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 ‘Mexico’ Category
Notes From Underground: The Fed’s Zero Rate, Quantitative Easing Policies Are Stock Market FundamentalsMarch 10, 2013
The continued parade of stock market analysts who proclaim the equity market is rallying merely on Fed monetary policy instead of market fundamentals have spent far too much time doing case studies and not reading economic history. Interest rates as the variable signaling the cost of money are a very critical element and a key fundamental of the economy and especially the equity markets. U.S. multinational corporations are sitting on record piles of cash and also reporting strong profits. Much of the growth in profits can be attributed to two factors: Very low borrowing costs and continued pressure on wages. The FED has created the low interest rates and has hoped that the profitability resulting from low borrowing costs would bleed into higher wages and thus the need for increased hiring. The problem is many fold on the lack of success in aiding jobs creation. Globalization has kept pressure off wages and the deleveraging of the private balance sheets has meant that downward pressure remains on demand.
Notes From Underground: Friday Is the All-Important U.S. Employment Data, But Why Was European Employment Glossed Over?March 7, 2013
The February jobs data has been compiled and is now ready for public consumption. The consensus is for 165,000 (revised upward from 160,000) nonfarm payroll jobs being added and the rate to hold steady at 7.9%. This may be a difficult number to trade because the equity markets have already sloughed off so much negative news to keep the rally in tact–Italian elections, sequestration and economic malaise throughout Europe. The weekly jobless claims numbers have surprised on the downside during the last few weeks so a 200,000 NFP number would not be a surprise. It will be more important to watch average hourly earnings and the length of the work week–earnings are expected to be up by 0.2% per hour.
The FOMC will release the results of two days of policy deliberations at 11:30 a.m. CST Wednesday and the market is convinced that the Bernanke FED will vote to end Operation Twist but increase FED Treasury purchases. It may not be the full $45 billion but something above $25 billion, which would be in addition to the already promised purchases of $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). It will be difficult to continue Operation Twist because the FED‘s System Open Market Account (SOMA) is nearly void of debt of less than three-year duration. Any new FED purchases will have to be with cash resulting in an increase in bank reserves. The result be not be a Maturity Extension Program but a new round of Quantitative Easing. It is doubtful that the FOMC statement will allude to fiscal policy but will just remain true to discussion of the dual mandate.
It seems that yesterday’s piece on the IMF left more questions than answers. The point of the IMF moving to break the adverse (negative) feedback loop in the economies of Europe and the impact of austerity budgets results in greater deficits as the economy affected experiences negative economic growth rates, which creates greater deficits. As my readers are well aware, budget deficits can increase by slowing growth as well as increased expenditures. The IMF economic models have used a 0.5% impact on proscribed fiscal retrenchment. The IMF has used that 0.5% number for 30 years. As the IMF has studied the European nations and other countries during the recent Great Recession, it seems that the organization’s models are flawed and the impact is far greater, resulting in ever greater deficits amid less economic growth. The IMF believed that for ever 1% drop in government budgets the result would be a drop in GDP of that beloved 0.5%–the multiplier that the models use.
And by the end of trading the YEN had reversed its initial weakness and wound up stronger–the 24-hour trading range was 79.20-78.25, with the settlement at 4:00 p.m. CST, 78.37. It seems that the market will not allow the BOJ (Bank of Japan) to do less than the ECB or the FED. BOJ Governor Shirakawa raised the asset purchase program to 80 trillion YEN from 70 trillion and removed its 0.1% bidding floor for Japanese Bonds (JGB). It is now possible that the BANK will go to negative bids on its JGB buying program so the move was aggressive for what has been a very conservative policy-oriented institution. Even Japanese FINANCE MINISTER Jun Azumi said, “The BOJ took more action than we anticipated.” And again although the YEN weakened on the initial news, by day’s end it reversed and closed strong. Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be currency traders.
The loser in Brussels was … FRANCE. The markets were giddy as they drank deep from the KOOL AID spring of separating BANK AND SOVEREIGN SOLVENCY … did this really occur? It is far too early to tell. For all the “PUNDITS” it seems that Chancellor Merkel has capitulated to the needs of Spain and Italy as France cheered on the brinkmanship of Mario Monti. The French, led by President Hollande, has now ended the 50-year-old policy of Gaullism as France will no longer be deemed a responsible partner for Germany as being the mainstay of Europe.
Is there anyone involved in financial markets who doesn’t believe that GLOBAL BOND MARKETS ARE BROKEN AS INDICATORS OF PREDICTED ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE? The FED has pursued a policy of TWISTS AND QEs as it pursued a policy of forcing real long-term yields to ultra-low levels in an effort to stimulate the housing market, capital investment and the portfolio balance channel in forcing investors to opt for riskier assets to enhance yield (Greenspan’s beloved wealth effect). The problem is that as the FED and other CENTRAL BANKS have bought TRILLIONS of sovereign debt in an effort to stimulate the global economy much COLLATERAL has gone onto the books of the monetary authorities and left the REPO markets lacking the necessary collateral.
The tale of the first quarter tape is in and evidenced by the large gains of the equity markets, global investors have benefited from the sea of liquidity provided by the CENTRAL BANKS OF THE DEVELOPED WORLD. Global stock markets have been calmed by the massive liquidity injections provided by the BOJ, ECB, FED and BOE.The German DAX closed the quarter up more than 15%. The long dormant NIKKEI was up almost 20% powered, by the new inflation mandate of the BOJ/MOF; and, of course, the S&Ps were up almost 12%, while the tech-ladened NASDAQ climbed more than 20%.
Round and round the EU goes as it searches for a way to resolve its self-made crisis. As predicted, the Germans and French leaked news to the press–via the Guardian–that a deal had been struck, which would provide the EFSF and the ECB with an equivalent of 2 TRILLION Euros for aiding and abetting the bailout and support of the European financial system. The early afternoon news story gave impetus for the equities to RALLY as well as a SELLOFF in the DOLLAR. The precious metals staged a late recovery after a very severe correction in the morning–GOLD was down almost $50 at its lows.