Move Over FX And Libor, As Manipulation And "Banging The Close" Comes To Commodities And Interest Rate SwapsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/06/2013 13:20 -0500
While the public's attention has been focused recently on revelations involving currency manipulation by all the same banks best known until recently for dispensing Bollinger when they got a Libor end of day print from their criminal cartel precisely where they wanted it (for an amusing take, read Matt Taibbi's latest), the truth is that manipulation of FX and Libor is old news. Time to move on to bigger and better markets, such as physical commodities, in this case crude, as well as Interest Rate swaps. And, best of all, the us of our favorite manipulation term of all: "banging the close."
- US admits surveillance on foreign governments ‘reached too far’ (FT)
- He must be so proud: Obama halted NSA spying on IMF and World Bank headquarters (RTRS)
- Obamacare website gets new tech experts; oversight pressure grows (Reuters)
- R.B.S. to Split Off $61 Billion in Loans Into Internal ‘Bad Bank’ (NYT)
- Draghi’s Deflation Risk Complicates Recovery (BBG)
- Abenomics: Nissan slashes full-year profit forecast 15% (FT)
- Credit Suisse Dismisses London Trader Over 'Unusual Trading' Losses (WSJ)
- RBS avoids break-up with 38 billion pounds 'internal bad bank' (Reuters)
- Twitter Said to Attract More Than Enough Interest for IPO (BBG)
- Morning Humor from Hilsenrath - Fed Balance Sheet Not Seen Returning to Normal Until at Least 2019 (WSJ)
- Health Policies Canceled in Latest Hurdle for Obamacare (BBG)
- Was there anything RBS was not manipulating? RBS Said to Review Currency-Trading Practices Amid Probe (BBG)
- Sebelius to Testify Before House Panel (WSJ)
- And more humor: Spain's Statistics Institute Confirms End of Recession (WSJ) ... and now we await the triple dip
- Finally some credible reporting on Yellen's "foresight" - Yellen feared housing bust but did not raise public alarm (Reuters)
- Japan government moves closer to Fukushima takeover (FT)
- China to step up own security after new NSA allegations (Reuters)
- Blackstone Vies With Goldman in Spain Rental Housing Bet (BBG)
- In new U.S. budget talks, Republican proposal has flipped the script (Reuters)
One of the great things about the neverending series of Libor busts and settlements (which incidentally were once a "conspiracy theory" because it was supposedly impossible for so many people to keep their mouth shut, or so the always wrong conventional wisdom went until the summer of 2012 when theory became fact) is that they all thought they would never get caught, used communications that left a record visible from a mile away, and in the process described the criminal aspects, which lately it seems are the only ones left, of banking from the inside in greater detail than anyone else. Such as in the case of today's Rabobank $1.1 billion Libor manipulation settlement which also cost the CEO, Piet Moerland, his job. It is there that we read just how the Libor criminals saw their daily crimes, which amounted to millions in year end bonus terms: "Don’t worry mate -- there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!" There is (sic) indeed.
How do we get a fundamental change away from this extend-and-pretend which prevails not only in Europe but also the world? History tells us that we only get real changes as a result of war, famine, social riots or collapsing stock markets. None of these is an issue for most of the world - at least not yet - but on the other hand we have never had less growth, worse demographics, or higher unemployment since WWII. This is a true paradox that somehow needs to be resolved, and quickly if we are to avoid wasting an entire generation of youth. Policymakers try to pretend we have achieved significant progress and stability as the result of their actions, but from a fundamental point of view that’s a mere illusion..
Busy, Lackluster Overnight Session Means More Delayed Taper Talk, More "Getting To Work" For Mr YellenSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/25/2013 06:00 -0500
It has been a busy overnight session starting off with stronger than expected food and energy inflation in Japan even though the trend is now one of decline while non-food, non-energy and certainly wage inflation is nowhere to be found (leading to a nearly 3% drop in the Nikkei225), another SHIBOR spike in China (leading to a 1.5% drop in the SHCOMP) coupled with the announcement of a new prime lending rate (a form a Chinese LIBOR equivalent which one knows will have a happy ending), even more weaker than expected corporate earnings out of Europe (leading to red markets across Europe), together with a German IFO Business Confidence miss and drop for the first time in 6 months, as well as the latest M3 and loan creation data out of the ECB which showed that Europe remains stuck in a lending vacuum in which banks refuse to give out loans, a UK GDP print which came in line with expectations of 0.8%, where however news that Goldman tentacle Mark Carney is finally starting to flex and is preparing to unleash a loan roll out collateralized by "assets" worse than Gree Feta and oilve oil. Of course, none of the above matters: only thing that drives markets is if AMZN burned enough cash in the quarter to send its stock up by another 10%, and, naturally, if today's Durable Goods data will be horrible enough to guarantee not only a delay of the taper through mid-2014, but potentially lend credence to the SocGen idea that the Yellen-Fed may even announce an increase in QE as recently as next week.
- Despite budget win, Obama has weak hand with Congress (Reuters)
- Carney Brings In McKinsey for Bank of England Strategy Rethink (BBG)
- Bill Gates Buys Stake in Spanish Construction Company FCC (WSJ)
- Jerusalem Mayor Barkat Seeks New Term in Race Arabs Sitting Out (BBG)
- J.P. Morgan Aimed to Limit Damage (WSJ)
- EU Lawmakers Reject Draghi Call for Bank Bondholder Clemency (BBG)
- Wall Street Profits May Halve in Second Half (WSJ)
- Petrobras-led group wins Brazil oil auction with minimum bid (Reuters)
- Apple to Refresh IPads Amid Challenges for Tablet Share (BBG)
- Italy plans to offer guarantees on govt bond derivatives (Reuters)
- Berkshire Beats Apple as Favorite Stock of Tiger 21 Group (BBG)
Selling both the rumor and the news turns out not to work... but we cannot yet say whether a trend change is definitely in the bag. However, considering how absolutely dismal sentiment on gold is, considering the many similarities to the 2008 'retest' that could be observed recently (back then, gold was also declared 'dead' by the mainstream) and given the fact that for a change, the gold market has not acted in the way that was widely expected, it continues to make sense to look for more signs of a trend change to emerge. Ideally declines should continue to be kept in check by support at $1275, while any rally that manages to exceed the $1350 level on a closing basis and confirmed by the gold stock indexes can probably be interpreted as a sign that the short to medium term trend has finally reversed for good.
In what is a staggering example of not only state meddling in the affairs of the "free press", but worse, sheer state idiocy, yesterday the WSJ posted an article on its website revealing that as many as 24 co-conspirators would be exposed shortly in the ongoing Libor manipulation scandal and divulging the names of various individuals on this list. What promptly followed was truly bizarre. As the WSJ reports shortly after posting the article, "a British judge ordered the Journal and David Enrich, the newspaper's European banking editor, to comply with a request by the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office prohibiting the newspaper from publishing names of individuals not yet made public in the government's ongoing investigation into alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor." This happened at 7:18 pm London time, after the original WSJ article had already hit the Internet. What's worse: the names had already been made public, and through this statist intervention, it only assured that everyone would now read just who was on the list.
The U.S. is engaged in fiscal and monetary policies that are akin to a Banana Republic.
In addition to electronically creating out of nothing $85 billion every month to buy its own debt in the form of bonds, the U.S. is also borrowing more money than it is authorized to borrow, from itself again.
While stuff like soaring Bill yields, the threat of Money Market funds breaking the buck, and the gradual phase out of near-term money equivalent collateral thanks to the complete dysfunction in Congress which has managed to breach the repo market into "good" and "bad" Bills, may be too arcane to the various JPY-correlating, ES-ramping algos, those who care about real signals, now that the US flirtation with the X-Date is hours ago may be interested to know that according to ICAP, as reported by Stone McCarthy, overnight General Collateral, the key rate in the determination of collateral pricing for trillions worth of assets, just exploded once again and in following the surge in Bill cash rates, hit 0.32%, the highest since December 7. Indicatively, at 0.32%, GC is now well above both overnight LIBOR (10.69 bps) and the Fed Funds rate (10 bps).
Unlike on the two prior occasions when the "mysterious" (coughBIScough) gold seller sold so much gold he briefly broke the gold market not once but twice, this morning's concerted gold selling episodes, which briefly took gold to a three month low, were unable to obliterate the entire bid stack (at least for now) and crush enough liquidity to force the CME to announce another "stop logic" 10-20 second trading halt. However, there were some other peculiarities surrounding today's now recurring morning gold battering (which as we noted in a market where the CME no longer supervises any and all manipulation, were and are certain to continue). Specifically, what is curious is that starting at 3:48 am Eastern Time, Nanex found "six instances (there may be more) of 1 second periods in Gold futures with a high number of trades (700 or more)." As those who have been covering our coverage of HFT manipulation will note, these are precisely the kinds of momentum ignition, and not rational price discovery, events that seek to manipulate prevailing prices lower (or higher). The good news is that as everyone knows, aside from equity, electricity, FX, libor, aluminum, and credit derivative markets (in just the case of JPM) gold is never manipulated: Blythe Masters promised. So there's that.
A few days ago many were shocked when JPM disclosed for the first time that in less than four years, or since 2010, Jamie Dimon's den of alleged criminals has reserved a mindblowing $28 billion toward legal expenses. In light of recent developments, investors may just want to round that number to a good, clean $30 billion, because as the WSJ just revealed, yet another JPMorgan market manipulator has emerged in a seemingly endless line of people whose shortcut to success at 270 Park Avenue has been to manipulate assorted markets, be it Libor, Credit Derivatives, Electricity, Aluminum, or Equities. We can now add FX to that, following news that one Richard "Dick" Usher, until 2010 at RBS, and since then JPM's London-based head of G10 spot trading, has been implicated in the infamous RBS FX London closing fax manipulation "chat sessions."
10 weeks ago we warned that the persistent "banging the close" action in FX markets warranted an investigation into market rigging and manipulation. It seems the US, Swiss, UK, and EU regulators have finally woken up:
*U.S. SAID TO OPEN CRIMINAL PROBE OF CURRENCY MARKET RIGGING
*SWISS, UK REGULATORS REVIEWING ALLEGED CURRENCY MARKET RIGGING
*EU ANTITRUST REGULATORS SAID THEY ARE PROBING CURRENCY MARKET
Of course, gold and silver remain highly efficient and "clean" markets...
For all expectations of a big jump in US futures overnight on the largely priced in Janet Yellen nomination announcement which is due at 3 pm today, the move so far has been very much contained, as expected, with a modest 90 minute halflife, as the markets' prevailing concern continues to be whether the debt ceiling negotiation will be concluded by the October 17 deadline or if it would stretch further forcing the government to prioritize payments. There is however some hope with Bloomberg reporting that some possible paths out of the debt impasse are starting to emerge with less than a week before U.S. borrowing authority lapses after Obama said he could accept a short-term debt-limit increase without policy conditions that set the terms for future talks. Whether this materializes or just leads to more empty posturing and televized press conferences is unclear, although as Politico reports, the stakes for republicans are getting increasingly nebulous with some saying they are "losing" the fight, while the core GDP constituency is actually liking the government shutdown.