Earlier today Italy sold €3 billion in 1 year Bills at an average yield of 6.087%, the highest since September 1997, and almost 3% higher compared to a month ago, when it prices at 3.570%. Yet there was a stunning twist: the 1 Year was trading at a whopping 7.75% in the gray market minutes before the auction, or almost 200 bps wide of the auction result, something which never happens under normal conditions unless the invisible hand of the central bank has anything to say about it. Now we know already that the ECB stepped in to aggressively mop up Italian bonds in the secondary market immediately after the auction to bring 10 year yields below 7%, however briefly: the bond has since widened above that level once again. Yet what is shocking is the primary market strength for the 1 year: since the ECB is prohibited by law from intervening in the primary, auction market, we wonder just what illegal backdoor funding scheme the ECB has concocted with friendly banks in order to have the auction price where it did, and how much money was transferred by back door channels to keep Europe from imploding one more day. Considering that the EURUSD was trading below 1.35 just prior to the auction at around 3 am, and has since regained losses, just as we expected yesterday, please remind us to add this latest illegal central bank intervention feature to the list of things to uncover once Europe blows up and the ECB's secret trading records are laid out for all to see. In the meantime, here is the Wall Street snap reaction to the Bill auction.
Europe started the day poorly, following up on the weak close and its own poor economic data. Then the ECB got involved and started buying Spanish and Italian debt aggressively. Rumors is that the ECB will have unlimited buying power for Italian debt once the austerity bill is passed. The current buying spree is completely expected. They can't resist intervention and in spite of a massive inventory of unmarked underwater bonds, still believe it does something. This intervention didn't do much for a 1 year auction and the price action in the secondary market has become routine. Some quick short covering. Dealers snapping up some paper to offer back to the ECB. A few additional purchased to goose the market higher, tell the ECB how great they are doing and that it is impossible to source paper, sell your inventory at an even higher level, spoof around while trying to figure out when the ECB is done for the day and what targets they have, sell into the last bit of strength and then let the shorts who covered early reset at much higher prices.
Dismal data from French manufacturing and industrial production along with growing chatter of a 'core' Europe strategy having been discussed is sending spreads among sovereign bonds notably wider. As a reminder Italy faces a rather large 1Y bill auction later this morning and the front-end of the BTP curve is underperforming as 2s10s inverts for the first time since August 1994.
UPDATE 1: Italian Bond Futures opened -1.7%
UPDATE 2: Credit cracking hard now XOver +35bps, Main +8bps, SENFIN +13bps
UPDATE 3: BTPs opened +16bps at 569bps over Bunds
UPDATE 4: OATs trading over 150bps wider than Bunds for first time ever
With German Consumer Price inflation coming a little hot, Wholesale Price index deflating MoM (and less than expected YoY), and Finnish Industrial Production turning negative unexpectedly, (and now French Industrial Production and manufacturing dropping significantly), sellers returned in the early European day with EURUSD breaking below 1.35 (for the first time since 10/10) and ES -7pts from the close (and 12pts from overnight highs) at overnight lows. As everyone anxiously awaits the open of BTPs, credit markets are already playing catch up to the US afternoon with Main 5bps wider and XOver 23bps wider.
The last few weeks have seen numerous discussions of the less-than-perfect quarterly earnings picture and outlook and despite an endless barrage of 'well, 73% of firms beat expectations', it is the outlook that is critical to understanding valuations. With CEO Confidence, from Chief Executive magazine, at its lowest in a year and having dropped at its fastest rate since the first quarter of 2009, Goldman dissects the conference calls of Q3 earnings to discern four key themes: Uncertainty is hurting confidence and reducing activity, a more cautious tone on margins, and belief/hope in emerging markets' ability to power growth. Goldman's 'Beige Book' equivalent provides all the detail one needs to comprehend what is at best a defensive strategy going forward.
- Permanent EU Bailout Fund Said to Face Delay (Bloomberg)
- Deal Greek President to Meet Party Leaders (Bloomberg)
- EU Lowers Euro-Region Growth Forecasts (Bloomberg)
- Italy Senate Speeds Vote That May Lead to Monti Government (Bloomberg)
- U.S. Dems Offer $2.3 Trillion Deficit Plan (Bloomberg)
- Friendship Is Tossed in MF Global Storm (WSJ)
- Clients who fled MF Global face clawback risk (Reuters)
- Yuan Bet Losing Its Luster (WSJ)
- Fannie Alabama’s Jefferson County Enters Biggest Muni Bankruptcy as Crisis Victim (Bloomberg)
To everyone who was hoping the latest Greek PM would be a double letter, triple word score game killer in Scrabble, our apologies. In the end the ECB's puppet ended up in control, just as initially expected. Kneejerek reaction in the EURUSD higher which will be promptly faded and all that jazz. Fact is nobody cares about the ECB/Fed protectorate known as Greece any longer.
Submitted by RANSquawk Video on 11/10/2011 - 07:37 ETC Morning Briefing RANSquawk
MF Global, Repo-to-Maturity and Large Bank OBS exposures