Bob Janjuah, despite never leaving, is once again back, even if he really has nothing new to say: "Western policy makers, at the national and G20/IMF level, still seem to have no response to solvency problems other than printing more money, loading on more debt, and hoping that "time" sorts it all out. In other words, the extension of ponzi schemes which are being used to cover up our lack of competitiveness and real productivity growth through the use of money debasement and leverage....Apologies to all for not telling you anything new or very different. One day, when we collectively abandon the neo-communist experiment in the West that relies on more debt and printing money in order to maintain the status quo, then I will hopefully have a different and far more positive view of the years ahead. I look forward to this time. But for now, expect more of the same as in 2011. And I know it's a few weeks early, but as I am unlikely to write anything for at least a month, Kung Hei Fat Choi. The year of the dragon will soon be upon us."
In his typical forthright manner, the moustachioed maestro appeared on Bloomberg TV today discussing Europe's crisis and the US economy. While we (ZH) wonder what (or who) the 'we' El-Erian is speaking for, he notes that the Fed "doesn't have enough policy instruments to deal with the challenges facing the economy" and that QE3 will not work (a possibility we discussed last week). From investing in a fat-tailed environment to the Fed's liquidity trap and why Europe needs to 'refound' the euro-zone, his fragile hope is that crises remain 'contained' yet prefers the USD's 'safety' for now and worries on the US stocks 'cleanest dirty shirt' bullish argument, suggesting defense is the better play currently.
Peter Tchir submits: "The market is essentially frozen ahead of yet another Merkozy press conference. I have lost count of how many of these press conferences they have had. I haven’t lost count of how many resulted in anything particularly useful – zero is an easy number to remember."
We have now entered the fifth year of this Fourth Turning Crisis. George Washington and his troops were barely holding on at Valley Forge during the fifth year of the American Revolution Fourth Turning. By year five of the Civil War Fourth Turning 700,000 Americans were dead, the South left in ruins, a President assassinated and a military victory attained that felt like defeat. By the fifth year of the Great Depression/World War II Fourth Turning, FDR’s New Deal was in place and Adolf Hitler had been democratically elected and was formulating big plans for his Third Reich. The insight from prior Fourth Turnings that applies to 2012 is that things will not improve. They call it a Crisis because the risk of calamity is constant. There is zero percent chance that 2012 will result in a recovery and return to normalcy. Not one of the issues that caused our economic collapse has been solved. The “solutions” implemented since 2008 have exacerbated the problems of debt, civic decay and global disorder. The choices we make as a nation in 2012 will determine the future course of this Fourth Turning. If we fail in our duty, this Fourth Turning could go catastrophically wrong. I pray we choose wisely. Have a great 2012.
There is nothing more disgusting or detestable than a citizen informant. Without citizen informants, tyrants could never retain the kind of power they wield. In fact, without citizen informants, totalitarian movements would never gain traction. This is why EVERY functional oligarchy throughout history has implemented programs designed to encourage the development of common spies, using the promise of monetary reward, or collective recognition. Sadly, there are many in our society that would gladly sell out their closest friends and family to the tortures of authoritarian bureaucracy for nothing more than a firm pat on the head and a few fiat dollars. If there was ever a more degraded lot of bottom feeding opportunist scum, the citizen informant is the very epitome.
The Keynesians and Monetarists have fooled people with a clever sleight of hand. They have convinced people to look at prices (especially consumer prices) to understand what’s happening in the monetary system. Anyone who has ever been at a magic act performance is familiar with how sleight of hand often works. With a huge flourish of the cape, often accompanied by a loud sound, the right hand attracts all eyes in the audience. The left hand of the illusionist then quickly and subtly takes a rabbit out of a hat, or a dove out of someone’s pocket. Watching a performer is just harmless entertainment, and everyone knows that it’s just a series of clever tricks. In contrast, the monetary illusions created by central banks, and the evil acts they conceal, can cause serious pain and suffering. This is a topic that needs more exposure.
Fitch joins the Hungary "junking" parade, which centers around the country's former unwillingness to yield to the banking cartel regarding its central bank, which as of today is no longer the case: "The downgrade of Hungary's ratings reflects further deterioration in the country's fiscal and external financing environment and growth outlook, caused in part by further unorthodox economic policies which are undermining investor confidence and complicating the agreement of a new IMF/EU deal."
Troika inspectors will leave angry again. But this time, the Prime Minister put the nuclear option on the table....
CMA Now Officially Assumes 20% Recovery In Greek Default - Time To Change Sovereign Debt Risk Management Defaults?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2012 15:18 -0500
One of the ironclad assumptions in CDS trading was that recovery assumptions, especially on sovereign bonds, would be 40% of par come hell or high water. This key variable, which drives various other downstream implied data points, was never really touched as most i) had never really experienced a freefall sovereign default and ii) 40% recovery on sovereign bonds seemed more than fair. Obviously with Greek bonds already trading in the 20s this assumption was substantially challenged, although the methodology for all intents and purposes remained at 40%. No more - according to CMA, the default recovery on Greece is now 20%. So how long before both this number is adjusted, before recovery assumptions for all sovereigns are adjusted lower, and before all existing risk model have to be scrapped and redone with this new assumption which would impact how trillions in cash is allocated across the board. Of course, none of this will happen - after all what happens in Greece stays in Greece. In fact since America can decouple from the outside world, it now also appears that Greece can decouple from within the Eurozone, even though it has to be in the eurozone for there to be a Eurozone. We may go as suggesting that the word of the year 2012 will be "decoupling", even though as everyone knows, decoupling does not exist: thank you 60 years of globalization, $100 trillion in cross-held debt, and a $1 quadrillion interlinked derivatives framework.
Less than a week after a fully failed 3 Year Hungarian bond auction (in which all bids were rejected by the government) sent Hungarian yields surging on December 29, things have gone from bad to worse culminating with today's 1 Year Bill auction which sold just HUF 35 billion ($140 million) in 1 year bills at a staggering 9.96%, a surge of over 2% compared to the yield for the same maturity debt sold just on December 22. To say that this is unsustainable is an understatement. Alas, with the IMF and EU out of the bailout picture following Hungary's refusal to yield to demands to make its central bank a puppet of the state, ironically categorized by Europe as concerns of central bank "independence" it is likely that Hungary will see far more pain in the coming days as the ECB is certainly not going to be buying Hungarian debt - after all it has its hands full already with those other collapsing Eurozone countries. And punctuating the new year comfort are Hungarian CDS levels which just soared to new records over 750 bps. It is only a matter of time before ISDA decrees that any and every Hungarian default event will be fully voluntary thereby collapsing this latest default protection house of cards.
When it comes to the markets one can easily ignore the fact that the world is one big ponzi and things, as we know them, are coming to an end as long as the can can be kicked down the street at least one more time. In other words, without a hard deadline, there is nothing that can force change upon a system already in motion, no matter how self-destructive. Unfortunately, the clock in Europe is ticking as a deadline approaches, and somewhat poetically, the place where it all started is where it may end. In March Greece faces a redemption cliff: if by then the €130 billion promised to it by the Troika as per the July 21 second bailout, is not delivered, it is game over - first for Greece which will default, then for the ECB, which will be forced to write down holdings of Greek bonds, in effect wiping out its equity and credibility, and lastly, for the Euro, which will see a core member leaving (in)voluntarily.
If there is one lesson to be learned from the Japanese experience with deleveraging over the past few decades it’s that deleveraging cycles have there own special rhythm of reflationary and deflationary interludes. Pretty simple thinking as balance sheet deleveraging by definition cannot be a short term process given the prior decades required to build up the leverage accumulated in any economic/financial system. If deleveraging were a short term process, it would play out as a massive short term depression. And clearly any central bank would act to disallow such an outcome, exactly has been the case not only in Japan over the last few decades, but now also in the US and the Eurozone. We just need to remember that this is a dance. There is an ebb and flow to the greater (generational) deleveraging cycle. Just as leveraging up was not a linear process, neither will the process of deleveraging be linear. Why bring this larger picture cycle rhythm up right now? The recent price volatility we’ve seen in assets that can be characterized as offering purchasing power protection within the context of a global central banking community debasing currencies as their preferred method of reflation for now, specifically recent the price volatility of gold.
How many of those millions of dollars in cars does the "Foreclosure King" still have? How is he able to stay so warm and cozy in his castle on the intercoastal in Ft.Lauderdale staring out at his 100 foot yachts and where is the Florida Bar in all this?