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.
Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’
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.
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.
The media has made the idea of a TWIST by the FED a sure thing. Okay, can’t argue with consensus, but of course that is why this blog exists: To question the thought process of the purveyors of conventional wisdom and to try to profit in a real-time world from challenging the status quo. If the FED TWISTS will the markets turn? BUT TURN TO WHAT? What will a lowering of the rate on the 10-year note do to a stalling economy with zero interest rates? Bernanke himself alluded to the BALANCE SHEET REPAIR taking place in the private sector, which was holding back consumer demand. Even though corporate balance sheets are healthy, capital investment lags as the corporations fear lackluster demand so there is no rush to create new supply.
For all those who have ever been involved with American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), it is easy to see the similarity between the EBA‘s “stress tests” and a youth soccer game. Like AYSO, the Euro STRESS TESTS meant that everyone who plays gets a trophy for showing up. The philosophy is that every participant is a WINNER. Also, there is no keeping score for that would be bad sportsmanship. So, the EURO STRESS TESTS are treated in the same light.
Yes, the ECB raised rates today and Trichet failed to listen to the wisdom offered by NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND. That means I have overestimated the wisdom of Trichet while underestimating the size of his ego. The rate rise to 1.5% was widely anticipated so the EURO was immediately sold but regained some strength after the ECB announced that it was WAVING THE MINIMUM CREDIT RATING FOR PORTUGUESE BONDS USED AS COLLATERAL FOR REPOS. As the ECB raises rates, it allows for weak collateral to be utilized thus allowing for a large liquidity infusion. This is a fine example of Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor as bread is taken from the people with one hand and returned to them with the other and the people believe it is a miracle. Europe has become a “ball of confusion.” Why raise rates when you are simultaneously lowering credit standards to prevent a sovereign default?