Monday, October 31, 2011

Panic Behind The MF Scenes As Company Refuses To Disclose Information To Regulators Even In Death

As in life, so in death. Reuters reports that "U.S. regulators are unhappy with the failure of MF Global Holdings Ltd to provide them with the required data and records, a source close to one regulator told Reuters on Monday. "So far they've been very disappointed with the cooperation in the fulsomeness of records and data from MF," the source said, noting regulators have been working with the firm since late last week. "They were supposed to be able to show us their books and they're supposed to be able to tell us what's what and where their customer funds are and how they've been segregated and protected and to date we don't have the information that we should have," the individual told Reuters." Seriously, as Erin Burnett would say, you are already bankrupt. Just how much worse is it if you even in death you still are hiding secrets? And at this point it should be obvious to everyone: whatever MF is hiding is not something that will hurt it or much less its stakeholders for which the management team obviously never cared one iota. After all the company is already dead. Whatever is on its books has huge impacts to those either behind the corporate veil, read Mr. Corzine, who may or may not have regulatory issues arising from 10(b)-5 "concerns", or more probably, to other banks and Primary Dealers. And with even one simple affidavit still to be filed in Bankruptcy Court, the panic behind the scene is palpable.



Someone Is Going To Jail For This: MF Global Caught Stealing Hundreds Of Millions From Customers?

Say you are the head back office guy at MF Global, it is the close of trading on Thursday, the firm has already completely drawn down on its revolver, and all the resulting cash in addition to all the firm's cash at your disposal in affiliated bank accounts, up to and including petty cash, has been used to satisfy margin demands due to declining collateral value, yet the collateral calls just won't stop, and impatient voices on the other side of the phone line demand you transfer even more cash over immediately or else risk default proceedings commenced against you within minutes. What do you do? Do you go ahead and tell your superior that the firm is broke even though the co-opted media is trumpeting every 5 minutes that "MF Global is fine", knowing full well you will be immediately fired for being the bearer of bad news, or do you assume that courtesy of your uber-boss being the former head of the Vampire Squid, and thanks to infinite moral hazard which after Lehman made sure nobody would ever fail ever again, that there is simply no way that you will be left without some miraculous rescue, if only you can last one more day, and as a result proceed to "commingle" some client funds with the firm's cash. It turns out that at MF Global you do the latter... over and over... until you have literally stolen hundreds of millions from the firm's client accounts in hopes that the miracle rescue will come on Friday... then over the weekend... and then you realize no miracle is coming, partly because your actions have been exposed, partly because miracles only exist in fairy tales. The next thing you know, your firm is bankrupt and hundreds of clients are about to learn that all their money is gone. Poof. This is not a fictional tale. This is precisely what very likely happened at MF Global in the past 72 hours. And someone has to go to jail. That someone, if indeed this criminal act is proven to have taken place, should be none other than Jon Corzine himself.

MF Global files for bankruptcy/Questions on Obama Legitimacy/silver and gold raid

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen: Today the price of gold fell by $22.00 to $1724.20 as the bankers decided to raid in concert with an intervention by the Japanese to lower their Yen.  The price of silver followed suit down by 93 cents to $34.34.  The big news of the day is the bankruptcy filing by MFGlobal a huge trading firm under the direction of former Goldman Sachs CEO and also the former

Monthly Gold Charts - October 2011

Trader Dan at Trader Dan's Market Views - 2 hours ago
I have to keep my comments brief today as it is time for Halloween! Looks like precious metals owners got a back of tricks today instead of treats. The culprit was the intervention by the Japanese monetary authorities who hit the Yen with a barrage of selling and sent the markets into a tizzy. The subsequent rally in the US Dollar then had the mindless hedgies dumping everything they bought late last week as equities were trashed along with the commodity sector in general. Copper and silver were both sold off and gold went along for the ride to the downside. If some of you might ha... more » 

Today Was Ugly

Dave in Denver at The Golden Truth - 4 hours ago
The S&P 500 index futures started selling off around midnight (Denver time) and steadily went lower from then until the 2 p.m (Denver) close of the NYSE. Both the SPX and the Dow closed on their lows of the day and the selling in the final 5 minutes of trading accelerated. On the surface the analysts and media will blame the action on deteriorating situation with regard to the "bailout" agreement rolled out on Friday. I lifted my leg all over it on Friday and several high profile analysts released similar analysis over the weekend and this morning. While there is no doubt reali... more » 

China wants Europe to solve its own problems

Eric De Groot at Eric De Groot - 6 hours ago

Oops. How quickly the confidence of change fades when reality remains unaltered. China smart enough to distance itself from a savior role that must come from within. A savior must demand one currency, one debt, and plenty of devaluation. Headline: China wants Europe to solve its own problems LONDON: China has stressed it will not be a ''saviour'' to Europe as the Chinese President, Hu Jintao,... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] 

China Manufacturing PMI Drops To 32 Month Low

China Manufacturing PMI prints at 50.4, down from 51.2, when consensus was expecting an increase to 51.8. This is the lowest print in 32 months, and the lowest since February 2009. But wait, before concludng that this is very bad news, uh, ahem... well, sorry, we haven't taken the CNBC spin school yet. It's bad news and the hard landing is coming. We leave the spin to the professionals. Oh wait, yes, China will go ahead and ease immediately if not sooner. Because the PBoC has surely completely forgotten how much fun it was to see pork prices rise by triple digits year over year, and because it knows all too well that no matter what it does the Fed will never, ever print, and thus export metric tons of inflation straight across the Pacific. How's that for spin?

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Open Europe On The Greek Referendum: Is Democracy Finally Coming Home?

Euroskeptic think thank Open Europe once again appears on the scene with one of the first more extended reactions to what the possibility of a Greek referendum, which according to the Guardian will take place in January, means for Greece, the Eurozone, and the latest bailout (which according to Williem Buiter, who reiterates to the FT something we said 2 months ago, needs to be €3 trillion). One thing we would like to point out is that if indeed the popular vote on the future of Europe will take place in January, then kiss the year end rally goodbye as the uncertainty around the market will be insurmountable by anything the bureaucrats can throw at the concern that Europe is on fast-track to political suicide. From the source: "This could be big turning point in this crisis. The EU should move quickly to come up with plans to mitigate the fallout of a no vote, specifically how to handle a rudderless and broke Greece, which would probably include plans for allowing it to exit the euro. A yes vote would be far from a solution, at best it would buy some time for the Greek government and the EU to enforce some necessary reforms thanks to a fresh mandate. As with any referendum it may come down to the phrasing of the question. Let’s hope the Greek government and the EU do a better job of communicating the issues at hand than they have done so far in this crisis."

Ugly Close As 30Y TSY Yield Drops Most Since March 2009

While much was made of the MF Global news today, we suspect that the tipping point for risk assets was more likely driven by the plethora of reality-based analysis of the situation in Europe combined with the afternoon news that Greece is facing a referendum and a lack of demand for the EFSF issue today. Heavy volume arrived into the close to the downside, suggesting asset allocation rotation from equities to bonds, which helped propel TSYs even further down in yield. The entire complex flattened notably with 30Y outperforming -24.5bps, the largest single-day yield move since March 2009, as the much-watched 2s10s30s butterfly has retraced all of last week's increase. ES closed at its lows (down over 2.5%) only to extend those losses in the evening session as we post as IG and HY credit tracked notably wider once again.

Europe According To...

While we have shown this series of images by Bulgarian modern artist Yanko Tsvetkov previously, now that the question of European "unity" is more debatable than ever, and with a Greek referendum in effect guaranteeing the collapse of the Eurozone at least in its current framework, it makes sense to refresh on these pictures which straddle the thin line between reality and satire, which these days is one and the same. But no matter what, the important part is that everyone is hedged. Just ask MF Global... and MS.

Guest Post: MF Global: Comments From A Bank Executive

More from our Bank Exec friend, this time on MF Global after we tried to lay blame on Rubin, Thain and Corzine for blowing up their firms: "MF Global. They named that company right. You probably didn't see it first hand but Lehman, Bear and Merrill were doing the dumbest real estate deals "ever" in the run up to the implosion. Every real estate veteran saw it, and while AIG's CDS exposure gets airplay, bad real estate lending is at the center of the disaster. So, Merrill was toast before Thain showed up. He was just the funeral director. Citi (with its 14 off balance sheet SIV's @ $1 trillion) was an abomination in progress before Rubin arrived, the Enron of banking and each and every officer and board member should go to jail. But they won't because they are all too powerful and very politically connected."

EURUSD Retraces Entire 'Bailout' In 3 Days

Joining US TSYs, BTPs, and SPGs, the EUR has now retraced the entire post-summit rally in a mere 3 days, and is down 300 pips today alone. It also seems the actions in Greece are starting to get reactions in US financials and broad risk assets. We also note that EURJPY has retraced over 75% of the intervention in 18 hours...perhaps Azumi will let the market be now?

Three Out Of Four: Spain Joins Ireland, Portugal With A Gun To Its Head, Demanding Concessions

Previously we noted that, just as expected, the weakest PIIGS - Portugal and Ireland - wasted no time to start rumblings about a "suddenly slowing economy" in the aftermath of the Greek bail out which achieved nothing but to delay contagion by 48 hours (we won't bother readers with the blow out in Italian bond yields any more), and to unleash demands by everyone else to get the same concessions, in essence pushing Europe into an even deeper hole, forcing Golum Van Rompuystiltskin to say he was only kidding about the 4-5x EFSF leverage: he really meant 45x. Confirming that the tsunami of demands has been unleashed is today's announcement from the Bank of Spain that not only was Q3 GDP flat (read: negative), but that the deficit target for the year would not be achieved. Google translated from Expansion: "The Bank of Spain says the Spanish economic growth was zero in the third quarter from the previous quarter and warns that there are significant risks that may prevent achieving the deficit target this year. The Bank of Spain said that the information available for the third quarter suggests that the pattern of decline shown in the previous quarter "would have continued in the middle months of the year, in an environment marked by the deepening crisis of sovereign debt euro area." Truly nobody could have seen this coming, yet it is odd how it was casually slipped in broader discussion three short days after the Greek bailout.

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G-Pap Demands Referendum To Rescue Plan, Seems Set To Throw In The Towel

It appears the Greek leader has had it, and is officially throwing in the towel, leaving his citizens to tell Europe to shove their perpetual bank rescue plan, via Bloomberg:
Naturally, with scenes like this from last week, don't expect a glowing Greek endorsement of abdicating national sovereignty to the European superstate. In fact, expect the opposite. And with that, preparations for a Greek exit from the Euro and Eurozone begin in earnest.

  • Citing U.S. law, State Department says it will not make a $60 million contribution in November to U.N. cultural agency UNESCO after its members voted to grant Palestinians full membership.



Asset Allocation: Gold, Real Estate, Stocks & Cash

Admin at Marc Faber Blog - 8 minutes ago
The best thing an individual investor can do right now is to hold 25 percent of his assets in equities, 25 percent in real estate, 25 percent in gold, and 25 percent in cash. If equities, real estate, or gold drop another 10 to 20 percent, put more cash in. - *in BullionVault* ETFs, SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD), SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) *Marc Faber is an international investor known for his uncanny predictions of the stock market and futures markets around the world.* 

Bank of Japan Intervention in Yen is doomed to Fail

Trader Dan at Trader Dan's Market Views - 13 minutes ago
The Bank of Japan stepped into the Forex markets overnight in an attempt to punish the impertinent speculators who have dared to nullify their former intervention efforts undertaken back earlier this year when the nation suffered the onslaught of the earthquake/tsunami. Note the previous intervention, which I might add was a VERY RARE example of COORDINATED CENTRAL BANK EFFORTS involving the BOJ, the ECB and the FED. If intervention is going to be effective, it will generally need to be coordinated, sustained and have an eventual fundamental backing. Without those factors, it alwa... more »



Here Come The "Unintended Consequences": Stock Futures Liquidity Dries Up Post MF Bankruptcy

Just like with Lehman, when it took 3 days for the full consequences of the bankruptcy to manifest themselves in the form of a complete freeze of money markets, so too now we are starting to see the same phenomenon following the blow up of one of the world's largest exchanges. The first observation comes courtesy of Dow Jones which informs us that the MF Bankruptcy has "devastated stock futures liquidity." Specifically, "MF Global's departure from the clearing scene has "devastated liquidity" in stock index futures, a long-time CME floor broker said. He estimated about a third of the pit population is missing. On a normal day, six or seven filling brokers stand on the top rail. That's down to three. In the rate futures markets, another veteran broker sees "marginal" impact because MF's business in Eurodollar and Treasurys is not as large as Newedge USA and Goldman Sachs. "Whatever the effect, it will be extremely short- term in nature because accounts will find new clearing firms and executing brokers quickly," the rate futures broker said." One can only hope the futures broker is right. In the meantime, the CME's margin drop in Dow related margins from last week probably could not have come at a better time.

Demand For EFSF Paper Collapses As World Wakes Up To Post Bailout Hangover

It just goes from bad to worse for Europe, which had been hoping to issue €5 billion in 15 year bonds to finance part of the Irish bail out via the EFSF. Instead, once seeing the orderbook, or lack thereof, Europe ended up slashing the notional by 40% and the maturity by 33%, to a €3 billion issue due 10 years from now. And that is hardly the end of the concessions. As the FT reports, "The bond from the European Financial Stability Facility will only target €3bn, instead of €5bn, and will be in 10-year bonds rather than a 15-year maturity because of worries over demand. A 10-year bond is more likely to attract interest from Asian central banks than a longer maturity. Banks hired to manage the deal are Barclays Capital, Crédit Agricole and JPMorgan." Do you see what happens Larry, when China walks? But so we have this straight, Europe plans to fund a total of €1 trillion in EFSF passthrough securities.... yet it can't raise €5 billion? Just.... Priceless.

Euro Bailout Halflife: 48 Hours

10Y US Treasuries have now successfully eradicated all the post-summit losses and are well on their way to last week's low yields as the reality (that we unendingly slammed into people's heads) appears to be hitting managers minds. 2s10s30s has also retraced the entire post-summit shift and the EUR is also getting very close to unch (from pre-summit). This leaves only ES (and credit to a lesser degree) as the odd man out having retraced only 50% of the post-summit euphoria.

Presenting The Bond That Blew Up MF Global

Reaching for yield (and prospectively capital appreciation) while shortening duration had become the new 'smart money' trade as we saw HY credit curves steepen earlier in the year (only to become the pain trade very quickly). The attraction of those incredible yields on short-dated sovereigns was an obvious place for momentum monkeys to chase and it seems that was the undoing of MF Global. The Dec 2012 Italian bonds (in which MF held 91% of its ITA exposure), as highlighted in today's Bloomberg Chart-of-the-day, appears to be the capital-sucking instrument of doom for the now-stricken MF. As if we need to remind readers, there is a reason why yields are high - there is no free lunch - and while some have already leaped to the defense of the bet-on-black Corzine risk management process with comments such as 'He was simply early and will be proved correct' should remember that only the central banks have bottomless non-mark-to-market pockets to withstand the vol. It also sets up a rather useful lesson for those pushing for EFSF leverage to buy risky sovereign debt - but given today's issue demand, perhaps that is moot.

Bob, At His Bearish Best, On "Fudge, Fantasy And Fiction" - "My Target For The S&P Remains 800/900"

And now for some good old fashioned Bob Janjuah, albeit with proper grammar (damn you Nomura proper English sylesheet... damn you to hell): "No change. Deeply bearish with respect to global growth, and on a secular basis I am very strongly risk-off – my 2012 target for the low in the S&P500 remains 800/900, with the risk of an "undershoot? to the 700s. See my last note for details/targets. I would highlight only my view that the global policy making community, based their "actions? over the last month, are doing a wonderful job in meeting my 2012 "target?. Namely that, in 2012, the current set of developed markets (DM) policymakers will be exposed as "emperors with no clothes on?, and their policy choices over the last few years will be seen as the central problem, rather than as some mystical bazooka solution which can somehow reconcile the chasm between a lack of growth and productivity on the one hand, and the enormous debt and debt servicing costs and unsustainable entitlement culture costs that we face in the DM world on the other." And for the shorter-term: "The implication therefore is that in 2011, the October equity lows MAY NOT be the lows for the year. So based on what I can see now, and with a S&P500 1310 “stop loss” as mentioned above, I am now looking for another major risk-off phase between now and year end, with a December target for the S&P500 back down in the 1100s for sure, and possibly even the low 1000s." In other words, Bob as we love him best: nearing his all time bearish zenith... Or nadir, depends on one's perspective.

ISDA Says 50% Greek Bond Haircut "Appears" Voluntary

Well, they are right: 50% and the gun next to your head does not go off, hence "voluntary" or push for fair treatment in bankruptcy, get exiled from the ponzi in perpetuity, and hope for a 0% recovery at best. Next steps: the upcoming 90% haircut, which make no mistake is coming once the 50% one is deemed insufficient, just like the 21% before it, will also be voluntary? Thank you ISDA for confirming whose interests you have truly at heart, and for forcing everyone to take a quick peek at the members on you determinations committee.

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Game Over. And in the meantime, we get the following report from a media source: "CME’s acting like the MF Global thing just happened.  They’re haphazardly locking traders out who clear with MF, blocking access to the floor of not just MF Global employees but people who clear through them.  As a result, nobody wants to leave the floor and nobody who still has access wants to trade just to get locked out."

Full MF Global Bankruptcy Petition... In Which We Find That Corzine's Bankrupt Firm Owes CNBC $845,397?

Full bankruptcy filing attached below, where we find that in addition to owing JPM and Deutsche Bank $1.2 billion and $1 billion respectively, as bond trustees, the 7th biggest unsecured creditor with $845,397, is... CNBC? Perhaps that explains the objective reporting the Comcast station has provided on the topic of MF over the past several weeks, considering the caliber and quality of guests invited to opine. It also should be a reminder to all advertising collections offices to never be more than 30 days late on collecting receivables. Of course, this is pure speculation on our behalf. We are confident CNBC will provide a far more rational explanation why it is owed nearly $1 million by MF Global, and just what is the nature of services rendered...

Dick Bove Goes For The Post-Lehman Twofer: MF Global Is Fine

Three years after upgrading Lehman days ahead of its bankruptcy, here is Dick Bove on CNBC last week assuring anyone idiotic enough to listen to him that, you guessed is, MF Gloal is fine and a buyer will promptly materialize. How much longer will the Comcast financial comedy channel tolerate this individual?

No One Forced Banks And Insurers To Buy Greek Bonds

Admin at Marc Faber Blog - 2 hours ago
No one forced banks and insurers to buy Greek bonds. The crisis we have today won’t be fixed and the problems won’t be solved, they will be delayed. And then one day, we’ll see the final crisis, where numerous governments will go bankrupt. - *in Bloomberg* *Marc Faber is an international investor known for his uncanny predictions of the stock market and futures markets around the world.* 

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Greece Is Bankrupt, But Other Are Too

Admin at Jim Rogers Blog - 3 hours ago
Greece is bankrupt, but others are too, and these haircuts will have to come back and be wider. - *in Investment Week* *Jim Rogers is an author, financial commentator and successful international investor. He has been frequently featured in Time, The New York Times, Barron’s, Forbes, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and is a regular guest on Bloomberg and CNBC.* 

Did Jon Corzine Just Get A $12.1 Million Golden Parachute?

Based on the MF Global Proxy statement filed in August 2011, there are rumors that the now defunct Primary Dealer will pay Jon Corzine a severance of $12.1 million. However, is that the full story?

October Chicago PMI Misses Consensus Prints At 58.4, Down From 60.4

Time to drag the recession talk back? After three months of the Chicago PMI (a key advance indicator for the ISM), bucking the trend of the other high frequency economic indicators and beating expectations consistently, it is the PMI itself that finally missed consensus, printing at 58.4 on expectations of 59.0, and down from a 60.4 in September. The strength in the report was in Employment, which was the highest in 6 months, while New Orders "erased half of Spetember's gains." Inventories dropped from 60.3 to 54.4, Production was down from 63.9 to 63.4, while inflation returns as Prices Paid rose from 62.3 to 66.0. Look for some cautious wording ahead of the Manfuacturing ISM now that everyone has hiked their Q4 GDP forecasts once again to accompany the S&P ramp, because the stock market is somehow representative of the 

Moody's Turns Moody on Europe, Sees Bailout Risks Spreading

Hidden among the detritus of last night's MF headlines and JPY Azumification, Moody's released their Weekly Credit Outlook. The report was rather unsurprisingly (given our perspective on the lack of real news last week) negative on the Euro Summit implications noting that while some positives remain, the negatives at a grossed-up level seem to outweigh the market's exuberance. In most scenarios they see the impact as neutral (for Ireland and Portugal, European banks and Insurers, and the EFSF itself) but they are most concerned at the impact the 'plan' will have on AAA-rated euro are countries and the considerably higher bank recap needs. We can only leave it to the market to decide how self-referencing CDS should be priced.

Don't Tell The Italian Banks They Got Bailed Out: 3 Out Of Top 4 Banks Trading Below "Bailout" Price

Remember the European summit that was supposed to not so much bail out Europe, as stop the contagion from spreading to Italy (but mostly to send the ES highest by 40 points intraday at one point)? Well, in the credit markets the summit has failed miserably as already noted previously. Now, we see that it has also spread to the equity of those all important Italian financial companies. As the chart below shows, 3 of the top 4 Italian banks (Intesa, UniCredit, Monte Pasci, And MedioBanca) are now trading below their levels at the time of the bailout. So: rescue half life is what - 48 hours? About in line with our expectations.

Greeks Set To Scream Bloody Murder As Pension Fund Threatens To Recoup €8 Billion In "Illegally" Paid Out Proceeds

Just in case Greece needed one more reason to piss off the angry mob, just waiting to resume its Syntagma square festival, Ekathimerini reports that very soon Greeks will discover that not only are their pension funds about 50% underfunded funded courtesy of the first of many European 'bailouts', but that they will actually have to repay pension proceeds back. Granted, pensions paid out under illegal pretenses, but still, this is money that will have to make its way out of insolvent Greek families that, just like in America, never felt an urge to save, but merely to spend, spend, spend, with hopes of endless crony communism in perpetuity. "Up to eight billion euros have been paid in bogus pensions in the past decade, director of the Social Security Foundation (IKA), Rovertos Spyropoulos said on Monday. Under immense pressure to cut spending and replenish empty state coffers, the Greek government has found out that millions of euros have been paid to deceased claimants. The money is often claimed by fraudulent relatives or, in some cases, it remains idle in banks." What happens when all the other socialist countries in Europe discover the same has been happening there repeatedly and to far greater extents?

Time To Fill The Euro-Gap?

As the EUR trades at its lows of the day (having retraced over 60% of the Euro-Summit rally, we wonder how long before the broad European equity markets will take to fill the gap from that wondrous liquidating day. Equities are underperforming credit so far this morning but it is very clear that hedgers/shorts are back in lower cost credit positions as European sovereigns leak wider in yield (cash and CDS). We also note that EFSF is underperforming Bunds (by around 7bps so far this morning) making us wait for the Barroso-Van-Rompuy 'We're gonna need a bigger boat' speech.

Non-Naked European CDS Update

Non-hedged Eurosov CDS may be banned, hedged Eurosov CDS may be irrelevant, but courtesy of tens of billions in capital caught up in basis trades which are all about to be Boaz Weinstein'ed very soon, moves wider in cash will drag CDS along with them.

Bill Gross' Latest Monthly Thoughts: "Pennies From Heaven" Or Can You Solve Debt With More Debt?

Once again, Bill Gross proves he can think outside of the box better than most, with the following paragraph from his latest letter to clients: "the investment question du jour should be “can you solve a debt crisis with more debt?” Penny or no penny. Policymakers have been striving to answer it in the affirmative ever since Lehman 2008 with an assorted array of bazookas and popguns: 0% interest rates, sequential QEs with a twist, and of course now the EU grand plan with its various initiatives involving debt write-offs for Greece, bank recapitalizations for Euroland depositories and the leveraging of their rather unique “EFSF” which requires 17 separate votes each and every time an amendment is required. What a way to run a railroad. Still, investors hold to the premise that once a grand plan is in place in Euroland and for as long as the U.S., U.K. and Japan can play scrabble with the 10-point “Q” letter, then the markets are their oyster. Not being one to cast pearls before swine or little Euroland PIGS for that matter, I would tentatively agree with one huge qualifier: As long as these policies generate growth."..."My original question – Can you solve a debt crisis by creating more debt?” – must continue to be answered in the negative, because that debt – low yielding as it is – is not creating growth. Instead, we are seeing: minimal job creation, historically low investment, consumption turning into savings and GDP growth at less than New Normal levels. The Rogoff/Reinhart biblical parallel of seven years of fat followed by seven years of lean is not likely to be disproven in this cycle. The only missing input to the equation would seem to be how many years of fat did we actually experience? More than seven, I would suggest." And that, dear readers, is the bottom line: put otherwise, we have experienced 30 years of deviation from the mean courtesy of the biggest, and most artificial in history, cheap debt-inspired period of global "growth." And we are due for the mother of all mean reversions when the central planners finally realize their methods to defeat this simplest of methemaical concepts, have failed.

Frontrunning: October 31

  • Azumi Pledges More Action After Yen Intervention (Bloomberg)
  • Japan to buy more EFSF bonds-Europe fund chief (Reuters)
  • Draghi in Battle Mode From Day One at ECB (Bloomberg)
  • Berlusconi Stays Defiant as Europe’s Crisis Focuses on Italy Reform Effort (Bloomberg)
  • Hu starts key trip to Europe (China Daily)
  • Europe will not offer China concessions for aid: Juncker (Reuters)
  • Europe Might Have Blown Last Chance to End Its Crisis (Bloomberg)
  • Schäuble calls for EU lead on Tobin tax (FT)
  • UK faces "economic suicide" if on EU margins – Clegg (Reuters)

New York Fed Statement On MF Global, Or How 22 Primary Dealers Became 21 Primary Dealers

Statement Regarding MF Global Inc.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has informed MF Global Inc. that it has been suspended from conducting new business with the New York Fed.  This suspension will continue until MF Global establishes, to the satisfaction of the New York Fed, that MF Global is fully capable of discharging the responsibilities set out in the New York Fed’s policy, “Administration of Relationships with Primary Dealers,” or until the New York Fed decides to terminate MF Global’s status as a primary dealer.

MF Global Shares Halted For News

Is this the way MG Global ends, not with a bang, but a T.1 trading halt (although not in Europe, where shares are down 60%)? Stay tuned as we find out if, as we expect, we are about to see a prepack MF bankruptcy, with Interactive Brokers as a lowball stalking horse bidder, ala what Barclays was to Lehman when that bank filed. We will also find out if indeed all the contagion risk from a MF filing is non-existant, very much like Paulson thought when, yes, Lehman filed. In other news, can Jon Corzine become CEO of Bank of America next please? Or at least America's next president? It's not like Goldman does not need a few more competitors taken out...

EU Deal and Hell Freezing Over

So the EU finally reached a debt deal and hell (or at least New York City) froze over. Thursday's meteoric rise was followed by a relatively calm Friday but is losing steam as more and more nagging doubts set in. Italian and Spanish bond yields have failed to participate in the rally and in fact Italian yields are reaching yields not seen in decades. The EFSF has morphed into an incredibly complex entity and there is no indication that Regling is up to the task of running their various programs optimally. The Asian trip seems ill advised at best and a debacle at worst. What is he asking China to invest in? China has money, and I don't doubt that under the right terms will invest in Europe. But they need terms. What terms is the EFSF getting on the bank recap portion? Do they even know or have they even thought about it? Are they even willing to let China invest in banks on a big scale? What about buying bonds? Since there are no details on the new first loss protected bonds, what can Regling be asking them to invest in? At some point China has accumulated these reserves because they understood it matters what you invest in. I wonder if not only did this trip annoy China but has actually increased their concern that European leaders are way in over their heads on this financial crisis. Even Japan was only willing to say they would take some more of the German/French backed good EFSF bonds, albeit at a slower rate of purchase. Does anyone really doubt the AAA bonds backed by the 6 AAA countries still have a bid?

European Implosion Resumes With Italy Firmly In The Vigilantes' Sights

The duration of the European bailout was 48 hours give or take. And now reality is back in the form of the following headlines:
  • Italian 10 Year BTP Yield surges to all time high 6.153% before ECB intervention takes it back to ... 6 122%
  • Expressed in price, they have dropped to a record 90.697
  • Italian-German 10 year yield passes 400 bps
  • Italy CDS soar 22 bps to 427 bps
  • Italy 5 Year yields bonds join drop, yield rises  to over record 5.91%
See a trend? The one thing Europe was trying to avoid, contagion spreading to Italy, has happened.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

As CNYJPY Jumps To QE2 Levels, What Odds Are Markets Implying Of A China Hard Landing?

With tonight's multi-year record CNY fixing and trillions being flushed at maintaining an arbitrary line in the sand, it seems appropriate to re-consider how to hedge a China hard landing and what probabilities various asset classes are assigning to it occurring. While many are pointing to what seems an entirely capricious level of 79.20 JPY to the USD as the 'new normal' being defended, we were curious at the strange coincidence that the CNYJPY cross implied by tonight's CNY fixing and the 79.2 JPY was exactly the average CNYJPY level during the QE2 period. It seems the Japanese are hedging their tail-risk against the Chinese and a recent note by Morgan Stanley points to how various asset class traders might consider hedging their own version of a hard-landing scenario and notably they agree with us that China sovereign CDS remains among the 'best' hedge.



EURUSD Breaches 1.4000 Support

And with that we can put the highly semantic debate over which direction the European currency opened pre-market to rest. To all who were caught wrong way for the past 160 pips, better luck during the next centrally planned intervention. The next catalyst will be BTPs opening for trading in a few brief hours. We are very curious whether the ECB will more focused on preserving the Italian stability falacy or the EURUSD overvaluation myth: perhaps both? After all, "there is a (completely unfunded) EFSF for that."



Japan intervened to stem yen's climb: finance minister

Eric De Groot at Eric De Groot - 2 hours ago
A sharp decline and bearish setup in the Yen's diffusion index (DI) last week illustrates how leveraged money flows often anticipate headline events. Yen (FXY) and the Commercial (C) & Nonreportables (NR) Traders COT Futures and Options Stochastic Weighted Average of Net Long As A % of Open Interest Headline: Japan intervened to stem yen's climb: finance minister (Reuters) - Japan... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

Unbelievable, Must-See Video: Heroic Navy Sailor Stands Tall In the Middle of Oakland Tear Gas Firestorm ... Holding Up the Cons
George Washington
10/31/2011 - 00:46



Clearinghouses, Regulators Told To Prepare For MF Bankruptcy, Risk Off

Just out from Bloomberg, citing the WSJ:
The EURUSD has tumbled 50 pips in the aftermath of the news as risk just moved to the Off position

Welcome To The Latest Peg

For the last 45 minutes, USDJPY has been unable to shake loose of 79.2 by more than a pip or two. Following the SNB and their efforts with EURCHF and USDCHF, is Azumi now pushing another of our freely floating foreign exchange currencies to a peg? Gold is down a little (in its knee-jerk response to USD strength reflecting off the JPY intervention) but one has to wonder if slowly but surely we are being reverted to the 'fixedness' of a gold standard?

Japan intervened to stem yen's climb: finance minister

Eric De Groot at Eric De Groot - 16 minutes ago

A sharp decline and bearish setup in the Yen's diffusion index (DI) last week illustrates how leveraged money flows often anticipate headline events. Yen (FXY) and the Commercial (C) & Nonreportables (NR) Traders COT Futures and Options Stochastic Weighted Average of Net Long As A % of Open Interest Headline: Japan intervened to stem yen's climb: finance minister (Reuters) - Japan... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

Yentervention Time

Update - It's Official:
AZUMI SAYS INTERVENTION WAS DUE TO STRONG SIGNS OF SPECULATION - thank god Mrs Watanabe is not speculating on the short side.

After Six Standard Deviation Jump, USDJPY Intervention Loses 38.2% In 30 Minutes

Thanks to Mr. Azumi's clearly unique (and Halloween-centric) perspective on Japanese currency fundamentals, USDJPY managed to peak with a six standard deviation move, bested only by 10/28/08 (what a weekend for a 3 year anniversary!!) before all the way back to 1995. However, as always with his unilateral decisions, the market seems to know best and we have already given back over 38% of the drop. Interestingly, broad risk markets have not enjoyed this move at all as correlations are not helping the Japanese cause and ES continues to leak lower.

Is Gold Over Or Undervalued? How About The EFSF (Europe = Fastow, Skilling & Fuld)

In an opinion piece of our own, instigated by the gentlemen at Gold Money, we were asked how we work out whether gold is over or undervalued at any given minute. What a question at the best of times, much less now! What we came up with was the following, something which encapsulates a theme about which we have written much of late: "What is ?value? in a world where the single goal of the powers that be is to deny the market the ability to have its constituents? underlying ordering of wants accurately reflected in the price structure? We have no proper market in capital; severely impaired markets in any number of basic goods; false markets in real estate; distorted markets in labour (hence why so many poor souls are still without jobs); and no certainty about anything except the awful certainty that nothing is off?limits to those who are desperately trying to put Humpty Dumpty together again in time for the next turn of the electoral cycle rather than accepting that he has shuffled off this mortal coil and that it would be better now to see whether at least we can salvage a half?decent omelette out of the remains?" And that pretty much sums up our commentary on the EFSF—the 'Excruciating Folly of Suspending Finality’ or ‘Endorsing Falsity to Succour the Few’, or perhaps just ‘Europe = Fastow, Skilling & Fuld’.

Presenting The Capeless Crusader: The Deficit (Non) Super Committee

While the soap opera in Europe lurches from one extreme to another, in the process creating substantial market knee jerk reactions, even though the final outcome is quite clear to most with cognitive bias blinders, the next major catalyst in the macro spectacle will come not from across the Atlantic, but from these here United States, in the form of the Super Duper Committee tasked with finding the $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts needed in order to make the August debt ceiling hike legitimate. As a reminder the debt back then was $14.4 trillion - tomorrow it will officially surpass $15 trillion for the first time ever, meaning that even as the Super Committee squabbles, half the benefit from its "successful" conclusion has already been implemented. And here is where Morgan Stanley's David Greenlaw comes in with a piece in which he makes it all too clear that the Super Committee may be Clark Kent, but it sure is no Superman. "Press reports continue to suggest that the so-called Super Committee, established as part of the compromise agreement to hike the debt ceiling, is foundering. In recent days, Democrats and Republicans have offered competing plans that have little common ground. Republican members appear to remain committed to a no new taxes pledge, which will make it very difficult for the Committee to come anywhere close to its $1.2 trillion target." In other words, just as nothing material or actionable (suffice for some grandiose delusions) came out of Europe, precisely the same will happen in the US, after our own dire fiscal situation is exposed for the naked emperor it is.

Investor Sentiment: The Best Gains are Behind Us
10/30/2011 - 20:52
The big change will be the decreasing acceleration in the rate at which gains will occur.

some great observations on the coming hyperinflation

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MF Global Hires Two Bankruptcy Legal Advisors As Chapter 11 Looms

The deadline to submit a bankruptcy filing to the Southern District of New York is around midnight, which probably explains why even as MF Global is proceeding at a feverish pace to sell parts or all of it to what appear increasingly skittish investors (who, like China will likely wait until the stalking horse auction to show their bids), it has, as the WSJ has just reported, hired bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers in the face of Weil Gotshal, best known for collecting hundreds of millions in hourly legal fees for its work on the Lehman bankruptcy case, as well as Skadden Arps. It appears that the sale process has not gone quite as well as hoped for, and now the company is bracing for the worst with just under 6 hours left to iron out a going concern solution.

Guest Post: The Greatest Short - Why All Correlations Are Moving To 1

The entire fractional reserve banking system rests on the premise that the short currency long assets/loans trade works, by creating a future economy that provides real greater output to sustain the circulated currency, because expunging it through deleveraging is a dangerous process for bank balance sheets and a deflationary event. The great question at the present time is: Has the recent credit expansion provided the US or Europe with an economy which can sustain the currency stock in circulation with it's accruing interest or has the malinvestment been so bad, that the currency amount in circulation is unsustainable and the resulting deflation will be met by central bank debt forgiveness to the currency shorters. When banks create currency on their balance sheet and trade it for an asset, they sell something they do not have and which they have to repurchase in the future! This mechanic in an environment of latent deleveraging, and massive policy intervention by central banks and governments generates 'Risk on, Risk off' and the banking systems gyration towards selling short currency or covering versus all possible assets is pushing all correlations to 1.

Steven J. Baum | Foreclosure Mill Fraud Busted by Susan Chana Lask-MERS and Mortgage Fraud Detailed (VIDEO)
10/30/2011 - 18:17
If you are reading this "Sloppy Stevie," you might want to watch your back. Looks like you just pissed off all of America... 
10/30/2011 - 16:17
"Unless the FCBs step up to the plate much more than they have in the past couple of weeks, either the Treasury market will collapse, or the stock market rally will fizzle, or both. We’re not there... 

For those who don't expect something for nothing...

"When Money Dies" Author Adam Fergusson And James Turk Discuss (Hyper)Inflation In The Past, In The Present And In The Future

When it comes to discussing monetary history, and specifically what happens when it all goes wrong, there are two must read tomes: one is "The Dying of Money" by Jens Parsson (pdf link) and the other one is "When Money Dies" (pdf link) by Adam Fergusson. Today, we are lucky to bring to you a must watch interview between James Turk of the GoldMoney Foundation and the author of the former, Adam Fergusson. They discuss the fateful decisions that led to hyperinflation in post-First World War Germany, and how central bankers as well as ordinary members of the public today would be well advised to heed this warning from history. Fergusson discusses how the hyperinflation affected different groups in German society in different ways – with debtors benefiting and huge numbers of middle-class savers wiped out. Riots, corruption and political extremism were just some of the malignancies encouraged by the hyperinflation. He points out that those who held hard currencies as well as people who held tangible assets like gold and silver were in-large part protected from the worst economic consequences of the hyperinflation. In his words: “gold remained at all times in Germany the measure of what was important to them.”

EUR Opens Lower As Bailout Disenchantment Returns

Following another weekend of consistently disappointing news on the latest and greatest bailout front, where the #1 question of just who funds the €560 billion EFSF hole remains unanswered, it is not surprising that the EURUSD has entered the pre-market session modestly lower. If China continues to posture as it has over the last 48 hours, expect this to trend lower as Asia wakes up, with the only possible saving grace the fear that weak-hand residual EUR shorts, which as noted on Friday remain at stubbornly high levels, may cover on any slide.



The "Dumb Money" Refuses To Play Along: China State Media Says It Won't Rescue Europe

A few days ago China telegraphed it refuses to continue to be seen as the world's rescuer and the dumbest money in the room. Many assumed China was only kidding: after all how would China let its biggest export partner flounder? And furthermore, all China does is provide vendor financing, right? Well, as it turns out, wrong, because to China the current state of Europe is far from the terminal crisis Europe is trying to make it appear. This is happening even as a thoroughly desperate and grovelling Europe, kneepads armed and ready, has said via the EFSF's Regling that it will even consider issuing Yuan-denominated bonds. Alas, China is less than impressed. As AFP reports, "China’s state media Sunday warned that the country will not be a “savior” to Europe, as President Hu Jintao left for an official visit to the region including a G20 summit. Hu’s visit has raised hopes that cash-rich China might make a firm commitment to the European bailout fund, but in a commentary, the official Xinhua news agency said Europe must address its own financial woes. “China can neither take up the role as a savior to the Europeans, nor provide a ‘cure’ for the European malaise. “Obviously, it is up to the European countries themselves to tackle their financial problems,” it said, adding that China could only do so “within its capacity to help as a friend." A friend, who at this point is quite sensible, and realizes far better deals are to be had down the line if one merely waits. That said, we are certain China is not the only one out there with an instant notification pending the second Santorini, Ibiza or the Isle of Capri hits E-bay.

Broken Market Chronicles: Nasdaq Proposes To Make Legal What Exchanges Have Been Doing Illegally For Years

A new proposal by Nasdaq has the market purists such as our friends at Nanex and all those (very few) who still care about how broken the market is and demand something be done about it, writhing in disgust, particularly this section:
\5\ The Exchange is also changing its policies and procedures under Regulation NMS governing the data feeds used by its execution system and routing engine. Current policies state that those systems use data provided by the network processors. In the future, those systems will use data provided either by the network processors or by proprietary feeds offered by certain exchanges directly to vendors.
Nasdaq's proposal admits that exchanges are supposed to use the SIP (CQS/UQDF) data for their execution system and routing engine! They want to formally change things to match what they've been doing all along so they can avoid fines and more! Why would you submit a proposal to change something you've already been doing? In other words, what the exchange is proposing, is already common practice. If exchanges are granted this proposal, Reg NMS, for all practical purposes, is no longer relevant, and there is no point in having the SIP calculate the NBBO, because it will have no meaning. Translated: the market will be, for all intents and purposes, officially two-tiered and terminally broken.

Goldman Summarizes The "Frightful Week Ahead"

In the big picture, the market continues to be torn between two conflicting desires. On the one hand, there is a need to remain nimble and keep any "risk-on" positioning light, given that a permanent solution for the Euro zone remains elusive and that US and global growth may remain slow as also indicated in our forecasts. On the other hand, in the wake of the risk sell-off in August and September the market, in our view, remains underweight risk, which was underscored once again this past week by the outsized rally following what was really a relatively tepid EU summit. In short, while substantial uncertainty remains, there is always a possibility this gets brushed aside into year-end. Given this uncertainty, we monitor two things. First, the European policy process obviously remains key, and we will be monitoring developments into the Nov. 3-4 G-20 Summit in Cannes and the Nov. 7 Eurogroup meeting in Brussels closely. The former will be key in fleshing out any emerging market contributions to the SPV announced in the EU summit statement from this past week. The Eurogroup has been tasked with finalizing the implementation of EFSF leveraging and the SPV in November. Second, we are closely watching cyclical data in the US and elsewhere, and whether downside risks to growth are abating. In this regard, the coming week brings the global PMIs, including the all-important ISM and October payrolls, where at 75k, we are below consensus (95k). In terms of central bank meetings, we expect the FOMC to leave policy unchanged on Nov. 2.... Mario Draghi's first policy meeting as President of the ECB will be important to watch on Thursday. We hold firm to our view that a rate cut will only come in December (50bp), and the market is pricing low odds for a cut this week.

"The Decade Wall Street Went Insane": A Front Row Miniseries On The 'Generation Of Excess' Alongside Trader Monthly Magazine

There was a time, half a decade ago, when contrary to what they declared in polite (and not so polite) public, every young aspiring hedge fund manager on Wall Street secretly hoped to appear in Trader Monthly's Top 30 under 30. Since then Trader magazine, the symbol of all the excesses of the "zeroes" appropriately went bankrupt, then reappeared once again, though completely stripped of its cachet as the media of choice for Generation XS$. But for the sake of memory lane, and in remembrance of days when it appeared that the flow of money would never cease, and children in their late 20s were disappointed if they did not get an 8 digit bonus, below we present The Decade Wall Street Went Insane - the Zeroes, in which "we get a ringside seat alongside Trader Magazine to some of the biggest parties of the decade, including a Wall Street "Charity" boxing night held at Manhattan's lavish Hammerstein Ballroom. This 5-part web series pits the fantasy of unlimited growth against the wheeling-and-dealing of Wall Street's glitzy surface. We urge any #OWS fanatics with heart conditions to skip this if at all possible.

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