- BOJ Crosses Rubicon With Desperate Monetary Policy, Hirano Says (Bloomberg)
- Europe’s bailout bazooka is proving to be a toy gun (FT)
- Monti Signals Spanish Euro Risk as EU to Bolster Firewall (FT)
- Merkel set to allow firewall to rise (FT)
- Banks set to cut $1tn from balance sheets (FT)
- Supreme Court weighs historic healthcare law (Reuters)
- Spain PM denied symbolic austerity boost in local vote (Reuters)
- Anti-war movement stirs in Israel (FT)
- Obama to Ask China to Toughen Korea Line (WSJ)
- Pimco’s Gross Says Fed May ‘Hint’ at QE3 at April Meeting (Bloomberg)
When the world's central bankers speechified in DC, ironies abounded. But off to the side, Turkey had just floated a plan to grab its people’s gold.
Yesterday afternoon, Barack Obama who is currently in South Korea, briefly was within bullet range (if behind bulletproof glass) of North Korea when he stood on the edge of the DMZ separating the two feuding countries. A few minutes later he left and told the world that "Bad behaviour will not be rewarded" referring to the imminent launch of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket scheduled for a test launch in April. He added that "I will also note that every time North Korea has violated an international resolution, the Security Council resolution, it has resulted in further isolation, tightening of sanctions, stronger enforcement. I suspect that will happen this time as well." Alas, we doubt that Obama's warnings will have much of an impact and that in a few weeks NK will go ahead and hit the launch button undeterred, in the process forcing Japan to scramble its Aegis destroyers and take other countermeasures as discussed last week, in case the missile "veers of course." But just what is the trajectory? Courtesy of North Korea Tech, we now know the secret path the North Korean rocket is expected to take. All we can say is there better not be strong Westerly winds.
Next week will be relatively light in economic reporting, and with no HFT exchange IPOs on deck, and the VVIX hardly large enough to warrant a TVIX type collapse, it may be downright boring. The one thing that will provide excitement is whether or not the US economic decline in March following modestly stronger than expected January and February courtesy of a record warm winter, will accelerate in order to set the stage for the April FOMC meeting in which Bill Gross, quite pregnant with a record amount of MBS, now believes the first QE hint will come. Naturally this can not happen unless the market drops first, but the market will only spike on every drop interpreting it for more QE hints, and so on in a senseless Catch 22 until the FRBNY is forced to crash the market with gusto to unleash the NEW qeasing (remember - the Fed is now officially losing the race to debase). For those looking for a more detailed preview of next week's events, Goldman provides a handy primer.
More vertigo-inducing than all of the Eurozone bailout mechanisms combined.
In an interview with Louis James, the inimitable Doug Casey throws cold water on those celebrating the economic recovery. "Get out your mower; it's time to cut down some green shoots again, and debunk a bit of the so-called recovery."
Japan Readies PAC-3 And AEGIS SAM Countermeasures As North Korea Missile Launch Prep Enters Final StageSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/23/2012 10:27 -0400
Moments ago Japan's Kyodo reported that the upcoming North Korean missile launch has entered a "full-fledged state of action." While not immediately clear what this means, it is not all that surprising: after all this is precisely what Un has said he would do, and so he will. What is more important is that according to VOA Japan is now actively preparing for "countermeasures" and is "preparing for contingencies" should the missile veer off course. Because if Fukushima taught us something is that gusts of wind around Japan always somehow point toward Tokyo. To wit: "The Japanese parliament has approved a resolution condemning North Korea's planned missile launch, and the country is also preparing contingencies should the missile veer off course and pose a threat to Japan. Speaking in Tokyo Friday, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said the Japanese military will be prepared for any eventuality. Tanaka says he is ordering officials to prepare deployment of PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles and Aegis destroyers carrying a state-of-the-art anti-missile system that could attempt to shoot down the rocket." Of course, by the time the shooting is over, ES will be at least limit up: consider the upside GDP potential resulting from rebuilding the world in the aftermath of armageddon.
Oil as a commodity has always been a highly valuable early warning indicator of economic instability. Every conceivable element of our financial system depends on the price of energy, from fabrication, to production, to shipping, to the consumer’s very ability to travel and make purchases. High energy prices derail healthy economies and completely decimate systems already on the verge of collapse. Oil affects everything. This is why oil markets also tend to be the most misrepresented in the mainstream financial media. With so much at stake over the price of petroleum, and the cost steadily climbing over the past year returning to disastrous levels last seen in 2008, the American public will soon be looking for someone to blame, and you can bet the MSM will do its utmost to ensure that blame is focused in the wrong direction. While there are, indeed, multiple reasons for the current high costs of oil, the primary culprits are obscured by considerable disinformation… The most prominent but false conclusions on the expanding value of oil are centered on assertions that supply is decreasing dramatically, while demand is increasing dramatically. Neither of these claims is true…
All you need to read and some more.
European cash equity markets were seen on a slight upward trend in the early hours of the session amid some rumours that the Chinese PBOC were considering a cut to their RRR. However, this failed to materialise and markets have now retreated into negative territory with flows seen moving into fixed income securities. This follows some market talk of selling in Greek PSI bonds due to the absence of CDSs. This sparked some renewed concern regarding the emergence of Greece from their recovery. Elsewhere, we saw the publication of the BoE’s financial stability review recommending that UK banks raise external capital as soon as possible. This saw risk-averse flows into the gilt, with futures now trading up around 40 ticks.
- More HFT Posturing: SEC Probes Rapid Trading (WSJ)
- Fed’s Bullard Says Monetary Policy May Be at Turning Point (Bloomberg)
- Hilsenrath: Fed Hosts Global Gathering on Easy Money (WSJ)
- Dublin ‘hopeful’ ECB will approve bond deal (FT)
- EU Proposes a Beefed-Up Permanent Bailout Fund (WSJ)
- Portugal Town Halls Face Default Amid $12 Billion Debt (Bloomberg)
- Hidden Fund Fees Means U.K. Investors Pay Double US Rates (Bloomberg)
- Europe Weighs Trade Probes Amid Beijing Threats (WSJ)
- Bank of Japan Stimulus Row Fueled by Kono’s Nomination (Bloomberg)
In a number of stories in China's top newspapers today, the US has been slammed for its moves to restrict Iran's oil trade which could see Chinese banks sanctioned. As The People's Daily noted, Hong Lei (a Foreign Ministry spokesperson) warned such unilateral action was not only wrong but could exacerbate the stand-off over Iran's nuclear program. Arguing that China 'imports oil based on its economic development needs' without violating relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and undermining the third party's and international community's interests, he noted China will not accept the practice of saddling unilateral sanctions on the third country. Adding to this, China Daily notes the typical UN blah-dom of Wang Min's comments of the "more pragmatic importance to be firmly committed to dialogue and negotiations in order to properly solve the Iranian nuclear issue". While China is clearly 'disappointed' in the US efforts, Russia turns the dial to 11 with its comments that the US efforts are inflaming, as Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday, "Scientists in nearly all countries....are convinced that strikes may slow down the Iranian nuclear program. But they will never cancel it, close it down or eliminate it" warning that Iran will have no option but to develop nuclear weapons should the US strike. Well you can't please all the people all the time eh? Just ask Ben.
While financial and sovereign spreads in the most optically sensitive entities has rallied magnificently for the last few months – helped and extended by LTRO 1 and LTRO 2 – the weakness of the last week or so in both of these critical systemic risk indicators (Sovereign spreads in Spain and Italy and the LTRO Stigma that we noted earlier) should be worrisome for many of the leaders who are using market action as a corollary for their actions. What is most worrisome however is the absolute and utter lack of impact to the ‘real economy’ of Europe as PMIs have continued to slip and sentiment stumbles – nowhere is this more evident than in charts of Corporate Credit Demand and Corporate Credit Availability, which as Morgan Stanley notes today, suggest the deleveraging balance sheet recessionary impacts felt in Japan and the US are now writ large in European minds as minimizing debt dominates maximizing profits (or living standards). Demand for credit is sliding for both large and small firms and bank lending standards continue to tighten aggressively for both large and small firms. As austerity continues and credit contracts, it seems apparent that the much-hoped for shallow recession in Europe will be deeper and longer than most currently believe.
FX traders of the world have been forlorn for a week or two as the lack of directional guidance from the anti-guru-du-jour Thomas Stolper of Goldman has been sorely lacking. Worry no more. He is back with with his latest 'Fadance' (/fey-dyns, verb/ - "Advice" which Goldman Sachs provides to "muppets") in that he prefers to be short USDJPY from 82.8 (suggesting JPY strength on the back of seasonal patterns and the recent deterioration in the trade balance as being transitory temporary). Given his recent track record, being long the USD against the JPY would seem appropriate and his stop (and therefore the target) at around 84.5.