Notes From Underground: Mario Monti Is No General Sherman

Over the weekend Mario Monti decided not to run for the Prime Minister position through joining any party’s list for the election to be held in February. Mr. Monti was never elected to his present position but was parachuted into the job by the Eurocrats in Brussels. It seems that PM Monti fears facing the electorate as so many Italians are angered by the slash-and-burn techniques of the supreme technocrat–both left and right have criticized the present Monti government. Monti resigned after Silvio Berlusconi pulled his support from the Monti regime, but now it appears that Berlusconi would renew his support for a Monti-led coalition. The dramatic fall in bond and stock prices following Monti’s resignation caught the attention of the monied groups in Italy.

The fear of losing an election is preventing Mr. Monti from running and undermines his ability to maintain the policy of continues austerity. Invoking the General Sherman decree: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” But if the powers that be realized my importance to restructuring Italy I will serve if ANOINTED. In a Financial Times article Mr. Monti is interviewed while feeding his white horse. “Pressed to clarify whether he would run in the elections, Mr. Monti made clear that as a senator for life he could not be listed as a candidate, but that he might be willing to be nominated as prime minister.” Wow! The Italian bond markets should react favorably to the possibility of the coronation of a financial emperor … from senator for life to Caesar.

***Over the weekend, newly elected prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, pressed BOJ Governor Shirakawa for the banks’ policy to be for a new inflation target of 2%. Mr. Abe let Governor Shirakawa know in definitive terms that failure to heed the new PM’s demands would result in a move to curtail the BOJ’s independence. Mr. Shirakawa may defy the intrusive demands of PM Abe but the sitting head of the BOJ will be replaced in the spring by the newly elected regime regardless. The Japanese PM noted that higher inflation targets have been set by the world’s other central banks resulting in the Japanese being the global recipient of haven funds.

Deflation in Japan has meant that even with ultra-low interest rates the monetary authorities have succeeded in maintaining the highest real yields in the developed world. By keeping interest rates low and the inflation target at 2%, the Japanese want to create negative real yields and thus make the YEN a global funding vehicle and HOPE for its currency to be in vogue for a return to the carry trade.Mervyn King warned of the possibility of currency wars in 2013–newly elected PM Abe wants Japan to join the battle.

***I want to alert readers to a speech given by Norman Chan, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (Hat Tip J.A.). The speech was given at the Hong Kong Economic Summit on December 10 and is a wonderful summation of the current state of “Global Deleveraging:The Right Track.” The theme is similar to many points raised by Richard Koo in his analysis of the “Balance Sheet Recession,” but because Mr. Chan has a major role in policy decisions it is worth a read. Point 14 raises the issue of the outcomes for all the Quantitative Easing programs:

1. Deleveraging is not affected by QE and asset prices continue to drop as the headwinds of balance sheet reductions are too powerful;

2. QE is effective in raising asset prices and buys time for the authorities to work through the deleveraging process and economic fundamentals are restored to balance; and

3. As he states that what bothers him the most is that the deleveraging process is disrupted by QE and the economic fundamentals are never supported by the transient wealth effect, thus households never increase spending and businesses do not expand for fear of the failure in future demand. Asset inflation may be accompanied by systemic inflation, which will cause monetary authorities to begin rising rates while the economies are still very fragile. Overall, I recommend a read of the short, concise speech.

***I wish to thank my readers for a very productive year and hope Notes From Underground provided you with some insight into the global financial system and aided you in the quest for profitability. Wishing all of you a joyous holiday season and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. From my house to your house, all the best, Yra Harris

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11 Responses to “Notes From Underground: Mario Monti Is No General Sherman”

  1. silverbug2155 Says:

    Merry Xmas & Happy New Year Mr Harris. Thank you for giving us your expert global insight and no cost. Truly unheard of in this day and age. God bless!

  2. Kangaroo Frog Says:

    Best wishes to you Mr. Harris. I am so grateful Mr. Jim Sinclair introduced us to you. And Happy Baktun 14, I might add.

  3. Steve Says:

    Happy holidays Yra!

  4. rob syp Says:

    With reading the below links it’s good to see someone’s making some money and beating the Central Bankers at their own game. A question for these Hedfge Funds to be in invested these instruments is there a chance they were able to pick them up on the cheap from MF Global when it imploded or was it a different strategy that Mr. Corzine & Co. was attempting? It was nice seeing over the weekend that the MF Global story took a turn for the positive with agreements being made to get another round of money back to the account holders and creditors. Any input would be greatly appreciatted. and

  5. yra Says:

    rob–no question that the liquidation by MF led to buying opportunities,but as a long time reader you know that I believed that Greece would not INITIALLY be allowed to depart and break up the EURO over so small an amount–the bigger story was and will be Spain –so the bet on Greek debt was not a hard play to make.I think that Wilbur Ross’ move into Ireland was a far more aggressive action.Once the Greek forced restructuring was done the play was on.The missing part from the story on Daniel Loeb is the part of what Soros did in taking the MF Global bond position.There is an interesting story this morning that Berlusconi was on CNBC Europe blaming Deutsche Bank for forcing Italian bond yields higher and thus forcing him out of office and placing the technocrat Monti as PM in a coup de tat–[his words]

  6. rob syp Says:

    Read the the Berlusconi piece right out of the gate this morning, Thanks much for invigoratring me to do more, learn more and to get better at this game. It’s 30 years now since I started as a runner for Saul Stone and there was the one door leading into SInclair. Oh for all memories, ups & downs and just about everything else. What an indusrty we all chose…..

  7. jeff waldman Says:

    Thanks for your insights ….Happy holidays to you and your family

  8. Bugs Says:

    Happy Holidays Yra! Healthy and prosperous 2013 to you and your family!

  9. Sartell Says:

    Thanks Yra for all of your wonderful insight. Enjoy the Holidays.

  10. Bill Irving Says:

    Merry Christmas, Ira. Thank you for your insight.

  11. MattW Says:

    Thanks very much for the fantastic commentary you provide here, it is immensely appreciated, I am sure, by all of us readers. Best wishes into the new year.

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