This week brings Prime Minister Abe’s fiscal plan, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s rate decision, the Bank of England’s monetary results and U.S. nonfarm payrolls on Friday. So let’s put some perspective to tonight’s main events. The RBA will announce its overnight interest rate and consensus is calling for a 25 basis point CUT to 1.5%. Analysts believe that the weakness in the natural resource sector is aiding the reduction in capital expenditure. Also, Aussie inflation is at the bottom of the RBA‘s target range, which provides rationale for the RBA. I am not so sure of a CUT for this is coming at the end of Governor Stevens’s term at the RBA. Dr. Phillip Lowe will take over September 16 so this is the penultimate meeting for Mr. Stevens.
Posts Tagged ‘U.K.’
Just some summary points as this year the summer doldrums will prove to be anything but:
It has become standard operating procedure for the FED to enter the market in an effort to minimize the impact of any low probability event with market disrupting outcomes.The BREXIT vote surprised the markets but the FED allowed investors to absorb the financial pain and stayed in the watchtower.
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:
“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.
The world has left the economic realm and is now heading into the political, which the Fed’s models cannot weigh because politics are too far complex and cannot be explained by six variables of a perfect free market system. There was a Financial Times article today, titled, “Bond Guru Jeffrey Gundlach: Brexit Not Going To Happen.” In a paradigm of static thought, Gundlach opine that Brexit will not pass in the U.K. for “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know. Look at what happened with Scotland. People aren’t going to pull a lever for Brexit, so I don’t even think that’s worth considering in the present time.”
The Japanese leave Washington with no support for alleviating one-sided currency moves. For China it is all about respect for growth, wherever it may be. The Chinese GDP was released on Thursday and it came out exactly as forecast at 6.7% (shocking, I know). There was virtually no criticism of the Chinese as the nations are watching closely while China commences its transition from an export-dominated economy to a more balanced growth model, where domestic consumption takes on increased importance. In contrast to the G-20 view on Japanese currency intervention, SNB President Thomas Jordan announced that the Swiss would increase its balance sheet through currency intervention “… to prevent an already ‘significantly overvalued’ franc from strengthening.”
When Alan Greenspan was Fed Chairman he would regularly orate on the concept of low probability events that could create disruption in the global financial system. These events are not BLACK SWANS because by definition a black swan is unknowable nor foreseeable. So it is time to take a survey of what Greenie called low probability:
1. Paul Ryan being parachuted into the candidacy for the Republican Party. There is a possibility but is a potential problem, which could rip apart the GOP. What would the fallout be for financial markets if the U.S. was splintered into a three- or four-party system? The same could be said for the Democratic Party if there was a revolt by the left-wing in response to the super delegates. The issue for the Democrats will rise to the fore if Hilary Clinton were to lose New York. Bernie Sanders is a low probability bet but his impact would be great.
2. The probability of Russia attacking Turkey, which could result in the break-up of NATO. If Putin attempts to seek revenge against President Erdogan by providing support to the Kurds against Turkey, the U.S. and its NATO allies would be forced to decide if they were willing to risk war with Russia to honor its commitment to a friend. Imagine what happens to the political situation in Europe if NATO were demolished because of its failure to honor Article 5, which asserts that an attack on one is an attack on all.
3. The June 23rd vote by the U.K. on Brexit results in a vote to leave. Not sure this is a low probability event but it will certainly have a HIGH IMPACT. The greatest outcome will be that others in the EU will request a referendum for this was certainly articulated in the recent Dutch vote on the EU’s agreement with the Ukraine. The most volatile result of a Brexit would be the pursuit of a referendum by German voters. The myriad articles on German unhappiness with the ECB are a mere prelude to what a vote in favor of Brexit would result in for the rest of EU. If you want a good sense of the arrogance of the European elite, watch Mario Monti’s CNBC appearance from today. Mr. Monti decried the outbreak of democracy in Europe and was very critical of David Cameron for falling in the trap and calling a referendum.
The critical assessment by Monti is an infamia for Mr. Monti was appointed Prime Minister of Italy by a “coup” orchestrated by the Brussels elite. Berlusconi was forced from office by threats of Italian debt downgrade and the Brussels eurocrats’ rejection of the Italian budget. When Prime Minister Monti had to call elections in 2013 after the Berlusconi term expired, Monti and his allies received a mere 11% of the vote. So Mario Monti’s views of popular democracy are subject to further review.
4. A failure of a major European bank, something on the order of Deutsche Bank or a major French institution. The cracks in the Italian financial system are well known. It is the exposure of other EU domestic banks that can cause a blind side hit to the financial system. Part of this issue is the BIS view of how sovereign debt is rated. Currently, all EU sovereign debt carries a zero risk weighting. If this were to change, EU banks would be forced to raise a great amount of capital, a total that would dwarf the amount that was recently raised to support the purchase of non-performing loans from Italian financial institutions. The European nations are struggling even with zero interest rates. Imagine what the budget deficits of Spain, Italy and France would be if borrowing rates were to dramatically increase.
This is just the beginning of analyzing low probability, high impact events. The landscape of the global macro system are rife with such possibilities. Now a black swan in an uncertain event this focus will be on those with a probability of occurring. The floor is open to all suggestions.
(Larry Summers had to run to his medicine cabinet to take Prozac (not Diazepam as in the Rolling Stones song) after he read the G-20 communique. The finance ministers and central bank heads meeting in Shanghai failed to come to terms with any of the issues concerning the global economy. There was no PLAZA ACCORD and no deep discussions about the need for massive fiscal stimulus. The tone of the Communique was TEPID at best and views the present state of the global economy as slow but steady. There was certainly NO URGENCY about a rise in the prospects of a global recession. The finance ministers downplayed the recent volatility and slide in global equity markets, suggesting by those domiciled in ivory towers and model-based rat holes that the MARKETS ARE MISTAKEN AND THE MODELS ARE CORRECT. The arguments among the participants was such that there were some issues that seem in direct contradiction of any policy response.
As discussed ad nauseam, politics is trumping the economics of the Greek drama as the European finance ministers are trying to cut and paste a “bailout” solution that satisfies all parties. In what is being reported as terse discussions taking place in Brussels, the Financial Times reported that German Chancellor Merkel said, “There’s not going to be an agreement at any cost.” This Merkel comment is in direct contravention to Mario Draghi’s famous pledge in July 2012, “Whatever It Take” and no taboos.