Remember when bashing central banks and predicting financial collapse as a result of monetary manipulation and intervention was considered “fake news” within the “serious” financial community, disseminated by fringe blogs?
In an interview with Swiss Sonntags Blick titled appropriately enough “A Recession Is Sometimes Necessary“, the former CEO of UBS and Credit Suisse, Oswald Grübel, lashed out by criticizing the growing strength of central banks and their ‘supremacy over the markets and other banks’. The former chief executive officer claimed that the use of negative interest rates and huge positive balance sheets represent ‘weapons of mass destruction’. He calls for an end to the use of negative interest rates.
The first time the ECB officially warned about the dangers of virtual currencies in general, and in particular, bitcoin – what was then a mostly unknown currency trading in the single digits (in USD terms) – was in November 2012 when in a report called “Virtual Currency Schemes” it warned that “in an extreme case, virtual currencies could have a substitution effect on central bank money if they become widely accepted. The increase in the use of virtual money might lead to a decrease in the use of “real” money, thereby also reducing the cash needed to conduct the transactions generated by nominal income. In this regard, a widespread substitution of central bank money by privately issued virtual currency could significantly reduce the size of central banks’ balance sheets, and thus also their ability to influence the short-term interest rates. Central banks would need to look at their existing tools to deal with this risk (for instance, trying to impose minimum reserve requirements on virtual currency schemes).”
Ironically, since then the ECB has moved significantly down the narrative of currency substitution, and in fact, following a recent push to eliminate paper currency (now that the €500 bill is no longer produced) the central bank has been urging for a shift away from real, paper money and into electronic variants.
However, overnight in a surprising reminder how the European central bank feels about bitcoin and other virtual money, the ECB urged EU lawmakers to tighten proposed new rules on digital currencies such as bitcoin, fearing they might one day weaken its own control over money supply in the euro zone.
None of the following about the EU will come as a surprise to most of you, but the language used by Otmar Issing is nevertheless pretty remarkable.
The Telegraph reports:
The European Central Bank is becoming dangerously over-extended and the whole euro project is unworkable in its current form, the founding architect of the monetary union has warned.
“One day, the house of cards will collapse,” said Professor Otmar Issing, the ECB’s first chief economist and a towering figure in the construction of the single currency.
H/t reader squodgy:
“Just wondering how much longer the Rothschilds can keep it afloat.”
The Euro “will collapse” as it is a”house of cards” warned Otmar Issing, the founder and creator of the euro in an extraordinary interview on Monday.
In the explosive interview with the journal Central Banking, Professor Issing, said “one day, the house of cards will collapse” as the European Central Bank (ECB) is becoming dangerously over-extended and the whole euro project is unworkable in its current form.
The founding architect of the monetary union has warned that Brussels’ dream of a European superstate will finally be buried amongst the rubble of the crumbling single currency he designed.
Time to toss yet another “conspiracy theory” on the composite heap of “theories that became fact.” A recurring theme we have pounded the table on over the past nearly 8 years is that central bank policy has been the primary driver leading to not only a record wealth and income divide, but to such manifestations of populist (and nationalist) fury as Brexit, the gradual collapse of the Eurozone and, of course, Trump.
Moments ago, ECB board member Benoit Coeure, speaking in Rome, said that “low forever” rates would risk tearing up the social fabric. Translated: if extended indefinitely, the ECB’s monetary policy risks the collapse of not only the Eurozone, but also could lead to social unrest, violence and even civil war.
Quoted by Bloomberg, Coeure said that “moving from interest rates being ‘low for long’ to being ‘low forever’ would severely limit the room for maneuver for conventional monetary policy tools, but even more worryingly, it would threaten the contract between generations as well as risk tearing up our social fabric.” Which is a more polite phrasing of what we have said all along: that it is central banks themselves, and their idiotic policies that have led the world to the current unstable state, when mass shootings and/or terrorist activity has become an almost daily event.
Deutsche Bank’s war of words with the ECB is not new: it was first unveiled in February when, as we wrote at the time “A Wounded Deutsche Bank Lashed Out At Central Bankers: Stop Easing, You Are Crushing Us.” Europe’s largest bank, with the massive derivatives book, then upped the ante several months later in June, when its chief economist Folkerts-Landau launched a shocking anti-ECB rant in which it warned of social unrest and another Great Depression.
Ironically, these infamous diatribes hurt more than helped: telegraphing to the market just how hurt DB was as a result of the ECB’s monetary policy, the market punished its stock, which has been recently trading within spitting distance of all time lows, in effect making Deutsche Bank’s life even harder as it now has to contend not only with its own internal profitability problems, but also has to maintain a market-facing facade that all is well. So far, it has not worked out very well, prompting numerous comparisons to another infamous bank.
So, in what may have been DB’s loudest cry for help against the ECB’s unwavering commitment to rock-bottom interest rates, the bank’s CEO, John Cryan, warned in a guest commentary ahead of the Handelsblatt Banking Summit titled, appropriately enough “Banks in Upheaval”, to be held in Frankfurt on August 31 and September 1, that “monetary policy is now running counter to the aims of strengthening the economy and making the European banking system safer.“
The ECB is still purchasing €80 BILLION of ‘bonds’ every month!
In June, the ECB began buying the bonds of some of the most powerful companies in Europe as well as the European subsidiaries of foreign multinationals. This pushed the average yield on euro investment-grade corporate debt to 0.65%. Large quantities of highly rated corporate debt with shorter maturities are trading at negative yields, where brainwashed investors engage in the absurdity of paying for the privilege of lending money to corporations. By August 12, the ECB had handed out over €16 billion in freshly printed money in exchange for corporate bonds.
Throughout, the public was given to understand that the ECB was buying already-issued bonds trading in secondary markets. But the public has been fooled.
Now it has been revealed by The Wall Street Journal that the ECB has also secretly been buying bonds directly from companies, thus handing them directly its freshly printed money.
Last weekend, when we reported that Germany’s Raiffeisenbank Gmund am Tegernsee – a community bank in southern Germany – said it would start charging retail clients a fee of 0.4% on deposits of more than €100,000 we said that “now that a German banks has finally breached the retail depositor NIRP barrier, expect many more banks to follow.”
Not even a week later, not one but two large banks have done just that.
Overnight, the Irish Times reported that Bank of Ireland is set to become the first domestic financial institution to pass on the ECB’s negative rates to customers for placing their money on deposit with the bank. The newspaper has learned that Bank of Ireland, which is 14% owned by the State, has informed its large corporate and institutional customers that it plans to charge them a negative rate of -0.1% for deposits of €10 million or more starting in October.
On June 5, 2014 when the ECB officially announced that the rate on its deposit facility would go negative, we posted “NIRP Has Arrived: Europe Officially Enters The “Monetary Twilight Zone.” However, while NIRP has already led to a dramatic upheaval across Europe’s economies as a result of a perfectly “unexpected” surge in the savings (as we warned would happen last October, and as the WSJ “discovered” last week) one key aspect of this “zone” was missing for the past two years: banks charging negative rates to ordinary, retail depositors.
However, after a two year wait, this final piece of the NIRP puzzle was revealed when earlier this week, Raiffeisen Gmund am Tegernsee, a German cooperative savings bank in the Bavarian village of Gmund am Tegernsee, with a population 5,767, finally gave in to the ECB’s monetary repression, and announced it’ll start charging retail customers to hold their cash.
Starting September, for savings in excess of €100,000 euros, the community’s Raiffeisen bank will charge a 0.4% rate. That represents the first direct pass through of the current level of the ECB’s negative deposit rate on to retail depositors.
H/t reader squodgy:
“The vultures gather….”
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.”
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.
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
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) June 16, 2016
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.”
The full note, which is on par with Deutsche Bank’s just as angry recent rant against the ECB, is presented in its entirety below.
Think back. Many readers have been trading for 10 or 20 years. A few have been trading for 30 or more years. What was it like the last time German 10-year bond yields went negative?
That is sort of a trick question. Most likely you were not alive, no matter how old you are.
As translated from Spanish, my friend Guru Huky posted the answer on his blog today: And the last time the German bond stood negative was …. surprise surprise.
German 10-Year Yield Since 1807