Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category

Notes From Underground: Bored By Italy, But I Digress

June 5, 2018

Sorry. The current situation in the European Union has been well forecasted by NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND so until the storm clouds clear and the Italian ruling coalition begins to initiate some of its campaign proposals I treat everything in Europe as a trade and not an investment. Even the talking heads are waking up to the potential financial damage that bank balance sheets loaded with ZERO RISK-WEIGHTED sovereign bonds can cause a healthy bank’s bloated balance sheet.

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Notes From Underground: Like Holden Caulfield, I Digress

May 29, 2018

As the Italian political situation maintains a boil, the elites of the Davos clique are out in full force trying to calm markets. The only problem is that established elites are so removed from reality that every move they make results in more turmoil. The airwaves were full of establishmentarians portraying themselves as conciliatory but their analysis of the economic consequences of the Italian election outcomes are similar to Ben Bernanke’s claim that the housing crisis was contained in early 2007. Let’s review some of today’s inane comments and analysis:

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Notes From Underground: Back On the Floor

May 28, 2018

On Friday, Rick Santelli and I discussed the situation in Europe, especially the FRAGILE situation in Italy. An important metric that needs to be watched is the huge amount of sovereign debt that is “comfortably” sitting on the Italian banks’ balance sheets. Under BIS rules (and other global financial regulations) sovereign debt carries a ZERO RISK WEIGHTING, meaning that commercial banks can hold sovereign bonds and hold no reserves against such an asset class.The Italian banks have been the repository of their sovereign bonds, which makes them vulnerable to a rise in BTP yields as the price drops due to the political concerns involving the inability of FIVE STAR/LEGA to come to an agreement on an acceptable cabinet.

(Click on the image to watch me and Rick discuss the Italian situation)

 

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Notes From Underground: The Magician of Frankfurt Will Be Called to Answer

May 22, 2018

We’ve been discussing the problems in the Italian debt market at NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND for many years but with the Five Star/Lega coalition coming into government many of the issues that were once theoretical are now an increasing possibility. The Five Star group is openly proposing a debt restructuring for Italy in the hopes of spurring growth and improving the Italian unemployment situation. Economic growth in Italy has lagged the developed world economies and none more so then its neighbor, Germany.

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Notes From Underground: The Mother of All Debt Crises

May 14, 2018

Everything in global financial crisis emanates from too much debt being unable to be serviced. The current situation in Argentina is that the state and private sector borrowers won’t be able to pay the INTEREST on its dollar-based loans as the PESO weakens. It takes more domestic currency to purchase the needed dollars to pay creditors, resulting in a NEGATIVE FEEDBACK LOOP that brings the economy to a crawl as all the economic actors have to find ways to pay the interest costs or go bankrupt. The Argentinian government won’t go bankrupt. But it will force a debt restructuring if its borrowing costs move higher (yet another burden for a debt-plagued economy).

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Notes From Underground: The Unemployment Number is Wall Street’s Version of Picasso’s `The Dream’

March 11, 2018

It was the best that Wall Street could dream of: It was a huge headline nonfarm payroll number with a large number of workers jumping into the labor market, which kept the unemployment rate at 4.1% and wage growth at a very tepid pace. Average hourly earnings were 0.1%, which is nirvana for the wealth managers: solid economic growth with stagnant wages. This may certainly be a one-off month as NFP could return to its average or wages begin to rise by at least 0.3% every month. Rick Santelli and Ed Lazear made the case that the increase in the labor participation rate was a great outcome as long time unemployed are gaining confidence in the genuine strength of the economy. The return of the long-term unemployed will show the real amount of slack in the economy, reflecting even more downward pressure on wages. If the slack is greater than the FOMC has previously believed, then the FED may well slow its rate increases. People returning to the labor force is a positive but it may be another kink in the Fed’s models.

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Notes From Underground: Ball of Confusion

March 5, 2018

Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation,

humiliation, obligation to our nation

Ball of Confusion that’s what the world is today [yeah, yeah]

The sale of pills is at an all time high

young folks walkin’ ’round with their heads in the sky

Cities aflame in the summer time, oh the beat goes on

Eve of destruction tax deduction

City inspectors, bill collectors,

Evolution, revolution, gun control, the sound of soul,

Shootin’ rockets to the moon,kids growin’ up too soon

Politicians say more taxes will solve ev’rything, and the band played on.

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Notes From Underground: How Many Syllables, Mario?

December 7, 2016

In the 1969 cult classic Putney Swope written by Robert Downey, Sr., the film opens with the death at the board room table of the firm’s chairman, Mario. Not realizing he has had a heart attack the sycophants play charades to get at the message Mario is trying to convey, thus asking HOW MANY SYLLABLES MARIO? Tomorrow, the world will be asking Mario a different question. How much QE, Mario? How long? The European equity markets were en fuego early this morning, led by the German DAX, even as the SPOOs were lower to unchanged. There were rumors about a nationalization of Monti Paschi but it seems that the Italians were trying to delay an actual bailout of the troubled lender and wanted more time from the ECB. MY OPINION IS THAT THE ECB WILL ANNOUNCE SOME EFFORT TO BUY FINANCIAL DEBT FOLLOWING TOMORROW’S MEETING. The ECB has avoided buying financial debt in its QE program because it is also the banking supervisor for the EU.

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Notes From Underground: Steve Bannon (Laugh, Laugh I Thought I’d Die)

December 6, 2016

Even though Steve Bannon is no Beau Brummel, the music of this early rock song must be ringing in his ears. It seems clear to all but the dumbest media talking heads that the Bannon plan of Trump’s continued flow of tweeting is an attempt to make sure the Trump team controls the NARRATIVE. (See Ben Hunt’s magnificent piece at Epsilon about the significance of narrative.) This is important for investors and traders because of Trump’s ability to control the narrative makes us all focus away from the most events of the greatest possible consequence. Today, the airwaves were echoing the Trump tweet of the President-elect threatening to cancel the orders for two new Air Force One planes, the President’s personal fleet.

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Notes From Underground: Oh, When Will They Ever Learn?

November 28, 2016

This is a tough POST to write  for I will criticize a newspaper I have read every day for at least 30 years. (In fact, I still have it delivered on my doorstep and read most of it online in the evening before the hard copy arrives.) The London Financial Times had a front page story, “Troubled Italian Banks Face Fresh Risk of Failing If Renzi Loses Vote.” This is a deplorable headline for it harkens back to the days of the mainstream media warning of dire consequences if Brexit passed and the Trump was elected president. THIS IS SCARE MONGERING. It raises the question: When will the Davos crowd EVER LEARN?

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