives. The issue is that while the silver market (for example) is tiny by comparison, it is easy to be pushed around, and thus exchanges can easily represent the illusion that they are in control of counterparty risk (after all, that was the whole point of the recent CME essay on why they hiked silver margins 5 times in a row). Nothing could be further from the truth: where exchanges are truly at risk is when it comes to mitigating the threat of counterparty default for participants in a market that is millions of times bigger than the silver market: the interest rate and credit default swap markets. As part of Dodd-Frank, by the end of 2012, all standardised over-the-counter derivatives will have to be cleared through central counterparties. Yet currently, central clearing covers about half of $400 trillion in
interest rate swaps, 20-30 percent of the $2.5 trillion
in commodities derivatives, and about 10 percent of $30 trillion in
credit default swaps. In other words, over the next year and a half exchanges need to onboard over $200 trillion notional in various products, and in doing so, counterparites, better known as the G14 (or Group of 14 dealers that dominate derivatives trading including Bank of America-Merrill Lynch,
Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche
Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, RBS,
Societe Generale, UBS and Wells Fargo Bank) will soon need to post billions in initial margin, and as a brand new BIS report indicates, will likely need significant extra cash to be in compliance with regulatory requirements. Not only that, but once trading on an exchange, the G14 "could face a cash shortfall in very volatile markets when daily margins are increased, triggering demands for several billions of dollars to be paid within a day." Per the BIS "These margin calls could represent as much as 13 percent of a G14 dealer's current holdings of cash and cash equivalents in the case of interest rate swaps." Below we summarize the key findings of a just released discussion by the BIS on the "Expansion of central clearing" and also present a parallel report just released by BNY ConvergEx' Nicholas Colas who independetly has been having "bad dreams" about the possibility of what the transfer to an exchange would mean in terms of collateral posting (read bank cash payouts) and overall market stability, and why a multi-trillion margin call could result in the biggest buying spree in US Treasurys... Ever.
20 Facts About US Inequality That Everyone Should Know (With An Update On The Uber-Wealthy And Global Wealth Inequality)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/04/2011 15:10 -0500
Courtesy of the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, we bring you the "20 facts about US Inequality that Everyone Should Know". For everything one has always wanted to know about wage inequality, CEO pay, homelessness, education wage premium, gender pay gaps, occupational sex segregation, racial gaps in education, racial discrimination, child poverty, residential segregation, health insurance, inter and intragenerational income mobility, bad jobs, discouraged workers, wealth inequality, labor market deregulation, job losses, immigrants and inequality and productivity and real income, this is the definitive resource.
And so the thunderous herd of highly overpaid and always wildly inaccurate Wall Street lemmings better known as "economists" starts moving. Yesterday it was that paragon of the 0.000 batting average Joe LaVorgna who cut his NFP forecast from 300,000 to 225,000 (a number we expect will be cut to about 155,000 today, or indicative that little Joey was off by about 100% as usual), and today Morgan Stanley has already fired the reactionary salvo, trimming its NFP forecast for this Friday's number from 175,000, accompanied by Credit Suisse which cuts from 185,000 to 120,000. And these lemmings are paid 7 digit salaries why again? So far the most resilient is Goldman's Jan Hatzius, who just threw up all over the ADP number, but has so far refused to cut his NFP prediction of 150,000. We give him at most 48 hours before he does following today's upcoming abysmal CPI number.
I confess to be more than a little surprised when yesterday's morning reading turned up the following headline, from Bloomberg's Bob Ivry: "Fed Gave Banks Crisis Gains on Secretive Loans Low as 0.01%"
The Fed Does It Again: $80 Billion Secretive "Bank Subsidy" Program Uncovered, Providing Bank Loans At 0.01% InterestSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/26/2011 07:11 -0500
The Fed does it again. Following consistent allegations that the Federal Reserve operates in an opaque world, whose each and every action has only had a purpose of serving its Wall Street masters, led to repeated lawsuits which went so far as to get the Chairsatan to promise he would be more transparent, Bloomberg's Bob Ivry breaks news that between March and December 2008 the Fed operated a previously undisclosed lending program, whose terms were nothing short of a subsidy to banks. Says Ivry: "The $80 billion initiative, called single-tranche open- market
operations, or ST OMO, made 28-day loans from March through December
2008, a period in which confidence in global credit markets collapsed
after the Sept. 15 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Units of 20 banks were required to bid at auctions for the cash. They
paid interest rates as low as 0.01 percent that December, when the Fed’s
main lending facility charged 0.5 percent." 0.01% interest is also known by one other name: "outright subsidy." It doesn't get any freer than that: 0.01% interest on one month cash. Just how close to a complete implosion was the financial system if 0.5% interest seemed too high? Not surprisingly, this program was widely used: "Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc each borrowed at least $30 billion in 2008 from a Federal Reserve emergency lending program whose details weren’t revealed to shareholders, members of Congress or the public...Goldman Sachs, led by Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein,
tapped the program most in December 2008, when data on the New York Fed
website show the loans were least expensive. The lowest winning
bid at an ST OMO auction declined to 0.01 percent on Dec. 30, 2008, New
York Fed data show. At the time, the rate charged at the discount
window was 0.5 percent." Yes, that Goldman Sachs. The same one that perjured itself when it said before the FCIC that it only used de minimis emergency borrowings. Just how many more top secret taxpayer subsidies will emerge were being used by the Fed to keep the kleptocratic status quo in charge?
The world's most anticlimactic, yet overexpected, news has finally arrived. Reuters reports that Senator Chuck Grassley is investigating possible insider trading at SAC Capital Advisors LLP. Possible. LOL. And so it begins: "The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority last week provided Senate Judiciary Committee head Charles Grassley with about 20 instances of suspicious trading at the hedge fund, a spokeswoman for the senator confirmed on Saturday. Grassley had asked Finra in April for information on any such trading at Steven Cohen's $13 billion hedge fund...It was not clear if the trades had been referred to the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement staff, and authorities have not alleged wrongdoing by SAC or Cohen. Court filings also show prosecutors are investigating trade accounts at SAC, including one tied to Cohen, SAC Capital's founder. SAC representatives and congressional investigators met in Washington on May 10 to discuss possible suspicious trades, according to the Wall Street Journal, which earlier reported Grassley's receipt of information from Finra." So even once it is finally uncovered that Cohen's billions in personal wealth have been allegedly accumulated after years of information arbitrage, and we get yet another confirmation that hedge funds only make money through economies of scale, but mostly size (until the implode), or simple insider trading, we are supposed to remember that Cohen is a great humanitarian at heart, and has spent a few million of his allegedly ill-gotten gains for civic pursuits: "Also at the meeting, SAC Capital's
Washington-based policy adviser Michael Sullivan cited Cohen's
"civic-minded interest" in purchasing a stake in the New York Mets
baseball team, the report said." Last but not least, SEC heart SAC because with it gone, liquidity (and volume) on the NYSE would plunge by another 15% (and likely much more) in yet another confirmation that fair and efficient US capital markets are nothing but a farce. "At the meeting, SAC representatives suggested the investigators go easy on the hedge fund, saying it has internal procedures to track down and prevent illegal trading, according to the Wall Street Journal report."
Gold and silver continue to rebound from their sell offs as Euro zone periphery worries intensify with real risks of defaults and possible contagion. Gold has risen from €1,010/oz to over €1,057/oz since Friday. The long period of correction and consolidation may soon see a break out above resistance at record nominal highs of €1,072/oz - less than 1.5% below the current price. The recent strength of the euro looks set to end as sovereign debt risks come to the fore again. This will likely see the euro fall versus most currencies and especially against gold. There has been the usual misinformed and non evidence based assertions that the gold and silver markets were ‘bubbles’ and that they have burst. The same simplistic assertions were made after the sharp price corrections seen in 2008 and were proven badly wrong.
Reuters Special Report On What Caused The "Causeless" Crude Crash; Other Hedge Fund Casualties IdentifiedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/09/2011 09:31 -0500
A tremendous report by Reuters' Matthew Goldstein, Svea Herbst, Jennifer Ablan, Emma Farge, David Sheppard, Claire Milhench, Zaida Espana, Robert Campbell and Josh Schneyer, identifies that while the shaky macroeconomic conditions and an overbought market were among the key reasons for last week's history crude rout, the match that caused an unseen before plunge in commodities was, you guessed it, "computers." Naturally, this is not unexpected to Zero Hedge readers who have been warned about the massive instability of a market comprised almost entirely of unsupervised algos, since the spring of 2009 (a phenomenon which the CFTC and SEC will not "comprehend" and/or change, until it is too late). Additionally, in addition to the previously identified losses at Clive Capital and Andrew Hall's latest plaything, Reuters also identifies BlueGold, Winton Capital and FTC. Basically, throw out a name that has energy exposure (let's not forget Touradji or Centaurus) and you likely have a winner. Must read.
"CEOs at the Nation's Largest Companies Were Paid Better Last Year Than They Were In 2007, When ... Unemployment Was Roughly Half What It Is Today"Submitted by George Washington on 05/07/2011 12:29 -0500
They've FIXED the economy, alright ... in favor of the top .1%
GoldCorp submits: "Gold and silver are tentatively higher after their 2% and 8% falls yesterday. In silver, speculators on the COMEX continue to liquidate en masse after margin was increased a massive 84% and various stop loss levels are hit, leading to further falls in the futures market. Absolutely nothing has changed regarding the fundamentals driving the gold and silver markets and this will likely be another correction in gold and another sharp correction in silver. Silver’s sell off has been vicious but value buyers continue to accumulate silver bullion. Jim Rogers, who arguably has a better track record than Soros in recent years, remains bullish on gold and silver and told CNBC, “if it goes down I hope I’m smart enough to buy more silver." Also, there are reports this morning from the Wall Street Journal and Mitsui that there was decent buying of silver from China at these price levels overnight."
All of which combined or seperately lead to this:
- JPMORGAN SAID TO BE SUBPOENAED BY SEC FOR MORTGAGE DEBT RECORDS
As for questions of whether there will be any prison sentences to come out of any of this, save them for comedy hour. At best, we will get another Credit Suisse disclose-and-settle standby case.