This post was published at jsnip4
In economics, two key market asymmetries/biases lead to the severe reduction in markets efficiency often marking the departure from theoretical levels of efficiency (speed, with which markets incorporate new relevant information into pricing decisions of markets agents) and the practical outcomes. These asymmetries or biases are: information asymmetry and agency problem.
For those, uninitiated into econospeak, information asymmetry (sometimes referred to as information failure), is a situation, in which one party to an economic transaction possesses greater knowledge of facts, material or relevant to the decision, than the other party. For example, a seller may know hidden information about a car on offer that is not revealed to the buyer. In more extreme example, a seller might actively conceal such information from a buyer. This can happen when a seller ‘prepares’ the car for sale by cleaning the engine, thus removing leaks and accumulations of oil and / or coolant that can indicate the areas where the problems might be.
The agency problem, also referred to as principal-agent problem, arises when an agent, acting on behalf of the principal, has distinct set of incentives from the principal. The resulting risk is that the agent will act in self-interest to undermine the goals and objectives of the principal. An example here would be a real estate agent contracted by the seller, while taking a commission kickback from the buyer. Or vice versa.
This post was published at True Economics on Saturday, November 18, 2017.
Yesterday’s torrid, broad-based rally looked set to continue overnight until early in the Japanese session, when the USD tumbled and dragged down with it the USDJPY, Nikkei, and US futures following a WSJ report that Robert Mueller had issued a subpoena to more than a dozen top Trump administration officials in mid October.
And as traders sit at their desks on Friday, U. S. index futures point to a lower open as European stocks fall, struggling to follow Asian equities higher as the euro strengthened at the end of a tumultuous week. Chinese stocks dropped while Indian shares and the rupee gain on Moody’s upgrade. The MSCI world equity index was up 0.1% on the day, but was heading for a 0.1% fall on the week. The dollar declined against most major peers, while Treasury yields dropped and oil rose.
Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index fluctuated before turning lower as much as 0.3% in brisk volumes, dropping towards the 200-DMA, although about 1% above Wednesday’s intraday low; weakness was observed in retail, mining, utilities sectors. In the past two weeks, the basic resources sector index is down 6%, oil & gas down 5.8%, autos down 4.9%, retail down 3.4%; while real estate is the only sector in green, up 0.1%. The Stoxx 600 is on track to record a weekly loss of 1.3%, adding to last week’s sell-off amid sharp rebound in euro, global equity pullback. The Euro climbed for the first time in three days after ECB President Mario Draghi said he was optimistic for wage growth in the region, although stressed the need for patience, speaking in Frankfurt. European bonds were mixed. The pound pared some of its earlier gains after comments from Brexit Secretary David Davis signaling a continued stand-off in negotiations with the European Union.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 took its time to catch up to the WSJ report that US Special Counsel Mueller has issued a Subpoena for Russia-related documents from Trump campaign officials, although reports pointing to North Korea conducting ‘aggressive’ work on the construction of a ballistic missile submarine helped the selloff. The Japanese blue-chip index rose as much as 1.8% in early dealing, but the broad-based dollar retreat led to the index unwinding the bulk of its gains; the index finished the session up 0.2% as the yen jumped to the strongest in four-weeks. Australia’s ASX 200 added 0.2% with IT, healthcare and telecoms leading the way, as utilities lagged. Mainland Chinese stocks fell, with the Shanghai Comp down circa 0.5% as the PBoC’s reversel in liquidity injections (overnight net drain of 10bn yuan) did little to boost risk appetite, as Kweichou Moutai (viewed as a bellwether among Chinese blue chips) fell sharply. This left the index facing its biggest weekly loss in 3 months, while the Hang Seng rallied with IT leading the way higher. Indian stocks and the currency advanced after Moody’s Investors Service raised the nation’s credit rating.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.
The recovery in Eurozone growth has become part of the synchronised global growth narrative that most investors are relying on to deliver further gains in equities as we head into 2018. However, the ‘Zombification’ of a chunk of the Eurozone’s corporate sector is not only a major unaddressed structural problem, but it’s getting worse, especially in…you guessed it… Italy and Spain. According to the WSJ.
The Bank for International Settlements, the Basel-based central bank for central banks, defines a zombie as any firm which is at least 10 years old, publicly traded and has interest expenses that exceed the company’s earnings before interest and taxes. Other organizations use different criteria. About 10% of the companies in six eurozone countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain are zombies, according to the central bank’s latest data. The percentage is up sharply from 5.5% in 2007. In Italy and Spain, the percentage of zombie companies has tripled since 2007, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated in January. Italy’s zombies employed about 10% of all workers and gobbled up nearly 20% of all the capital invested in 2013, the latest year for which figures are available. The WSJ explains how the ECB’s negative interest rate policy and corporate bond buying are keeping a chunk of the corporate sector, especially in southern Europe on life support. In some cases, even the life support of low rates and debt restructuring is not preventing further deterioration in their metrics. These are the true ‘Zombie’ companies who will probably never come back from being ‘undead’, i.e. technically dead but still animate. Belatedly, there is some realisation of the risks.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.
Mario Draghi gave the keynote speech at the Frankfurt European Banking Congress this morning in which he focused on the strong outlook for the Eurozone economy and how his monetary policy is playing a vital role. The speech was peppered with upbeat phrases and adjectives like solid, robust, unabated, endogenous propagation, resilient, remarkable and ongoing. According to Draghi.
The euro area is in the midst of a solid economic expansion. GDP has risen for 18 straight quarters, with the latest data and surveys pointing to unabated growth momentum in the period ahead. From the ECB’s perspective, we have increasing confidence that the recovery is robust and that this momentum will continue going forward. Draghi is confident that future growth will be unabated for three reasons.
Previous headwinds have dissipated; Drivers of growth are increasingly endogenous rather than exogenous; and The Eurozone economy is more resilient to new shocks. In terms of previous headwinds, Draghi notes that global growth and trade have recovered, while the eurozone has de-leveraged.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.
Mark Thornton of the Mises Institute and our good friend Claudio Grass recently discussed a number of key issues, sharing their perspectives on important economic and geopolitical developments that are currently on the minds of many US and European citizens.
A video of the interview can be found at the end of this post. Claudio provided us with a written summary of the interview which we present below – we have added a few remarks in brackets (we strongly recommend checking the podcast out in its entirety – there is a lot more than is covered by the summary).
We currently find ourselves in a historically and economically significant transition period. The already overstretched bubble in the markets is still expanding, but we now see bold moves by the Fed to reduce its balance sheet, at the same time the ECB plans to taper, overall presenting us with a fairly deflationary outlook. This reversal of the expansionary policies of the last decade can be seen as the first step toward a potentially ferocious correction in the not-too-distant future.
The ECB is trapped, as it already holds 40% of euro zone sovereign debt. At the same time, Spain, Italy and Greece continue to potentially present major challenges, as a banking crisis could easily reemerge in these countries [ed note: banks in Europe have managed to boost their capital ratios, but the amount of legacy non-performing loans in the system remains close to EUR 1 trn. Moreover, TARGET-2 imbalances have recently reached new record highs, a strong sign that the underlying systemic imbalances remain as pronounced as ever]. Mario Draghi intends to reduce the ECB’s asset purchases from EUR60 billion to EUR30 billion per month. He may soon realize that if the ECB does not buy euro zone bonds, no-one will.
This post was published at Acting-Man on November 14, 2017.
– Protect Your Savings With Gold: ECB Propose End To Deposit Protection
– New ECB paper proposes ‘covered deposits’ should be replaced to allow for more flexibility
– Fear covered deposits may lead to a run on the banks
– Savers should be reminded that a bank’s word is never its bond and to reduce counterparty exposure
– Physical gold enable savers to stay out of banking system and reduce exposure to bail-ins
It is the ‘opinion of the European Central Bank’ that the deposit protection scheme is no longer necessary:
‘covered deposits and claims under investor compensation schemes should be replaced by limited discretionary exemptions to be granted by the competent authority in order to retain a degree of flexibility.’
To translate the legalese jargon of the ECB bureaucrats this could mean that the current 100,000 (85,000) deposit level currently protected in the event of a bail-in may soon be no more.
This post was published at Gold Core on November 14, 2017.
There is a certain, and very tangible, irony in the central banks’ response to the Global Financial Crisis, which was first and foremost the result of unprecedented amounts of debt: it was to unleash an even greater amount of debt, or as BofA’s credit strategist Barnaby Martin says, “the irony in today’s world is that central banks are maintaining loose monetary policies to generate inflation…in order to ease the pain of a debt “supercycle”…that itself was partly a result of too easy (and predictable) monetary policies in prior times.”
The bolded sentence is all any sane, rational human being would need to know to understand the lunacy behind modern monetary policy and central banking. Unfortunately, it is not sane, rational people who are in charge of the money printer, but rather academics fully or part-owned, by Wall Street as Bernanke’s former mentor once admitted (see “Bernanke’s Former Advisor: “People Would Be Stunned To Know The Extent To Which The Fed Is Privately Owned“). Actually, when one considers where the Fed’s allegiance lies (to its owners), its actions make all the sense in the world. The problem, as Martin further explains, is that “clearly if central banks remain too patient and predictable over the next few years this risks extending the debt supercycle further.”
Translated: the bubble will get even bigger. Unfortunately, it is already too big. As Martin shows in chart 9 below, which breaks down global non-financial debt growth over the last 30yrs split by type (household debt, government debt and non-financial corporate debt), “it is currently hovering around the $150 trillion mark and has shown few signs of declining materially of late. Yet, the “delta” of debt growth over the last 10yrs has been on the non-financial corporate side. Government debt growth has slowed down recently as countries have clawed back to fiscal prudence. Households have also deleveraged over the last few years given their rapid debt accumulation prior to the Lehman event.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.
The ECB faces the Devil’s Alternative that Frederick Forsyth mentioned in one of his books. All options are potentially riskly. Mario Draghi knows that maintaining the so-called stimuli involves more risks than benefits, but also knows that eliminating them could make the eurozone deck of cards collapse.
Despite the massive injection of liquidity, he knows that he can not disguise political risks such as the secessionist coup in Catalonia. The Ibex reflects this, making it clear that the European Central Bank does not print prosperity, it only puts a floor to valuations.
The ECB wants a weak euro. But it is a game of juggling to pretend a weak euro and at the same time a strong economy. The European Union countries export mostly to themselves. Member countries sell more than two-thirds of their goods and services to other countries in the eurozone. Therefore, the more they export and their economies recover, the stronger the euro, and with it, the risk of losing competitiveness. The ECB has tried to break the euro strength with dovish messages, but it has not worked until political risk reappeared. With the German elections and the prospect of a weak coalition, the results of the Austrian elections and the situation in Spain, market operators have realized – at last – that the mirage of ‘this time is different ‘in the European Union was simply that, a mirage.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 11/09/2017.
… while European high yield bonds have sunk below 2%, a head-scratching plunge in European “high” yields. As we have observed previously, the catalyst for the dramatic collapse in yields has been an obvious one: central banks, which have not only crushed asset volatility, but through the ECB’s explicit guarantee to be the buyer of last resort for corporate bonds, pushed yields to unprecednted low levels.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.
The global risk levitation continues, sending Asian stocks just shy of records, to the highest since November 2007 and Japan’s Nikkei topped 22,750 – a level last seen in 1992 – while European shares and US equity futures were mixed, and the dollar rose across the board, gains accelerating through the European session with EURUSD sumping below 1.16 shortly German industrial output shrank more than forecast, eventually dropping to the lowest point since last month’s ECB meeting. Meanwhile soaring iron-ore prices couldn’t provide relief to the Aussie as the RBA held rates unchanged as expected; Oil traded unchanged at 2.5 year highs, while TSY 10-year yields rose while the German curve bear steepened, both driven by selling from global investors.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index edged lower, erasing an early advance, despite earlier euphoria in stocks from Japan to Sydney, which reached fresh milestones. Disappointing reports from BMW AG and Associated British Foods Plc weighed on the European index as third-quarter earnings season continued. Earlier, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose as much as 0.3%, just shy of a 2-year high it reached last week. Maersk was among the worst performers after posting a quarterly loss, saying a cyberattack in the summer cost more than previously predicted. Spain’s IBEX 35 gains crossed back above its 200 day moving average. European bank stocks trimmed gains after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said that the problem of non-performing loans isn’t solved yet, though supervision has improved the resilience of the banking sector in the euro region. Draghi was speaking at a conference in Frankfurt.
Over in Asia, equities rose to a decade high, with energy and commodities stocks leading gains as oil and metals prices rallied. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8 percent to 171.40, advancing for a second consecutive session. Oil-related shares advanced the most among sub-indexes as Inpex Corp. rose 3.7 percent and China Oilfield Services Ltd. added 4.6 percent. The MSCI EM Asia Index climbed to a fresh record. The Asia-wide gauge has risen 27 percent this year, outperforming a measure of global markets. The regional index is trading at the highest level since November 2007. Hong Kong’s equity benchmark was at its highest since December 2007 as Tencent Holdings Ltd. advanced for an eighth session. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed at its highest level since the financial crisis.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 7, 2017.
Recently, Fine Gael party PR machine promoted as a core economic policy achievement since 2011 election the dramatic reduction in Ireland’s unemployment rate. And in fact, they are correct to both, highlight the strong performance of the Irish economy in this area and take (some) credit for it. The FG-led governments of the recent years have been quite positive in terms of their policies supporting (or at least not hampering) jobs creation by the MNCs. Of course, they deserve no accolades for jobs creation by the SMEs (which were effectively turned into cash cows for local and central governments in the absence of any government power over taxing MNCs), nor do they deserve any credit for the significant help in creating MNCs’ jobs that Ireland got from abroad.
Now, to briefly explain what I mean by it: several key external factors helped stimulate MNCs-led new jobs creation in Ireland. Let me name a few.
ECB. By unleashing a massive QE campaign, Mario Draghi effectively underwritten solvency of the Irish State overnight. Which means that Dublin could continue avoiding collecting taxes due from the MNCs. And better, Mr Draghi’s policies also created a massive carry trade pipeline for MNCs converting earnings into corporate debt in Euro area markets. The combined effect of the QE has been a boom in ‘investment’ into Ireland, and with it, a boom of jobs. OECD. That’s right, by initiating the BEPS corporation tax reform process, the arch-nemesis of Irish tax optimisers turned out to be their arch blesser. OECD devised a system of taxation that at least partially, and at least in theory, assesses tax burdens due on individual corporations in relation physical tangible activities these corporations carry out in each OECD country. Tangible physical activity can involve physical capital investment (hence U. S. MNCs rapidly swallowing up new and old buildings in Ireland, that’s right – a new tax offset), an intangible Intellectual Property ‘capital’ (yep, all hail the Glorious Knowledge Development Box), and… err… employment (that is why Facebook et al are rushing to shift more young Spaniards and Portuguese, French and Dutch, Ukrainians and Italians, Poles and Swedes… into Dublin, despite the fact they have no where to live in the city).
This post was published at True Economics on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
Wishful thinking may not be enough.
The financial markets have been exceedingly calm in Italy of late. At the end of October the government was able to sell 2.5 billion of 10-year debt at auction at a yield of 1.86%, the lowest since last December – an incredible feat for a country that four months ago witnessed a major bank bailout and two bank resolutions, and that has so much public debt that it spends 70 billion a year to service it, the world’s third-highest.
And there’s the ECB’s recent decision to slash its bond buying from roughly 60 billion a month to 30 billion as of Jan 1, 2018. Then there’s the over 432 billion of Target 2 debt the government owes the ECB, the growing likelihood of political instability as elections approach in 2018, the recent referendums for greater fiscal and political autonomy in Lombardy and Veneto and serious unresolved issues in the banking sector.
Monte dei Paschi di Siena may still be alive as a bank, but it’s not out of the woods. Last week its stock resumed trading after ten months of being suspended from Italy’s benchmark index, the FTSE MBE. Shares opened on Wednesday at 4.10, then rose 28% to 5.26. But it didn’t stick. On Friday, shares closed at 4.58.
It’s a far cry from the 6.49 a share the Italian government paid in August when it injected 3.85 billion into the bank to keep it alive. It spent another 1.5 billion shielding some of the bank’s junior bondholders, whose debt was converted into equity. As part of the rescue, the Tuscan bank was forced to present a plan to cut 5,500 jobs and close 600 branches until 2021, in addition to transferring 28,600 million euros in unproductive loans and divesting non-strategic assets. Investors clearly have their doubts.
This post was published at Wolf Street on Nov 5, 2017.
Many expect Mr. Jerome H. Powell to be President Trump pick for Fed Chairman. Trump is resisting pressure by conservatives to make a larger change at the Fed. Many conservatives, including Vice President Mike Pence, preferred John B. Taylor, who is an economist at Stanford and an outspoken critic of the Fed’s monetary policy. Taylor previously served in the Treasury Department during the Bush administration. However, he is best known as an academic economist with no real experience hands-on. He wrote an approach to monetary policy, known as the ‘Taylor Rule,’ where he suggested that the Fed should be raising rates more quickly. That was obviously based on the economic theory of the Quantity of Money leads to inflation. He also has closely advised House Republicans on legislation that would require the Fed to adopt such a policy rule taking a hawkish approach to monetary policy.
Representative Warren Davidson, a Republican on the House Financial Services Committee’s monetary policy panel, is one of the people who want a change in policy toward more conservative and austerity. He is circulating a letter opposing Yellen’s reappointment. Personally, I believe Yellen has done a good job. She has been under international pressure not to raise rates from the IMF and just about everyone else because Europe is still floundering and higher rates would be expected to push the ECB and emerging markets off into the deep-end of the pool.
This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 3, 2017.
The Alternative for Germany party (AfD) in Germany has asked the Federal Government to file a lawsuit against all decisions of European Central Bank (ECB) regarding the purchase of government bonds and corporate bonds as well as derivatives since 2015. They are petitioning to file in the European Court of Justice asserting that the policies of the European Treaties and by the Federal Constitutional Court were being violated.
Effectively, the ECB ‘stimulus’ policy (QE) has completely failed and instead has become a life-support system subsidizing the debt of Eurozone member states. Even reducing the amount bought per month is an attempt to see if the marketplace takes up the debt. But the Eurozone governments never cut back spending or reformed. They never had to. The QE program was merely targeting to support the government – not the average person in the economy.
This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 2, 2017.
Authored by Anthony Doyle via BondVigilantes.com,
Investment markets have been remarkably resilient over the course of 2017. Sure, the geopolitical environment has thrown up a few frightening days which saw markets sell-off but on the whole volatility has been muted and most asset classes have generated solid total returns. That said, any horror movie fan will tell you that the scariest part of a horror film happens when things are relatively calm. With that in mind, here are a few charts that shine a light on a number of threats that are lurking just below the surface of the global economy.
1. ECB quantitative easing has propped up government bond markets
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.
Central bank quantitative easing is a little like a zombie. It dies – but it never really dies.
There’s been a lot of focus on the Federal Reserve raising interest rates and unwinding its balance sheet. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the Fed isn’t the only game in town. While most people consider QE dead and buried in the US, it remains alive and kicking in other parts of the world.
Yesterday, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced it would extend its bond-buying program deep into 2018, continuing the flow of easy money into the European Union. ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank would cut its bond purchases in half beginning in January, a faint hint at eventual normalization. But the central bank president left the door open to backtracking.
Draghi said the EU’s economy is improving, but still needs support.
Domestic price pressures are still muted overall and the economic outlook and the path of inflation remain conditional on continued support from monetary policy. Therefore, an ample degree of monetary stimulus remains necessary.’
This post was published at Schiffgold on OCTOBER 27, 2017.
In all the euphoria over yesterday’s “dovish taper” by the ECB, markets appear to have forgotten one thing: the great Central Bank liquidity tide, which generated over $2 trillion in central bank purchasing power in 2017 alone – and which as Bank of America said last month is the only reason why stocks are at record highs, is now on its way out.
This was a point first made by Deutsche Bank’s Alan Ruskin two weeks ago, who looked at the collapse in global vol, and concluded that “as we look at what could shake the panoply of low vol forces, it is the thaw in Central Bank policy as they retreat from emergency measures that is potentially most intriguing/worrying. We are likely to be nearing a low point for major market bond and equity vol, and if the catalyst is policy it will likely come from positive volatility QE ‘flow effect’ being more powerful than the vol depressant ‘stock effect’. To twist a phrase from another well know Chicago economist: Vol may not always and everywhere be a monetary phenomena – but this is the first place to look for economic catalysts over the coming year.”
He showed this great receding tide of liquidity in the following chart projecting central bank “flows” over the next two years, and which showed that “by the end of next year, the combined expansion of all the major Central Bank balance sheets will have collapsed from a 12 month growth rate of $2 trillion per annum to zero.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 27, 2017.
This epic central-bank-easing-driven global stock bull is starting to be strangled by the very central banks that fueled it. This week the European Central Bank made a landmark decision to drastically slash its quantitative easing next year. That follows the Fed’s new quantitative-tightening campaign just getting underway this month. With CBs aggressively curtailing easy-money liquidity, this stock bull is in serious trouble.
The US flagship S&P 500 broad-market stock index (SPX) has powered an incredible 280.6% higher over the past 8.6 years, making for the third-largest and second-longest bull market in US history! The resulting popular euphoria, a strong feeling of happiness and confidence, is extraordinary. So investors brazenly shrugged off the Fed’s September 20th QT and the ECB’s October 26th QE-tapering announcements.
That’s a grave mistake. Extreme central-bank easing unlike anything witnessed before in history is why this stock bull grew to such grotesque monstrous proportions. Without QE, it would have withered and died years ago. Central banks conjured literally trillions of new dollars and euros out of thin air, and used that new money to buy assets. This vast quantitative easing inarguably levitated the world stock markets.
QE greatly boosted stocks in two key ways. Most of it was bond buying, which forced interest rates to deep artificial lows nearing and even under zero at times. This bullied traditional bond investors looking for yield income into dividend-paying stocks. The record-low interest rates fueled by QE were also used to justify extremely-expensive stock prices. QE aggressively forced legions of investors to buy stocks high.
This post was published at ZEAL LLC on October 27, 2017.
GOLD: $1269.00 down $8.80
Silver: $16.80 DOWN 15 cents
Closing access prices:
SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: FIRST FIX 10 15 PM EST (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
SECOND FIX: 2:15 AM EST (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1291.03 DOLLARS PER OZ
NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: $1280.50
PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $10.53(premiums getting larger)
SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1291.03
NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1281.00
Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$10.03 PREMIUMS GETTING LARGER)
LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est $1278.20
NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1277.75
LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1273.75
NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. 1274.70 ??
For comex gold:
NOTICES FILINGS TODAY FOR OCT CONTRACT MONTH: 85 NOTICE(S) FOR 8500 OZ.
TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 3173 FOR 317,300 OZ (9.869TONNES)
28 NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR
Total number of notices filed so far this month: 1057 for 5,285,000 oz
Bitcoin: $5834 bid /$58544 offer UP $155.00 (MORNING)
BITCOIN CLOSING;$5833 BID:5853. OFFER up $155.00
This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on October 26, 2017.