Claiming to own X quantity of gold is one thing, and reporting how many times the gold has been pledged as collateral is another.
USA USA USA #15? Despite aerial bombardment, growing tensions with every neighbor, and the almost ubiquitous daily car-bombs, Israelis are "happier" than Americans according to Bloomberg's world happiness index. Happiness, it appears, is most abundant a long way from the equator with Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, and Canada all topping the list; whereas the unhappiest nations are all in Saharan or sub-Saharan Africa (apart from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan).
Today, China remains central to the notion that the world is in recovery. It is believed to be growing at 7%: not as rapid as the 9% growth we’re used to seeing, but still dramatically higher than any of large country... Only the whole thing is bogus.
No sector will be immune to the changing nature of work and value creation. The only sustainable way to avoid upheaval is to learn to create value in ways that cannot be commoditized.
Today is shaping up to be a rerun of yesterday where another frenzied Asian session that has seen both the Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei close higher yet again (following the weakest Chinese HSBC mfg PMI in one year which in an upside down world means more easing and thus higher stocks) has for now led to lower US equity futures with the driver, at least in the early session, being a statement by the BOJ's Kuroda that there’s a "possibility" the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target will be delayed and may occur in April 2016.
American banks have largely gained from low interest rates, British banks have suffered losses as a result and in the Eurozone they have been hugely detrimental to banks’ profitability. The ones who have undoubtedly lost out were those quintessential Keynesian villains: the savers. The medicine prescribed by the central banks to correct their “bad” ways has cost them billions. And given that yields have continued to go down since McKinsey's report was published, their misery has only increased. More high fives from Keynes! And yet, even within those groups the impact has been uneven. Who in the household segment is suffering the most because of ultra-low interest rates? The retirees, of course.
"If the BoJ persists with its current pace of JGB purchases, then the incentive for investors to reduce their holdings any further is likely to dwindle away within the next 18–24 months, at which point liquidity may evaporate altogether," Morgan Stanley says, calling liquidity the "major theme" in the JGB market. Meanwhile, a former MoF official claims the BoJ is now in so far over its head that an exit from stimulus is "out of the question."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe awoke on Wednesday to find a half-meter-wide drone, contaminated with trace levels of radioactive cesium, on the roof of his office in Tokyo. Of course this is nothing new for Washington where a drone crash-landed on The White House lawn in January and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Japan is looking to tighten laws governing drones (ahead of next year's G7-summit and the 2020 Olympics). Of course, the police have explained cesium isn't harmful to humans (though we suspect they aren't stupid enough to drink it).
The People’s Bank of China may have tripled holdings of bullion since it last updated them in April 2009, to 3,510 metric tons. It is worth noting that the U.S. refuses to allow their gold reserves to be publicly audited and the Bundesbank is having difficulty repatriating much of its gold stored with the Federal Reserve. This has led many analysts to speculate that the U.S.’s gold reserves have been leased out or sold or are encumbered as part of an ongoing effort to manipulate gold prices.
Whether it is in sympathy with the now relentless surge in the Shanghai Composite which tacked on another 2.44% overnight to close at a fresh multi-year high just shy of 4400, well more than double from a year ago, or because Mrs Watanabe was unable to read the latest Japan trade data whose first trade surplus in 3 years hinted that there will be no new easing by the BOJ any time soon, but overnight the Nikkei closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years, with "makers of chocolate, mayonnaise, potato chips and household appliances" helping lift the Tokyo market according to the WSJ. The now daily Asian euphoria however did not last long in the European session, and after opening higher, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped into negative territory just an hour into trading, and was down 0.4% by midmorning, lead by a near 1% decline on Athens' mains stock index, which has since recouped losses stemming from the overnight report that the ECB is considering an up to 50% haircut on Greek bank collateral, a move that would wipe out the Greek financial sector with ease.
After 48 months of trade deficits, March saw a very modest JPY3.3bn surplus (vs JPY409bn deficit expectations), driven by a collapse in imports. Exports rose 8.5% (as expected) but against already dismal expectations of a 12.6% drop, March saw Japanese imports crash by 14.5% - the most since Nov 2009 (driven by the plunge in oil prices - aleviating some of the post-Fukushima fuel demands cost). Of course this is terrible news for stocks as it means less stimulus from the BoJ...asnd JPY is strengthening modestly.
California is an interesting place. Probably something like California never existed before. A barren state with no substantial natural resources, with cities constructed mostly directly over major fault lines, no water, the highest per capita immigrant population of any US state, and of course, also the state with the highest population per capita of lawyers. "Land of fruits and nuts." or "La La Land" according to the LA Times:
- FUTURES TRADER ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED ROLE IN 2010 FLASH CRASH
- FUTURES TRADER CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY MANIPULATING STOCK MKT
- SARAO HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH COMMODITIES, WIRE FRAUD: GOELMAN
- SARAO WAS ARRESTED AT HIS HOME IN LONDON TODAY, GOELMAN SAYS
- CFTC FILES CIVIL CASE AGAINST NAVINDER SINGH SARAO
In the simplest of terms, Abenomics was a form of economic warfare. It marked a transition in global Central Banking policy from an era of coordination to an era in which it is each country/ Central Bank for itself.
On one hand, Bill Gross says that "German 10yr Bunds = The short of a lifetime." On the other, the ECB is about to run out of bonds to monetize at current prices as the Bund yield slides every lower to the ECB's hard floor of -0.20%. End result: someone will be very hurt...