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.
Posts Tagged ‘Dollar’
Friday saw a continuation of the EURO RALLY as the most despised currency was the subject of massive short covering. For months many analysts have been opining that the EURO was heads to PAR with the DOLLAR. The trade looked promising as 2011 came to a close but in 2012 the EURO has rallied against the DOLLAR. Until last week, the EURO had weakened on many of the CROSSES but even those began to significantly correct as the EURO rally against the DOLLAR continued. The action on Friday saw the EURO rally against all currencies except the SWISS FRANC as that cross hovers near the SNB‘s line in the sand level of 120 EUR/CHF. Late in New York, the EUR/CHF closed at 120.48 so the Swiss National Bank has to be concerned that traders are going to challenge the veracity of the SNB’S SWISS FRANC POLICY.
Last night the BOJ announced its monetary policy and revealed inflation targeting and an increase in its variation on the theme of QUANTITATIVE EASE (QE). The INITIAL reaction has been that the YEN was heavily sold against the DOLLAR and other currencies. Is this action by the BOJ and supported by the MOF (Ministry of Finance) going to succeed in weakening the YEN? October 31, 2011, the BOJ intervened in the currency markets by BUYING DOLLARS AND SELLING YEN and on that day took the YEN FROM 0.7560 to 0.7960.
Tomorrow the BOE and ECB will release their interest rate intentions. The Bank of England is expected to keep the funding rate at 0.50% while moving to increase the ASSET PURCHASING FACILITY (QE BY ANY OTHER NAME) by another 50 BILLION POUNDS to a level of 325 BILLION STERLING. The recent speeches from the Monetary Policy Committee have had a DOVISH bias, prompting the consensus view for an increase in the QE program.
The unemployment data released on Friday revealed no great surprises as the nonfarm payrolls were right in line with consensus. The markets also offered up no real divergences from the norm as the S&Ps rallied but by day’s end the U.S. equities closed basically unchanged (although the NASDAQ continued to outperform all other indices.) The EURO currency dropped further and wound up losing 1.7% for the week even while the S&Ps gained 1.7%.
The power of the ECB’s 3-yr LTRO program was in full force today as the Spanish 3-month BILL AUCTION provided the spark to ignite the kindling of the massive amount of liquidity provided to the banks via the LONG-TERM REFINANCING OPERATION. This has not been a secret as we have repeatedly discussed how the 2/10 YIELD CURVES HAVE RECENTLY GONE FROM INVERTED TO POSITIVELY SLOPED. The move has been so dramatic that the Italian and Spanish curves are almost the same as the German. Bloomberg had the closes on the Italian at +164, the Spanish at +172 and the German at +174. This movement is quite dramatic and the Spanish auction today merely confirmed the power of the recent ECB action.
It is very easy to fall prey to the German view of the European debt crisis: Blame the profligate PIIGS for living beyond their means and borrowing to support a lifestyle based on leisure. There is of course great truth to this but it was the Northern European banks that lent the money in a ready fashion. The GERMAN and DUTCH current account surpluses had to be lent somewhere and with the Chinese and Japanese monopolizing the profligate lifestyles of the Americans, Germany turned to their European comrades. Belonging to the EURO and, thus, ECB zone of finance, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Rabobank and SocGen all felt comfortable buying the AAA debt of Spain and Italy and of course the three little PIGs.
As the polls expected, the Spanish election offered no surprises as the Center Right Popular Party appears to have attained an outright majority and the socialist party has been trounced. The markets appear to want to believe that this outcome is EURO POSITIVE AND SPANISH AND ITALIAN DEBT POSITIVE BUT I WARN THAT IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO. Did the PP win a historic election so that they can deliver MORE AUSTERITY TO THE SPANISH PEOPLE? HOW MUCH ECONOMIC CONCESSIONS ARE THE SPANISH PEOPLE WILLING TO MAKE? IF THE ANSWER IS VERY LITTLE, THEN WHAT NEXT FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION?
The global markets were on the verge of a failed rally when a news story broke about the resignation of Bini Smaghi. In my mind this is a very significant event as it portends the beginning of a major deal on EFSF funding in the works. WHY? Two weeks ago it appeared that Mr. Berlusconi had castrated President Sarkozy by reneging on an agreement for Mr. Bini Smaghi to resign his ECB position once Mario Draghi assumed the Presidency of the ECB. If SMAGHI retained his seat it meant Italy would occupy two key positions in the ECB and France would have none. Sarkozy supported Draghi only on that basis that the Bini Smaghi seat would go to a Frenchman.