Risk is definitely on this morning as European shares soar, led by French stocks a new record high in Germany's Dax, and S&P futures up 1.2% after a "French relief rally" in which the first round of the country’s presidential elections prompted investors to bet that establishment candidate Emmanuel Macron will win a runoff vote next month. Asian stocks also surged, expect for China, which suffered its biggest drop of the year, down 1.4%, ending the streak of losses no greater than 1% going back to December.
"Italy's persistent track record of fiscal slippage, back-loading of consolidation, weak economic growth, and resulting failure to bring down the very high level of general government debt has left it more exposed to potential adverse shocks. This is compounded by an increase in political risk, and ongoing weakness in the banking sector which has required planned public intervention in three banks since December."
While CDS markets had largely priced in a downgrade (with levels approaching those of Brazl), FX markets seemed surprised when moments ago S&P downgraded South Africa to junk, cutting it from BBB- to BB+, in the aftermath of last week's sacking of finance minister Gordhan by president Zuma.
LIBOR is a benchmark reference rate (which explains why some banks were so eager to manipulate it). The pricing of all kinds of floating-rate debt is tied to it(corporate loans, mortgages, student loans, credit card debt, and assorted derivatives, such as currency and interest rate swaps, etc.). That has now become a problem.
South Africa's sacked finance minister Gordhan told reporters that he and his deputy "learnt our fate from the TV screen. Not from any phonecall, chat or conversation. So that was I’m sure as interesting for us as it was for you."
Economic cycles do not last indefinitely. While fiscal and monetary policies can extend cycles by “pulling forward” future consumption, such actions create an eventual “void” that cannot be filled. In fact, there is mounting evidence the “event horizon” may have been reached as seen through the lens of auto sales.
The rand tumbled as much as 1.7% and banking shares on the Johannesburg bourse fell more than 2% after South African President Jacob Zuma unexpectedly ordered Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to return from an investor roadshow to Britain and the United States on Monday because he "did not give permission for the trip" a government source said.
“What’s going on is the customers don’t have the fucking money. That’s it. This isn’t rocket science.” Consumerism has long been a defining element of American society, but retail giants are now shutting down thousands of their locations amid a long-anticipated "retail apocalypse."
"The downgrade of Saudi Arabia's Long-Term IDRs reflects the continued deterioration of public and external balance sheets, the significantly wider than expected fiscal deficit in 2016 and continued doubts about the extent to which the government's ambitious reform programme can be implemented."
"The dissonance between what I have been observing and what is being flogged by the establishment mouthpieces in the corporate mainstream media has never been greater. I’m 53 years old. The older I get the less sure I am about things I was sure about when I was 25 years old... I find it exhausting. We’re lost in a blizzard of lies."