The world’s equity markets continue to float on the continued liquidity provided by the world’s central banks. Last week the European markets saw short-term rise on the announced payback of LTRO (Long Term Refinancing Operation), which was money lent by the ECB to European banks to prevent the wholesale selling of sovereign and commercial debt that had fallen in value. The European Central Bank took the devalued bonds and provided the banks with cash euros. This prevented a total collapse of the sovereign debt markets. Now banks that are flush with liquidity are taking back the debt and paying back the EUROS resulting in a short-term tightening in the EURIBOR RATES. Prior to the last ECB meeting, I advised that the ECB could cut rates for the market had already priced in a rate cut. Last week’s action, while a tightening, is actually a market reversing expectations, which is why the global equity markets had so little reaction.
Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category
Give the pollsters their due. They were virtually perfect in the predictions of electoral outcomes. Can the electoral algos now reduce all that data and tell us the policies that will be produced to deal with the problems that plague the U.S.? The Obama victory was greeted by a market selloff as the investment world woke up to the possibility of tax increases and spending cuts leading to a recession and decreased profits. The elections were widely anticipated as the bookies in London and worldwide had predicted. I am left scratching my head, wondering what caused the steep decline in the U.S. equity and commodity markets? The EURO currency was not sold hard enough to think that the Greek situation was the catalyst. Besides, the Greek parliament passed the austerity budget tonight. There is no way that Europe will not provide the Greeks with the promised funds as the outcome would not be worth the 30 billion euros that are in question. If the Obama victory and coming government standoff should have led to a selloff in the BONDS for one would have to be insane to purchase U.S. bonds priced at FED manipulated risk levels.
THERE WAS CERTAINLY NO SURPRISE FROM THE FED TODAY EXCEPT THAT THE FOMC STRESSED THAT THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT DOWNSIDE RISKS TO THE ECONOMY. It appears that this phrase caused the markets to sell everything after the release of the most important outlook for U.S. economic policy. The market’s response must have left Mr. Bernanke wondering just what the FED could actually do to lift the “animal spirits” of the investor and business community.
The potential for a big market-moving story was in the works but the usually aggressive, boisterous Jim Cramer, in his interview with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, resembled a tea party at an American Girl store. It seems that when Cramer fears being audited he goes quiet. The questions about Europe were milquetoast, leading to ridiculous answers–”I am sure Europe will be there in three years.” It proved to be worthless and provided little clarification on the issues of “THE TWIST” and how the U.S. was going to act in concert with the Europeans to help resolve the effects of the severe credit crisis that is impinging global financial institutions and certainly European economic growth.
The RBNZ cut the OVERNIGHT CASH RATE by the expected 50 basis points, although I was very doubtful. Governor Bollard made it clear that the BANK was taking out an insurance policy for the economy until a better assessment can be made about the real impact the earthquake had on New Zealand economic activity. Bollard made it clear that the personal pain for many New Zealanders was very deep and the RBNZ was doing its part to limit further economic dislocation.
OK, some of it is reality. Axel Weber announced today that he will be teaching at the mecca of monetarism as he heads to the hallowed halls of the University of Chicago. If only Bernanke would head to the Bundesbank, the financial world would have a respite from the bubble blowers that have resided at the helm of the FED. The ECB‘s loss will be the U of C’s gain. As usual, Herr Weber is not going quietly as he was opining how the ECB would raise rates by 75 basis points before the year has ended. The French and Sarkozy are breathing easier as the hard-money German has been sent across the pond to resharpen his “TALONS.”
The RBNZ–KIWI CENTRAL BANK–announced they were holding rates at 3 percent and awaiting further news on the global economy before they would move again. Also, South Korea said it was considering more capital controls to halt the appreciation of the WON. The South Koreans offered up several possibilities for exchange controls but it appears they will follow upon the heels of the Brazilians. In two weeks the G-20 leaders will meet in Seoul and yet we have the hosts promoting the use of currency controls. Several G-20 members have thrown down the gauntlet in an effort to prevent the U.S. from embarking on depreciation of the DOLLAR by stealth.
The developing nations are none too happy to be the recipients of the hot money flows being fostered by the FED‘s zero interest rate policy, making it mandatory for China and the U.S. to reach some type of agreement on the YUAN in order to slow down the FED‘s backdoor effort at DOLLAR depreciation.
In another bout of political antagonism, Angela Merkel threw some water on the recent German/French agreement concerning the penalties to be invoked for violating budgetary rules of the Growth and Stability Pact. Going into the European summit, Merkel announced that Germany is going to push for a reopening of the Lisbon Treaty in order to harden budgetary rules and put some real teeth in the law.
Sarkozy felt strong that by backing Merkel down on the issue of severe punishment for excessive profligacy that Germany would be in a much more subdued mood going into the European summit. It seems that Merkel is playing to the fiscal conservatives in Germany by demanding a hardened “crisis resolution mechanism” to replace the present European Fianacial Stability Facility (EFSF). We will watch this carefully as Frau Merkel is toughening her stance for the homefront after been seen as very soft in defending German interests within Europe.
It seems to me that, today, Bill Gross removed Ben’s testicles by coming out against further quantitative easing. He openly called QE2 a Ponzi Scheme, although he renamed it a”Sammy Scheme” in honor of Uncle Sam. When the largest bond fund comes out against such action, the FED Chairman cannot be happy. Gross acknowledges that the FED has little choice but warns that going down this unmapped road can result in hellacious outcomes for bond holders.
Jeremy Grantham also weighed in with a similar note but was even more forceful in warning of the repercussions of another round of massive liquidity injection by the Bernanke Bunch. However, Grantham laid the blame heavily on the shoulders of Greenspan but takes Bernanke to task for following the same “green brick road” of monetary stimulus to maintain the illusionary power of equity gains in acting as the driver of the wealth effect. It was not a good day for the FED in its push for QE, as the FED has put a lot on the line with its constant drumbeat of the need to do everything to halt the onslaught of deflation. Hmmmm, we may have some new voices in the Tabernacle Choir.
Notes From Underground: The Kiwi RBNZ CHECKS; the BOJ BETS; the CHINESE YUAN RAISES; and the Swiss … ?September 16, 2010
Wednesday night, we learned that the RBNZ held rates at 3 percent, as was expected. The bank’s governor, Alan Bullard, cited the recent earthquake and the havoc it has caused to the New Zealand economy as the main reason why the RBNZ was on hold for now and most probably for the near term. More importantly, Bullard was the second central banker in a week to note the slowing of the global economy, particularly the fact that the U.S. was “slowing noticeably.”
Notes From Underground: The peripheral nations are trying to get ahead of the inflation curve … with CAUTIONJuly 29, 2010
Last night, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised the overnight interest rates as expected from 3.00 percent from 2.75 percent. This was no surprise as the market widely had anticipated it. The move by the Central Banks of India and Israel was also expected, although the probabilities of the Israeli move were less than the others. So New Zealand raised rates and the currency was sold off, which has significantly weakened on the crosses. The market had a very negative reaction to RBNZ Chief Alan Bollard’s very cautious comments about rates going forward. With KIWI inflation running at an annualized rate of 2 percent, the RBNZ feels it is now ahead of inflation and will watch global growth and see how it effects New Zealand. Bollard expressed concern about the recent strength of the Kiwi and in his statement said:
“The New Zealand dollar has appreciated in recent weeks.This appreciation is inconsistent with the softeningin the New Zealand’s economic outlook …”