Dagelijkse kost 20 september 2012

Nieuws uit Nederland:

Het is zeer rustig wat betreft Nederlands nieuws. Desalniettemin een aantal kleine berichtjes..

De dekkingsgraad is gestegen van 94% naar 97%. Onderliggende oorzaak zijn de stijgende aandelenkoersen..

  • Dekkingsgraad pensioenfondsen gestegen (Volkskrant)

Inval Franse justitie bij UBS draait om belastingontduiking Franse klanten.

  • Inval UBS-kantoor Parijs (FD)

Een van de commentaren was erg scherp: de titel klopt niet. En daar valt zeker wat voor te zeggen.

  • Vergroenen gaat de Staat miljarden euro’s kosten (FD)

Met enige creativiteit kun je de constructie die Turkse juweliers gevonden hebben om geld te verdienen aan goud een goudswap noemen:

  • Turkse juweliers door schuldencrisis gedwongen tot verhuur van goud (Volkskrant)

Nieuws uit buitenlandse media

Janet Tavakoli: Understanding Derivatives and Their Risks
Chris Martenson interviewt Janet Tavakoli (en zij is een hele pientere dame!):

Corruptie in India
De New York Times besteedde aandacht aan corruptie in India. Ook in India lijkt te gelden dat wanneer je politiek zeer goede relaties hebt, je  rijkdom wel heel erg makkelijk vergaart. De Indiase wijze waarop kolenvelden worden toegewezen is onderwerp van een groot corruptie-onderzoek, maar of dat onderzoek ooit zal uitwijzen dat politici en zakenmensen sjoemelen is en blijft een vraag. De New York Times schrijft

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, however, did not introduce competitive bidding, leading to a murky allocation process. A govement screening committee chose the recipients; several former and current bureaucrats and industry officials say its decisions were highly subjective, often favoring applicants with close ties to state and national political bosses. India’s comptroller and auditor general, after examining the committee’s minutes and other documents, issued a scathing report last month.

One former senior official, Surya P. Sethi, who unsuccessfully lobbied Mr. Singh for a more transparent selection process, said a representative of the global mining giant BHP Billiton complained to him that the system was stacked in favor of certain Indian businesses.

Deze twee alinea's leggen eigenlijk de essentie bloot van de strategische overwegingen waar de Indiase overheid voor staat: willen wij dat Indiase grondstoffen in buitenlandse handen vallen of in handen blijven van Indiërs?

Mijn inziens, plaatst corruptie een samenleving niet alleen op een hellend vlak, het vergiftigt een samenleving. Overal en altijd. Tegelijkertijd geldt dat corruptie een veelvuldig toegepaste organisatievorm is die publieke bestuurders in staat stelt om grote en nationale belangen veilig te stellen.

  • Scandal Poses a Riddle: Will India Ever Be Able to Tackle Corruption? (New York Times)

Analyse: Fed vs ECB
Martin Sibileau van View from the Trenches:

One cannot but wonder at the idiocy blindness of those who sustain that both the European and the US central banks removed “tail risks” in the last days, with their new measures. To start, the whole idea that a tail risk exists is simply a fallacy of Keynesian economics. It assumes there is a universe of possible outcomes and, as if humans acted driven by animal spirits, randomly, each one of them has a likelihood of occurring. In all honesty… what else can occur if a central bank prints money to generate a bubble? Why would the bursting of the bubble be called a tail-risk, rather than the logical outcome? Why, if that was tried in 2001 in the US, resulting in the crisis of 2008… why would it be any different now, when there is an explicit announcement to print billions per month? Why?

Eén woord? BINGO!!

De analyse waaruit deze quote afkomstig is, gaat nog veel verder:

The first one, mentioned in our last letter, is that the market should arbitrage between the rates of core Europe and its periphery, converging into a single Euro zone target yield. The Italian auction mentioned above, together with continuous weakness in Germany’s sovereign debt, the movement of capital out of the US dollar to the Euro zone (lifting the Euro to $1.31) and the rally in EU banks, would seem to indicate that this convergence is slowly materializing. The critical piece here, the one that will really nail this coffin, is the retu of deposits transferred to the core of the Euro zone, back to the periphery that originated them. This is what’s behind the ongoing negotiations towards a banking union. Ironically, if the banking union was successful, making deposits retu to banks of the periphery, it would make it easier for the Germans to leave the Euro zone, because the current imbalances of the Target 2 system would disappear, radically lowering the cost of the exit!

The second trend, the one we missed last week, consists in that –perhaps- we will no longer be able to talk about “the” risk-free rate of interest, when we refer to the US sovereign yield. If the first trend proves true, there would be no reason to believe that the short-term US sovereign yield should keep as low as it is vs. the equivalent EU sovereign yield. For all practical purposes, in the segment of up-to-3 years, the European Central Bank would set the value of the world’s risk-free rate! The big assumption here is of course, that the first trend, above, holds true. Only then, the arbitrage between the US sovereign yield and the EU sovereign yield could be triggered.

What would the levels be, for the up-to-3 year yields? As we know, the European Central Bank will not pre-commit to a yield target. Of course, they don’t want to be challenged, because there is only so much they can sterilize before they start suffering a net interest loss, as we explained last week[*]. But from a dynamic perspective, what counts is not the level, but the driver: In the long run, as the sterilization fails (also explained in our last letter and first proposed back on May 13th, 2010), the short-term “risk-free” rate of interest would be driven by the consolidated fiscal deficit of the Euro zone.

Having said this, the remaining question is what determines the value of the long-term risk-free rate of interest. The Fed, in our view, although not announced last Thursday, will eventually continue to purchase long-term US sovereign debt. Effectively in the beginning, the Fed would set the value of the risk-free yield curve, past the three-year point. When things get out of control and inflation expectations for the US dollar take the lead (in a few years), the fiscal deficit of the US should determine the dynamics of the long-end of the curve….Does that make sense? No! (At least not, if you are not Keynesian) Because if “things get out of control”, we must say good bye to long-term interest rates altogether. That market will evaporate, and the US will only be able to sell short-term debt. At that point, if the Euro zone still exists as we know it, the battle for the ownership of the risk free rate will have been won by the European Central Bank, by definition. Why? Because by definition, if the Euro zone still exists, it is because they succeeded in stabilizing their fiscal problems. Otherwise, the shortening of the term horizon for the US sovereign yield should continue contracting, until hyperinflation completely wipes it out.

Dat is geen misselijke conclusie: de euro zal de rol van de dollar oveemen bij het zetten van de risico-vrije rentevoet. Althans, zolang Europa slaagt om fiscaal orde op zaken te stellen; de ECB niet de controle verliest; dan kan de euro de rol van de dollar oveemen. En niet geheel verrassend wordt er gehamerd op het verdwijnen van de lange rente in de Verenigde Staten. De Amerikaanse overheid financiert zich meer en meer met kortlopend krediet en dat betekent dat er steeds meer schulden doorgerold moeten worden en dat is niet zonder gevaar.

Overigens wordt in de analyse 'van vorige week' waar Sibileau naar verwijst (zie [*] zijn interpretatie gegeven over de betekenis van het aangekondigde Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programma van de ECB. Stibileau ziet er een mogelijke opening naar een scenario van hyperinflatie in. Ook al volg ik zijn redenering in die analyse, ben ik het niet helemaal met hem eens. Dat heeft alles te maken met een veronderstelling. Sibileau veronderstelt dat de ECB als gevolg van de sterilisatie-operaties op lange termijn (> 5 jaar in de toekomst) verliezen kan gaan lijden. Dat zou de ECB mogelijk noodzaken om basisgeld te printen om dergelijke verliezen te compenseren en dat vormt de opmaat naar een scenario van hyperinflatie. Echter, hij gaat in zijn redenering voorbij aan de dempende werking van goud op de balans van de ECB; die compenseert met een waardestijging dergelijke verliezen. Bovendien verhindert het mandaat van de ECB een scenario van hyperinflatie. Zolang het mandaat ongewijzigd blijft, is wat mij betreft hyperinflatie in Europa uitgesloten.

Waar ik het met Stibileau roerend eens ben betreft de conclusie dat in Europa alles valt en staat bij fiscale consolidatie. Daar mag het niet op stuk gaan lopen. Anders gezegd: de bal ligt bij het Europese politieke leiderschap.

  • Did the risk-free rate move to Frankfurt? (Stibileau)
  • How Draghi opened the door to hyperinflation and denied the Fed an exit strategy (Stibileau)

Grafiek: toename 'monetair' aanbod..

Bron: Grant Williams, via Zero Hedge

Verschillen interventiebeleid Fed en ECB
Altijd fijn om niet alleen te staan bij het aanwijzen van verschillen in het interventiebeleid van de Fed en de ECB. De verschillen volgens Morgan Stanley. Via Zero Hedge:

First, the Fed’s MBS program is up and running and started last Friday. By contrast, the start of the ECB’s OMT is conditional upon a country going into an EFSF/ESM program or a precautionary program (ECCF), or a country in an existing program regaining market access. Hence, while this is not our base case, there is a possibility that the OMT will never be activated.

Second, while both programs are aimed at unblocking the monetary transmission mechanism, the Fed’s MBS purchases are targeting the mortgage market, while the ECB will buy short-dated govement bonds. Both make sense to us, because the origin of the US financial crisis was in the mortgage market, which in the Fed’s analysis requires ongoing support, while the epicenter of the current European crisis is in the govement bond markets.

Third, while the Fed’s buying program will lead to a further increase in the central bank’s balance sheet, the ECB plans to fully sterilize its purchases. Note, however, that sterilization is merely a fig leaf to placate German conces because the size of the ECB’s balance sheet is entirely demand-driven due to its current policy of full allotment at its refinancing operations. Provided they have enough collateral, banks can take out any amount of liquidity they like. Note also that the term deposits which the ECB offered to banks when it sterilized the SMP purchases were eligible as collateral in the refi operations.

Fourth, the conditionality attached to the Fed’s and the ECB’s purchase programs is very different in nature. The Fed has tied its MBS purchases to an economic variable – it will continue until there is a substantial improvement in the labor market, while the ECB has tied the OMT to a political variable – whether or not a country goes into and adheres to an adjustment program. As govement action (or non-action) is unusually more difficult to predict than labor market performance, this makes the scope of the OMT much more difficult to predict than the Fed’s MBS program.

Fifth, while the Fed’s action is fully aligned with its dual mandate, which includes ‘sustainable employment’ alongside price stability, there are some – the Bundesbank and the German Constitutional Court – who view the ECB’s OMT as potentially violating the ECB’s mandate, which prohibits direct monetary financing of govements. While the ECB’s position is very clear – it views the secondary market bond purchases, which are aimed at unblocking the monetary transmission mechanism, as in line with its mandate – the challenge coming from Germany provides additional uncertainty about the scope and effect of the program.

  • The Five Key Differences Between The ECB's OMT And The Fed's QEteity (Zero Hedge)

Deutsche Bank: Gold is Money
Frank en ik hebben naarstig gezocht naar het rapport waarin Deutsche Bank stelt dat goud toch echt geld is, maar helaas hebben wij dat niet kunnen vinden. Desalniettemin, enkele quotes via Business Insider:

While it is included in the commodities basket it is in fact a medium of exchange and one that is officially recognised (if not publically used as such). We see gold as an officially recognised form of money for one primary reason: it is widely held by most of the world’s larger central banks as a component of reserves.

We would go further however, and argue that gold could be characterised as ‘good’ money as opposed to ‘bad’ money which would be represented by many of today’s fiat currencies. In describing gold as such we refer to Gresham’s Law – when a govement overvalues one type of money and undervalues another, the undervalued money (good) will leave the country or disappear from circulation into hoards, while the overvalued money (bad) will flood into circulation.

In our view the ideal medium of exchange must balance the paradox of representing value while having little intrinsic value itself. There are very few media which can do this. Fiat currencies physically have no use other than that which is prescribed to them by govement and accepted by the public. That fiat currencies cost little to produce is of a secondary conce and we believe, quite irrelevant to the primary purpose.

Gold is neither production good nor consumption good. Jewellery we see as a form of storage or hoarding (the people of Portugal have all but exhausted their personal gold stores – hoarded in the form of jewellery – having converted them to survive the crisis). If gold did have a meaningful commercial use we believe that it would make the metal less attractive as a medium of exchange as the value of the metal in whatever market it was used in could periodically interfere with its medium-of-exchange role…

Other characteristics are important of course in fulfilling the requirements for ‘good’ money: indestructibility, divisibility, transportability and universal acceptability.

De monetaire zijde van de gouden medaille wordt meer en meer omarmt. Dat kan men gerust typeren als een hele belangrijke trendbreuk: goud verliest haar taboe-status en wordt herkend als de monetaire basis van het inteationale financiële stelsel. Dat doet mij denken aan een aloud spreekwoord: “Beter ten halve gekeerd, dan ten heele gedwaald.”

En niet alleen Deutsche Bank heeft zich nu duidelijk uitgesproken vóór goud want afgelopen vrijdag toen ik naar het NOS Jouaal keek en naar Eva Wiessing luisterde kon ik mijn oren nauwelijks geloven. Wiessing interviewde Lex Hoogduin die benadrukte dat de Verenigde Staten via deze ronde van geldpersfinanciering de wisselkoers van de dollar verlaagt. Wiessing sloot het item over QE3 af met de woorden:

“De prijs van goud is [..] flink gestegen; een duidelijk teken dat ook beleggers zich indekken tegen een hogere inflatie”.

FOFOA vatte de strekking van de conclusies van Deutsche Bank samen en doet dat op geheel eigen wijze. Ter aanvulling, ik blijf het filmpje dat hij bovenaan heeft gezet geweldig vinden..(“one of these things is not like the others”).. 

  • Deutsche Bank explains why we hoard gold (FOFOA)

Quote Mitt Romney
[The] former head of Goldman Sachs, John Whitehead, was also the former head of the New York Federal Reserve. And I met with him, and he said as soon as the Fed stops buying all the debt that we're issuing—which they've been doing, the Fed's buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. He said, once that's over, he said we're going to have a failed Treasury auction, interest rates are going to have to go up. We're living in this borrowed fantasy world, where the govement keeps on borrowing money. You know, we borrow this extra trillion a year, we wonder who's loaning us the trillion? The Chinese aren't loaning us anymore. The Russians aren't loaning it to us anymore. So who's giving us the trillion? And the answer is we're just making it up. The Federal Reserve is just taking it and saying, “Here, we're giving it.” It's just made up money, and this does not augur well for our economic future. You know, some of these things are complex enough it's not easy for people to understand, but your point of saying, bankruptcy usually concentrates the mind.

– Mitt Romney

Daar hoeven we niets aan toe te voegen.

  • Bron: What Mitt Romney Also Said: A Glimpse Of The Endgame? (Zero Hedge)

In ander nieuws:

  • Prepare For A 15% Food Price Surge, Rabobank Was (Zero Hedge)
  • New Study Finds “Severe Toxic Effects” of Pervasively Used Monsanto Herbicide Roundup and Roundup Ready GM Co (Updated) (Naked Capitalism)
  • Spanish auction: damned if you do/ don’t (FT Alphaville)

Tot slot.
Om even terug te komen op de Amerikaanse politiek, afgelopen dinsdag zond CNN een interview van verleden jaar uit. Piers Morgan interviewt Jesse Ventura en dat levert spannende televisie op..