Posts Tagged ‘BRICS’

Notes From Underground: The Alfred E. Neuman Equity Markets, “What, Me Worry?”

July 20, 2014

Alfred E. Neuman for President

Alfred E. Neuman, the beloved character of Mad Magazine, was famous for his deadpan look while espousing the philosophy, “What, Me Worry?”

While the world has certainly entered the madness zone, the world’s equity markets remain in bull mode, floating on a sea of central-bank provided liquidity. Russian support and arming of “rebel” groups results in the downing of a commercial airliner … no problem. An Israeli invasion of Gaza to thwart the nihilistic behavior of Hamas, and the markets shrug and offer up a bland response of, “whatever.”

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Notes From Underground: It’s Now Showtime for the G-20 and Its Diminutive Sidekick, the G-7

February 11, 2013

This week brings the Moscow circus to the world stage. The world’s major economies meet in Moscow as the Russians are presently in the leadership position of the G-20’s rotating presidency. It used to be the G-7 nations that crafted an economic blueprint¬†for the World Bank and IMF to somewhat adhere, but as much of the global economic growth is now in the BRICS and the other emerging economies, the world’s former colonial powers have had to make room for the rising economic nations. Most of the time the G-7 and G-20 meetings have been photo-ops for world leaders, but every once in a great while something constructive actually makes its way into global policy. The immediate global consensus after the Lehman debacle helped stem the global credit markets from total collapse. This G-20 meeting will not be one of the constructive outcomes as the G-20 members are nowhere near any type of consensus.

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Notes From Underground: Draghi … Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve

August 8, 2012

The interest rate variable is alive, well and affecting global markets. Mario Draghi has played the “WIZARD OF FRANKFURT” as he has sought to forestall a financial implosion of Europe. Draghi’s comments in London on July 26, in that the ECB would stem the crisis at end with the tools at its disposal, markets had to believe that ECB policy would be “SUFFICIENT.” As we all know by now, President Draghi has been successful as the Spanish and Italian yield curves have steepened and the 2-YEAR NOTES have seen its yields dramatically drop–the Spanish went from 7% to 3.73%.

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Notes From Underground: An OPEN LETTER To BOJ Governor Shirakawa, Finance Minister Azumi

January 18, 2012

Today, IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE announced that she would try to raise more capital to shore up the IMF‘s balance sheet as to be able to aid the peripheral nations of the European Union. Ms. Lagarde was going to approach the members of the G-20 to provide additional funds to prevent a further assault on the European sovereign debt by securing funds to support the troubled sovereigns. The IMF director will be depending on the BRICS and Japan to increase their contributions so as the IMF may actually be able to help GREECE and PORTUGAL meet immediate funding needs and let the ECB and EFSF do the heavy lifting for Spain and Italy. (At this time, the U.S. said they will not be contributing.)

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Notes From Underground: Christine Lagarde, the Markets Turn Their Lonely Eyes To You

November 9, 2011

The European debt markets were thrown into further chaos today as the German/Italian 10-year notes spread blew up. In cash terms, the move was a widening of 58 basis points while in futures prices the differential was 512 ticks. Notes From Underground has been monitoring the BUND/BTP futures spread for almost two years. The BUND and BTP 10-year futures are the proxies for Europe as they are the only liquid contracts available to hedge risk. Prior to September 2009, the BUND was the only bond future contract available to manage risk and speculate on the European debt markets. The ITALIANS moves to list the BTP FUTURES so the banks and pensions would have a viable tool in which to hedge the massive amount of Italian debt that was in the market. It seemed that the Italian finance ministry had a noble intention, but as the debacle of the PIIGS has moved to center stage, the Italian BTP has been the only viable tool for speculators and hedgers to participate in the long end of the EURO debt markets.

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Notes From Underground: Charles Evans Stars In LONESOME DOVE

November 3, 2011

The markets initial reaction to the FOMC statement was perplexing as the financial media reported the FED to be hawkish for there was nothing explicit about a potential QE3 program. Readers of this BLOG were well aware that the consensus was for no change from the FED as it would have been difficult to announce any new program with the G-20 meeting this weekend in Cannes. The BRICs have already accused the U.S. of causing havoc in world currency markets by utilizing its monetary policy as a “stealth devaluation” of the U.S. DOLLAR. It seemed though that the FOMC statement was DOVISH because the previous three dissenters all voted with the majority–there was a lone no vote and that came from Chicago FED President Charles Evans.

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Notes From Underground: You Put Your IMF in; You take your Geithner Out … That is the Hokey Pokey

October 16, 2011

The G-20 meeting in Paris seemed to yield agreement that the Europeans need to come to a vibrant resolution of the Sovereign debt issue and some plan as to how to recapitalize its problem banks. The G-20 COMMUNIQUE read like an alphabet soup of global regulatory groups (IIF, YNFCCC, MDB, IOSCO, IMF, WEB, FSB, GSIFI, SIFI, BIS … you get the idea). The Communique opens: “We welcome the adoption of the ambitious reform of the European economic governance.” This is a very brazen statement for I have not read where Europe has taken any such measures, such as fiscal unification.

The communique also noted that the G-20 nations agreed, “Those with large current account surpluses will also implement policies to shift to growth based more on domestic demand. Those with large current account deficits will implement policies to increase national savings.” Coupled with this was the vacuous words: “All countries will undertake further structural reforms to raise potential growth.” The concept of growth seemed to have been the most significant issue but when you cut through the platitudes I just cannot imagine from where the growth is going to be generated. If the SURPLUS NATIONS INCREASE DOMESTIC DEMAND WHILE THE DEFICIT NATIONS INCREASE SAVINGS IT SEEMS THAT THE EFFECT TO GLOBAL GROWTH WILL BE NEUTRAL.

The KEYNESIANS in the Obama administration cannot possibly accept this at a time when the push is for greater fiscal stimulus to generate the economic growth that FED policy has been unable to do by itself. Another area of UNCERTAIN AGREEMENT is the issue of SECRETARY GEITHNER pushing for the Europeans to use the ECB as a guarantor of European sovereign bonds. Geithner continues to pursue the Henry Paulson game plan but he fails to realize that the ECB just does not have the same legal authorities as the U.S. Treasury and FED.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reported that the Geithner push was rejected out of hand. Evans-Pritchard reported that Josef Ackermann, head of Deutsche Bank and the chairman of the IIF, said plans to leverage the EFSF may be illegal. “We cannot allow a rescue fund of this magnitude. The [constitutional] court wouldn’t permit, and nor would the people.” (Sunday’s London Telegraph). The main area of agreement from the G-20 is that the IMF is going to play a very large role in the financial rescue of the peripheries and most probably Spain and Italy. Christine Lagarde was pushing for increased IMF funding but Geithner and other heads of developed nations believed that the $390 BILLION IMF was a large enough war chest to deal with Europe’s problems.

It seems that Geithner believes in the IMF‘s larger role but wants to withhold further funding until the Eurocrats come up with a COMPREHENSIVE PLAN. Geithner let it be known in a Bloomberg interview on Oct. 11 that the European debt crisis is affecting U.S. growth and the “U.S. is going to do everything we can to make it more likely that they move as aggressively as they need to.” The EU is the second largest market for U.S. exports, trailing only Canada. The Obama administration is very worried that a slowing European economy will scuttle all of its economic stimulus plans, making President Obama’s reelection possibility an uphill battle.

Clarification: Readers of Notes From Underground are very aware that I have pushed for the IMF to enhance its war chest by issuing GOLD-BACKED BONDS, thus utilizing its GOLD hoard. Presently, the IMF has 90.5 million ounces of GOLD with a market value of $164.1 billion at market prices on August 31,2011. The IMF does not carry the GOLD on its books at market prices so I am confused by the $390 billion war chest to which Geithner and Lagarde refer.

More important though, under the Second Amendment of theARTICLES OF AGREEMENT IN APRIL 1978, the “IMF DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY UNDER ITS ARTICLES TO ENGAGE IN ANY OTHER GOLD TRANSACTIONS SUCH AS LOANS, LEASES, SWAPS, OR USE OF GOLD AS COLLATERAL…” (from the IMF website). Thus, my proposal is now laid to rest unless the IMF and its member nations wake up to the 21st Century and find a way to utilize all its assets. If the IMF is to become a bigger player in the developed world it needs to become much more creative in how it looks to stabilize the world in times of great systemic risk.

An Aside: THE GERMAN/FRENCH 10-year-note spread widened to a record 92 basis points on Friday, not a healthy sign for France.

On the other side of the world the Chinese 2/10 spread was a positive 32 points and the 2/10 spread in India was +33 points. These are very flat curves in the two largest BRICS, indicating that money is too tight in both those nations. Just something else to keep an eye on as so much uncertainty exists in the world.

Notes From Underground: FOMC Minutes (Upon Further Review)

October 12, 2011

Tonight will be all quick hitters as the big news is sparse, to say the least. The Fed released the minutes of the September FOMC meeting. Besides discussing the idea of QE3, the most interesting read was that Fisher was not as hawkish as his NO VOTE seemed. This makes sense as his speeches this week have been pretty DOVISH and I had thought that he was contradicting himself.

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Notes From Underground: Time to throw the French Finance Minister to the Dustbin of History

May 26, 2011

My turn. Everybody has had a comment on the appointment of the next IMF Managing Director. First, allow me again to voice my disdain for the IMF as it is usually late to the rescue party and its money and advice have done great harm to many in the the “emerging economies.” Most IMF actions have been to bailout the profligate creditors who made ill-thought out loans with the knowledge that there would be an international lending institution to backstop most losses. The post war world is replete with mal advice and ill-conceived programs that brought great pain to many economies in the underdeveloped world. Saying that does not mean that the IMF will be disbanded so the world is forced to engage the devil it knows.
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Notes From Underground: One Big Question For the FED

May 11, 2011

If the prices of commodities are falling because of increased margin requirements on ENERGY and PRECIOUS METALS, WHY DOESN’T THE FED JUST ASK FOR EMERGENCY POWERS TO CONTROL MARGINS FOR ALL INVESTMENTS? Chairman Bernanke is on the record as believing that INFLATIONARY PRESSURES ARE TRANSITORY.¬†Well, it seems that the power to make higher commodity prices transitory is to raise margins and force the speculators to disgorge their positions. The increase in MARGINS and the RESULTING LIQUIDATION WOULD ALLOW THE FED TO MAINTAIN QE POLICIES WITHOUT THE FEAR OF TRANSITORY PRICE INCREASES.

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