TLT, IEF, TIP Breakout Before Debt Limit Vote Deadline (August 2)

Here are a few updates on what the hell's going on with the debt ceiling debate, followed by charts of TLT, IEF and TIP which all broke out on Friday (20 Year+ Treasury Bond Fund ETF, 7-10 Year Treasury Bond Fund ETF, and the Treasury Inflation Protected Securities Fund ETF). With Treasury Bond ETFs moving up that means rates are moving lower. TIP is a hedge against a rising CPI (consumer price index). What does all of this mean people? For live updates I embedded a live Twitter search widget for 'debt limit'. Check out the charts after the jump.

Moody's thinks the U.S. won't default on its debt and will keep its Aaa rating, but could get a negative outlook (AP at Yahoo Finance):

"The credit rating agency said it thinks that even if the nation's $14.3 trillion borrowing limit isn't raised by Tuesday's deadline, the government would give priority to making interest payments on its debt and thereby avoid a default."

Biofuels Potential to Transform the Global Economy - Guest Post

Camelina & Algae Fuels (Wikimedia)
Guest Post by

Biofuels Potential to Transform the Global Economy

Slowly but surely, an extraordinarily important new industry is slowly taking shape, with the potential to transform the global economy.

After years of existing largely as an environmentalist's fantasy, commercial production of biofuels for the world civil aviation industry is slowly becoming a fact, with production starting up across three continents.

The leading contenders for biofuel feedstocks are jatropha and camelina, both of which have their fervent supporters. While currently neither is capable of production at a price approaching that of Jet A1 civil aviation fuel derived from hydrocarbons, research and extensive investment are nevertheless investigating the possibilities.

E-Mini S&P 500 Future (ES) Is Trading At Important Levels (Technical Update, July 29, 2011)

This is a technical update on the E-Mini S&P September 2011 Future (ES), which trades overnight. When Republican Leaders cancelled the debt limit vote last night, both the S&P future and U.S. Dollar (in Euros) initially sold off. ES traded all the way down to its 200 day moving average (red line) and uptrend line from June 2010, where it bounced. ES is still trading under its 50 day moving average (blue line), so I'm thinking the debt limit vote will either be the catalyst for the next "risk rally" (watch QQQor technical breakdown, which would confirm a new bear market. I'm trying to figure out if that is a head and shoulders formation at the top (bearish), or an ascending triangle (bullish). The second chart shows that ES already broke through the bull market trend line from March 2009. If ES breaks through the 200DMA and trend line from June 2010, it looks like 1,200-1,215 is the next area of support (pre-flash crash high). See charts after the jump.

EUR/USD Goes Crazy After Moody's Warns Spain And Debt Limit Vote Gets Delayed

EUR/USD intraday (courtesy
After,"Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters shortly before 10:30 p.m. that there would be no vote Thursday night on the bill" (Washington Post)the Euro initially spiked against the U.S. Dollar and hit a high of 1.4361 off the 1.42820 low. However, at 1:20am, when "Moody's placed Spain's Aa2 ratings on review for possible downgrade", EUR/USD retraced the whole move and is now making new lows at 1.42693. So, which sovereign debt crisis wins? Here is more from the Moody's announcement.

"New York, July 29, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has today placed Spain's Aa2 government bond ratings on review for possible downgrade. Spain's Prime-1 short-term ratings are unaffected by today's action.

The initiation of the ratings review is driven by the following concerns:

1.) The continued funding pressures facing the Spanish government, which the precedent set for future euro area support arrangements by the official package for Greece is likely to exacerbate, and the resulting increase in risks to bondholders.

2.) The challenges posed to the government's fiscal consolidation efforts by the weak growth environment and the continued fiscal slippage among several regional governments.

Funding costs have been rising for some time for the Spanish government and for many closely related debt issuers, such as domestic banks and regional governments. Pressures are likely to increase still further following the announcement of the official package for Greece, which has signalled a clear shift in risk for bondholders of countries with high debt burdens or large budget deficits. The package has not relieved market concerns over the position of such sovereigns because (i) it sets a precedent for private sector participation in future sovereign debt restructurings in the euro area, and (ii) while an expansion of powers has been proposed for the EFSF, it is not clear when the powers will be implemented.

Moody's views positively that the central government has been successful in meeting its near-term fiscal consolidation targets, but the rating agency nonetheless notes that challenges to long-term budget balance remain due to Spain's subdued economic growth and fiscal slippage within parts of its regional and local government sector." (Continue reading the announcement at

Moodys: 162 Aaa Local Governments On Review For Possible Downgrade ($63 Billion)

Source: Kazuhiko Kawahara at
From a Moody's announcement today:



EUR/USD Is Back In Descending Channel, GLD/SPY Testing Freedom Level

Is the Eurozone about to flare up again? Or is this about the U.S. debt ceiling. Yesterday, Greece was downgraded by S&P to 'CC' from 'CCC' on the belief that a "selective default" is likely to occur with a "30%-50% recovery of principal" (link). EUR/USD is currently trading at 1.43513, just above the 50 day moving average (1.43445). It sold off hard today along with other "risk assets". E-mini Dow, Nasdaq and S&P futures are slightly positive overnight, we'll see what happens tomorrow with stocks and the GLD/SPY ratio. The ceiling resistance level to break on GLD/SPY is 1.2065, or the high made in June 2010. Today GLD/SPY pierced through that level and hit a high of 1.215, but ultimately closed at 1.204. There could be some wild swings as August 2 approaches on Tuesday.

EUR/USD (Euro / US Dollar)
Courtesy of

GLD/SPY Ratio: Freedom = >1.21 (imo)
Courtesy of

For near and long-term GLD/SPY trend lines to watch, visit my previous post on 7/18/2011: Watching GLD/SPY Ratio, Down 16% From March 2009 S&P Low.

"Raise The Debt Ceiling" Rap Video By Remy

"Raise The Debt Ceiling" by Remy is probably the hardest finance rap song I've heard in a while (hat tip Zero Hedge).

S&P Cuts Greece To 'CC' On Likely "Selective Default"; Outlook Negative

March 25 - Greece Independence Day
Img embed source: Aster-oid on Flickr
Here's an update on Greece's soon to be "selective default" status. Read the full report at A login may be required. EUR/USD is currently down 1.03% at 1.43607 and the S&P fell over 2.03% today with no decision yet on the debt ceiling.

"LONDON (Standard & Poor's) July 27, 2011--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on the Hellenic Republic to 'CC' from 'CCC'. At the same time we affirmed the short-term rating at 'C'. The outlook is negative. Our recovery rating of '4' for Greece remains unchanged, indicating an estimated 30%-50% recovery of principal by bondholders, including on those bonds subject to a 20% reduction in net present value (NPV) as estimated under the Institute for International Finance (IIF) proposal.

Following review of the European Council's (EC's) July 21 statement, Standard & Poor's has concluded that the proposed restructuring of Greek government debt would amount to a selective default under our rating methodology. We view the proposed restructuring as a "distressed exchange" because, based on public statements by European policymakers, it is likely to result in losses for commercial creditors. Moreover, the objective of the debt exchange/rollover is to reduce the risk of a near-term debt payment default and to give the Greek government more time to undertake fiscal consolidation and policy reforms. Under our criteria, we characterize a distressed borrower as one that would--in the absence of debt relief--fail to pay its debt on time and in full."

Watch Wingsuit Proximity Flying, Avalanche Cliff Jumping Videos

Entertainment Break: Watch skiers jump off cliffs in the French Alps with an avalanche behind them (hat tip KS on Google+).

"Matthias Giraud and Stefan Laude capture some of the most incredible content seen by GoPro as they hit the Alps like true heroes skiing the French backcountry while escaping a large avalanche on their tails!" - (GoProCamera on Youtube)

After that watch wingsuit proximity flying by by Jokke Sommer and Jeb Corliss.

Iran's Dream For a Middle East Gas Pipeline (South Pars Gas Field) - Guest Post

Horizon of Persian Gulf in South Pars Area (Wikimedia/Alireza824)
Guest Post by John C.K Daly for

Iran's Dream for a Middle East Gas Pipeline

Nothing gets oilmen more excited than the idea of building pipelines from exotic, hard to reach places to seaports where the product of their endeavors can be shipped to lucrative foreign markets.

These reveries have been most pronounced with the opening since 1991 the riches of the Caspian Sea basin.

Previously divided between the USSR and Iran, now five nations rim its shore-Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and charter member of the axis of evil, Iran.

Of the quintet, all for the former Soviet Socialist republics have benefited from selling their wares to hungry Western investors.

This leaves Iran as the odd man out, which has been subjected to the US sanctions since the Islamic revolution of 1979 overthrew the Shah, placing the country in direct confrontation with Washington, a situation heightened by the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran.

While the mullahs of Iran have stridently maintained that the U.S.-led sanctions have had little effect on their economy, the reality is that they have been extremely notable in their impact on the country's energy industry, where a relative lack of investment has severely dampened the country's ability to increase output.

Iran is currently OPEC's third largest exporter, with an output of roughly 4.5 million barrels per day. Many analysts believe that Iran could easily double this output if US sanctions were lifted and foreign investment was allowed freely into the country's energy industry.

Mexico’s Pemex Now Third Largest Stock Holder in Repsol - Guest Post

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Guest Post by (related to "PEMEX and the long road to privatization")

Mexico’s Pemex Now Third Largest Stock Holder in Repsol

Mexico's Petroleos Mexicanos state oil monopoly, more familiarly known as Pemex, recently bought 825,150 shares in Spain’s Repsol YPF, S.A., increasing its stake in the Spanish company to 5 percent.

Repsol YPF, S.A. is an integrated Spanish oil and gas company operating in 29 countries.

The Mexican company announced, “Pemex, through its subsidiary P.M.I. Holding B.V. … bought 825,150 shares in Repsol YPF, seeking to consolidate its position in this company consistent with the tax advantages available on reaching a 5 percent position in Spanish companies,” Mercopress news agency reported.

The purchase makes Pemex the third largest stock holder of Repsol YPF behind Sacyr Vallehermoso, a leading Spanish construction company based in Madrid, which owns 20 percent of the company’s outstanding shares, followed by Spain’s Criteria Corp. with 12.9 percent.

Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company says crude production fell by about 1 percent in the first half of 2011, as compared to same period last year but insisted that its steady decline in oil output that began around 2005 "has begun to be reversed," stating that its daily output dropped to about 2.56 million barrels in the first six months of 2011, about 27,000 barrels lower than the same period of 2010.


By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor

Links: Treasury Futures, Downgrade Risk, Marc Faber, Andy Xie, Repo Market, Soros Closes Fund

img source: financeintelligencer
U.S. Faces Losing AAA Debt Rating, BlackRock, Loomis Sayles, Templeton Say (Bloomberg)

"BlackRock Inc., Franklin Templeton Investments, Loomis Sayles & Co., Pacific Investment Management Co. and Western Asset Management said the U.S. faces losing its top-level debt rating as officials struggle to raise the $14.3 trillion borrowing limit and reduce spending."

U.S. Downgrade May Cost $100B a Year: JPMorgan (Bloomberg)

"A U.S. credit-rating cut would likely raise the nation’s borrowing costs by increasing Treasury yields by 60 to 70 basis points over the “medium term,” JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Terry Belton said"

The $1 Billion Armageddon Trade Placed Against the United States (betting on downgrade of AAA (Jack Barnes at Money Morning)

"In one moment, an invisible trader placed a single trade that moved the most liquid debt market in the world. The massive trade wasn't placed in bonds themselves; it was placed in the futures market. The trade was for block trades of 5,370 10-year Treasury futures executed at 124-03 and 3,100 Treasury bond futures executed at 125-01. The value of the trade was about $850 million dollars." (betting on downgrade of AAA rating)

Marc Faber: The Debt Fight Is Meaningless, As Governments March Toward Hyperinflation (Business Insider / interview at King World News)

"Well when the reset comes it will be say a hundred dollar bill will be exchanged for a one dollar bill or something like this. Before we have the Great Reset, the government they will increase the war effort under whatever excuse that will be but I think that is the likely course of action..." (he also talks about gold)

Nomura: US Downgrade May Cause Repo Market Liquidity Freeze (Zero Hedge)

Andy Xie: US debt crisis may force China to consider faster diversification in asset allocation (Reuters Insider Video)

What Triggers a U.S. Treasury CDS "Credit Event" (Credit Default Swaps)

5Y US Treasury CDS (Bloomberg)
As you already know, the U.S. faces the risk of running out of cash to pay bills on August 3 if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling. As noted by Christian Post's math, there will be enough money in August to cover interest payments on the debt to prevent a default, but $21 billion will be left unpaid.

It gets more interesting. There are currently $4.8 billion (net) U.S. Treasury Credit Default Swaps outstanding that insure against a "credit event", or missed interest payments on Treasury bonds. If the U.S. Government decided not to pay interest on its debt next month, it would trigger the "credit event" and holders of Treasury CDS would be made whole by the sellers at par (Treasury bond). 5Y Treasury CDS is currently trading at 58 bps in euros and trending higher. It spiked to 99 bps in February 2009. I remember doing a post on Treasury CDS in September 2008 when S&P said "pressure is building on the pristine "AAA" rating of the United States after a federal bailout of American International Group Inc". There are $9.3 trillion Treasury bonds held by private investors, so the CDS number is tiny.

David Geen, General Counsel at the International Swaps & Derivatives Association (ISDA), explained what would trigger a "credit event" for Treasury CDS. Watch the Bloomberg interview after the jump ("ISDA Says Missed Payment Would Trigger U.S. Debt Swaps").

"There doesn't seem to be a lot of fear reflected in the pricing, as it hasn't been reflected in the Treasurys itself. If Treasurys are still trading at par or close to par that means that the CDS settlement, if there was a credit event and there was an auction, then the settlement would not be at large amounts and therefore protection holders are not going to receive large payouts if anything."

More on Treasury CDS and debt ceiling updates:
  • U.S. has 3 days grace before CDS triggered: ISDA (Reuters)
  • Step Aside UniCredit And Italy: The US Is Number One... In Monthly Spike Of Default Bets (Zero Hedge)
  • Betting $4.8 billion on a U.S. default (CNN Money)
  • S&P warns against prioritizing debt payments: report (Reuters)
  • Is default deadline truly Aug 2? Analysts say no (Reuters)
  • U.S. Downgrade May Cost $100B a Year: JPMorgan (Bloomberg)
  • U.S. likely to lose top rating: economists (Reuters)
  • Treasuries Decline as Obama Threatens to Veto House Speaker’s Debt Plan (Bloomberg)
  • Treasuries Fall, Gold Gains on U.S. Debt Rift (Bloomberg)

USD Falls After Obama and Boehner's Statements On Debt Ceiling (Videos)

EURUSD after Obama's addressfreestockcharts
Below are videos and transcripts (excerpts) of yesterday's news conferences and statements on the debt ceiling given by House Speaker John Boehner, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (videos/transcripts). After Obama addressed the nation on the debt ceiling, Euro/US Dollar spiked hard to 1.45181 and pierced through the upper bound of the monthly descending channel. We'll see if this technical action sticks. When (or if) a decision gets made on the debt ceiling, or judgment day (August 2) arrives without an agreement, or U.S. debt gets downgraded by Moody's or S&P, I'm sure price directions will be confirmed. Until then volatility should be interesting.

Video #1) House Speaker John Boehner's statement to the nation on the debt ceiling
Video #2) President Obama's statement to the nation on the debt ceiling
Video #3) House Speaker John Boehner's news conference on the "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan
Video #4) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's news conference and debt and deficit reduction plan

Debt Ceiling Debate Updates: Congress Has Until August 2 To Raise Debt Limit

Boehner, Obama and Reid (
This post will provide updates on the debt ceiling debate, mainly links to articles and press conference videos until the day of reckoning occurs. Congress has until August 2, 2011 to raise the debt limit or they run the risk of defaulting on their debt not paying important bills (*see comment below). Either way, the markets will probably use debt ceiling updates as catalysts. On July 21, S&P said there was a 50-50 chance that they'd downgrade U.S. Treasury debt. Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO also thinks it is a possibility.

"If an agreement is reached to raise the debt ceiling but nothing meaningful is done in terms of deficit reduction, the U.S. would likely have its rating cut to the AA category, S&P said." (Reuters)

"The U.S. government may lose its AAA credit rating even if lawmakers reach a plan to avoid a default, said Mohamed A. El-Erian, whose Pacific Investment Management Co. is the world’s largest manager of bond funds." (Bloomberg)

Monday July 25, 2011

*Harry Reid's plan vs. John Boehner's "Cut, Cap & Balance" plan (Bloomberg)

"Boehner’s two-step plan would raise the U.S. borrowing limit by up to $1 trillion, with larger spending cuts, and require a new vote on more reductions before an additional $1.6 trillion debt-limit increase next year. It could be voted on in the House within two days. Obama and Senate Democrats oppose a short-term extension, which could lead to another debt standoff next year. 

By contrast, Reid’s proposal would cut $2.7 trillion in spending and give Obama the full $2.4 trillion in additional borrowing authority he seeks, enough to get through the 2012 elections."

Speaker Boehner's response to Obama's address (, 7/25/2011)
President Obama's statement to the nation on the debt limit (, 7/25/2011)
House Speaker John Boehner's news conference (, 7/25/2011)
Senator Harry Reid's news conference (, 7/25/2011)
No endgame in sight as debt default looms (Reuters)

Daily Technical Analysis Report By MIG Bank (7/25/2011), EUR/USD, USDX Charts

Today's daily technical analysis report has been supplied by MIG Bank, the first forex broker in Switzerland to become a Swiss bank. Click here to read the full report on their website.

The report embedded below includes technical analysis on EUR/USD, the US Dollar Index, GBP/USD, USD/JPY, USD/CHF, USD/CAD, AUD/USD, GBP/JPY, EUR/JPY, EUR/GBP, EUR/CHF, Gold and Silver. I also embedded their special study on CHF/NOK.

EUR/USD, US Dollar Index (MIG Bank)
Daily Technical Report
25 July, 2011
EUR/USD: Extended rebound stalls into key resistance 1.4400-1.4419.
  • EUR/USD’s extended rebound (from its bullish reversal pattern near the200-day MA), has stalled into key resistance zone between 1.4400-1.4419(76.4/78.6% Fib level).
  • Our outlook remains neutral/bearish, while price holds beneath key resistance at 1.4578. Failure into these levels will keep bearish risks on for a resumption of the downside pattern breakout, offering an accelerated impulsive (wave 3) into 1.3750/1.3659 (2 yr uptrend/61.8% Fib-Jan 2011 rise), thereafter squeezing further conservative trend-followers into our initial objective at 1.3370.
  • Only a sustained close above 1.4578 will lead to a reassessment of our long standing bearish view, opening a potential extended recovery into previous key resistance at 1.4711/30.
  • Inversely, the US dollar index is now holding steady around key support at73.50. We expect this level to hold (as the last point of defence), where a potential oversold bounce could develop."

Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) Pierced Resistance On Friday, Future Below It Monday Morning (NQU11)

If we're going to see one more "risk rally" in the months ahead, there needs to be a market leader. On Friday I saw that $QQQ, or the Nasdaq 100 Index ETF, pierced through May and early July ceiling resistance (59.32). But, tonight, with the ongoing debt ceiling feud, the E-mini Nasdaq September 2011 Future lost 0.85% and moved back below that key resistance level (2,422). It is now down 0.66%. In my opinion, the Nasdaq 100 looks the best on a technical basis when compared to the Dow, S&P, Transports and Russell 2000. So we'll see if it can lead the market here, or confirm a top.

PowerShares QQQ (Nasdaq 100 ETF) - Courtesy of OptionsXpress

E-mini Nasdaq September 2011 Future (Courtesy of OptionsXpress)