We are confident the spinmasters will spin the first major domino in the muni crisis as bullish: after all it "removes uncertainty." Bloomberg reports that "The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, facing a state takeover of its finances, filed for bankruptcy protection following a vote by the City Council, according to a lawyer for the council.Mark D. Schwartz, a Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania-based lawyer and a former public finance banker for Prudential Financial Inc., said he filed the documents by fax to a federal bankruptcy court last night. The filing couldn’t be confirmed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Harrisburg.The state capital of 49,500 faces a debt burden five times its general-fund budget because of an overhaul and expansion of a trash-to-energy incinerator that doesn’t generate enough revenue. “This was a last resort,’’ Schwartz said in an interview after the council voted 4-3 to seek bankruptcy protection. “They’re at their wits’ end.’’While bankruptcy would mean the loss of state aid under a law passed in June, it would be preferable to a proposed recovery plan, said Councilwoman Susan Brown-Wilson." Well, at least Jefferson County will not have the dubious legacy of being the first muni to push everyone else over. And now that the precedent has been set (yes, Virginia, it can be done) watch as tens if not hundreds of other cash-strapped towns, cities, localities and other entities follow suit promptly to quite promptly.
Here is the summary kneejerk response out of a panel of Wall Streeters, all of whom perfectly anticipated just this announcement. How else...
The global financial system is experiencing great stress as it adapts to the new, post-crisis rules of the game. Those new rules are both explicit and implicit. They call for more capital, reduced leverage, lower risk appetites, more thorough supervision, and stronger regulation, at both the systemic and individual institution levels. In this environment, open dialog is all the more important as we collectively reach a common understanding of how the new rules should work in practice.
Word Cloud Of Trichet's Disappointing Jackson Hole Speech: "Inflation" Mentions: 10; "Deflation" And "Gold": ZeroSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/27/2011 15:07 -0400
Markets witnessed forex intervention from Japan overnight to curb the strength in JPY, which together with further monetary easing by the BoJ weighed upon the currency across the board, and observed USD/JPY to gain around 300 pips since the initial intervention. In other forex news, strength in the USD-Index weighed upon EUR/USD and GBP/USD as well as commodity-linked currencies, whereas the NZD came under further pressure after New Zealand's finance minister said that strength in NZD is a headwind for the economy. Elsewhere, European equities traded lower in early trade, however did come off their earlier lows after some analysts pointed out that the ECB may reactivate its Securities Market Programme (SMP), which also helped the Eurozone peripheral 10-year government bond yield spreads to narrow. In other news, the BoE kept its benchmark interest rate and asset purchase target unchanged at 0.50% and GBP 200bln respectively as expected, whereas the ECB left its key interest rate unchanged at 1.50% as expected. Moving into the North American open, markets look ahead to the ECB's press-conference following its rate decision to gaze into future policy-direction of the central bank. US jobless claims data is also scheduled for later in the session, whereas in fixed income there is another Fed's Outright Treasury Coupon Purchase operation in the maturity range of Feb'17-Jul'18, with a purchase target of USD 2.75-3.5bln.
Japan Launches Campaign to Weaken Yen (WSJ)
ECB to protect Europe by buying bonds (Telegraph)
Silent Scream of Swiss Franc Shows Great Distortion Amid Great Moderation (Bloomberg)
Pressured by White House, Treasury Secretary Is Expected to Stay at Post (NYT)
The U.S. Economy Feels the Pull of Gravity (BusinessWeek)
ECB Sees Lenders Rush to HoardCash (FT)
Groupon’s Strikeouts Reveal an Unspoken Truth (BusinessWeek)
Americans' Spending Increases in July (Gallup)
Pentagon’s First Installment on Cutting Debt May Be $28 Billion (Bloomberg)
Hey, it helps the big banks ... so shut up, already!
If We Don't Break Up the Giant Banks NOW, They'll Be Bailed Out Again and Again ... Dragging the World Economy Down With ThemSubmitted by George Washington on 07/13/2011 13:50 -0400
Last chance ...
Corn traders, especially of a bullish persuasion, are being carted off trading floors feet first after a report by the USDA crushed expectations that there is a supply shortage. Reuters reports: "Corn futures plummeted more than 10 percent in early trading on Thursday after a U.S. government report said farmers were able to seed far more corn acres this spring than many analysts expected and that supplies are not as tight as many thought." And while the front month dropped by the maximum allowed limit, that did not stop the July contract, which has entered the delivery period and is trading without limits, to plunge by a whopping 70 cents. "The declines leave corn with the biggest monthly fall since June 2009." This is one time when those listening to Goldman would have been a well-advised action. From Damien Courvalin's note released yesterday: "We expect corn and cotton acreage will be higher than projected by the June WASDE, to the detriment of soybeans."
Will you own your own body? Or will that be privatized, too?
- Fed Sees Recovery Lagging (Jon Hilsenrath)
- Grand Bargain U.S. Debt-Deal Failure Would Set Up 2012 Election Showdown (Bloomberg)
- Ruling party lawmakers attack new Greek bailout (Reuters)
- IMF's Lipsky says QE3 not necessary (Reuters)
- Yuan's band may be widened (China Daily)
- Tank Looks Dry for the Australian Dollar (WSJ)
- Berlin seeks 7-year Greek debt extension (FT)
- It’s Bubble Time as Asia Braces for Fed’s QE3 (Bloomberg)
- G20 targets volatile food prices (FT)
And just as Citigroup predicted, US imports surge even as US exports jump to a record $172.7 billion. But the story is once again in the GDP reducing imports which jump by a whopping $220.8 billion, a $10.4 billion jump M/M. The total deficit of $48.2 billion is the highest since the June 2010 spike which hit $49.9 billion. From the release: "Exports increased to $172.7 billion in March from $165.0 billion in February. Goods were $124.9 billion in March, up from $117.8 billion in February, and services were $47.7 billion in March, up from $47.2 billion in February. Imports increased to $220.8 billion in March from $210.4 billion in February. Goods were $187.0 billion in March, up from $176.9 billion in February, and services were $33.8 billion in March, up from $33.5 billion in February. For goods, the deficit was $62.1 billion in March, up from $59.1 billion in February. For services, the surplus was $13.9 billion, up from $13.7 billion in February." Ah, financial innovation being exported as per usual. Look for another round of Q1 GDP downgrades as this number takes out a few basis points in growth. As we know from China that April exports to the US jumped even more, this import surge will likely carry over into Q2 and result in more GDP cuts.