All posts in category Central Banks
Posted by jackbassteam on December 18, 2014
West Texas Intermediate crude fell amid speculation that weakening manufacturing from Germany to China will cap global oil demand. Brent declined in London.
Futures dropped as much as 1.2 percent from the Aug. 29 close. Floor trading in New York was shut for the Labor Day holiday, and transactions will be booked for settlement purposes today. Purchasing manufacturing indexes for Germany, Italy, the U.K. and China all came in below estimates for August, while OPEC’s output increased to the highest level in a year.
“All eyes are on the demand side, and weaker statistics for example in China are bearish,” Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodity analyst in Oslo at SEB AB, said by telephone. “The increase in tension between Russia and Ukraine is bearish for oil” because economic sanctions on Russia may eventually result in a slowdown in Europe, he said.
WTI for October delivery declined as much as $1.19 to $94.77 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $94.88 at 1:46 p.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was more than double the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices decreased 2.3 percent last month and are down 3.6 percent this year.
Brent for October settlement was $1.11 lower at $101.68 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $6.83 to WTI, compared with a close of $7.23 on Aug. 29.
China’s manufacturing slowed more than projected last month, joining weaker-than-anticipated credit, production and investment data in indicating that the economy is losing momentum. The nation is the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
Markit Economics’ euro-area gauge slid more than initially predicted, with the index for Italy unexpectedly falling below 50, signaling the first contraction in 14 months. In the U.K., manufacturing expanded by the least in more than a year.
A final reading of Markit’s U.S. manufacturing PMI is due today, along with the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index for August, which economists forecast will drop to 57, from 57.1 in July.
“There are slowdowns occurring,” Jonathan Barratt, the chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities in Sydney, said by phone. “OPEC is producing enough oil to placate any issues.”
Production from the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries rose by 891,000 barrels a day to 31 million in August, according to a Bloomberg survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Angola led supply gains as new deposits came online, security improved and field-maintenance programs ended. Iran and Venezuela were the only members to reduce output.
Ukraine warned of an escalating conflict in its easternmost regions as U.S. President Barack Obama headed to eastern Europe to reassure NATO members. Ukraine’s army will take on Russia’s “full-scale invasion,” Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey said on Facebook, a shift away from the government’s earlier communication that focused on battling insurgents.
Dollar Strengthens Before Data as Bonds Decline With Gold
The dollar strengthened to a seven-month high against the yen, government bonds tumbled and gold fell before data that analysts forecast will show expansion in U.S. manufacturing.
The dollar climbed 0.6 percent to 104.93 yen at 8:42 a.m. in New York and gained 0.4 percent to $1.6535 per British pound. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes increased four basis points to 2.38 percent. Futures (SPX) on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.1 percent after the index rallied the most since February last month. Gold dropped 1.5 percent.
U.S. investors return after the Labor Day break with manufacturing and construction spending reports. Gauges of factory output in Europe and China signal slower growth, boosting speculation that policy makers will need to boost stimulus measures. European money markets are pricing in about a 50 percent probability that the European Central Bank will cut interest rates by 10 basis points this week, according to BNP Paribas SA.
“In the U.S. across the board we have had strong data,”said Niels Christensen, chief currency strategist at Nordea Bank AB in Copenhagen. “That will keep growth momentum going. We have had a positive dollar trend for the past two months. I find it difficult to see this trend is going to disappear in the short term.”
The Institute for Supply Management’s August factory gauge probably held last month near the highest since April 2011, according to the median of 70 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Another report probably will show U.S. construction rebounded in July, a Bloomberg survey showed. Reports yesterday signaled manufacturing slowed in China, the U.K. and the euro area.
The yen fell to its lowest level against the dollar since Jan. 16 amid speculation Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will appoint an ally to head the ministry in charge of reforming the Government Pension Investment Fund, potentially boosting investment overseas. The currency weakened to 105.44 on Jan. 2, a level not seen since October 2008.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against 10 major peers, climbed 0.3 percent to 1,033.71 and touched 1,034.16, the strongest since January.
The pound weakened after a YouGov Plc poll showed growing support for Scottish independence before this month’s referendum. One-month implied volatility on sterling versus the dollar jumped by the most in almost six years.
European government bonds fell as Germany’s 10-year yield increased four basis points to 0.91 percent and the U.K.’s rose five basis points to 2.43 percent.
The euro overnight index average, or Eonia, which measures the cost of lending between euro-area banks, fell to a record minus 0.013 percent yesterday.
Corporate borrowing costs fell to a record in Europe, with the average yield demanded to hold investment-grade bonds in euros dropping to 1.28 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. The gauge declined 19 basis points in the past month on stimulus speculation.
The Stoxx 600 of European shares fell 0.1 percent after increasing 0.5 percent in the past two days.
Vallourec SA climbed 4 percent after UBS AG advised investors to buy shares of the French producer of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry. Weir Group Plc gained 2.9 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG raised its recommendation on the British supplier of pressure pumps to outperform from neutral.
Posted by jackbassteam on September 2, 2014
MSTX : NYSE MKT : US$0.85
Mast Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company
focused on its Molecular Adhesion and Sealant
Technology (MAST) platform to treat serious diseases
with significant unmet needs. Its lead product,
investigational agent MST-188, shows potential in
patients with sickle cell disease.
All amounts in US$ unless otherwise noted.
Life Sciences — Biotechnology
AIRES ACQUISITION TO BOLSTER
PH2 PIPELINE WITH NEW RX CANDIDATE, NEW PROGRAMS
Reiterate BUY; $3.00 target on MST-188 potential in sickle cell disease
crises. MSTX’s lead candidate, MST-188, binds to hydrophobic surfaces on
damaged cells to reduce cell adhesion and blood viscosity. We expect
positive data from the Ph3 EPIC trial to show reduced length of SCD vasoocclusive
crisis (VOC) and we think recently acquired AIR001, nebulized
nitrite for PAH, complements MST-188 well. We see large market potential
for MST-188 given the unmet need in SCD and potential for combo-Tx. Our
$3.00 target is based on a pNPV analysis.
MSTX yesterday announced signing of a definitive agreement to buy
Aires in an all-stock transaction. Aires will bring along its Ph2 orphan
asset AIR001, a nebulized form of nitrite (converted in vivo to nitric
oxide) for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Nitric oxide is
thought to have potential benefits for PAH, SCD and CV disease (e.g.,
heart failure) by promoting vasodilation and regulating smooth muscle
proliferation, clotting and white blood cell adhesion.
Aires cash balance to offset cost of AIR001 development in 2014.
Aires will bring ~$3M net cash to MSTX, which should cover ~$2M in
expected current R&D obligations from the Ph2 PAH trial currently
closing down and an investigator-sponsored PAH/HF trial.
Next value inflection catalysts now likely from Ph2 strategies in ALI,
HF although largest inflection remains EPIC SCD data in Q4/16. We
expect next major data around H2/15 from a Ph2 acute limb ischemia
trial MAST intends to initiate soon. We think Ph3 EPIC enrollment is
on track to finish by EOY 2015 with new enrollment criteria
expansion, and we expect more updates on Ph2 ALI trial and plans for
AIR001 plans in the coming quarters.
Posted by jackbassteam on February 13, 2014
Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme Looks Like a Joke Compared to This
By Michael Lombardi, MBA for Profit Confidential
The “Bernie” Madoff name became famous while the stock market was falling during the credit and financial crisis. He was responsible for running one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history—if I recall correctly, it was a $65.0-billion scheme. But as the scam got bigger, Madoff couldn’t go on. He was caught, prosecuted, and sentenced to more than 100 years in jail.
What did we learn from the Madoff ordeal? At the very least, we learned Ponzi schemes eventually become impossible to hide, no matter how smart and cunning the perpetrator.
Wednesday of this week, we learned that the Federal Reserve’s Ponzi scheme of printing paper money and giving it to the government via the purchase of U.S. Treasuries will go on.
While the Fed says it wants to keep the “stimulus” going until the economy gets better, as I have written in these pages many times, the Fed cannot stop printing because if it did stop, three things would happen: 1) the stock market would collapse; 2) housing prices would fall; and 3) the government would have no real buyer for its debt (especially in light of China and Japan pulling back on buying U.S. Treasuries).
Madoff’s $65.0-billion Ponzi scheme is nothing when I look at the U.S. national debt figures. While it looks like we are beyond the point of no return, our national debt level would have to double from $17.0 trillion to $34.0 trillion before our debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio matches that of Japan. (And don’t for a moment think that’s not going to happen!)
In 2011, only two years ago, we heard Congress debate whether they should increase our national debt limit or not. The theater of a government shutdown was on for a while; it drove key stock indices lower and bond yields higher. Now we’re at square one again. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew sent a letter requesting an increase in our national debt limit by October, or the U.S. economy would face a risk of default.
The bottom line, dear reader, is that the U.S. government is broke. To keep the government afloat from now until Congress passes a new national debt limit, the government has stopped investing into the pensions of federal government workers.
I don’t for a second doubt that Congress won’t raise the national debt limit—it will; it has done just that 78 times since 1960. Why would this time be any different?
What has happened so far—the massive printing of paper money—is just one part of the puzzle. The Ponzi scheme is complex and has many moving parts. The government’s failure to clamp down on spending is the main problem.
In the 11 months of the fiscal 2013 year, the U.S. government has incurred a budget deficit of $755 billon, according to the Bureau of Fiscal Services. (So much for those estimates that said the U.S. government budget deficit would be below $700 billion this year!)
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects the U.S. government to continue posting budget deficits until 2015, when it says the annual budget deficit will equal two percent of the gross domestic product of the U.S. economy. (Source: Congressional Budget Office, September 17, 2013.) I don’t buy that prediction for a moment. Interest costs on the national debt alone could be a huge problem going forward.
For the government’s fiscal year ending this September 30, the U.S. government expects to have incurred $414 billion in interest payments alone. Assuming a national debt of $16.7 trillion, this equates to an interest rate of about 2.5%. But interest rates are rising!
And the more the national debt increases, the higher the interest payment. Think what will happen once interest rates in the U.S. economy start to climb higher, and when creditors start asking for higher returns due to our massive amount of national debt. Even if our national debt doesn’t change and interest rates go back to normal (it’s going to happen), the interest payments on the national debt would rise to over $900 billion a year!
Bring Social Security liabilities into the picture, and the future looks even more gruesome. According to the Pew Research Center, every day 10,000 Americans reach retirement age. (Source: Pew Research Center, December 29, 2010.) With the financial crisis having placed pressure on retirement savings, retirees are now relying on Social Security more than ever.
Right now we are seeing the government hoping investors will keep re-investing in U.S. bonds while the Fed picks up the slack. But what happens when they say, “We want our money back?” It will make Madoff’s Ponzi scheme look like a joke.
Posted by jackbassteam on September 24, 2013
On May 14, as Washington officialdom was transfixed by the IRS scandal, the Congressional Budget Office announced that the budget deficit will shrink this fiscal year to $642 billion, or just 4 percent of gross domestic product. It’s the smallest deficit since 2008, and less than half 2009’s record $1.4 trillion shortfall. Since February, the CBO has cut $200 billion off its deficit projection for 2013 and $618 billion off its cumulative estimate for the next decade. Thanks to higher tax revenues and deep spending cuts, the deficit has been shrinking by about $42 billion a month for the past six months. The CBO projects that the deficit will fall to $342 billion by 2015, or only 2 percent of GDP.
Even so, the country’s improving finances haven’t lowered the din of partisan bickering over U.S. fiscal policy. Keynesian economists say that the deficit is narrowing too quickly, curtailing growth and threatening to derail an economy that grew a tepid 2.5 percent in the first quarter. Republican deficit hawks are unimpressed by the short-term reductions and want more cuts to head off exploding long-term debt driven by rising spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
“I must have missed the Kool-Aid,” says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO director who served as John McCain’s chief economic adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign. To Holtz-Eakin, a deficit that’s 4 percent of GDP isn’t worth bragging about. Plus, the short-term reductions are mostly from technical revisions such as tax code changes and a $95 billion, one-time payment from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The long-term situation is still scary, he says.
As millions of baby boomers retire, entitlement spending will start eating up government funds. Unless those programs are reined in, the CBO projects the budget deficit will start to rise again in 2016 and hit $895 billion by 2023. Also, today’s low interest rates, which allow the government to sell 10-year Treasury bonds below 2 percent, won’t last forever. The CBO projects that by 2023, annual interest payments on the country’s debt will nearly quadruple, to $823 billion. A new plan being floated by über-austerians Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of President Obama’s 2010 debt commission, calls for replacing the $85 billion in cuts from the sequester with $2.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction, including $220 billion in defense cuts and $585 billion in health-care savings through reforms to Medicare over the next 10 years.
Doves say that’s overkill given that the government is already shrinking faster than at any time since the post-World War II military demobilization. “The patient is checking out of the hospital, and the doctors are still planning surgery,” says Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Vice President Joe Biden’s former chief economist. Echoing a warning the International Monetary Fund issued last summer, Bernstein is concerned the deficit is contracting too fast from all the spending cuts enacted since 2010, including the $1 trillion in cuts President Obama agreed to in 2011. That’s stymied growth. In 8 of the last 10 quarters, the federal government has been a drag on the economy, subtracting 3.25 percentage points from GDP since the fourth quarter of 2010. “We’ve overfocused on the deficit,” Bernstein says. “It’s time to tackle the jobs crisis.”
According to the CBO, the economy is operating 6 percent below its potential, a difference of about $1 trillion this year. For every dollar the economy runs below its optimal level, the deficit rises by 37¢ due to cyclical factors such as lower tax receipts, says Andrew Fieldhouse, a budget policy analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. That’s what’s happened in Europe, where austerity has boosted debt-to-GDP ratios by about 5 percent. “Fiscal stimulus right now would decrease debt to GDP,” Fieldhouse says.
Not everyone thinks Medicare is doomed. Based on lower growth rates in health-care costs since 2010, the CBO cut its estimate for Medicare and Medicaid spending by $162 billion over the next decade. That could change, however, when Obamacare and potentially higher policy premiums go into full effect.
One thing the dip in the deficit has changed is the urgency to reach a deal on long-term debt reduction. Continued gridlock might not be so bad. “The last thing we want is some grand bargain,” says James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management. He argues that as long as the economy keeps growing, the deficit will continue to trend lower: “Who would you rather put in charge of fixing the country’s finances: Congress or the invisible hand of Adam Smith?”
The bottom line: The federal deficit will shrink to $642 billion in 2013, or 4 percent of GDP, less than half the $1.4 trillion shortfall in 2009.
- Don’t Get Too Excited About the New, Smaller Deficit – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- CBO cut its deficit projection by $200 billion (dailykos.com)
Posted by jackbassteam on May 27, 2013
Top Bankers: Too Much Central Bank Easing Is Becoming Dangerous
And the Stock Rally Is Due to Money-Printing
Now, top bankers are saying that the amount of liquidity which the central banks are flooding into the economy is becoming dangerous.
for Gold Stocks see http://www.ampgoldportfolio.com
Posted by jackbassteam on March 10, 2013
The Federal Reserve will hold its last policy meeting of the year next week, and two key issues are expected to dominate the gathering and the market’s attention — the expiration of “Operation Twist” and a potential change in interest rate guidelines.
Implemented in September 2011, Operation Twist was designed to lower rates for mortgages and corporate bonds. The program, which expires at the end of this month, entailed the Fed buying $667 billion (roughly $45 billion per month) in longer-term Treasuries above 6-year durations, while selling the same amount in shorter-term securities under 3-year durations.
The goal of the monetary twist has been to lower long-term rates to fuel consumer and corporate borrowing and spending.
“With Operation Twist ending, that means they’ve run out of short-dated securities to sell in order to purchase more [longer-term securities], so what they’ve got to move to now is buying up pure $40 billion per month of mortgage-backed securities [QE3],” says Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak. “They probably have to compensate for that loss of $40 [billion] to $45 billion per month.”
Rumors of QE4
Wilkinson is touching on concerns that have recently been addressed by various Fed governors. That is, that simply carrying out the third round of quantitative easing is not enough to boost the economy. QE3 is an open-ended program that has the Fed buying $40 billion per month in mortgage-backed securities.
So will the Fed turn Operation Twist into another outright securities purchasing program, essentially becoming QE4? Or are they more confident in the economy given the improvement in the November jobs report?
The market will be watching very closely to see if the Fed changes its tune. The decision on handling Twist’s expiration will be very telling as to how the committee views the recovery and how much stimulus will be pumped into the economy in 2013.
“There’s something else on the table with the Fed though,” says Wilkinson. “They may move to targeting a specific rate of unemployment as a guarantee to when they can stand by the promise of low interest rates.”
The Fed’s current policy is to hold rates near zero through mid-2015. Chatter is growing louder that the Fed will change its guidelines, and instead of tying interest rate policy to a calendar date, they will link it toward set goals for the unemployment and inflation rates. This would directly link rates to the Fed’s dual mandate to promote maximum employment and price stability.
Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen recently joined several other Fed officials calling for specific thresholds to guide policy. These thresholds would not be triggers to change policy, merely guidelines for debate.
“For now, it doesn’t really matter,” Wilkinson says of the possible shift. “As next year progresses we’ll hear more in terms of jawboning from the Fed, how it’s going to go about this process, how it’s going to anchor its inflation expectations, and whether we should be focused on more than purely employment. Inflation is equally important, but there’s a lid on it at around 2%, according to the Fed’s projections. We also have to factor in GDP as well.”
The Fed’s gathering will end Wednesday with a 12:15 p.m. ET policy statement, and a press conference with Fed chief Ben Bernanke will follow a short time later.
- Why Gold Prices Will Soar After the Dec. 12 FOMC Meeting (chasvoice.blogspot.com)
- Boston Fed President Defends QE, Sees Tools Against Inflation (dailyfinance.com)
- Operation Twist will give way to expanded QE3: Capital Economics (business.financialpost.com)
Posted by jackbassteam on December 9, 2012
Nothing has changed about his long-term view–he is still very pessimistic on markets and the economy.
However, Janjuah thinks we could see a major move higher in the over the medium term, owing to some sort of fiscal cliff deal that kicks the can and full-blown QE from the ECB.
Here’s what Janjuah has to say in his note:
If I look out 3-6 months I am open to the idea of one last parabolic spike higher in risk-on markets in this interim timeframe. I think we will eventually get fiscal and debt ceiling fudges in the US. Of course long-term credible solutions are needed, but are the most unlikely outcome.
Instead we may well be ‘forced’ to celebrate another round of horrible fudges which DO have a consequence. Namely, that the private sector continues to ignore Bernanke and the Washington elite (who between them continue to enjoy printing significant sums of money and/or spending way beyond their means) by instead doing the exact opposite, which means holding onto/building cash and savings, delaying spending/investment/hiring and thus hurting growth.
Markets will I think worry about these negative consequences eventually (see paragraph above), but in the interim the knee jerk reaction of markets to fiscal/debt ceiling fudges will likely be positive. Furthermore, and again on a 6 to 12 month interim timeframe, I think we could also see the ECB finally move to all out QE driven by another round of eurozone panic and driven in particular by the strong deflationary data trends that are emerging in the eurozone and which we in GMS think will get much stronger.
A combo of ECB QE and fiscal/debt ceiling fudges in the US – perhaps also complimented by a short-lived centrally planned but debt fuelled and ultimately wasteful China uptick – could even cause a parabolic spike powerful enough to take S&P – briefly – into the 1500s, before resuming the longer-term march over the rest of 2013 and 2014 to the 800s.
However, for the rest of 2012, in the short-term, Janjuah still remains bearish.
Posted by jackbassteam on November 13, 2012
the Societe Generale author is Dylan Grice
I am more worried than I have ever been about the clouds gathering today (which may be the most wonderful contrary indicator you could hope for…). I hope they pass without breaking, but I fear the defining feature of coming decades will be a Great Disorder of the sort which has defined past epochs and scarred whole generations….
He runs through some of the Great Debasements of the past, starting with third-century Rome, running through Europe’s medieval inflations and the French Revolution, to the monetary horror story of Weimar Germany in the 1920s.
His key point is that inflations and hyperinflations don’t just hurt money, they hurt people and the societies they live in. Inflating money is less trustworthy money, and so people doing business trust each other less. Plus, those who are farthest from the source of artificially created money suffer the most (the “Cantillon effect”).
And now the social debasement is clear for all to see. The 99% blame the 1%, the 1% blame the 47%, the private sector blames the public sector, the public sector returns the sentiment … the young blame the old, everyone blame the rich … yet few question the ideas behind government or central banks …
I’d feel a whole lot better if central banks stopped playing games with money….
All I see is more of the same – more money debasement, more unintended consequences and more social disorder. Since I worry that it will be Great Disorder, I remain very bullish on safe havens.
In just 10 days we will see how the US elections turn out. Depending on what happens after, the US will either remain as one of those safe havens (and perhaps become even more of one) or those of us who reside here will need to start thinking more globally. I know a lot of thoughtful people who are already contemplating (if not acting on) plans to make sure their life savings maintain their buying power through the coming decade. I remain optimistic that we will set ourselves on a course that ends in a safe harbor, although the sailing will be quite volatile. What Dylan describes are the unintended consequences of people who think they understand macroeconomics and who are well-intentioned but whose policies can be most disruptive.
Click here for for much more detail on the ins and outs of investing in gold.
- From currency debasement to social collapse: 4 case studies (hangthebankers.com)
- The loss of trust and the Great Disorder (cobdencentre.org)
Posted by jackbassteam on October 27, 2012