Wednesday, 30 October 2013

“BS” Day Arrives.

Baltic Dry Index. 1551 -68 Off nearly 28% from the summer high.

LIR Gold Target by 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

“Don’t worry mate -- there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!” the Rabobank yen Libor submitter, identified as Submitter-4 in the filing, said in a Sept. 21, 2007, e-mail, after agreeing to increase the daily yen rate by a percentage point.

Today is day two of the Fedsters’ coven in Washington. The day we get to learn from Dr. B. S. Bernanke, or “old BS” as he’s affectionately known on the Street,  just how many angels can dance on the head of the Fed’s newest pin. After the Fed’s embarrassing U-turn last month on ending QE forever and ZIRP, nothing of substance is expected from this month’s instalment of the thoughts of Chairman Ben.

Below some of the latest news from the land of the not so free.  Not attending this month’s meeting but definitely listening in, James Clapper and anyone else at the NSA above janitor with a pension plan to protect. No word from The Guardian newspaper yet, if old Snowy in Russia will also be listening in. With the latest US news turning glum, will Bernocchio dare to increase the pace of the monthly QE? US stock markets seem to think it’s a fair bet.

In central banking as in diplomacy, style, conservative tailoring, and an easy association with the affluent count greatly and results far much less.

J. K. Galbraith

US factory and housing data suggest economy losing steam -

by City A.M. Reporter  October 29, 2013, 2:10am
US MANUFACTURING output barely rose in September and contracts to buy previously owned homes recorded their largest drop in nearly three-and-a-half years, the latest signs the economy’s momentum ebbed as the third quarter ended.

The reports yesterday showed economic activity was on a weak footing even before a 16-day partial shutdown of the US federal government early in October that is expected to weigh on fourth quarter growth.
Manufacturing production edged up 0.1 per cent last month after advancing 0.5 per cent in August, the Federal Reserve said.

Factory output was held back by a 0.5 per cent drop in computer and electronic goods production. Output of electrical appliances also fell.

While automobile output increased two per cent, that was a sharp slowdown from the 5.2 per cent rise logged in August.

Separately, the National Association of Realtors said its Pending Homes Sales index, based on contracts signed last month, plunged 5.6 per cent to the lowest level since December.

The decline was the largest since May 2010. The index, which leads home resales by a month or two, has now dropped for four straight months. Realtors believe home resales, which dropped in September, peaked in July and August.

The reports come on the heels of data last week showing a gauge of business spending tumbled in September. That data, combined with a disappointing reading on hiring released earlier this month, has offered a dull picture of economic activity.

Consumer Confidence in U.S. Slumps by Most Since August 2011

By Ben Schenkel - 2013-10-29T14:51:24Z
Confidence among U.S. consumers declined in October by the most since August 2011 as the budget impasse and debt-ceiling negotiations in Washington took a toll on outlooks.

The Conference Board’s index slumped to 71.2 from a revised 80.2 last month, the New York-based private research group said today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a decrease this month to 75. The October reading was the weakest in six months

The partial shutdown of federal agencies for half the month pushed consumer expectations to a seven-month low as the economy shows signs of cooling. Limited employment and wage gains, along with the prospect of another budget battle early next year, raise the risk of restrained holiday sales.
Oct. 29, 2013, 4:41 p.m. EDT

S&P 500, Dow industrials close at record highs

Nasdaq Composite Index closes higher even with near hour-long halt

---- Tuesday’s moves by the major indexes followed narrowly mixed action on Monday, when the Dow and Nasdaq ended close to the flat line, and the S&P 500 inched up to reach a record for a second straight session.

Most analysts expect the Federal Reserve to stand pat on its accommodative stance, given the Fed’s coming change in leadership, the recent weak economic data and the government shutdown and debt-ceiling battle earlier in the month.

In its accompanying policy statement, however, the Fed is likely to keep its options open about any tapering of its purchases before the end of the year. The decision is expected after the meeting ends on Wednesday.

US spy chief defends spying on foreign leaders

James Clapper says discovering the intentions of foreign heads of state has always been a "basic tenet" for US spy agencies

AFP 2:23AM GMT 30 Oct 2013
The head of US intelligence has said the country's spy agencies always try to learn the intentions of foreign leaders, but stopped short of confirming reports of eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
James Clapper, director of national intelligence, said seeking to discern the aims of foreign heads of state has long been a "basic tenet" for US spy agencies.

"As long as I've been in the intelligence business, 50 years, leadership intentions in whatever form that's expressed is kind of a basic tenet of what we are to collect and analyse," Mr Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee.

"It's invaluable to us to know where countries are coming from, what their policies are, how that would impact us across a whole range of issues," Clapper said.

"So, and it isn't just leaders themselves, it's what goes on around them and the policies that they convey to their governments."

Media leaks from former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden alleged the National Security Agency has listened in on the communications of dozens of foreign leaders, including Mrs Merkel.

The revelation has created an uproar in Germany and across Europe amid conflicting reports as to when President Barack Obama allegedly learned or approved of the eavesdropping.

---- Rogers said the "best way" to determine a foreign leader's plans was "to somehow either get close to a foreign leader or actually get communications of the foreign leader," and asked Mr Clapper: "Would that be accurate?"

And the spy chief replied: "Yes, it would."

Asked if America's allies have carried out espionage against the United States, Mr Clapper said: "Absolutely."

But another congressman, Adam Schiff, said the spy services had a legal obligation to inform the intelligence committees in Congress of "significant" activities and he insisted that would apply to any spying on foreign leaders.

Mr Clapper appeared to disagree, saying the spy agencies were complying with the law by telling lawmakers about the guiding priorities of intelligence gathering, without specifying each source or "selector" to be tracked.

The chairman of the committee, Mr Rogers, later sharply rebuked Mr Schiff and said panel members had access to large amounts of information from the NSA.

In European asylum news, the snake bit European Union staggers from grim to grimmer. Thankfully for the UK, continental Europe’s woes, plus those of the Middle East, have set off a Greater London boom due to capital flight and a brain drain for once in the UK’s favour.  Long may Berlin and Brussels ill wind blow.

Italy’s Slump Persists in Setback for Letta Government

By Lorenzo Totaro - Oct 29, 2013 1:44 PM GMT
Italy’s economy shrank in the three months through September, the head of the statistics office said, prolonging a record recession and signaling that the euro area’s recovery is bypassing its third-biggest economy.

Antonio Golini, acting chairman of Istat, the country’s national statistics office, also told a hearing in Parliament in Rome that gross domestic product will fall 1.8 percent this year. That’s more than the 1.4 percent contraction Rome-based Istat projected in May.

The estimate contradicts the forecast of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s government that the economy would stop contracting in the third quarter before returning to growth in the final three months of the year. As the wider euro region emerged from a recession in the second quarter, the Italian economy shrank 0.3 percent as export growth failed to offset the impact of rising unemployment on domestic demand.

In China news, the PBOC sent out a very mixed signal as interest rates jumped to a four month high. With big changes due to be announced at next month’s Communist Party plenum meeting, money rates are likely to be skittish for some time unless the PBOC clarifies.

China Money Rates Jump as Cash Squeeze Spurs Record Bond Yield

By Bloomberg News - Oct 30, 2013 6:48 AM GMT
China’s money-market rates jumped to four-month highs as corporate tax payments tied up funds amid uncertainty over the central bank’s policy stance. The one-year government bond yield climbed to a record as demand weakened at a sale of the securities.

The People’s Bank of China injected funds into the financial system using reverse-repurchase agreements yesterday, after suspending use of the contracts for two weeks. The 13 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) added compares with a net 102.5 billion yuan drained by the central bank in the last two weeks.

“The policy signal from yesterday’s reverse-repo operations I believe is to calm market sentiment, but the amount is very small, so this caused some confusion,” said Zhang Guoyu, an analyst at Orient Futures Co. in Shanghai. “That may be contributing to the increase in rates.”

---- The seven-day repurchase rate, a gauge of funding availability in the banking system, rose 55 basis points to 5.55 percent, according to a daily fixing by the National Interbank Funding Center. That was the 10th increase in a row, the longest run of gains since 2007. The overnight repo rate jumped 53 basis points to 5.21 percent.

We end with a warning from JP Morgan. The Fed’s final bubble really will be the final bubble that does us all in. Our new lawless age is all too likely to end in a big bang. But first we probably have to endure a few months of the Yellen Fed. Stay long fully paid up physical precious metals for the coming end of central bank insanity.

"As fewer and fewer people have confidence in paper as a store of value, the price of gold will continue to rise. The history of fiat money is little more than a register of monetary follies and inflations. Our present age merely affords another entry in this dismal register."

Hans F. Sennholz

JP Morgan sees 'most extreme excess' of global liquidity ever

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Economics Last updated: October 29th, 2013
If you think there is far too much money sloshing through the global financial system and causing unstable asset booms, you are not alone.

A new report by JP Morgan says the bank's measure of excess global money supply has reached an all-time high.

"The current episode of excess liquidity, which began in May 2012, appears to have been the most extreme ever in terms of its magnitude," said the report, written by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglu and Matthew Lehmann from the bank's global asset allocation team.

They said the latest surge is far beyond anything seen in the last three episodes of excess liquidity: 1993-1995, 2001-2006, and during the Lehman emergency response from October 2008 to September 2010, all of which set off a blistering rise in asset prices.

This is not a problem right now. The bank says there is enough juice to keep the boom going for several more months, but it stores up bigger problems for later. "It could be a warning if fundamentals are out of whack. Markets could be vulnerable next year if that liquidity starts to disappear," said Mr Panigirtzoglu.

My own view on all this is somewhat different, so I pass on the report's findings for readers to make their own judgment.

They  argue that the global M2 money supply has risen by $3 trillion this year, up 4.6pc in just nine months to $66 trillion. Roughly $1 trillion is showing up in the G4 bloc of the US, eurozone, Japan, and the UK.

The lion's share, some $2 trillion, is showing up in emerging markets where credit continued to surge at $170bn a month in July and August despite the Fed Taper scare earlier that hit the Fragile Five (Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey). Mr Panigirtzoglu said there is an internal credit boom in emerging markets that is running in parallel to QE in the West.

---- If JP Morgan is right, you can see why the BIS, the IMF, and Fed hawks are biting their fingernails worrying about the next train wreck. There is clearly a huge problem with the way QE has been conducted.

The wash of money has set off another asset boom, yet the world economy has failed to achieve "escape velocity", and is arguably still in a contained depression.

There can be few fields of human endeavour in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have the insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present.

J. K. Galbraith

At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 44.07 Moz, Eligible 123.54 Moz, Total 167.61 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner
The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Today, Bloomberg reports on just another day in global banking, in our new lawless era. But is it banking at all, or a criminal industry that long ago left banking for banksterism? How many criminal wrongs does it take to get America’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to apply? Just why was JPMC facilitating the fraudster Madoff brothers?

Banks are an almost irresistible attraction for that element of our society which seeks unearned money.

J. Edgar Hoover

Madoff Money to Japan Mob Ties Breed Banks’ Global Pains

By Max Abelson - Oct 30, 2013 4:00 AM GMT
Japanese regulators said they’re looking for loans to gangsters by the nation’s three biggest banks. The 115-year-old Dutch lender Rabobank Groep was fined more than $1 billion for rigging interest rates. Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) and UBS AG (UBSN), Germany and Switzerland’s biggest lenders, both said they’re facing investigations into currency manipulation.

It was another day in global banking.

Those headlines, all from yesterday, arrived after the six biggest U.S. banks had passed the $100 billion mark for legal costs since the financial crisis. The largest, JPMorgan Chase & Co., is in talks with prosecutors to resolve allegations it helped facilitate Bernard Madoff’s crimes, as it tries to complete a proposed $13 billion settlement of cases related to its mortgage business.

----Rabobank Chairman Piet Moerland resigned. Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411) President Yasuhiro Sato gave up six months of pay for failing to stop loans made to yakuza crime syndicates. Takashi Tsukamoto will also forgo a half year’s compensation and give up his role as chairman of Mizuho Bank Ltd., keeping his post at the parent company.

No leading bank executives have been jailed since the global financial crisis. The largest lenders are so big that criminal charges could threaten the global economy, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a Senate hearing this March, saying that made it “difficult for us to prosecute.”

Executive-suite alterations, docked pay and company fines need to be paired with criminal prosecutions, according to Jennifer Taub at Vermont Law School.

----Banks have been punished too much, according to Phil Gramm. The former Republican senator who co-authored the 1999 U.S. law that ended Depression-era restrictions on banking said it’s the amount the largest U.S. lender is being forced to pay and not the company itself that’s criminal.

“Had the fines levied on JPMorgan been levied in a developing country we would have called it extortion,” Gramm, a UBS vice chairman until last year, said in a phone interview from Japan. “I think everybody knows it’s true.”

----Gramm’s former firm was in the news for a separate reason yesterday, when UBS said it’s taking measures against employees as investigators examine currency markets.

At the same time, Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) put Matt Gardiner, a senior foreign-exchange dealer, on leave because of allegations that don’t relate to his work there, said a person with knowledge of the matter. Gardiner worked at Barclays Plc and UBS before joining London-based Standard Chartered, which last year agreed to pay more than $600 million after regulators alleged it violated U.S. sanctions with Iran.

Rabobank Rate Riggers See Bigger Crooks Than Themselves

By Tom Schoenberg & Keri Geiger - Oct 29, 2013 11:01 PM GMT
Internal Rabobank Groep e-mails cited in the U.S. Justice Department’s case against the bank show a culture where fixing benchmark interest rates had become an easygoing routine, one in which employees joked about rate rigging while telling each other they weren’t really that bad.

Exchanges among traders, rate submitters and a money manager in London were laced with jokes and requests to raise or lower rates depending upon the traders’ positions, according to a statement of facts filed yesterday in federal court in Hartford, Connecticut, as part of a deferred prosecution deal reached with Rabobank.

“Don’t worry mate -- there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!” the Rabobank yen Libor submitter, identified as Submitter-4 in the filing, said in a Sept. 21, 2007, e-mail, after agreeing to increase the daily yen rate by a percentage point. Another mid-level manager joked to a colleague seeking help rigging rates: “I am fast turning into your Libor bitch!!!”

Rabobank, the co-operative formed in 1898 to lend to Dutch farmers, was fined 774 million euros ($1.1 billion) for its involvement in rigging benchmark interest rates, the second-largest in the global investigation.
Rabobank admitted that for at least five years beginning in 2005, benchmark submitters in London and Utrecht, Netherlands, would routinely take requests from traders seeking to fix the rate of Euribor and Libor for the U.S. dollar, yen and pound sterling, according to the statement of facts.

A large Bank is exactly the place where a vain and shallow person in authority, if he be a man of gravity and method, as such men often are, may do infinite evil in no long time, and before he is detected. If he is lucky enough to begin at a time of expansion in trade, he is nearly sure not to be found out till the time of contraction has arrived, and then very large figures will be required to reckon the evil he has done.

Walter Bagehot. Lombard Street. 1873

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished September:
DJIA: +167 Up. NASDAQ: +213 Up. SP500: +203 Up. All three are back positive again, thanks to continued Fed QE.  High risk speculators will now use any stocks sell-off to go long. After the last Fed meeting and QE U-turn, the Bernocchio put is back on.

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