With regard what’s happening in Europe, we’ve seen this movie before.
On August 2, 2012 Mario Draghi gave the most disastrous ECB press conference of all time. The market anticipation was enormous leading up to the event, as this was the moment where the ECB would unveil the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program — a new, ultimate weapon to be deployed to rescue the euro. In truth, the OMT then (and now) was just a bunch of words. Powerful and nice-sounding words, to be sure, but just words. All hat and no cattle, as they might say in Texas. The Germans then (and now) were clearly not on board with the OMT, and European markets broke hard. Spain’s stock market dropped more than 5% that day, and Italy’s was close to that. Spain’s 10-year bonds hit a 7.2% yield, and Italy’s hit 6.3%. You can imagine what happened in Portugal and Greece.
But the most amazing thing happened the next day on August 3. What the Financial Times had originally called “Draghi’s Blunder” was now written up as “Draghi’s Bold Move”. Every talking head and person of media influence (what game theory calls Missionaries) with access to the ECB or a European central bank started reading from the same playbook (“Mario is a genius”, “markets got it wrong”, etc.). I thought my head would explode if I heard the word “bold” one more time. Combine this with the European Plunge Protection Team buying up every risk asset in sight at the opening bell, and the rest, as they say, was history. European (and global) markets rocked on in risk-on mode for months … years, really, if you focus on Eurozone sovereign rates. It’s the purest example of Narrative creation and the Common Knowledge Game in action that I know, and was in many ways the spark for my starting Epsilon Theory.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/14/2016.