Geopolitical

Goldman Says Overweight Cash On Mounting Global Risks

Goldman Says Overweight Cash On Mounting Global Risks

More and more are jumping on the "sell in May and go away" bandwagon but for good reason. As U.S. stocks base around in short term trading awaiting more cues about a potential June rate hike from the April FOMC minutes to be released later today, the big players have their eye on the bigger picture.

This is something we've talked about on these pages, and something we buy, on the caveat that technical factors turn conducive. The month of May has historically heralded volatility in the financial markets.

The key takeaways from Goldman are: Overweight cash, avoid equities, look to profit from up in quality carry, and perhaps buy some volatility.

Grexit, U.S. & Canada Contraction

Grexit, U.S. & Canada Contraction

Greece is now back in recession while a €1.5bn IMF payment looms just 2 days away. Greece, now led ever deeper astray by a stubbornly defiant Government, is undeniably the champions when it comes to perpetually kicking the can down the road.

Tuesday's data showed that inflation in the currency union warmed to 0.3% YoY from 0.2% in April - yet another sign that Greece is being left far in the wake of a ship that has long set sail.

The toil of staying in the Eurozone, being in a constant and never ending tug of war, and having to cede to the demands of its creditors whom will ultimately have their way just adds fodder to the chimeric spirit of a once independent and free Greece.

All these indicates to us that the risk of a Grexit (Greek Exit) has never been greater, although it might not seem so on the surface.The impetus to leave the Euro and write off just about all of its external liabilities looks to be the path of least resistance to us. The upside risks of a Grexit is undervalued and which probabilities are overly discounted.

 

A Crazy Week In Charts

A Crazy Week In Charts

What a week of utter craziness! After last week's inexhaustible flurry, we thought we'd see some respite. But no, the events just ratcheted one notch higher; with volatility in the financial markets at year-to-date highs and global developments on geopolitical, financial and economic fronts, we can barely keep up the the trance that is raving. So rather than using narrative to summarize what has been a very busy week, we thought of using charts to highlight the key talking points of the past 7 days or so.

This edition of the Daily Grail will be the first ever to feature a compendium of graphics and charts but we might indeed start to adopt a similar format in future editions for time constraints. We have tried to broaden the subjects covered under each piece while ensure each note remains relevant to our readers.

1-7 January: Oil & Euro Lowest Since Lehman As Grexit Fears Loom, EU In Deflation

1-7 January: Oil & Euro Lowest Since Lehman As Grexit Fears Loom, EU In Deflation

What a way to start 2015. The first deflation in the EU since 2009, record low yields on German sovereign debt, global energy prices keep tanking, US equities down for 5 consecutive days, and the news (or not) keeps flowing. For the record, major equity indices have started 2015 with the worst performance since the financial crisis of 2008. Whatever remnant of the 2014 "Santa Rally" turned out to be a ghost in a shell, and has now spooked global market participants.

The past week has been all about ratcheting up the "Grexit" rhetoric across the markets. Readers should be no stranger to the situation in Greece and the entire periphery of the Euro Union, which we touched upon in our last update preceding the New Year. The risk has indeed never been greater as it seems Germany has openly voiced that it won't be blackmailed by a Greek plunger. Remember, Greece is bounded by €240bn to the Troika under the various bailout packages extended to her.

29-30 December: Greek Parliment Fire; AirAsia Shares Plunge As Flight Vanishes

29-30 December: Greek Parliment Fire; AirAsia Shares Plunge As Flight Vanishes

In what has to be the most heart wrenching year in modern civil aviation history, another civilian airplane has vanished without a trace over an area spanning between Indonesia and Borneo.

Earlier this year in March, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China lost radio contact with Malaysian ATC while flying over the South China Sea towards Vietnam. Almost 9 months after its mysterious disappearance, the Boeing 777-200ER airplane that serviced MH370 is still not found, nor have parts that belonged to the aircraft been found despite extensive international search efforts across millions of square miles over the Indian Ocean. The conclusion of MH370 is still open ended, but consensus is that it has crashed in open waters West of Australia. MH370 was carrying 239 passengers in total, the world has never heard from them since.

The flight in question is QZ8501 operated by an affiliate of AirAsia, AirAsia Indonesia whose parent company is PT Fersindo Nusaperkasa. The firm was founded in December 2004 under the brand "Awair". As we go to print, the airplane is still missing after 48 hours since it broke contact with Jakarta ATC. No distress signal was given.

19-22 December: Reeling From Russia's Pain, Belarus Implodes; Global Markets Rebound Sharply; Sony Hacking Satire

19-22 December: Reeling From Russia's Pain, Belarus Implodes; Global Markets Rebound Sharply; Sony Hacking Satire

The overnight night unsecured deposit rate on BYR has exploded north of 30% as the national bank has made it too expensive to lend BYR even amongst banks. As we learned from the bank's press release, it wants to halt sales of BYR by as much as possible though pseudo and conventional capital controls. The interest on commercial and retail deposits at local banks has also spiked to encourage individuals and businesses to leave their currency in their banks. Apparently enough, we know this is not working one bit and the run on banks continues and will probably extend all the way to Christmas Eve before there is any easing of tensions.

Indeed, just a few hours after AFP broke this news, the overnight interbank BYR deposit rate has surged past 50% as the fire intensifies.

17-18 December: Negative Swiss Rates; FOMC Shows Resolve Despite Risks; Russia Goes Full Frontal Amid Crisis

17-18 December: Negative Swiss Rates; FOMC Shows Resolve Despite Risks; Russia Goes Full Frontal Amid Crisis

It just keeps coming. In this week alone we have already seen 4 central bank events starting with Russia's immense 6.5% rate hike and other policy accessories that eventually led to the chaos we saw on Tuesday; the ECB then dropped hints that it might extend its QE to sovereign bonds instead of the covered securities it currently purchases; the the planned FOMC statement and press conference with the chair woman yesterday; and then the SNB (Swiss national bank) unexpectedly cut its deposit rate.

11-13 December: Ruble Sees No Respite Despite Rate Hike; Oil Continues Massacre; Weak TLTRO Results

11-13 December: Ruble Sees No Respite Despite Rate Hike; Oil Continues Massacre; Weak TLTRO Results

The IEA (international Energy Association) cuts global oil demand forecast for fourth time in 5 months as OPEC refuses to blink and global growth forecasts dim to a twinkle. This has sent WTI prices below $60 and printed a low of $57.31, the weakest since July 2009. Across the board, Brent and Canadian Heavy prices are also crashing through the floor. Corporate credit and equity of companies in the energy sector continue to take relentless beatings as analysts continue to predict ever lower prices. The contagion effect has major oil producing countries all over the world scurrying to prevent their respective economic meltdowns as revenues are clawed back by the markets for every additional cent oil prices decline.

10 December 2014: China Rubs Salt Into Weak Oil Wound

10 December 2014: China Rubs Salt Into Weak Oil Wound

China's Securities Depository Corporation announced (CSDC) Tuesday that they would no longer accept non AAA-rated corporate debt securities as collateral in repurchase transactions, essentially raising the cost of short term collateralized borrowing in the private sector. AAA-rated corporate debt securities to be pledged as collateral must also originate from AA-rated issuers.

China has hinted rather overtly it wants to drastically reduce leverage in its stock and bond markets, and is partially working on this goal by tightening monetary policy through indirect tools; fixing Yuan higher and raising collateral standards and reducing availability.