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 »
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.
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 »
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.
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…
“The conditions in the economies of the rest of the world have undoubtedly proved weaker compared with a few months ago, in particular in the emerging economies. Global growth forecasts have been revised downwards. This slowdown is probably not temporary.”
Undoubtedly, the most amusing this about the prospect of more easing from the ECB (as telegraphed by Mario Draghi last week) and the BoJ (where Haruhiko Kuroda just jeopardized his status as monetary madman par excellence by failing to expand stimulus) is that both Europe and Japan both recently slid back into deflation despite trillions in central bank asset purchases.
In other words, the market expects both Draghi and Kuroda to double- and triple- down on policies that clearly aren’t working when it comes to altering inflation expectations and/or boosting aggregate demand. Indeed, both Goldman and BofAML said as much last week. For those who missed it, here’s Goldman’s take Continue reading »
Now that Mario Draghi has telegraphed more easing from the ECB come December, the question is what exactly the bank will announce. Will Draghi cut the depo rate further into negative territory? How long into 2017 will PSPP be extended? Given the scarcity of purchasable paper, will the ECB expand the universe of eligible assets and if so, will Draghi go full-Kuroda knowing full well that you never, ever go full-Kuroda?
There has been a litany of layoff announcements recently: Biogen said yesterday that it would axe 11% of its people. ESPN would lay off 4% of its people. Twitter a couple of days ago said it would slash its workforce by 8%. Microsoft and HP are currently very busy shedding tens of thousands of workers.
Caterpillar announced over 10,000 layoffs last month. Intuit kicked off a new round of layoffs this summer. Permanently troubled former highflyer Groupon is laying of 1,100 folks. Even startups. Zomato, based in India, is laying of 300 folks, many of them in the US. Flipagram laid off 20% of its workers. And on and on. Even Snapchat. Continue reading »
The European Central Bank’s decision to reject the Bank of Greece’s request for increases in Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) has, in a nutshell, crushed Greek banks for what appears to be purely political, nogitating-based motives. Greek financial advisor Alcimos (infamous for their heretical comments on the referendum) commenced proceedings before the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union, requesting the annulment of the ECB decisions.
The global and European economies are increasingly dominated by bureaucrats taking arbitrary decisions on capital allocation, with little regard for rules or process. The decisions of the ECB to reject the applications of the Bank of Greece for additional funding under ELA could have only been politically motivated, and therefore in clear violation of the ECB’s independence as enshrined in Article 123 TFEU. It is time for EU bureaucrats to stop acting as autocrats. Continue reading »
It is clear from the EU Finance Ministers’ template-like comments to the press what the real worry is in Europe (and the world). It’s not The Greeks (Schaeuble: “No other decision was possible, no problem with Greek referendum… need to see what happens next”), it’s something else:
*SCHAEUBLE SAYS DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO AVERT MARKET UNEASE
*PADOAN: INSTRUMENTS IN PLACE TO COUNTER POSSIBLE CONTAGION
*DIJSSELBLOEM: OUR INSTITUTIONS ARE PREPARED TO TAKE ANY ACTION
*STUBB: “I DO NOT SEE A RISK OF CONTAGION”
*SCHAEUBLE SAYS WE’LL DO EVERYTHING TO FIGHT CONTAGION THREAT
*PADOAN: IF INSTABILITY, ECB HAS INSTRUMENTS TO INTERVENE
“… the immediate aftermath of such a non-payment will be to push bond yields up across the periphery. This rise in the fiscal risk premium (Exhibit 3) will of course be limited, because the ECB will likely accelerate QE, including via the Bundesbank. That will push rate differentials, especially longer-dated ones, against EUR/$. We estimate that the initial fiscal risk premium effect could be three big figures, while the subsequent QE effect could be worth around seven big figures”
This was not supposed to happen: by now the Greek insolvency “can” should have been kicked, and the Greek government, realizing the money has run out for both the government and the banking system, should have folded to Troika demands, and allow the Troika money to return repaying obligations to the Troika in exchange for more spending cuts.
Instead, the “game theoretical” approach of bluffing until the end, and beyond, has put both countries in a corner from which neither knows how to escape, and with the “final deal deadline” passing this weekend we now have quotes such as this from the EU: Continue reading »
“The head of Germany’s Bundesbank ripped into the European Central Bank on Thursday, saying emergency funding for Greek banks broke the taboo of financing governments and it was not up to central banks to decide who was or wasn’t in the euro zone,” Reuters reports.
Mario Draghi, perhaps blinded by confetti, doesn’t see a scarcity of collateral while HSBC thinks that’s a bit “strange,” and Morgan Stanley doesn’t really see what the problem is even as their own analysis shows that it is now “impossible” for Germany to fully implement their portion of the program under the capital key. Meanwhile, FT thinks it’s possibly important that thanks to the absurd consequences of NIRP-dom, the ECB may soon take the plunge into euro corporate credit sending yields on corporate bonds negative.
You may well have seen the coverage of my intervention in the ECB press conference yesterday, during which I jumped on the table and showered Mario Draghi with confetti. Many people have contacted me on social media since then, asking me why I did it, how I got into the ECB’s inner sanctum so easily, and what stunts I plan in future.
Here, I’ll attempt to answer those questions as comprehensively as I can.
First, the inspiration. Four weeks ago I saw the anti-ECB protest by Blockupy in Frankfurt, my home city. The demonstration was greeted with a massive, draconian police response in the form of tear gas, water cannons and riot shields.
I was shocked. I thought: “the ECB doesn’t have any political mandate, it’s never been elected. Why are the police defending them with such brutal force?” I wanted to to try and take the criticism against the ECB’s policies to the very heart of the organisation, inside their buildings. Continue reading »
and in the face of the overwhelmingly powerful external
environment of the ECB’s monetary police,
sometimes it’s hard to remember.
We own our own lives –
and they’re not the chips in the ECB’s gambling game,
not to be played with, not to be sold, not to be devastated.
We own our own lives!
-will be the outcry of those who face repression,
when we begin to see our poverty not as personal defeat or unchangeable destiny.
master of the universe,
I come to remind you that there is no god,
but there are people, behind those lives,
and if you rule instead of serving,
you will hear our outcries louder, brighter, inside and outside your halls, everywhere, and you shall deserve no rest. Continue reading »
The European Central Bank’s press conference was briefly disrupted by a protester today, who jumped on to the stage and threw confetti. Staff from the ECB are investigating the incident.
Security staff took immediate and effective action.
Initial findings suggest that the activist registered as journalist for a news organisation she does not represent. Like all visitors to the ECB, she went through an identity check, metal detector and x-ray of her bag, before entering the building.
ECB President Mario Draghi remained unharmed and calmly proceeded with the press conference.
It was bound to happen sooner or later: moments ago Mario Draghi was attacked by what appears to be a female (non-Greek) protester screaming “End ECB Dick-tatorship” while delivering his prepared remarks.
Back in January, when European stocks were only starting their unprecedented QE ramp, we presented the “Driver Behind The European Stock Surge” in which we showed that ever since Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” speech in July 2012, European equity prices were up 50% (even higher now) even as corporate earnings had actually declined by 7%. Continue reading »
We already know that the Bank of Japan will monetize 100% or just over of all Japanese gross sovereign bond issuance (source). As for Germany, on a run-rate basis, and assuming allocation based on the abovementioned capital key, it means that for the next 12 month period, assuming no major funding changes in Germany, the ECB will swallow more than a whopping 140% of gross German issuance! Or, said otherwise, the entities who will buy more than all gross German and Japanese issuance for the next 12 months, are the ECB and the Bank of Japan, respectively. Continue reading »
The Fed and the ECB know exactly that it is totally insane what they are doing, unless you want to destroy the middle class and the entire financial system, which is exactly what they are doing and deliberately so.
In short, the entire citizenry of the euro area has already become poorer due to the efforts of the ECB. The explicit goal of the central bank is now to make them even more so. What is the point of such a policy?
There is of course a point to this seeming lunacy: it is all done to support the profligate governments of Europe’s welfare states and keep the formation of the socialistic super-state in Europe on track. Whether this is seen as good or bad by the average citizen is not even up for debate: it is simply what the political and bureaucratic elites have long ago decided is good for the citizenry, since they think they know best. One might say that it is up to said citizens to elect someone who would do things differently, but that runs into the practical problem that many, even most, of the political groups offering an alternative are even bigger etatistes than the current elite. Whether they are of the socialist or the nationalist (more precisely, national socialist) variety matters little in this context. One would have to expect them to implement even more central economic planning.
The ECB may succeed in increasing economic activity and prices in Europe (especially the latter) by stepping up the pace of monetary pumping even more. However, this will not create any new wealth and will ultimately only sow the seeds of the next crisis. Since many economic regions in Europe are already very poor structural shape, it is also possible that that not even the illusion of economic growth can be created anymore. Bondholders should however be happy, as they can now unload the debt of governments that are up to their eyebrows in debt that will never be repaid in real terms on a buyer with unlimited buying power.
Perhaps echoing two entire nations’ frustration, one reporter loses his cool when Mario Draghi explains how everyone else in Europe gets free money except Greece and Cyprus…
Having explained that The ECB’s Bond-Buying program wil lnot include Greek and Cypriot bonds, “feisty” veteran Greek journalist Aristidis Vikettos unloads on Draghi… “You’re Biased…” he exclaimed, leaving Draghi speechless
Mario Draghi was left speechless on live television when a feisty veteran journalist accused him of bias during really tense moments at a press conference, following the conclusion of the ECB Governing Council meeting in Nicosia. Continue reading »