It’s time to take a few days and recharge the mind. But before saddling up and heading off into the SUNSET here’s a few concepts to consider. Longtime NOTES readers know that the tagline 2+2=5 is a very serious construct for thinking outside the proverbial box. The line comes from Dostoyevsky’s short story, “Notes From Underground” in which the Russian master of literature protests against the RATIONALISTS who pretend to be all-knowing, like the FED MODELS. Just because things appear to be in balance doesn’t mean they are factual, so my goal is to look beyond conventional wisdom and find relevance and profit opportunity in what may appear to be mundane. While I am away new readers to NOTES should look back in the archives to see how we dissected ordinary news to find investment possibilities. The aim is to achieve economic gain through the analysis of politics and economics for the combination of political economy is the main thrust of this BLOG. Now, tomorrow and the FED:
Never has such calm winds cause so much turbulence. The markets have been grinding up and down during the last four weeks as traders and investors weigh the consequences of the Greek resolution and the Chinese intervention into their equity markets. ONE THING IS FOR CERTAIN, THE CHINESE EQUITY MARKET IS AN OXYMORON. If a government can set the price of individual stocks or the price of bonds it is not a MARKET but a plaything for the ruling party. The Chinese Government can try to mandate rising stock prices but ultimately it will take more than a mandate but actually spending of capital to support prices, or else invoking the fear of capital punishment for all short sellers of equities (PUN INTENDED). The talking heads are concerned that the Chinese weakness is causing selling in all global equity markets. The DOW JONES did close under the 200-day moving average last Friday and continued its downward path today. The SPOOs tested the 200-day and managed to save itself by the market close.
And so it goes. As the light lifts off the European “bailout” it appears that most analysts agree that the “Agreement” was a lose-lose for the European Project. The Germans stood firm and placed unduly harsh demands upon the Greek electorate that had the temerity to openly reject the terms of debt resolution. Merkel had favored a real compromise until Alexis Tspiras deployed the nuclear option and went to referendum in an effort to better be able to negotiate with an intransigent Djisselbloehm and his ECOFIN council of Grand Inquisitors (see the Brothers Karamazov). The punishment meted out to the Greek nation is a loss for them but ultimately the real loss will be on Spain, Italy, and, of course France. The Germans have revealed that the use of Berlin’s money to support the EU is going to come at a price and it is the acceptance of an economic model for Europe that is German, its backdrop of course being sound money. Not the strong dollar mantra of the U.S. Treasury Secretary but an actual strong currency, at least until the German financial system enters a fragile state.
Earlier I was rereading a blog post from almost three years ago. I believe it still has great relevancy and gives us all perspective from where we have been to what the next three years may bring. Perspective for a global macro trader is very important for without it traders rush in where investors dare to tread.
As discussed ad nauseam, politics is trumping the economics of the Greek drama as the European finance ministers are trying to cut and paste a “bailout” solution that satisfies all parties. In what is being reported as terse discussions taking place in Brussels, the Financial Times reported that German Chancellor Merkel said, “There’s not going to be an agreement at any cost.” This Merkel comment is in direct contravention to Mario Draghi’s famous pledge in July 2012, “Whatever It Take” and no taboos.
It would be great to concentrate on market fundamentals rather than the latest TWEET but as traders know, can’t play the cards that are not dealt. If the market wants to jump to the latest 140 character piece of informed opinion, then it is either use your own reaction function or fold up the lap-top and wait for greater clearance from trends and underlying fundamentals. The markets are presently in a binary mode. Chinese stock market gyrations impact global equity markets and all type of commodities and foreign currencies as traders “guess” what assets the Chinese might be selling to raise cash to meet stock market losses. The nature of a “collateralized, securitized” credit system is that it is subject to violent reactions because of its pro-cyclical element: Copper secures a loan and when copper prices rise the lender offers more money because the value of the security increases allowing an increase in liquidity.
The outcome of the Greek referendum surprised all, even those who believed a NO vote was imminent. As NOTES has written ad nauseam, the referendum card was the nuclear option for Prime Minister Tsipras and he played it for a resounding impact. Chancellor Merkel was furious with Tsipras for having the audacity to challenge the EU elite by going to the people and testing the concept of the general will. The financial media and its purveyors of pabulum could only see this move by the Greeks in its impact upon the equity markets–and marginally the global bond markets. The outcome for the debt markets is a mixed bag for some bonds rally while the debt of smaller peripheral economies take a hit as the risk-off trade is initiated to the possible negative fallout from the lopsided Greek vote of NO.
Six months ago the world woke up to learn that the Syriza Party had been elected in Greece. It was a dream for some and a nightmare for the European ruling elite. Yes, there is a ruling elite that is very similar to what C. Wright Mills wrote about America in the 1950s. This is not conspiratorial but rather a sociological commentary and the ruling elite is not beholden to an electorate but operates with a sense of noblesse oblige. The Brussels eurocrats are in the image of Plato’s Philospher King, only there are too many Kings all believing themselves to be the most capable ruler. For two years I have written about that the European leaders feared REFERENDA more than anything for direct democracy was an affront to the wisdom of the self-anointed elite. The European project was too important to be left to the capricious voters.
***NOTE: On late Friday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on Friday that the Greek people will be voting on the latest aid proposals on Sunday, July 5, saying he would advocate a “no” vote. The ECB has frozen any further emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) to the Greek banks. As a result, Greece has imposed capital controls and the banks will remain shut on Monday. (Also, the euro is already down 1.7% to 1.1014 as trading opens in Asia.) Given the drama unfolding, I’m reissuing a post from February 4, where I discussed the new Greek ruling party and what it would mean for the Troika, Greek relationship.
Be prepared for further statements from Europe’s elites, especially Mario Draghi, who has pledged to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro.