The initial check with no move on interest rates was offered by the Reserve Bank of Australia as it held its overnight lending rate steady at Tuesday’s meeting. The Aussie 2/10 curve flattened a bit after the meeting and the Aussie two-year note continues to trade at a lower interest rate than the official overnight rate of 3%, yielding just 2.88%. Many readers have asked about the impact of yield curves on equity prices and I will deal with this on an ongoing basis. For an immediate example, if the Aussie curve continues to stay flat I will venture to say that over the course of the year the Australian stock market will underperform. That doesn’t mean that it won’t have synchronized rallies with other developed markets, just by year’s end it will underperform other equity markets. If the RBA acts to cut rates and reset the curve on a more positive slope, the outcome, of course, should be of a better equity performance. To paraphrase Max Planck: Good trading and analysis advances one funeral at a time.
Posts Tagged ‘Mervyn King’
Tomorrow the Bank of England (BOE) and European Central Bank will grace us with their interest rate announcements. The BOE is expected to hold overnight rates at 0.5% and to keep the QE program at its present level of 375 billion pounds. The current weakness in the British pound will keep Governor Mervyn King from tampering with present policy, and, with a new Governor of the BOE in July, it makes no sense to expend any type of easing before the change of leadership unless some new crisis emerges. Current BOE policies and renewed weakness in the British economy have driven the EUR/GBP rate to 15-month highs, thus putting the pound in the middle of the “currency wars.”
First and foremost: Notes From Underground has become a global community and the outpouring of support and condolences to my family has been phenomenal. Again, my heartfelt thanks to all who expressed such wonderful thoughts.
Much has transpired since last Sunday as the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen have continued their recent weakness as intervention with the intention of forcing the YEN and FRANC lower have been very successful. Also, as usual, I will poke at this weeks circus in Davos, Switzerland. From my perspective, the entire conclave of insider trading–as the rich and business elites gather to discuss ways to save the world–in the last 20 years are a direct result of the political and economic movers and shakers exchanging ideas in the Swiss Alps. Yes, we go from crisis to crisis.
Mario Monti upset the Italian credit markets as he announced his early resignation over the weekend. In an apparent fit of rage after Silvio Berlusconi (aka Captain Viagra) pulled his political support from the sitting prime minister, Mario Monti headed off to the opera in Milan and apparently he was the fat lady that sang. It was a Wagner Opera that Mr. Monti saw so it seems that the political drama playing out in Rome is going to be a long, drawn out affair. I believe that the present Italian PM played a political gambit by announcing his early resignation in an effort to reveal the markets lack of support for the return of Berlusconi. As the Italian bond markets sold off and yields on 10- and TWO-YEAR NOTES increased by more than 25 basis points. It seems that there is little support from the financial markets for a return to the buffoonery of a Berlusconi-led government.
The weekend news was rather sparse as the Greeks got their trust fund check from the overlords in Brussels. The Greeks need to be leery of Eurocrats bearing gifts. The Sunday news shows in the U.S. highlighted the vast chasm between Speaker Boehner and Secretary Geithner. There was finger-pointing all around about as to which group was holding up the negotiations as to affect genuine compromise and a resolution to the fiscal cliff. As the rhetoric heats up, the S&Ps and global stock indices all closed higher on the week, showing that the price action speaks louder than words. The market has fears that failure to resolve the fiscal crisis will result in a new U.S. recession and will also undermine the global economic recovery, but yet the COPPER closed above the 200-day moving average for the first time in many weeks. Other industrial metals also performed well last week making me wonder if all the fiscal cliff rhetoric is missing some larger picture. We will watch to see if the COPPER can sustain its recent strength or whether we are in the midst of a short covering rally.
As the sun sets on the Greek drama, the most predicted outcome has indeed taken place as the IMF/EU and ECB/EFSF/ESM have come to an agreement about bringing the Greek debt load to a robust level of 124% debt-to-GDP ratio by 2020. There was no way the TROIKA was going to risk the entire EURO project on a mere 44 BILLION EURO payout to the Greek government. The game was played out to the 11th hour–oh those drama queens in Brussels–and although the OFFICIAL SECTOR did not take an official haircut, the core nations of the European financial system do stand to take a bath. IMF Director Lagarde was able to save face as the Greek debt levels will reach the previously promised levels of 120%. Madame Lagarde can now go to the IMF Board and report that all previously agreed to conditions have been ratified by the EU and await the signing of the memorandum of understanding with the Greek leadership. The IMF needed to get Greece out of the way so it can figure out the role it will play in the Spanish bailout and/or Italy.
Notes From Underground: Mario Draghi Reveals He’s A Fleetwood Mac Fan; Says GOLD IS A “Mystery to Me”November 8, 2012
As today was central bank day in Europe, both the ECB and the BOE had rate decision meetings and left their current policies in place. The BOE did announce that it was “halting” the expansion of the QE program at 375 billion pounds as it deems the recent increases in its bond buying program to be less effective. Recently, BOE Deputy Governors Paul Tucker and Charles Bean have stated that “asset purchases may no longer have the same impact on the economy as when first introduced.” (Bloomberg) The market had different interpretations as to the reason that why the BOE was curtailing the QE bond purchases. 1. The recent rise in inflation was causing the halt; or 2. the lessened impact of recent QE was going to mean that the bank was going to increase the funding for lending scheme in which the BOE provides incentives for commercial banks to lend more money to small and medium businesses. This is of interest for FED watchers because BOE Governor Mervyn King has been a trail blazer for creative central bank actions and the FOMC may mimic some of the BOE actions to get a boost to a low velocity of money situation.
As I covered in NOTES yesterday, the three-ring circus was coming to town Thursday and the show was so fantastic that it dazzled investors worldwide. The RIKSBANK began the show by cutting its rate by 25 basis points to get the audience in a festive mood. Mervyn the Magnificent from the Bank of England did his laying down and going limp act so as not to be sawed in half by the by those magicians of the slight of hand. The BOE left everything as is and presented a very benign statement that offered up very little as to its rationale for maintaining the present rates as well as the same ASSET BUYING PROGRAM. The market was gawking at the rising financials in Europe when in the center ring, Marvelous Mario dropped his cape and headed out on the high wire in which the safety net was pretended to be removed or was totally transparent.
Quick Hitter: Thursday brings the interest announcements of three central banks. The Swedish RIKSBANK, THE BANK OF ENGLAND, and, of course, the ECB. The most important event will be the ECB press conference at 7:30 a.m. CST where President Mario Draghi will face the financial media and be pressed to provide some insight into the ECB’S plan going forward about BOND PURCHASES OR SOME VARIATION ON THAT THEME.