It was a perfect gift to a desperate market. All that was needed was a gentle hint that Italy’s troubled banks and their bondholders might not be hung out to dry. A “public backstop” for Italy’s weakest lenders would be a “very useful” measure in these “exceptional times,” ECB President Mario Draghi said.
Most Italian and European bank stocks surged.
The ECB is the second member of the institutional triad formerly known as the Troika to have called for a taxpayer funded bailout of Italy’s banking system. Earlier this month the IMF used its article IV consultation – an annual economic and financial health check – to warn of “global spillovers” from a full-blown Italian banking crisis, “given Italy’s systemic weight.” Continue reading »
Barely has the market had time to digest last week’s Brexit vote by the UK, a vote which may never actually be implemented if the “sturm und drang” campaign unleashed by the EU and the ECB on UK capital markets succeeds in changing the mind of enough “Leavers” to the point that the entire referendum is called off and Boris Johnson never triggers the Article 50 clause, and already Europe’s most financially troubled nation, Italy, is using Brexit as a pretext to unleash a €40 billion ($44 billion) bailout of its insolvent banks. Continue reading »
In what may be merely a peculiar case of serendipity, just last night we mentioned the name of the infamous president of Weimar Republic’s Reichsbank, Rudolf von Havenstein, in the context of the BOJ’s proud announcement that it now held more than a third of all Japanese government bonds at the end of March (so even more currently).
BOJ SAYS IT HELD 33.9% OF JGBS AT END-MARCH.
First one to 100% wins the Rudy von Havenstein economics prize
Well, either Citi’s Gregory Marks was following our amused observation, or in an act of odd confluence of thought invoked the spirit of Rudy von Havenstein completely independently, when overnight he unleashed a furious tirade at both negative rates and “utterly misguided” central bank policies in general and negative rates in particular in “Let’s Take Stock: The Efficacy and Merit of Negative Rates.”
As part of today’s update of the ECB’s asset purchases, the central bank announced for the first time, in addition to its various other sovereign and covered-bond purchases, just how many corporate bonds it had bought in the open market under its infamous CSPP, or corporate bond buying program, which officially launched on June 3. The result: a mere €348 million in purchases on the first day in which the program was operational.
Over the years, first on fringe blogs who dared to point out long ago that the emperors are actually naked, and increasingly everywhere else there has been speculation that locked deep inside the ivory towers of central banks one could find either career academics or Goldman Sachs alumni who were convinced they were all powerful, all capable deities, who in addition to printing money out of thin air, are comfortable micromanaging not only the world’s capital markets but also economies. Just like gods, or “magicians”… but really just insane nutjobs. Continue reading »
Helicopter money may be on the horizon, but if Deutsche Bank has its way, there is at least one intermediate step.
According to DB’s Dominic Konstam, now that the benefits QE “have run their course”, it is time for the next, and far more drastic step: “the ECB and BoJ should move more strongly toward penalizing savings via negative retail deposit rates or perhaps wealth taxes. With this stick would also come a carrot – for example, negative mortgage rates.” Continue reading »
Thanks to the just released February diary of Fed chief Yellen, we now know exactly when she called Bank of England Governor (and former Goldman Sachs employee) Marc Carney and ECB President (and former Goldman Sachs employee) Mario Draghi.
The stock market has regained all of its loses year to date as economic indicators continue to flash red, corporate profits continue to plunge, consumers continue to spend less at retailers, real wages continue to fall, and housing sales continue to decline. The entire dead cat bounce has been generated through corporate stock buybacks, Wall Street lemmings trying to make up for their terrible year to date investing performance, and central bankers who will stop at nothing to verbally manipulate markets higher – since their monetary machinations over the last seven years have been a miserable failure in reviving the real economy.
As John Hussman points out, the market is poised to deliver nothing over the next decade, with a 40% to 55% “dip” in the foreseeable future. I wonder how many barely sentient, iGadget addicted, non-questioning, normalcy bias dependent zombies are prepared for a third Federal Reserve generated market collapse in the last 15 years? Continue reading »
Over the course of documenting the ECB’s push to phase out the €500 note, we stumbled upon something rather interesting that’s taking place at Greek banks.
Courtesy of a reader, we learned that Piraeus Bank (among others) has begun charging a fee to exchange large denomination bills for small. The charge is listed as 0.15% by the bank and Kathimerini would later report that across the Greek banking sector “exchanging one 500-euro note for smaller bills, [will cost you] 3-5 euros (depending on the bank), while the maximum charge comes to 200-250 euros regardless of the amount a customer wishes to exchange.” Continue reading »
Having discussed the market’s disturbing reaction to Mario Draghi’s desperate “all in” monetary gamble – one which saw an early bout of euphoria followed by one of the most aggressive Euro spikes in history, second only to the “December debacle” and the Fed’s March 2009 announcement of QE1, we were waiting for the just as important reaction by the ECB’s nemesis: the one country that not only has seen hyperinflation first hand (and appears to recall it vividly), but is just as aware where the ECB’s monetary lunacy ends: the Germans.
We got it from Germany’s Handelsblatt, when in an article titled “The dangerous game with the money of the German savers”, the authors provide a metaphorical rendering of what is happening in Europe as follows:
They also paint an oddly accurate caricature of the man behind this last ditch monetary policy:
And write the following:
A determined ECB chief Mario Draghi plows ahead with his negative interest rate policy. The positive effects on the economy are low. Great, however, are the risks: this is the greatest redistribution of wealth in Europe since World War II. Continue reading »
Well, the people wanted a “bazooka-sized” surprise from Draghi, and they got it.
Moments ago the ECB announced not only a 10 bps cut to the deposit rate expected pushing it to -40%, but also announced a 5 bp rate cut to the refinance (pushing it to 0.00%) and the marginal lending rate (now at 0.25%), and also boosted QE by €20bn to €80 billion per month, the addition of afour new targeted TLTROs each with a maturity of 4 years, but the most surprising announcement was that the ECB would also for the first time include investment grade euro-denominated bonds issued by non-bank corporations along the list of assets that are eligible for regular purchases.
This is officially an all-out revolution of the financial system where banks are now actively rebelling against the central bank. In a stunningly real rebuttal of Europe’s negative interest rate policy, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported yesterday that the Bavarian Banking Association has recommended that its member banks start stockpiling PHYSICAL CASH.
Today’s current inflation data dump from across the European nations appears to confirm forward inflation expectations trend (plumbing new record lows). With a considerably bigger than expected decline in prices , pushing Germany, Spain, and France back into deflation, pressure is mounting on Mr.Draghi. As one EU economist exclaimed, “the data send a clear message to the ECB and the only question that remains now is how bold action would be.”
Save us Mario from spending less on the things we need…
Earlier this month, as retail investors lost confidence in the global economy and broader stock markets, an air of panic began to set in. Reports indicate the lines were literally forming around the block at gold stores throughout London and elsewhere. It was, by all accounts, the very scenario one might expect in an environment where trust in government and central banks has been eroded.
But it’s only the beginning, explains Auryn Resourcesexecutive chairman Ivan Bebek in an interview with SGT Report, as nation states and large investors are trying to get their hands on gold as fast as they can:
Before any big move in gold we have always seen extreme volatility or volatility pick up. This was just a taste of what’s to come in the next few years… We’ll look back at this and be reflecting on how minimal this move was compared to what’s going to happen as we go forward…Continue reading »
These are strange monetary times, with negative interest rates and central bankers deemed to be masters of the universe. So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that politicians and central bankers are now waging a war on cash. That’s right, policy makers in Europe and the U.S. want to make it harder for the hoi polloi to hold actual currency.
Mario Draghi fired the latest salvo on Monday when he said the European Central Bank would like to ban €500 notes. A day later Harvard economist and Democratic Party favorite Larry Summers declared that it’s time to kill the $100 bill, which would mean goodbye to Ben Franklin. Alexander Hamilton may soon—and shamefully—be replaced on the $10 bill, but at least the 10-spots would exist for a while longer. Ol’ Ben would be banished from the currency the way dead white males like him are banned from the history books. Continue reading »
by James Corbett
February 16, 2016
You might remember that a couple of weeks ago we launched an open source investigation into the war on cash. As I noted at the time, the investigation was spurred by an uptick in anti-cash rhetoric over the last few months from the media, from central bankers and from politicians. Since that investigation took place, however, things have gotten even more in-your-face.
William R. White is the chairman of the Economic and Development Review Committee at the OECD in Paris. Prior to that, Dr. White held a number of senior positions with the Bank for International Settlements (“BIS”), including Head of the Monetary and Economic Department, where he had overall responsibility for the department’s output of research, data and information services, and was a member of the Executive Committee which manages the BIS. He retired from the BIS on 30 June 2008.
Dr. White began his professional career at the Bank of England, where he was an economist from 1969 to 1972. Subsequently he spent 22 years with the Bank of Canada. In addition to his many publications, he speaks regularly to a wide range of audiences on topics related to monetary and financial stability.
In the following interview he shares his views in a totally personal capacity on the current state of the global economy and related monetary and fiscal policies.Continue reading »
JPM estimates that if the ECB just focused on reserves equivalent to 2% of gross domestic product it could slice the rate it charges on bank deposits to minus 4.5%. In Japan, JPM calculates that the BOJ could go as low as -3.45% while Sweden’s is likely -3.27%. Finally, if and when the Fed joins the monetary twilight race, it could cut to -1.3% and the Bank of England to -2.69%.
While algos patiently await the only thing that matters for US stocks today which is Janet Yellen’s testimony before Congress. expected to be released at 8:30 am (and previewed here), the rest of the world this morning is a hot mess of schizophrenic highs and lows.