France vetoed the launch of free-trade negotiations between the EU and the US (forgot that it racked up a big trade surplus with the US)
"By propping up asset markets, the Fed has created an illusion that wealth is being created. The next step, according to Bernanke’s plan, should be for growth to follow. In fact, there is no reason why the rise in prices of financial assets should lead to actual investments or a rise in the median income. So far, it has not. There has been no real increase in the private sector propensity to borrow, and the danger may be that any further public sector borrowing will hasten the decline because of our “permanent asset hypothesis”. This means that, should the Fed lose control of asset prices (is this what is now happening in Japan?), then the game will be up and the downside move in markets may well be terrifying."
Following last night's 'surprising' upward GDP revisions, Japan's trade balance plunged to near-record deficit levels (but that didn't matter) and while China's trade data is questionable at best (and now proven 'false'), Japan is facing a much more considerable worry at home. Abenomics' goal to reduce the value of the JPY to improve competitiveness and spur a renaissance has had a rather nasty side-effect for all the Japanese people who eat, drive, or in any way use energy. The cost of Japan's crude basket has risen 35% in the last six months and is now at its highest for the domestic energy user since 2008 (which sparked the last collapse into deflation). As Bloomberg notes in this brief clip, this surge is not related to demand or the price of oil, but to the devaluation of the Japanese currency and leaves both the refiner crushed on margins and the consumer more cash-strapped.
175K May Non-Farm Payrolls Small Beat, April Revised Down; Unemployment Rate Of 7.6% Higher Than ExpectedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/07/2013 08:34 -0400
Those hoping for a decisive jump or plunge in the NFP number will be disappointed with the May NFP printing at 175K, on expectations of 165K, even as the April number was revised from 165K to 149K, and a net March-April revised change of -12K. The Unemployment rate was 7.6% higher than the expected 7.5%, driven by a tiny increase in the Labor Force Participation rate from 63.3% to 63.4%. The number of unemployed workers increased from 11659K to 11760K, the highest since February. Ironically, the U-6 unemployment rate for May declined from 13.9% to 13.8%, matching the lowest number of 2013. But once again it is the quality component of the jobs that was weak with Average Hourly Earnings missing expectations of a 0.2% increase (up from 0.2% last month), instead staying flat to the April number. The manufacturing renaissance continues to be delayed courtesy of a -8,000 drop in Mfg jobs in May. Finally birth-death added 205K jobs to the unadjusted number.
Fact: manufacturing has lost jobs two months in a row, and which as the BLS reported today saw hourly compensation collapse by 6.9% in Q1 - the most ever. As for the Taper... look at the chart below.
By now it is futile to point out the woeful inability of the ADP report to predict the NFP's ARIMA X 12 output of pure noise so we'll leave it at that. Here is the headline: May private payrolls created 135K with consensus looking for 165K - only two analysts were looking for a weaker number. This was the second lowest print since September excluding only the April 113K print. What's worse is that the prior number which usually is revised to match the NFP was revised lower from 119K to 113K, confirming that the quality of NFP reporting in the past month is suspect to quite suspect. Don't expect the imminent arrival of a manufacturing renaissance: mfg jobs were down 6,000. But fear not - Mark Zandi blames it on the sequester: "Manufacturers are reducing payrolls. The softer job market this spring is largely due to significant fiscal drag from tax increases and government spending cuts." At least it wasn't the May weather or tornadoes...
So much for the Chicago PMI 8 Sigma renaissance. Moments ago the Manufacturing ISM came out and confirmed that all those "other" diffusion indices were correct, except for the "data" out of Chicago (yes, shocking). Printing at a contractionary 49.0, this was a drop from 50.7, well below expectations of 51.0 (and far below the cartoonish Joe Lavorgna's revised 53.0 forecast). More importantly, this was the worst ISM headline print since June 2009, the first sub-50 print since November 2012, while the New Orders of 48.8, was the worst since July 2012. Both Production and Backlogs tumbled by -4.9 and -5.0 to 48.6, and 48.0 respectively. In brief, of the 11 series tracked by the ISM, only 3 posted a reading over 50 in May. This compares to just 2 out of 11 that were below 50 in April. Oh well, so much for this recovery. But the good news for the market is that today is really bad news is really good news day, and stocks have soared as according to the vacuum tubes, the result means no taper. The farce must go on.
Abenomics is riddled with inconsistencies. He wants the world's biggest bond market to sit still while he tells them they are going to lose money year-after-year (if his inflation goals are met). He wants to spark a renaissance by lowering the JPY and creating inflation but he doesn't want real wages to drop. Of course, the CNBC anchor's ironic perspective that the 80% domestic bond holdings of JGBs will 'patriotically sit back and take the loss' is in jest but it suggests something has to give in the nation so troubled. In fact, as Diapason's Sean Corrigan notes, that is not what has been happening, "every time the BoJ is in, the institutional investors are very happy to dump their holdings to them." On the bright side, another CNBC apparatchik offers, this institutional selling will lead to buying other more productive assets to which Corrigan slams "great, so we have yet another mispriced set of capital in the world, that'll help won't it!" The discussion, summarized perfectly in this brief clip, extends from the rate rise implications on bank capital to the effect on the deficit, and from the circular failure of the competitive devaluation argument.
In all the hoopla over Japan's stock market crash and China's PMI miss last night, the biggest news of the day was largely ignored: copper, and the fact that copper's ubiquitous arbitrage and rehypothecation role in China's economy through the use of Chinese Copper Financing Deals (CCFD) is coming to an end.
The last few years have been dominated by one theme and every trade has been a derivative bet on that theme. The idea that by inflating another asset bubble, a wealth effect will ripple through the market to the real economy, encourage animal spirits and spark a renaissance (in something, we are not sure what). Well, so far no good. The real economy, as discussed at length, is not recovering; but the question of just who is benefiting from the wealth effect is unclear. As the following charts across the 100 largest G4 pension plans show, the asset managers have missed the trickle-down. Despite bad (and worsening) under-funding and a Fed repressing 'safe' assets to the point of ultimate risk, G4 pension funds have refused to partake of any mythical 'great rotation', remain avid bond buyers, are as drastically under-funded as ever, and finally, have maintained the same 'cash on the sidelines' for 14 years now...
In a world in which fundamentals no longer drive risk prices (that task is left to central banks, and HFT stop hunts and momentum ignition patterns) or anything for that matter, it only makes sense that the day on which Japan posted a better than expected annualized, adjusted Q1 GDP of 3.5% compared to the expected 2.7% that the Nikkei would be down, following days of relentless surges higher. Of course, Japan's GDP wasn't really the stellar result many portrayed it to be, with the sequential rise coming in at 0.9%, just modestly higher than the 0.7% expected, although when reporting actual, nominal figures, it was up by just 0.4%, or below the 0.5% expected, meaning the entire annualized beat came from the gratuitous fudging of the deflator which was far lower than the -0.9% expected at -1.2%: so higher than expected deflation leading to an adjustment which implies more inflation - a perfect Keynesian mess. In other words, yet another largely made up number designed exclusively to stimulate "confidence" in the economy and to get the Japanese population to spend, even with wages stagnant and hardly rising in line with the "adjusted" growth. And since none of the above matters with risk levels set entirely by FX rates, in this case the USDJPY, the early strength in the Yen is what caused the Japanese stock market to close red.
The great American manufacturing renaissance? Maybe not. But China is losing the low-wage edge.
While every other hedge fund manager is bashing Bernanke, we finally found one who loves the Chairman, unabashedly. The last time the outspoken hedge fund manager appeared on CNBC it was to pump financials into his asset sale in Europe (and here). Today he could not have been more upbeat about the US economy, US banks, and US manufacturing as he is "overwhelmingly bullish," adding that "the numbers are truly amazing". Sure enough the 'Tepper rally' market responded with its ubiquitous lemming like surge as the Appaloosa manager (with $17.9bn AUM) says: The Economy is getting better; he is bullish On Japan; does not worry about Fed tapering - but does not like bonds (adding that the end of QE2 was bullish (though if you care about facts, it wasn't); his biggest holding is Citigroup; sees a great US manufacturing renaissance; and while the Middle East is a concern, expects only a 5% drop if there is war. If that's not enough for you to back up the truck, he believes the US budget deficit will shrink "massively' and housing will rise. The only thing he is not buying with both hands and feet - Apple. As he said - the numbers are truly amazing, though we suspect we are looking at different numbers.
The Federal Reserve's extreme monetary policy has done nothing but repress 'safe' assets to the point of making 'risky' assets relatively cheap. This is of course not the case were you to isolate each risky or safe asset and consider its value standalone. Choosing stocks over bonds because "well, what is the alternative?" is akin to the red-pill/blue-pill choice from The Matrix and the reflationary 'normal' that we are supposed to believe in is what 'apparently' justifies a 1.7x rise (12%!) in multiples since QE4EVA was announced. During that same period, consensus earnings expectations have plunged (merely pushed out one more year for the renaissance) and global trade and growth has collapsed. However, while we have shown many divergences from reality in the past, it is the manic/depressive difference between inflation expectations and stock valuations (implicitly supported by reflation) that is the clearest example of the short-term triumph of hope over reality.