There is blood running in the gold market this morning after vicious selling which began on Friday afternoon and continued in Asian trading and through into European trading. Gold has fallen another 4.4% today after a huge number of stop loss orders were triggered at $1,480/oz pushing gold lower. Reports suggest that a futures sell order worth $6 billion, equal to 4 million ounces or 124.4 tonnes of gold, by a large investment bank sent prices plummeting and spooked the markets contributing to the decline. The order was believed to have been placed through Merrill Lynch's brokerage team. Gold futures with a value of over 400 tonnes were sold in hours and this is equal to 15% of annual gold mine production. The scale of the selling was massive and again underlines how one or two large banks or hedge funds can completely distort the market by aggressive, concentrated leveraged short positions. It may again be the case that bullion banks with large concentrated short positions are manipulating the price lower as has long been alleged by GATA. Those with concentrated short positions may also have been concerned about the significant decline in COMEX gold inventories. The plunge in New York Comex’s gold inventories since February is a reflection of increased demand for the physical metal and concerns about counter party risk with some hedge funds and institutions choosing to own gold in less risky allocated accounts.
- Venezuela Says Chávez Successor Wins Vote (WSJ)
- China growth risks in focus as first quarter data falls short (Reuters)
- Japan Gets Calls From U.S. to Europe Not to Drive Down Yen (BBG)
- EU Set to Clash on Bank Deal as Germany Sees Treaty Limit (BBG)
- Dish Launches $25.5 Billion Bid for Sprint (WSJ)
- Commodities Tumble, Stocks Slide as China Growth Slows (BBG)
- Top fund managers take home $8bn less (FT)
- Obama Programs Derided by Republicans as Pejorative Entitlements (BBG)
- Gene swapping makes new China bird flu a moving target (Reuters)
- McDonald's Cranks Up The Volume on 'Value' (WSJ)
- UK pension deficits set to rise by £100bn (FT)
First there was Japan's 'capture' of the Senkakus and the looming troubles that small island will lead to with the Chinese. Then came the economic deflationary spiral, as the global devaluation of developed market currencies prompted Japan to start an aggressive currency war of their own. And now, with North Korea's sabre rattling growing ever louder, Fox News reports that following comments by Japan's Yoshihide Suga on "destroying any missile heading towards Japan," the North Koreans retorted with a threat that Tokyo would be the first target if they decide to play the nuclear card. Luckily, we have John Kerry on the spot, "if Kim Jong Un decides to launch a missile, whether it's across the Sea of Japan or some other direction, he will be choosing willfully to ignore the entire international community," as he weighed in on comments leaked yesterday that North Korea now had the know-how to arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead - even if the weapons would lack reliability. Which is worse an unreliable nuclear missile or a reliable one? Though there is a silver lining, since if a broken window creates a Keynesian utopia, just think of the GDP-boosting greatness of a nuclear explosion in the heart of Roppongi.
- Korean Nuclear Worries Raised (WSJ)
- Och-Ziff, With Strategy from a 30-Year-Old Debt Specialist, Racks Up Big Score (WSJ)
- Japan's big "Abenomics" gamble: how to tell if it's paying off (Reuters)
- Kuroda walks a two-year tightrope (FT)
- China Rebound at Risk as Xi Curbs Officials’ Spending (BBG)
- BOJ Said to Consider Boosting Outlook for Inflation (BBG) - for energy prices? Absolutely: by double digits
- Cyprus May Loosen Bank Restrictions in Days (WSJ)
- Cyprus mulls early EU structural funds (Reuters)
- Russia slashes 2013 growth forecast (FT)
- Japan, U.S. Agree on Trade-Talks Entry (WSJ)
- IMF Trims U.S. Growth Outlook in Draft Report Citing Fiscal Cuts (BBG)
- Mexico Is Picking Up the Peso (WSJ)
There was little in terms of overnight newsflow to spook algos, but the tone is decidedly sour this morning following a lack of either the now traditional Japan or Europen-open buying ramps. The primary reason for this may well be the ongoing decline in the USDJPY which failed to breach the 100 barrier yesterday, coming as close as 99.95 before the Mrs. Watanabe onslaught had to be called off despite some more jawboning from Kuroda whose headlines are now summarily ignored, and which appears to have set a line in the sand for Japan, whose market naturally closed lower following this strengthening in its currency. Similarly troubling was the dip in the SHCOMP which closed down -0.58%, this despite the epic M2 and credit injection reported yesterday: if new liquidity can't send the market higher, what can?
The rattling of sabres grows louder as missile launchers are turned to the sky and launch-pads moved across North and South Korea. It appears the previous missile test-launch did not go so well...
- Germany: Europe's... poorest? ECB Survey Puts Southerners on Top in Household Wealth, Germans Near Bottom (WSJ)
- Obama Proposes $3.77 Trillion Budget to Revive Debt Talks (BBG)
- China trade data raise accuracy worries (FT) ... but generates so much laughter
- such as this... China Exports Miss Forecasts as ‘Absurd’ Data Probed (BBG)
- S. Korea Braces for ‘Very High’ Chance of North Missile Test (BBG)
- Slovenia, Spain Warned of ‘Excessive’ Economic Imbalances by EU (BBG)
- G8 foreign ministers meet in London to address Syria, North Korea (Reuters)
- N. Korea Threats Boost First South Korea Rate Cut Odds Since October (BBG)
- China Bird Flu Outbreak May Stem From Numerous Sources (BBG)
- Spain Bailout Less Likely on Lower Funding Costs: Moody’s (BBG)
- BOE’s Haldane: Simplify Bank Rules to Strengthen Them (WSJ)
Now that the 3:30 pm pump has been exposed to the world, and having been priced in and frontran (such as yesterday) it changed to the 3:30 dump, algos are desperately searching for another daily calendar trading opportunity. It appears the opening of Europe and Japan for trading are just these two much needed "fundamental" catalysts. As the charts below show, it appears there is nothing more bullish for the two key carry pairs, the USDJPY and the EURUSD, than Japan opening at 8pm Eastern, and then Europe opening next, at 3:30 am Eastern.
“Mad Dog” Bluff Based on Fear of U.S.-South Korean War Games Turning Into Real Invasion
The boy who cried wolf is now openly screaming "global thermonuclear war." No, really. AFP reports that North Korea said Tuesday the Korean peninsula was headed for "thermo-nuclear" war and advised foreigners to consider leaving South Korea, as the UN chief warned of a potentially "uncontrollable" situation. "Tuesday's advisory -- greeted largely with indifference -- followed a similar one last week to foreign embassies in Pyongyang, to consider evacuating by April 10 on the grounds war may break out. "The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermo-nuclear war," the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency." The result - a big yawn, which sadly for Kim Junior is the worst reaction. After all what is a dictator with an inferiority complex and a laughable military to do to get some respect around here and score some "nuisance value" cash from the superpowers (which has been his entire plan all along).
Here is a short quiz for you. Ready?
- What’s the current situation with Lindsay Lohan’s rehab?
- Who won the latest “Dancing With the Stars”?
- Name five celebrities with “baby bumps.”
- Explain how the Cypriot banking crisis could impact the European economy.
If you answered the first three questions but are clueless on the fourth, you’re in good company. Estimates are that up to half the population in America is ignorant about the situation in Cyprus. Oh sure, they hear snippets on the evening news, but since it’s far away and happening to other people, they don’t worry about it. There are many people who just can’t “see” anything wrong with our country. People continue to cling to the notion that our leaders are working for us, not for themselves. So people sit on their butts watching “American Idol” or reading about celebrity baby bumps. Can the U.S. economy crash? Nah. It can’t happen here.
April 5th, 1933, FDR confiscated every gold coin, bar, or certificate and people had to turn in their gold to the Federal Government or else they would face a fine of $10,000 or 10 years in jail. That is about $179,000 in today’s money. You were able to keep a small amount or some rare coins and those that did give up their gold received about $20/oz. “Why would the government do that?” asks Ms. Steel. They did this for the following reasons:
- To prevent hoarding.
- To devalue the dollar during the Great Depression.
- The government set the gold price at $35/oz and pegged it to the dollar.
“But this could never happen again, right?” asks Ms. Steel. “Well tell that to Texas.”
We started off the overnight session with various pseudo-pundits doing the count-up to a 100 in the USDJPY. It was only logical then that moments before the 4 year old threshold was breached, the Yen resumed strengthening following comments from various Japanese politicians who made it appear that the recent weakening in the currency may suffice for now. This culminated moments ago when Koichi Hamada, a former Yale professor and adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told Reuters that level of 100 yen to dollar is suitable level from the perspective of competitiveness. The result has been a nearly 100 pip move lower in the USDJPY which puts into question the sustainability of the recent equity rally now that the primary carry funding pair has resumed its downward trajectory. Another result is that the rally in the Nikkei225 was finally halted, closing trading unchanged, and bringing cumulative gains since the morning before the BoJ’s announcement last Thursday to 8.9%. Over that the same time period, the TOPIX Real Estate Index is up an incredible 24%, no doubt reflecting the prospect of renewed buying of REIT stocks from the BoJ’s asset purchasing program.
The week ahead is light on major market moving data releases. From a policy perspective and in light of the recent moves in treasuries, FOMC minutes are likely to be followed by markets. Retail sales in the US are likely to print below consensus both on the headline and on the core metrics. That said, this needs to be seen against the backdrop of first quarter retail consumer spending data surprising to the upside. Producer prices are also likely to come in on the soft side of market expectations. Finally, do not expect large surprises from the U of Michigan consumer confidence.
- Finally the MSM catches up to reality: Workers Stuck in Disability Stunt Economic Recovery (WSJ)
- China opens Aussie dollar direct trading (FT)
- National Bank and Eurobank Fall as Merger Halted (BBG)
- Why Making Europe German Won’t Fix the Crisis - The Bulgarian case study (BBG)
- Nikkei hits new highs as yen slides (FT)
- Housing Prices Are on a Tear, Thanks to the Fed (WSJ)
- Why is Moody's exempt from justice, or the "Big Question in U.S. vs. S&P" (WSJ)
- Central banks move into riskier assets (FT)
- N. Korea May Conduct Joint Missile-Nuclear Tests, South Says (BBG)
- North Korea Pulls Workers From Factories It Runs With South (NYT)
- Illinois pension fix faces political, legal hurdles (Reuters)
- IPO Bankers Become Frogs in Hot Water Amid China Market Halt (BBG)
- Portugal Seeks New Cuts to Stay on Course (WSJ)