Wednesday, 23 October 2013

More QE! More QE!!!

Baltic Dry Index. 1847 -31

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

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

American businesses created fewer jobs than expected in September, and who can blame them. In September they expected “the Bernank” to make good on his leak about “tapering” to the WSJ back in June. By leaking early Bernocchio bet, the markets would react calmly with little impact on interest rates. Like fallen former guru Greenspan in February 1994, Bernocchio bet wrong. In September he was forced into a QE U-turn. In September too, US employers were staring at a partial Federal Government shut down in October, and a possible partial federal government default by the end of that month. While the employment numbers released in America yesterday were likely distorted, there was little happening in America in September to make US employers rush out to hire the hoi poloi. Sadly with America’s civil war armistice only good until next February, temporary Christmas hires and snow removers are likely to be the only good news until then.

Below, depending on who you want to believe, Fedster tapering is now off until April 2014 or March 2015. If the US economy slows some more, the Fedster’s might even be forced into increasing the amount of monthly QE.  Never mind that QE isn’t working as forecast, or even working at all as seen from London. If a trillion a year of QE isn’t the answer, is two trillion a year likely to be the answer? Yes, yes, yes,” says Nobel economist, and New York Times corporate socialist in chief, Paul Krugman. Stay long fully paid up physical precious metals.  The inmates may have taken over the asylum but no one is running it.

“It is difficult not to marvel at the imagination which was implicit in this gargantuan insanity. If there must be madness something may be said for having it on a heroic scale."

J. K. Galbraith. The Great Crash: 1929.

Fed likely to delay taper after disappointing US jobs data

Stock markets rise as investors bet that the Federal Reserve will keep on buying bonds at the rate of $85bn a month until next year

American employers created fewer jobs in September than forecast, raising expectations that the US Federal Reserve will keep pumping money into the world’s largest economy at the same rate for several months yet.
Stock markets rose on Tuesday as investors bet that the central bank would keep on buying bonds at the rate of $85bn a month until next year, and potentially even increase that figure to help fuel America’s still-fragile economic recovery.

America added 148,000 jobs in September, according to delayed figures from the US Labour Department – far short of analysts’ forecasts of 180,000 jobs, and the 193,000 extra jobs created in August. The increase was also well below the average increase of 181,000 jobs a month which America has seen since the start of the year.

The country’s labour market is expected to grow even more slowly in the last few months of 2013, as the US absorbs the impact of the political standoff which forced the government to shut down earlier this month.

“The October payrolls number will be bad due to the government shutdown. I think this might [delay] tapering to March,” said Craig Dismuke, chief economic strategist at the US analysis firm, Vining Sparks.

Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at WorldWideMarkets, added that “another weak payroll” could push the Fed to increase its quantitative easing programme rather than scale it back.

Fed rate hike expectations get pushed back as ‘Tapril’ comes into view

October 22, 2013, 3:24 PM
Traders who bet on the future direction of the fed funds rate are pushing back their expectations of when the Federal Reserve will begin to hike that key policy rate. Now, they don’t expect the central bank to begin the tightening process until the spring of 2015 in one indication that lackluster data and fiscal headwinds are impacting how the market expects the Fed to react.

The fed funds rate, used widely for lending and liquidity purposes, has been held between 0% and 0.25% in the wake of the financial crisis. But those who deal in the thinly traded futures contracts on fed funds peg the first rate hike at the April 2015 Fed meeting, according to CME data. That means traders expect the first hike to come two meetings later than they did just a month ago.

Following the jobs report on Tuesday, CME put the probability of a rate hike in April 2015 at 54%. On Monday, the probability was at 58.7%, indicating that the chances of a rate hike along that time-frame became smaller after the soft labor data. A week ago, there was a 52.1% probability of a rate hike in March 2015. And at the end of September, the first rate hike was expected at the January 2015 Fed meeting, according to CME data.

Fed funds futures are traded in thin volume, which can obscure their predictive powers, and others have taken different views on the time-frame. Societe Generale’s global head of economics Michala Marcussen on Monday also projected a first hike in 2015, but asserted that the policy rate could reach 6% by 2017. Pimco, meanwhile, maintains that the policy rate will stay low until 2016.

Treasuries Advance for Second Day Amid Bets Fed to Delay Taper

By Kevin Buckland & Wes Goodman - Oct 23, 2013 7:17 AM GMT
Treasuries rose for a second day, and 10-year yields extended their decline to a three-month low, on speculation the Federal Reserve will push back plans to trim its bond-purchase program.

Treasuries rallied the most in a month yesterday after a report showed U.S. payrolls climbed less than projected in September. The data signal that the economy had little momentum leading up to the partial federal government shutdown, which Standard & Poor’s estimates shaved at least 0.6 percent off fourth-quarter growth. A measure of volatility in Treasuries dropped to a five-month low.

“I expect yields to go lower,” said Hajime Nagata, who helps oversee the equivalent of $120.4 billion as an investor in Tokyo at Diam Co., a unit of Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. “The jobs report was really disappointing, and it pushed back the Fed tapering. I don’t expect a tapering this year.”

-----Economists predict the Fed will maintain its $85 billion of monthly bond buying until March, according to a Bloomberg survey conducted Oct. 17-18.

Before the shutdown, most policy makers said the central bank would probably reduce bond purchases this year. The Fed’s next two policy meetings are Oct. 29-30 and Dec. 17-18.

Traders are pricing in a 26 percent probability that the Fed will raise its benchmark overnight rate by its January 2015 meeting, down from 43 percent a month ago.

Elsewhere more bad news from China, and these are only the official figures. I suspect that China’s wobble is still intensifying.

Top China Banks Triple Debt Write-Offs as Defaults Loom

By Bloomberg News - 2013-10-23T01:48:09Z
China’s biggest banks tripled the amount of bad loans written off in the first half, cleaning up their books ahead of what may be a fresh wave of defaults.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s most profitable lender, and its four largest rivals expunged in the first six months 22.1 billion yuan ($3.65 billion) of debt that couldn’t be collected, up from 7.65 billion yuan a year earlier, filings showed. That didn’t pare first-half profits, which climbed to a record $76 billion, as provisions were set aside in earlier periods when the loans began souring.

Erasing the worst of the bad debts may allow the banks to mitigate a surge in nonperforming-loan ratios amid rising defaults in the world’s second-largest economy. China has eased rules for writing off debt to small businesses since 2010 and policy makers are pushing the lenders to increase risk buffers following an unprecedented credit boom that began in 2009.

----The China Banking Regulatory Commission, led by Shang Fulin, urged banks in April to set aside more funds to cover defaults, write off some bad loans and curb dividend payments while earnings are ample to create a buffer in case of an economic downturn.

Worries about the slowdown have persisted even after expansion of China’s gross domestic product rebounded to 7.8 percent in the third quarter. Growth may slow to 7.6 percent this year, the weakest pace since 1999, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio, excluding central government and financial debt, widened to 207 percent as credit growth continued to outpace productivity gains, Mike Werner, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Hong Kong, wrote in an Oct. 21 note to clients. That’s making investors nervous about bad loans rising at banks, he said.

China’s Stocks Slump as Small Companies Tumble on Money Rates

By Bloomberg News - 2013-10-23T06:10:37Z
China’s stocks fell, with the benchmark index for smaller companies heading for the biggest two-day loss in 18 months, after money-market rates surged.

Leshi Internet Information & Technology (Beijing) Co. (300104), the operator of online-video portal, plunged by the 10 percent daily limit for a second day. Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. (600887), China’s biggest dairy producer by sales, declined by the most in five months. Huaneng Power International Inc., the listed unit of China’s largest power group, slumped 4.9 percent after third-quarter earnings missed estimates.

The Shanghai Composite Index slid 1.2 percent to 2,183.21 at 1:51 p.m., while the ChiNext index of smaller companies plunged 3.1 percent. China’s benchmark money-market rate jumped the most since July as the People’s Bank of China refrained from adding funds to markets. The nation’s consumer-price index rose the most since February last month and Song Guoqing, an academic adviser to the PBOC, said on Oct. 20 the authority may tighten policy this year if inflation quickens.

“Monetary policies will be slightly tight for the rest of the year as the pressure from rising housing prices and inflation is building up,” said Wang Weijun, a strategist at Zheshang Securities Co. in Shanghai. “The valuations of small-caps are too high and it looks like the bubble has started to burst.”

We end for today with more outliers of rising trouble or mere blips? Caution suggests taking them as outliers. Is another 2007-2009 about to arrive?

World’s Longest Flight Ends, Travelers Enter JFK Chaos

By Kyunghee Park - Oct 23, 2013 2:42 AM GMT
The end of the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight, a 19-hour slog between Singapore and New York, is bad news for Chia Teck Fatt.

The 9,000-nautical mile journey from Singapore to Newark, New Jersey, helped him avoid congestion at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Passengers will instead fly to JFK via Frankfurt, adding five hours. Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA) stops the services with its all-business class four-engine Airbus SAS A340-500 next month, after ending the second-longest flight from Los Angeles to the island city

----With oil prices tripling in the last decade, the carrier struggled to ferry executives on the 100-seat flights profitably for the past nine years, a sign that the airline industry is once again putting profitability ahead of glamor. The iconic transatlantic flights with the supersonic Concorde were scrapped a decade ago. The shrinking of Wall Street firms and travel cutbacks after the global financial crisis have made it difficult for airlines to lure top-dollar clients.

“It didn’t make sense to continue,” said Siyi Lim, a Singapore-based investment analyst at OCBC Investment Research. “The plane burns a lot of fuel, but carries very few passengers,” he said about the Airbus A340-500 aircraft.

German Pilots Grounded as $92,000 Tuition Can’t Bring Job

By Richard Weiss - Oct 23, 2013 12:01 AM GMT
Oct. 23 (Bloomberg)-- Christopher Siem is spending 70,000 euros ($92,000) out of his own pocket to train as a pilot, a job where the unemployment rate is twice the German average.

Siem, 24, is among Germany’s aspiring pilots whose dreams of a career in the cockpit have been dented as the country’s airlines slash their fleets. Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA), which has about 5,500 pilots, will limit its fleet to 400 planes and cut 3,500 jobs, while Air Berlin Plc (AB1) is also curbing crew numbers as it pares the aircraft roster by 27 over two years.

---A pilot glut extends across much of Europe as former flag carriers drop routes and minor operators get squeezed by high fuel costs and slow growth. Lufthansa has suspended some training at its in-house flight school because supply outweighs demand, pushing the unemployment rate for qualified aircrew to a record 14 percent in Germany, a pilot union estimates.

While Germany continues its rebound from the global recession, with Europe’s largest economy predicted to grow 0.3 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2014, Lufthansa, like other network airlines, is trimming unprofitable European links that don’t help fill lucrative long-haul flights.

The carrier has dropped plans for a 480-strong fleet and will now make do with about 80 aircraft fewer than that through 2016, meaning it will require about 1,000 fewer pilots, based on an average need of 12.5 cockpit crew per plane.

Augsburg Airways, a regional airline that operates on behalf of Lufthansa, will cease operations at the end of this month, becoming the third carrier in the country to fold this year after ACG Air Cargo Germany GmbH, which went bust in March, and OLT Express Germany, which closed in January.

The failures will collectively put about 350 pilots out of work, according to Vereinigung Cockpit, a German pilot association whose spokesman Joerg Handwerg said unemployment among German aviators “has never been higher.”

It may take another crisis to elevate a generation of leaders with the right medicine for nation states to fit into the world of globalization. Until then, people must survive stagflation as best they can.

The real interest rate is probably minus 2% in the world today. It should be in line with the per capita income growth rate or 1%. The difference is 3%.

This environment redistributes wealth from savers to debtors on a scale of over $2 trillion per annum or $55 billion per day. This must be the biggest legal robbery ever in human history. But it is always coded in arcane academic lingos spoken by respected central bankers with impeccable CVs. All that is just packaging; it is robbery nevertheless.

Andy Xie

At the Comex silver depositories Tuesday final figures were: Registered 44.06 Moz, Eligible 121.61 Moz, Total 165.67 Moz.  

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

Today a warning from fallen “super” Mario Draghi. Europe’s banking problem hasn’t gone away. To keep the wealth destroying Bilderberger euro monetary union on life support, the new German solution will likely ignite investor and depositor flight out of Europe’s under water banks. My own take is that he should stop worrying. The civil war underway in America will likely destroy what’s left of the global banking system anyway.

With the Fedster’s QE forever now likely to last until April 2014 or March 2015, depending on whom you believe, and with the Yellen Fed ready to add  more than the current 85 billion a month if the US economy slows or drifts, as seems all too likely, our world is headed into a massive currency crisis at some point next year. Mr Draghi needs to work out his personal escape plan to match Bernocchio’s.  Stay long fully paid up precious metals. With the heat building the cooks are getting out of the kitchen.

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

Draghi: 'please don’t destroy Europe’s banks yet again'

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Economics Last updated: October 22nd, 2013
El Pais has obtained the devastating letter by the ECB’s Mario Draghi warning Europe’s authorities not to set off yet another conflagration with one their serial idiocies.

As you can see, the wording leaves no doubt that punitive haircuts (however tempting) and a full-blown assault on junior bank debt could lead to a “flight of investors out of the European banking market”. The neuralgic issue is the new drive for forced conversion of sub-debt in what they call “precautionary recapitalisations”.

Ex-ECB board member Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi warns that escalating attacks on bank creditors is a repeat of the infamous Deauville “walk on the beach” by Merkel and Sarkozy, the deal that led to enforced losses on sovereign bondholders in Greece (in violation of earlier pledges that this would never happen), and shattered confidence in EMU sovereign debt markets, with consequences that soon became obvious.

Draghi says the ECB’s bank stress tests early next year will degenerate into a fiasco or worse unless EU leaders put in place “credible public backstops” to cover cases where there is not enough money from private investors to recapitalise the banks.

The whole botched structure “may very well destroy the very confidence in euro area banks which we all intend to restore”

A note by S&P today said Europe’s banks still had a funding gap of €1.3 trillion at the end of 2012 and most of this remains, so the financial system is not out of the woods by any means. Bad debts in Spain keep hitting a fresh record each month. The shortfall could be large.

Draghi is entirely correct. Nor is the risk confined to junior bondholders. The latest utterings from the German finance ministry suggest that they will try to steal money from almost any investor that comes into view.

Berlin really is determined to horsewhip the capitalists – whatever the justice of the matter, or the risk that this could fly out of control – rather than admit to their own taxpayers that it costs good money to hold EMU together

ECB List of Banks Due for 2014 Assessments Includes 124 Lenders

By Rebecca Christie & Zoe Schneeweiss - Oct 22, 2013 6:02 PM GMT
The European Central Bank plans to take on 124 “significant” euro-area banks in its new supervisory role, according to a list obtained by Bloomberg News.

Germany has the most banks up for ECB scrutiny, with 24 banks including Deutsche Bank AG, Commerzbank AG and Bayerische Landesbank. Spain has 16 banks, Italy has 15 and France has 13 banks on the list. The Netherlands has 7 institutions represented on the preliminary list, which was circulated to European officials at the end of last week.

The ECB will assess the health of the banks’ balance sheets next year as it prepares to become the euro area’s top supervisor. ECB President Mario Draghi has urged the currency bloc’s nations to make sure they have public backstops in place for banks that are deemed to need more capital, and EU leaders meeting in Brussels this week will press to establish “all appropriate arrangements.”

“But it (the boom) could not last forever even if inflation and credit expansion were to go on endlessly. It would then encounter the barriers which prevent the boundless expansion of circulation credit. It would lead to the crack-up boom and the breakdown of the whole monetary system.”

Ludwig Von Mises.

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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