Posts Tagged ‘German elections’

Notes From Underground: German Elections. The Sound of Complacency Shattering?

September 24, 2017

I will start tonight’s BLOG with two very good comments from a long time reader and contributor GREEN AB who hails from Germany. Green has always provided great insight and though we don’t always agree I have great respect for his perspective. On Thursday he posted a very prescient forecast about today’s election and Sunday he followed with a post-election thoughts.

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Notes From Underground: Draghi, the ECB and Germany

August 15, 2017

The upcoming meeting in Jackson Hole has become the focus of the global investment community. Why? After Draghi’s comments in Sintra, Portugal on June 27 sent global bond yields higher, the financial world will gauge whether  Draghi’s speech will signal the beginning of their own balance sheet shrinking. If Draghi were to announce the end of the quantitative easing, the impact would be for the EURO to rise for European BOND YIELDS to rise and, most importantly, the greatest increase in yields would be in the peripheral bonds (and maybe the most significant impact will be on global equity markets). BUT LET ME BE CLEAR, I THINK THIS IS A VERY LOW PROBABILITY EVENT and I will do a deep analysis as to why. Yet again:

1. In yesterday’s Financial Times, there was an article titled, “Draghi Faces Easing Dilemma A Strong Euro Sparks Concern.” The article notes that the STRONG EURO keeps inflation down and therefore prevents the ECB from fulfilling its 2% inflation mandate. Draghi is caught in a dilemma of his own making and there really is no way out as long as it speaks to the idea of a 2% inflation target that is self-imposed by the bank. Many months ago I conjectured that President Draghi would prefer a strong rally in the euro before the September German election. A strong euro silences the Bundesbank as it allows for Draghi to use a strong currency as a measure of the success for the ECB’s policy. If the EURO rallies further it will harm the French, Italian and Spanish economies, which are starting to experience growth, than it will impact the Germans. A one-price euro will not lead to Germany losing its edge within the EU for a single currency prevents that so the peripheral nations will have to engage in wage restraint to sustain its recent growth. The idea of wage suppression will hinder a rise in inflation providing the greatest problem for Draghi’s ECB;

2. In Tuesday’s FT, Thomas Hale and Kate Allen wrote a story titled, “Hopes For European ‘Safe’ Bonds Lean On Pre-Crisis Techniques.”  The reporters visit the issues of “aiming to make the continent’s financial system safer, the idea involves taking sovereign bonds from different European countries and packaging them together into safe bonds that would then carry various levels of risk.” This is what we called financially engineered sub-prime debt a decade ago. Take the German bunds, French oats and bundle with Greek, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish sovereign debt and you have a AAA instrument. The urge to create a EUROBOND is the essence of Draghi’s ECB and there are numerous ideas of how to achieve this end. As the article point out, “It is also a way of bringing European sovereign debt markets closer together without explicit ‘mutualisation,’ where debt is collectively issued by multiple countries, an idea that has proved politically toxic in Germany, in particular.”

The politics of the eurobond have become difficult because the Germans are VERY aware that it is the Bavarian Burghers who will be the creditors of the entire project. Every debt instrument must be guaranteed by credible collateral and several of the European peripheral nations lack the credibility of a solid creditor and making matters worse the weak creditors do not have a printing press. Why would Mario Draghi wish to undermine his efforts to backdoor his way to a EUROBOND by slowing the accumulation of debt assets. THE ECB IS NOT THE FED FOR DRAGHI HAS SET IT ON A PATH TO FULFILL THE MANDATE OF THE PRESERVATION OF THE EURO. Draghi needs to maintain the status quo until September 24 when he believes that Chancellor Merkel will prevail in the German election. Merkel has been a willing partner with President Draghi in his efforts to create a more perfect European union;

3. Also in Tuesday’s FT Claire Jones reported on the effort of challenges to the ECB’s QE program. Germany’s HIGH COURT issued an opinion that said some of the ECB’s actions may violate EU law.

In a case brought to Karlsruhe by “… right-wing members of Germany’s establishment” the German Constitutional Court issued a statement that there are “… significant reasons indicate that the ECB decisions governing the asset purchase programme violate the prohibition of monetary financing and exceed the monetary policy mandate of the ECB.” The court decided to refer the case to the European Court of Justice to get a sense of what the ECJ opinion is before hearing the case. The process could take a year before the German Court hears the case. The article cites a point made by German lawyer Hendrik Haag that “the wait for the ECJ decision may well be an elegant way out for the ECB. It may put pressure on the ECB to be a bit quicker with tapering the ECB programme.”

I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH THIS LAWYERLY ASSESSMENT. In my view it gives the ECB further time to increase the balance sheet so furthering the effort for a EUROBOND. I will await Draghi’s speech from Jackson Hole but again, THE ECB HAS A MUCH DIFFERENT DESIRE THEN THE FED. Mario Draghi will play for time to hope for the best for his guardian angel, Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Heads up: I will be on CNBC with Rick Santelli tomorrow morning around 9:20am CDT.

Notes From Underground: Angela Merkel Finally Faces Facts

May 22, 2017

Angie Angie

where will it lead us from here

Oh, Angie don’t you wish

Oh your kisses still taste sweet

I hate that sadness in your eyes, but Angie Angie

Ain’t it time we said goodbye  [Richards and Jagger]
Today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel openly admitted that the German trade surplus was large because the ECB‘s monetary policy rendered the EURO to a bout of severe weakness, which helped make “German products cheaper.” It continually amazes me how forthright politicians become once the political storm clouds have lifted. When President Trump noted a similar view he was criticized for trying to force a break-up of the European Union. What was Angie’s angle in challenging the policies of the ECB and Mario Draghi? As I have written for the last six months, the ECB was going to become an issue in the upcoming German national elections. It appears that the Chancellor is getting ahead of the AfD and other challengers about the negative impact of Draghi’s policies that punish and financially repress German savers.

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Notes From Underground: 500 Days of Summers … NOT

September 15, 2013

As the markets were heading into the close on Friday afternoon, I noticed that silver and gold were rallying and the newswire failed to provide any headline for the a substantial price rise. (There was no Syria news or any other type of geo-political event.) The weekend news also failed to support the rally at least until a few hours ago when the Washington Post ran a headline announcing that Larry Summers had withdrawn his name for consideration for Chairman of the Fed. Many pundits have been maintaining that Summers would be quick to end the entire QE program and thus would have a negative impact on all asset prices. Nonsense in the first degree, but as a trader, the first rule is to respect prices. The removal of Summers has led to the U.S. dollar selling in early Asian trading as the anticipation is now the Fed will be under a Chairman more in step with the Bernanke method of central bank theory.

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Notes From Underground: September, the Potential for An Investment Wasteland

September 4, 2013

Yesterday, I had a global macro session with some of the best users of the Notes From Underground. They are disciplined in pursuit of profit but as most of my readers try to do, pursue causation as a prelude to correlation. Carl had prepared a white board chart of all of the relevant events that are set to play out in September. April may be the cruelest month but September 2013 will certainly give T.S. Eliot’s poem a run for the grand title. The desire to anticipate any of the events may lead to a “wasteland” of capital. So thanks to Carl, let me restate the list of events:

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Notes From Underground: Does the Central Bank of Brazil Get “REAL”?

August 29, 2013

Yes, the pendulum of market prices is a cruel mistress. Two  years ago, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega was voicing concerns about the developed economies declaring a currency war on the emerging markets through the use of its quantitative easing programs. The Brazilians reacted by imposing various forms of exchange controls to slow the inflow of “hot money,” as well as cutting Brazilian interest rates. Now that the Brazilian Real has depreciated by 50% since August 2011, the Brazilians believe that they have had enough and want to stem the depreciation because of the inflationary effects of a rapid depreciation. The Brazilian Central Bank (BCB) raised interest rates again last night by 0.5% to 9% in an act to help end the REAL‘s recent downward move. Last week, the BCB announced a large currency intervention package of $60 billion involving swaps and loans to the markets. This program ensures that the Brazilian financial markets will have a steady stream of dollars  and will prevent a fear among investors that Brazil will not be able to meet investor demands for currency redemptions.

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Notes From Underground: The Outcome of Jackson Hole … It’s All Theoretical

August 27, 2013

At Jackson Hole there was no Ben Bernanke so therefore no policy announcements as in August 2010 when the famous PORTFOLIO BALANCE CHANNEL (PBC) speech signalled a major shift in Fed policy. Last year was similar as the Fed Chairman used Jackson Hole to alert the market to another round of QE. The most senior Fed official was Janet Yellen and she served more as a panel moderator. This was no place to stake out Vice Chairman Yellen’s claim to the chairmanship. So the discussions of the week were as always, esoteric and academic. But the key take away: There were several papers delivered by acclaimed academics who disagreed with the FED‘s policy of large-scale asset purchases and quantitative easing. Therefore, the conclusion is that the FED‘s present policy is highly theoretical and not based on a SCIENTIFIC proof and the entire basis of QE is open to critical analysis. The talking heads want to believe that TAPERING has a certain outcome. By definition, theoretical outcomes are theoretical and based on probabilities.

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Notes From Underground: Europe Is Back to Center Stage … It’s the Crisis That Never Sleeps

April 11, 2012

This week has again seen the resurrection of the European debt crisis as the world pays close attention to BOND prices in EURO BONDS. Yesterday saw the German Schatz fall to an all-time-low of 9 BASIS POINTS. Today as some calm was restored to the Spanish and Italian debt markets, the yield on the German 2-YEAR increased to 14 BASIS POINTS. Prompting the rally in the PERIPHERAL DEBT PRICES was a comment by ECB Executive Board Member Benoit Coeure.

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Notes From Underground: Merkel set to stand firm in the face of an electoral setback

March 28, 2011

Chancellor Merkel has said that there will be no shake-up in the ruling coalition even as the CDU/FDP suffered at the voting booth as the German electors have grown tired of the vacillating vixen of Berlin. The German chancellor has wavered on EU BAILOUTS, NUCLEAR ENERGY and even deserted her allies in its ill-conceieved intervention in Libya. So a leader who has not stood fast nor firm is telling Germany that after the election defeat she will stand firm. Now we all ought to be nervous. I hope that Germany will be firmer in honoring its committments to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) than Merkel has been to adhering to some form of political principles.

Also, it was interesting that President Obama declared victory in the Libyan campaign and handed over control of the operations to NATO. Is France a member of NATO this week? The U.S. and its allies have entered a dangerous period in its intervention in LIBYA. As I wrote just after the Egyptian rebellion, the real game changer will be Syria. The Assad Regime has severely suppressed the incipient demonstrations as expected. Secretary of State Clinton was asked if the U.S. and its allies would intervene to halt the slaughter of Syrians–as it claimed to be doing in Libya–Madam Secretary stated that Syria was not Libya because Bashar Assad had promised visiting U.S. legislators that he was bent on reform. Therefore, the reform-minded Syrian president is not a candidate for the military reprisals.

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