It is a great honor to feature another podcast with Peter Boockvar for The Financial Repression Authority. Peter is certainly one of the regular commentators that I watch with great interest whenever he is on Bloomberg, Fox Business or CNBC. I think we cover much of the global financial landscape. While it may run long, it is a lot easier than reading a 20,000-word blog post. Pour the scotch and give it a listen.
Posts Tagged ‘Europe’
One of the most important indicators for financial markets is yield curves. They are predictive as they have historically shown coming economic turmoil, or, more importantly, the end of a business cycle. The severity of any recession depends on the amount of debt that has preceded the onset of an economic slowdown. I will remind readers that before the 2007-08 financial crisis, the U.S. 2/10 curve actually INVERTED to NEGATIVE SIX BASIS POINTS. Some financial pundits like to cynically advise consumers that the STOCK markets have predicted 10 of the last 5 recessions, but that is not so with yield curves. The difficulty with the signalling mechanism of yield curves is predicting the time for even during the GREAT RECESSION equity markets continued to rally even as the curve flattened.
We at Notes From Underground have published more than 1,000 posts during the last seven years. I have voiced my displeasure about the annual gathering in Davos for the past five years (last year’s Davos post is below). My battle cry was (ans continues to be): PEPPER SPRAY DAVOS, a response to the heinous police overreaction to the pepper spraying of University of California–Davis students in November 2011. The police POURED pepper spray onto student protesters, a contemptible act of police brutality. I thought if the UC–Davis students were subjected to such a police response for blocking a sidewalk the crony capitalists of global monopolies are surely worthy of such a contemptuous action. The corporate chieftains and their political sycophants, who exchange “insider views” for large speaking fees (and of course a hope to secure a job after leaving political office), have badly damaged the world.
Time it was
and what a time it was, it was
a time of innocence
a time of confidences
long ago it must be
i have a photograph
preserve your memories
they’re all that’s left you [Simon & Garfunkel]
Everything that I blogged about last night appeared on the financial markets’ radar screens today. The non-issue of Deutsche Bank suddenly became an issue as investors became worried about the collateral that they were holding at Deutsche Bank. It was not “locusts” that caused the market to become concerned about Deutsche’s solvency but rather depositors and prime brokerage accounts that feared for their capital. Compounding the DB story was the rise of the price to hedge against a Deutsche Bank default, as well as the infamous COCO bonds that many European banks issued in an effort to enhance their capital ratios in deference to the Basel rules. You could purchase some of the Deutsche COCOs today for an effective yield of 12.7% but if the COCO bondholders are bailed-in, the COCOs will cease paying interest and the DEBT will be automatically converted to equity, thus further diluting existing shareholders.
Let’s clear about the mess of Brexit. First, the media is awash with so many opinions from those who had no idea that a vote for Brexit was in the realm of possible outcomes. Yet there is no lack of insights into the end of Britain’s role in the EU. Never have so many people been spewing the hogwash of hysteria into the portfolios of public investors. So in a very typical French philosophical format, let’s DECONSTRUCT last week’s outcomes:
Since I’m 62 years old, my references of social icons goes back to a more simple time. Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine fame would ask, “What, Me Worry?” The other side of the equation would be Arthur Fonzarelli from the television show, “Happy Days.” who would stutter before ever admitting that he was WRONG. The world’s central banks are a reflection of these two icons. It seems that Yellen, Draghi and Kuroda all suffer from both views. They have nothing to worry about and they certainly cannot admit to being wrong. The central banks are under attack from investors and traders for pursuing quantitative easing and negative yields even though the efficacy of such programs is certainly in doubt.
“There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinners,
who’s hurt all mankind just to save his own,
have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
’cause there’s no hiding place from the kingdom’s throne.”
The sentiment is aptly described in this song but also in Niall Ferguson’s book, “War of the World.” In the book, Ferguson explains that European bond markets were initially unfazed at the start of World War I. They traded at a steady valuation, even as the troop trains were heading for the front.
While attempting to enjoy Pittsburgh (and hopefully a Cubs game), the markets buzzing about the U.S. Treasury’s report about the “Trade facilitation and trade Enforcement Act of 2015.” In a Bloomberg News article published late Friday afternoon, “U.S. Places China, Japan, Germany on New FX Monitoring List,” it seems that the Treasury and Jack Lew are raising the threat of retaliation against nations that meet the Congressional crafted criterion of currency manipulation. These include: 1. Significant bilateral trade surplus with U.S.; 2. Material current-account surplus; and 3. Engaged in persistent one-sided FX intervention. The issue of “one-sided intervention” is defined as only weakening a currency by conducting repetitive net purchases of FX amounting to more than 2% of its GDP.”
Listening to the Draghi press conference left me with little satisfaction and I failed to have any sympathy for the devil, although I don’t wish to paint it black. It seems that the goal of the ECB is to make Germany its beast of burden but the result will be realized as tears go by. President Draghi stressed that the recent ECB actions were directed at resuscitating a moribund economy saddled with banks wallowing in a morass of debt. If the ECB had not been aggressive, growth would’ve been 1.6% less, according to ECB researchers. Draghi was adamant that given enough time the ECB’s QE and TLTRO programs will have been proved to be very effective in generating economic growth and bringing inflation up to its mandated level.