Now that Europe has demonstrated that one can go NIRP and not crash the system, will the Fed - once its silly obsession with hiking rates in the summer only to launch even more easing and/or QE as the ECB did in 2008 and 2011 - follow suit and join a rising tide of "developed" world central banks in punishing savers for hoarding cash? In a note released last night titled "Revisiting Negative Interest Rates in the US", Goldman shares its thought on the matter. It goes without saying that Goldman is important, because whatever Goldman's econ team shares with Goldman's Bill Dudley over at the NY Fed, usually tends to become official policy with a 3-6 month lag.
Overview of the investment climate
This is what Goldman has to say in order to assure that clients flood Goldman's prop pardon flow traders with "Buy USD" orders: orders which Goldman, being on the other side, will be delighted to fill.
As we noted last week, the Swiss National Bank's decision to un-peg from the Euro (thus strengthening the CHF dramatically) will have very significant repercussions - not the least of which is for Hungarian and Polish Swiss-Franc-denominated mortgage-holders. The 20% surge in Swiss Franc translates directly into a comparable jump in the zloty value of loan principles and and monthly payments for about 575,000 Polish families owing a total $35 billion in mortgages denominated in the Swiss currency which has prompted calls for Poland's government to bail them out. Never mind the FX risk, the low-rates were all anyone cared about and now yet another 'risk-free' trade has exploded, Deputy PM Piechocinski says, if the franc "remains above the 4 zloty level, the government may provide support" to debtors but Poland's Central Bank is not supportive of the bailout.
Spoiler alert: nothing good, because what until yesterday was, indicatively, a 1 million mortgage (in HUF or PLN terms) is suddenly a 1.2 million mortgage. But what about the details? Here they are, courtesy of Goldman Sachs.
And to think so many otherwise very bright people still don't get it.
UBS' Take On The Swiss Shocker: "The SNB's Standing Is Undermined... There Could Be A Significant Deflationary Shock"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 09:01 -0400
The other question is about the cost of today's decision for the SNB, both in monetary and credibility terms. The SNB is holding roughly half of their CHF500bn in euros, which implies a loss of possibly not dissimilar to the CHF38bn that the SNB made in profit last year. The monetary impact might thus be manageable. The credibility impact might be harder to gauge though. Domestically, many economic actors relied on what was seen as a 'promise' to hold the 1.20 floor. Internationally, following the negative rates confusion back in December today's decision might be further undermined the standing of the SNB among investors.
"It's Carnage" - Swiss Franc Soars Most Ever After SNB Abandons EURCHF Floor; Macro Hedge Funds CrushedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 07:07 -0400
Over a decade ago, George Soros took on the Bank of England, and won. Less than two hours ago the Swiss National Bank took on virtually every single macro hedge fund, the vast majority of which were short the Swiss Franc and crushed them, when it announced, first, that it would go further into NIRP, pushing its interest rate on deposit balances even more negative from -0.25% to -0.75%, a move which in itself would have been unprecedented and, second, announcing that the 1.20 EURCHF floor it had instituted in September 2011, the day gold hit its all time nominal high, was no more. What happened next was truly shock and awe as algo after algo saw their EURCHF 1.1999 stops hit, and moments thereafter the EURCHF pair crashed to less then 0.75, margining out virtually every single long EURCHF position, before finally rebounding to a level just above 1.00, which is where it was trading just before the SNB instituted the currency floor over three years ago.
There is overwhelming evidence that the rampant money printing of the past decade or two has done nothing to generate sustainable growth in mainstream living standards and real wealth. Yet the monkeys keep rattling the cage, promising and demanding more ZIRP(and now N-ZIRP) and more fraudulent purchase of government debt with fiat credit congered by their printing presses. Consider some striking proof of failure...
Over the weekend, we saw the first casualty of low oil prices as WBH Energy went into bankruptcy. Today, Bloomberg reports,Resolute Energy Corp. has been forced by low oil prices to borrow at distressed levels. The Denver-based company, which we previously highlighted as having a 4.5x Debt/EBITDA (there are a lot higher), managed to procure a new $150 million 2nd term loan from Highbridge Capital (mostly used to roll old debt). The cost of funding: 11% coupon plus 5% upfront (and a guaranteed 25% return for the lender if Resolute pays it back early). At that cost of funding, it is no wonder that Resolute's bonds remain, to borrow a Charlie Evans phrase, catastrophically priced.
The WSJ is shocked to learn that among the costs companies "exclude" from non-GAAP earnings include such items as regulatory fines, “rebranding” expenses, pension expenses, fines, costs for establishing new manufacturing sources, fees paid to the board of directors, severance costs, executive bonuses and management-recruitment costs, and much, much more.
As investors and market participants become increasingly aware of the regulatory failures that allowed for manipulation of LIBOR, FOREX, municipal bond bidding and certain commodities markets, regulatory sources are increasingly expressing concern that they have paid too little attention to potential manipulations of an arguably larger, more systemically important and less regulated market – the CDS market as self-governed, through ‘regulatory license’, by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).
Massive 1,500 Ton Gold Vault For Sale In The Heart Of London, One Previous Owner, Asking £4,500,000 O.B.O.Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/26/2014 15:16 -0400
As a result of Deutsche Bank's gold-rigging problems, the German bank's practically brand spanking new Singapore gold vault, just over a year old, is about to go on sale. But while one can debate when the brand new storage facility will see a "for sale" sign attached to the main vault door, one thing is clear: Deutsche Bank's massive, and even newer, gold vault in London is already looking for offers. According to Reuters, Deutsche Bank is "open to offers for its London-based gold vault following the closure of its physical precious metals business."
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
Virtually every day there is an eruption of lunacy from one central bank or another somewhere in the world. In short, the central banks of the world are embroiled in a group-think mania so extreme and irrational that it puts one in mind of the spasm of witchcraft trials that erupted in the Massachusetts Bay Colony nearly four centuries ago. As a practical matter, this mania amounts to a race to the currency bottom and the final extinguishment of the price discovery mechanism in every financial market on the planet. Flying blind, the financial markets are thus bubbling - in the delirium phase - like never before. That is, until they don’t.