Same slide, different day, as the crude crash continues, with both WTI and Brent tumbling to multi-year highs, below $49 and $52 respectively. This happened despite the news overnight that China is accelerating 300 infrastructure projects valued at 7 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) this year, suggesting that China will focus more on fiscal policy than monetary easing, which in turn led to much confusion in the SHCOMP, which fluctuated up and down for the day several times before finally closing unchanged. There was no confusion about the stops slamming USDJPY, and its Nikkei225 derivative which tumbled 3%, sending Japanese Treasury yields to fresh record lows. Record low yields were also seen in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, France (and many other places), which in turn forced the US 10 Year to finally dip back under 2.00%. In fact, taken together, the average 10Y bond yield of the U.S., Japan and Germany has dropped below 1% for the first time ever, according to Citi.
The surreal nature of this world as we enter 2015 feels like being trapped in a Fellini movie. The .1% party like it’s 1999, central bankers not only don’t take away the punch bowl – they spike it with 200% grain alcohol, the purveyors of propaganda in the mainstream media encourage the party to reach Caligula orgy levels, the captured political class and their government apparatchiks propagate manipulated and massaged economic data to convince the masses their standard of living isn’t really deteriorating, and the entire façade is supposedly validated by all-time highs in the stock market. It’s nothing but mass delusion perpetuated by the issuance of prodigious amounts of debt by central bankers around the globe. But now, the year of consequences may have finally arrived.
“Don’t look back - something might be gaining on you,” Satchel Paige famously warned. For connoisseurs of civilizational collapse, 2014 was merely annoying, a continued pile-up of over-investments in complexity with mounting diminishing returns, metastasizing fragility, and no satisfying resolution. So we enter 2015 with greater tensions than ever before and therefore the likelihood that the inevitable breakdown will release more destructive energy and be that much harder to recover from.
For all the endless media buzz pitching the bullish spin of plunging gas prices, namely that while crude capex spending and energy company earnings are both crashing, high-paying shale jobs are about to suffer pervasive layoffs and energy HY bonds are entering mass default territory leading to who knows what unexpected downstream effects, the average US consumer will spend substantially more to offset all the adverse side-effects of the plunging oil price. Or rather, was supposed to spend more. Because as Gallup finds, this did not happen. Here is what did happen.
Anyone who put on a long Shanghai Composite, short Brent trade on January 1, 2014, congratulations: you can now retire. However, since nobody did and instead the groupthink herd of beta-levered momentum chasers known as hedge funds were mostly long the S&P and short Treasurys, it explains why most of them generated negative returns in 2014. Here is how all the other main asset classes did in 2014, denominated both in local currency and in the soaring USD.
2014 may go down as the year when gold and silver conspiracy “theories” became conspiracy “facts” as banks globally were found to have conspired to rig the prices of gold, silver, currency and many other markets.
To put this into perspective, the Credit Default Swap (CDS) market that nearly took down the financial system in 2008 was only a tenth of this ($50-$60 trillion).
Draghi Launches New Year With More QE Jawboning, Sending Euro To New 4 Year Low, Yields Lower, US Futures HigherSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/02/2015 07:00 -0500
The new year has officially started because it wasn't even a day in and Mario Draghi was once again out and about, jawboning the Euro to a lower level than where it was when he said back in 2012 he would do "whatever it takes" to push it higher. The reason, as Reuters reports, why the Euro sank to a nearly 5 year low against the USD, was "clear indications that the European Central Bank will soon embark on outright money-printing." Actually, it was on just more hollow rhetoric by Draghi, who told German Handelsblatt that "the risk that we don’t fulfill our mandate of price stability is higher than it was six months ago." He also added that "it’s difficult to say” how much the institution will have to spend on government-bond purchases.
Well that didn't take long... With the smell of fireworks still lingering in the air, Bloomberg reports that Chinese developer Kaisa Group defaulted on a HK$400 million ($51.6 million) loan triggered by forced repayment terms after the firm's chairman resigned. With shares already down over 50% in December alone, trading is suspended as the company faces what S&P calls "more challenges" ahead and the 2018 bonds have collapsed to just 43c on the dollar (yields over 42%).
"As a former military analyst myself I can tell you that by now the Russian intelligence community's "indicators and warnings" should be "flashing red" and that in all likelihood Russia is already preparing for war..."
"The Greek political turmoil is likely to complicate matters for the ECB’s preparation of a sovereign QE programme. The prospect of the ECB potentially incurring severe losses is likely to intensify the debate within the Governing Council, where sovereign QE remains controversial. It could also make the start of a buying programme already on January 22 even more ambitious. In addition, the spectre of default could create new limitations on any sovereign QE design."
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).
The speculative fever in Chinese stocks has reached 11 on the Spinal Tap amplifier of euphoria. Last week saw a stunning 900,000 new stock trading accounts opened - the most since October 2007 (right before the Shanghai Composite collapsed 70% in the following 9 months). With real estate prices floundering, everyone and their pet rabbit is piling into Chinese stocks, as one 'investor' explained to The NY Times, "almost everyone I know is investing, so I think I should be investing, too."
Should I buy a house in 2015? No one can answer that question for anyone else, but it seems prudent to ask the question in the context of an Echo Bubble in valuations that appears to be deflating and household income that is potentially at risk of declining further in a global recession that eventually impacts the U.S. economy.