Death Star Economics

Icon

ECONOMICS – FINANCE – WORLD NEWS – GREEK DEBT

Eurozone recession here to stay, UK gets ready for exit

Yesterday…
David Cameron and his comrades of the Conservative Party published a policy draft for a referendum for a possible EU-exit of the UK. The draft says the referendum has to be completed by December 2017, given the Tories win the 2015 elections. I think the campaigning just began. read BBC

While the global “recovery” continues to force deficits to skyrocket and imports to slump, India has managed to become the outlier in the trend on Monday afternoon. Taking advantage of the low gold price, imports rose 138% since April 2012 to $7.5bn, or 18% of all imports, while the trade deficit hit 17.8bn. read Zerohedge

And of course the drama over Bloomberg‘s use of user data continued… read FT Alphaville

This morning…
there was a flood of data, with the German economy growing 0.1% from 4Q12 to the first quarter of 2013, undercutting the depressing estimate of 0.3% growth. The French economy contracted by 0.2% over the same period of time. read Bloomberg
Franco-German relations haven’t been great since Hollande got into office, but this morning’s result may just worsen the atmosphere of any policy discussion. The eurozone as such, contracted 0.2% in 1Q13. The recession continues…

Simultaneously, Mervyn “it’s-almost-his-last-day” King of the Bank of England raised the outlook for the UK economy [with lower inflation] and raised his eyebrows at eurozone performance, as well as the continental Financial Transaction Tax. read Guardian

Meanwhile, the US is preparing to become the model student again. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting the deficit to fall as far as $378bn by 2015, much faster than anticipated. The 2013 forecast was cut by $203bn to an overall $642bn. read Reuters
And that is not all: Formerly the largest corporate debt market in the world, providing ample opportunity for the Michael Milken followers of the world to make money, China is going to take that spot within the next two years, according to S&P. Soon America will be debt and deficit free and flow with milk and vodka (we’re all grown-ups here). read Financial Times

In the kerfuffle over whether Jamie Dimon is allowed to stay in in his double-role as chairman and CEO of JPMorgan seems to be blowing over (much like Lloyd Blankfein expected), as fewer shareholders than expected are looking to back the leadership reform. Another bullet dodged for the industry. read Financial Times

And in case you’ve been in a good mood this morning, have a look at this: 10 Scenes from the ongoing global economic collapse (Zerohedge)

So long.

Advertisements

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Slovenia slides down the bailout slope

Yesterday

The Fed is considering tougher capital requirements over worries that banks could be playing the [Basel III] system. Currently, the international agreement sees equity capital at only 3%. Basel brought that up significantly, but also gave the parties involved more room for… creative accounting. Give a bank a loophole. read FT

Moody’s downgraded Slovenia to junk with negative outlook (ouch), which is unfortunate, because the country was planning to auction off some debt. read FT
And now the pathway to an EU bailout: (read Bloomberg)

Rising loan losses resulting from a housing bust and a second recession in two years have left a hole of about 7.5 billion euros ($9.9 billion) at Slovenia-based lenders, investment bank Keefe Bruyette & Woods estimates. That’s a lot for a 35 billion-euro economy: A bank bailout would push government debt above 70 percent of economic output.

Apple issued $17bn in debt – the largest corporate debt offering ever – in six tranches to return money to shareholders and avoid repatriation taxes on overseas funds. read WSJ

In New York, the Empire State Building was lit up in FT-pink to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the newspaper.

This morning…
is quiet due to Labor Day in vast parts of the world.

Later on, we’ll get some data from the US, including the ADP employment report, ISM manufacturing data and the post-FOMC meeting statement from the Fed (ex Bernanke press conference). The ISM is expected to drop below 50, as it last did in November of last year and several months in 2009.

So long.

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The things about guaranteed debt – China edition

There won’t be an update until Monday, 22 April 2013.

Yesterday…
the aftershock of the events in Boston continued to dominate the front pages, with President Obama speaking to the nation in the early afternoon, saying the FBI was investigating the explosions as an “act of terror”. read article

The IMF cut its global growth forecast for 2013 again from 3.5% to 3.3% in its World Economic Outlook, which left the 2014 forecast at 4%. Last week, Managing Director Christine Lagarde‘s argued that a three-speed [economic] world was developing, in which some countries are still very far away from recovering. Lagarde also embraced the quantitative easing approach and argued that Japan was moving into the right direction. read article

It’s things like this that could make for an uncomfortable atmosphere at this week’s G20 meeting in Washington, especially with regards to Japan. read article

This morning…
London is dressed in metal barricades as Margaret Thatcher’s funeral is putting more or less everything on hold until the afternoon.

In China, the poultry sector has recorded losses of CNY 10bn ($1.6bn) since the outbreak of bird flu virus H7N9. So far 77 people have been diagnosed as infected; 16 people died. read article

Also in China, a local auditor has said that regional government debt was OOT and it was only a matter of time until a bigger-than-American-housing crash if things were to continue. Here just a taste of how we got here:

Local governments are prohibited from directly raising debt, so they have used special purpose vehicles to circumvent these rules, issuing bonds under the vehicles’ names to fund infrastructure projects.

and

Bonds issued by government-owned investment companies almost always receive top-tier credit ratings from domestic agencies because they are seen as being guaranteed by the provinces and cities that back them.

Right, because that has never been a problem before… Last week, Fitch cut China’s credit rating on the back of “underlying structural weaknesses.” further reading

So long.

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Italian elections: the morning after the morning after

As expected, center-left Pier Luigi Bersani is looking to form a minority government to lead Italy out of its post-election stalemate misery. A minority government with whom, you wonder? Well, Bersani asked for everyone’s support to curb austerity and promote job creation. Meanwhile, Mario Monti, who definitely lost the election, is considering leaving a €3.9bn bailout of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena be until the new administration is in place. Someone’s had enough. read article

Unfortunately for Italy, the country will try to sell €6.5bn worth of debt today.

Over in Brusselsnervous voices get louder with regard to the ECB, formerly known to do whatever it takes to save the euro for the Europeans through its OMT program. With Italy so obviously against austerity measures, future budget cuts that could be conditional for help from the ECB seem out of the questionread article

When addressing the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, Ben Bernanke advocated the Fed’s current course on monetary policy, saying the risks were clearly outweighed and investors should be encouraged by fair values and high corporate earnings. read article

J.P. Morgan is planning to fire up to 17,000 people, 6.5% of its staff, over the next two years in an effort to reduce costs by $1bn.annually. Most cuts will take place in 2014 in the bank’s mortgage groupread article

In other news, Visa and Samsung have struck a deal to advance mobile payments through Visa’s payWave software, and Chuck Hagel‘s nomination to US Secretary of Defense has been passed by the Senate. read article

So long.

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Currency wars – silent edition

Over the weekend, the G20 did a great job in shattering trust in the system: after a week of publicly denouncing a currency war of easing until there’s nothing left to ease, while predominantly pointing the finger at Japan as the culprit, the outcome goes as follows. Everyone, including Japan, may do as they please as long as there is no public advocacy for devaluing currencies. So far, all that talking about it has done is making things worse. read article

In Spaintoxic assets on the books of the country’s banks have decreased by €24.1bn in December, after November had recorded the highest bad-loan ratio ever. And overall loans declined by around €80bn as well, as many underperforming ones have been poured into the ‘bad bank‘ the government set up in October, as a black hole for foreclosed assets and developer loans. From ZeroHedge:

[…] as El Pais reported yesterday, official Spanish debt (not counting the hundreds of billions in off balance sheet obligations), rose to €882 billion in 2012, a surge of €146 billion in one year, sending interest expense to an all time high €38.7 billion.

Elsewhere, Nicos Anastasiades, leader of the Cypriot conservative party, has one the first round of the presidential elections. Anastasiades is an austerity man, much like Merkel likes them, and his election would pretty much secure a bailout deal for Cyprus. read article

Meanwhile in Hong Kongbankruptcy filings have risen 62% from January 2012, measuring the highest rate in almost two years and highlighting Hong Kong’s weakened economy. read article 

Despite the US being closed for President’s day today, some important documents have leaked from the White House. Obama’s proposal for a reform of the immigration system would see illegal immigrants legally applying for US citizenship if they have been in the country for more than eight years. read article 

Have a good week.

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pope to resign; China beats US as biggest global trader

First things first, the Pope will resign on 28 February due to health issues. NYTimes op-ed tomorrow, leaving drinks Friday. Here the odds on who’s up next.

China has become the world’s largest trading nation in 2012, surpassing the US by $50bn with $3.87tn. Overall, however, the US economy dwarves that of China, being almost double in size. In 2011, America’s GDP totalled $15bn, while China only reached $7.3bn. For 2012, China expects inflation-adjusted GDP to reach $8.3bn. read article

In the old world, the Eurogroup is meeting in Brussels today. On the agenda: Cyprus and Greece and Italy and Spain. Later this week the G-20 will meet in Moscow and discuss further action.

With regard to Cyrpus, a new rescue plan may even be decided at today’s meeting, according to a confidential memo that made it into the hands of the FT.

The proposal for a “bail-in” of investors and depositors, and drastic shrinking of the Cypriot banking sector, is one of three options put forward as alternatives to a full-scale bailout. The ministers are trying to agree a rescue plan by March, to follow the presidential election sin Cyprus later this month.”

If foreign depositors and investors chip in, the size of the bailout could be reduced from €16.7bn to €5.5bn. By nation, Russia is one of the largest foreign depositors in Cyrpus, Russia’s personal Guernsey. Although the G-20 meeting is held in Moscow due to the current Russian presidency, this makes the choice of location more interesting than usual.

Last week Friday, President re-elect Hugo Chavez announced the devaluation of the Venezuelan Bolivar by 32%, causing a buying frenzy over the weekend. One result: Venezuela’s mountain of debt shrunk from $42.9bn to $29.3bn. Another one: home appliances are more or less equivalent to gold now. Yet, some say the currency remains overvalued and the government intervention would have needed to be more drastic. read article

In other news, Obama is giving the State of the Union address tomorrow, which will be centered around unemployment and economic issues. read article

Have a good week.

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spanish PM in money-laundering scandal; UK to take bold step on banking reform

All drama takes place in Spain today, where the opposition is pressing for Rajoy’s resignation. Over the weekend, the Spanish paper El Pais, showed that members of Rajoy’s People’s Party party received money through ex-treasurer Luis Barcenas, who is currently under investigation for money-launderingread article

The UK is seeing a renaissance of the Glass-Steagall act, as the banking reform moves on ringfencing investment banking from commercial banking. Last week, the EU quietly distanced itself from its own, union-wide ringfencing plan, presumably as part of a deal on the financial transaction tax. As for the UK, Alphaville explains:

The Banking Reform bill to be published today will give the Treasury and the bank regulator the power to break up a bank that doesn’t respect the ringfence between retail banking and the riskier stuff.

Whoa! That’s a pretty bold move, not to mention confusing as hell. First, the UK doesn’t want any of the EU’s regulatory “wisdom” (fair enough) to protect the City and Britain’s fantastic economy, and then, it adopts regulations that are much stricter than those on the continent. A+ for consistency (that is not a credit ranking). According to Credit Suisse, the reform could have a negative impact on Britain’s annual GDP worth 0.04-0.1%.

In Germany, the reform of the financial services sector has become a fixed part of the election campaigns, making reform inevitable. Now the question is just how sensible new policies could be.

Meanwhile over in AsiaChina is having a great day, with retail, banking, construction and transport [composing the non-manufacturing PMI] showing signs of recoveryread article

Yet, not all the grass in greener on the other side. China’s central bank has issued a warning to the Bank of China, which has exceeded its loan quota by more than CNY30bn ($4.8bn). “Loans are capped at 75% of deposits under China’s current Commerical Bank Law.

Have a good week.

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spanish recession gets worse; Toyota recalls 1.1 million cars

Spain’s recession deepened in Q4, when the country’s economy shrank by 0.7% compared to the same period in the year prior. Over the course of 2012, Spain contracted by 1.7%.

The Bank of Spain says the return of international investors to Spain’s battered debt market, has not translated into the real economy, although it has allowed the government to conduct a large chunk of its 2013 borrowing at the start of the year, potentially easing the pressure on it for months to come.

In the background, Catalonia requested €9.1bn in aid from Spain’s regional liquidity fund. In 2013, the region will have to repay €13.6bn of debt. read article

Yet, overall the eurozone’s economic sentiment and business climate improved, along with expectations for inflation. read article 

In the US, the Fed is concluding its January meeting this afternoon and for once there won’t be economic projections or a press conference. Maybe, after months of easing, Bernanke wants to keep everyone guessing again. After all, being predictable is boring. According to a Bloomberg estimate released yesterdayQE3 will amount to $1.14tn before it ends in Q4 2014.

In Brussels, the FT got its hands on the blueprint for the financial transaction tax regulation. The draft imposes a levy of 0.1% on stock and bond transactions and 0.01% on derivative trades and would yield €30-35bn per year.

If this design of the tax is adopted, it would mean offshoots of banks headquartered in the tax area – such as Deutsche Bank or BNP Paribas – as well as any trades undertaken on behalf of clients based in the 11 countries will be hit by the levy, even if they are trading in the City of London. Any US or Asian institutions trading securities issued in France, Germany, Italy or Spain would also be taxed.

But on the plus side, the EU has departed from its ringfencing plan, separating investment banking and commercial banking activities, because it could jeopardize Europe’s growth prospects. read article 

Things were going too well for Toyota. Despite Japan’s continuous decline and China’s war on Japanese manufacturing of any kind, the company had nudged General Motors from the pole position of global  car producers. Now, Toyota is recalling 1.1 million cars worldwide, with the majority (752,000) sold in the US, due to defect airbags. This is the third bigger recall since October 2012 and will cost the firm around JPY 5bn ($55m). read article

In other news, Obama has introduced his immigration reform plan, making it easier for skilled workers to obtain US visas, and Zimbabwe‘s Finance Minister said the country has $217 left in the bank after paying public sector salaries last week. read article

So long. 

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Return to the headlines, Iceland and Ireland don’t want to pay

Like the ghost from Christmas past, Iceland and Ireland are making headlines again, both on the topic of not repaying their debts. Iceland, which held a referendum concerning the repayment of bailout debt to the UK and the Netherlands in 2010, has been relieved from the remaining £2bn outstanding to the British government. The reasoning of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) court? They’ve learned their lesson. Meanwhile in Ireland, the ECB rejected a debt relief proposal regarding the €30bn EU-IMF bailout of Anglo Irish Bank. At present, Ireland has to repay €3.1bn per year, ending in 2023. read article

Another potential problem looming for Irish banks is the next round of stress tests, set for this autumn. With the domestic economy still shrinking and mortgage arrears much higher than anyone expected, the banks may require additional capital.

The investigation into batteries used in Boeing’s Dreamliner took pressure off of manufacturer GS Yuasa, shifting the attention to the battery monitoring unit, produced by Kanto Aircraft Instrument. The Dreamliner fleet has been grounded since January 17. All Nippon Airways has cancelled 459 flights until January 31 so far. Until about five years ago, Japanese airlines used Boeing jets almost exclusively. Deregulation opened the market to Airbus, which seems to be winning more ground as the Dreamliners stay on the ground. read article

In other news, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is abdicating in April, leaving the throne to her son Prince Willem Alexander, Sarah Palin was paid almost $16 per word as a commentator on Fox News and the German governing coalition has agreed to hold the national elections on September 22.

Also, as opposed to what you might have gathered in some of today’s headlines, France’ Labor Minister did NOT say France was bankrupt, he was merely mocking the past government’s take on the country’s finances. 

Finally, a post-mortem of the Davos ‘thank god we got over this crisis’ meetingread article

So long.

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sequestation is no medical term

Amusing as ever, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times try to sell us two different worlds this morning. As for WSJ:

Meanwhile, the economy is improving, central banks continue to pump money into the financial system, corporate earnings aren’t horrible and turmoil in Washington has waned.

While elsewhere, the FT announces “US faces fresh financial shock.” Well, that’s confusing. The problem at hand is the sequester, another beast of $1.2tn in automatic spending cuts, passed in 2011 and in effect from March 1. It cuts the Pentagon’s budget by $600bn until 2023, while the same amount is cut from other discretionary government spending.

Unlike the fiscal cliff deals – which was widely anticipated – the sequester would cause a big hit to 2013 growth forecasts. According to forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers, the sequester would knock 0.7 percentage points off growth in 2013, taking its forecast down from 2.6 to 1.9 per cent.

In the business of fixing rates, the attention shifts to Singapore, where internal reviews have uncovered a scheme to fix rates for non-deliverable foreign exchange forwards. When the Libor scandal broke lose in London, Singapore’s regulator ordered financial institutions to review their rate submission processes to the Association of Banks in Singapore, which publishes the benchmark. JP Morgan, UBS, HSBC and DBS are the most active players in Singapore’s offshore FX market. read article

In ItalyMonte dei Paschi di Siena is looking for a new investor. He should have at least €720m lying around to pay a potential fine for derivatives trades between 2006 and 2007, and not be part of any center-left political movement. A dislike of moral high horses would also come in handy. read article

Otherwise, Toyota is once again the world’s largest car manufacturer according to 2012 figures, taking its old place at the top back from General Motors.

So long.

Filed under: news brief, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 213 other followers

%d bloggers like this: