Today was a very slow news day and thus little news to slow the steady rise of equities and the sell off in other asset classes. There was a story in the Financial Times about the Brazilian government cutting the tax on ethanol producers. The government is going to cut the tax on sugar-based ethanol producers by 80%–from 120 REALS per cubic meter to 25 REALS. It is an effort “… to support ethanol producers, many of whom are facing bankruptcy because of heavy debts and DIFFICULTIES COMPETING WITH SUBSIDISED PETROL PRICES IN BRAZIL.” There has been a global sugar surplus, which has kept pressure on sugar prices, but this move may help lift sugar prices and allow Brazilian growers to grab some of the agricultural profits that have supported the Brazilian economy. The U.S. economy is a corn-based ethanol producer and this has helped put upward pressure on global grain prices which has benefited Brazil’s farmers.
Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category
Following up last night’s post, Arthur left a note on the blog linking an article from Bloomberg Businessweek, written by Brendan Greeley. The language of the article is crystal clear and provides another example of a Euro policy maker claiming far more insight than the collective wisdom of Mr. Market. “Investors ,he told the Bundestag, are ‘charging interest rates to countries they perceived to be the most vulnerable that [go] beyond levels warranted by economic fundamentals and justified risk premia. This fear is “unfounded. The market is wrong.’”
It seems that we have covered the major themes ad nauseam–European debt, U.S. fiscal cliff, Japanese lethargy in confronting an overvalued currency, Chinese slowdown–and the list goes on and on. Today, the IMF let loose a report that detailed the need for Europe to deleverage its banks to the tune of a possible 4.5 TRILLION EUROS. This is not the aid and comfort that a financially stressed European economy needed. The pains of austerity will be minimal compared to the massive selloff of what ever assets will be dumped on the market. Government retrenchment coupled with private sector rebalancing will undoubtedly lead to a new thrust downward in the adverse feedback loop. The significance of the yield curves will be a critical indicator as the quarter begins to reveal all of the potential hazards with which the global financial system has to contend.
The interest rate variable is alive, well and affecting global markets. Mario Draghi has played the “WIZARD OF FRANKFURT” as he has sought to forestall a financial implosion of Europe. Draghi’s comments in London on July 26, in that the ECB would stem the crisis at end with the tools at its disposal, markets had to believe that ECB policy would be “SUFFICIENT.” As we all know by now, President Draghi has been successful as the Spanish and Italian yield curves have steepened and the 2-YEAR NOTES have seen its yields dramatically drop–the Spanish went from 7% to 3.73%.
Friday’s weaker than expected JOBS REPORT caused AGITA in the BOND and EQUITY MARKETS. Early in the week, the markets had punished the BONDS and EQUITIES as the FOMC MINUTES caused the purveyors of QE3 as a SURE THING to stop, look and listen. The sounds that they had listened to were from the previous speech by Chairman Bernanke as he voiced his deep concerns about the persistent drag of unemployment on GDP. The rush of FED governors and District presidents to any microphone to undermine the chairman’s views caused the market to pause and reconsider its stance on possible FED normalizing rates quicker than the “extended period” language presumed. Stocks were under pressure and U.S. Treasuries were offered as hints of FED buying grabbed traders attention.
First of all, NOTES will be on HIATUS for a well deserved rest from the turmoil of global events and the chaotic impact they have had on markets.
This weekend brought mixed news about the lessening of RISK in Japan, and possibly Bahrain, while increasing the sense of risk in Libya and other parts of the Middle East. It appears that the threat of nuclear catastrophe has been diminished as some power has been restored to the nuclear plants under stress and the needed cooling is proceeding. The Japanese equity market will be a good source to monitor investor sentiment as weekend news publications were filled with articles about the values abound in the Nikkei and other Japan-based indexes. The YEN will be a much more difficult barometer because of the impact of YEAR END and its ability to cause disruptive volatility in currency markets.
Moody’s, the major seers of economic events, has done it again. The Greek sovereign debt rating was lowered and rates on 2-year Greek notes increased to more than 15 percent. Rates on Greek 10-year debt rose to more than 12 percent, yet this is not an inverted curve that one would wish to buy. The group at Moody’s is awakening to the coming dreadful effects of the “NEGATIVE FEEDBACK LOOP.” The more the economy is squeezed, the less tax revenue is collected and that results in a further deterioration of the GREEK BUDGET. The Greek government is going to have to go back to the EU/IMF bailout gurus and ask for further assistance in preventing the next round of financing from causing a greater drain on Greek Government coffers. Imagine the deleterious effects of the Greek polity having to refinance its DEBT at current market rates rather than the considerable lower rates offered through the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
Notes From Underground: The Swiss are yodeling about the strength of the FRANC; Brazil wants the capital markets to get REALJanuary 10, 2011
There were a few stories today about the SWISS complaining about the negative impact the FRANC‘s record strength is having on the economy. Both Bloomberg and the Financial Times ran articles citing Swiss policy makers and SNB officials raising the issue of currency strength and the possible need for intervention to halt the FRANC‘s rise. In an article by Haig Simonian in the FT, he details the high cost of SNB intervention on the CANTONS. Under Swiss law, the central bank disperses a share of its annual gains to the different CANTONS to help them meet their budgets. This year, SNB has a sizable loss of 21 billion FRANCS through November from foreign exchange and an overall loss of 8.5 billion FRANCS because of windfall gains from GOLD and other trading.
Let me state out again as to why the FOREX markets are going to be a difficult investment in 2011. The emerging markets and commodity-based currencies have been the repositories of global capital seeking to take advantage of the Chinese and India growth phenomena without having to actually invest in the countries themselves. If you like China, buy the Australian equity or currency as it provides a proxy on Beijing’s growth policies: A classic case of providing picks and shovels rather than mining yourself.