The UK has announced it’s joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China’s answer to the Asian Development Bank over which Beijing feels the US has undue influence. US wonders aloud if "constant accommodation" is the best way to engage a "rising power".
Central banks' ability to distort markets, inhibit price discovery, and create systemic risk is alive and well as ECB asset purchases ripple through euro money markets. "The ECB’s liquidity bazooka will likely create the conditions for all rates money markets to stay in negative territory. This would represent a very challenging environment for investors, especially those focusing on the euro money markets, whose resilience to negative rates has not fully tested yet," Barclays warns.
"Mario Draghi and the ECB’s manipulation of asset prices makes Greenspan’s Fed look like a rank amateur. More shocking though than the plunge in the euro, and more shocking even that 25% of sovereign eurozone bonds now trade in negative territory, is what has happened to eurozone equity valuations. For, as we approach the sixth anniversary of the US cyclical bull market, the PE expansion of eurozone equities is simply off the scale!" - Albert Edwards
It appears Washington is losing some control among its allies. Amid a flurry of high-level visits to Vietnam last year, the US has been pouring in aid and assistance in health, education, landmines clearance, scholarships and nuclear energy. The reason is now becoming clear. As Reuters reports, Vietnam has been allowing Russia to use a former US military base to refuel nuclear-capable bombers as it rattles its sabre over the Asia-Pac region.. and America would like that to stop: "we have urged Vietnamese officials to ensure that Russia is not able to use its access to Cam Ranh Bay to conduct activities that could raise tensions in the region." All that was missing was the "or else."
"While equity prices look expensive relative to real economic activity, they are arguably cheap relative to bond valuations. S&P 500 earning yields are similar to BB/B bond yields, as opposed to A/BBB yields historically, indicating excessive yield-seeking behavior in the face of reduced bond market liquidity," UBS cautions.
"Central banks are not all singing and all dancing," and cannot avoid the consequences of what they are doing, concluding, "you and I have got grandstand seats here [to an imminent market shock]," and investors are about to "find out just how illiquid it really is out there."
Bank Of Korea Unexpectedly Cuts Interest Rate To Record Low 1.75%, 24th Central Bank To Ease In 2015Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2015 21:19 -0400
The currency war salvos just keep on coming. Moments ago the BOK unexpectedly (the move was predicted by just 2 of 17 economists polled by Bloomberg) cut its policy rate from 2.00% to a record low 1.75%, in what is clearly a full-blown retaliation against the collapse currency of its biggest export competitor, Japan, whose currency has cratered to a level that many in South Korea believe has become a direct subsidy for its competing exports. As such the only question is why the BOK didn't cut earlier. And following the surprise rate cut by Thailand earlier today, the "surprise" South Korean rate cut means there are now 24 easing policy actions by central banks in 2015 alone.
While none of the current batch of currency-devaluing Central Bankers would admit that their policies are designed to weaken the currency, enhance competitiveness, and hail a new bright future of growth for their nation (by printing money), it is clear that is the chosen textbook-based path chosen. However, as the following charts show, it's not working...
Plunge Protection Exposed: Bank Of Japan Stepped In A Stunning 143 Times To Buy Stocks, Prevent DropSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2015 18:10 -0400
The BoJ has now gone full intervention-tard - buying Japanese stocks on 76% of the days when the market opened lower.
Predicting and diagnosing the trajectory of oil prices has become something of a cottage industry in the past year. But along with all of the excess crude flowing from the oil patch, there is also an abundance of market indicators that while important, tend to produce a lot of noise that makes any accurate estimate nearly impossible.
"Neither Central Bankers Nor Market Participants Can Extract Any Information From Current Bond Valuations"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2015 09:46 -0400
All is not what it seems. Markets are upside down. Some ‘risk?free’ assets can be purchased for a guaranteed loss. EU asset markets (ex?Greece) are soaring at the same time that EU disunity is rising. An interest rate hike by the Fed is likely to cause a rally in Treasury bonds and a steep correction in US equities.
Yields can always go lower… but at some point investors will have to ask, “how much am I willing to pay the Government to sit on my money? 1%? 2%? 3%?”
Earlier today, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras was busy not making German friends, following the latest Greek overture to confiscate German assets in response for allegedly unpaid German WWII reparations. “After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the legal and political conditions were created for this issue to be solved. But since then, German governments chose silence, legal tricks and delay. And I wonder, because there is a lot of talk at the European level these days about moral issues: is this stance moral?” Tsipras said and added that "despite the crimes of the Third Reich and Hitler’s hordes, the German debt was written off." As a result Greece is now seeking to recoup German WWII reparations which may amount to as much as 80% of Greek GDP!
- Fed Likely to Remove ‘Patient’ Barrier for Rate Increase as Soon as June (Hilsenrath) - which year?
- Clinton says used personal email account for convenience (Reuters)
- Euro sinks to 12-year lows as yield gap grows (Reuters)
- Get Ready for Oil Deals: Shale Is Going on Sale (BBG)
- EIA raises 2015 US oil production forecast, cuts 2016 outlook (Reuters)
- How Falling Oil Prices Are Hindering Iraq’s Ability to Fight Islamic State (WSJ)
- China economic data weaker than expected, fuels policy easing bets (Reuters)
- ECB ‘Chasing Own Tail’ as Bond Rates Turn Negative, SocGen Says (BBG)
- Swiss makers quietly gear up with smartwatches of their own (Reuters)