According to WSJ, the ECB last week rushed out emergency support for the euro-zone banking system, laying out an unprecedented €489 billion at its first-ever three-year lending operation.
The amount of money parked by euro-zone banks in the ECB’s 0.25% deposit facility surged to another new record of €452.03 billion Tuesday (Dec.27) , up from €411.81 billion over the Christmas break and well above the previous record high of €384 billion. News that euro-zone banks are parking more and more cash at the ECB’s low-yielding, but safe, deposit facilities adds to evidence that banks are more concerned with seeing out the year in safety than with putting it to work in the real economy or the euro-zone debt markets.
Watch this interview of Bob Mundell – he thinks this is the game changer, a blockbuster event.
Dennis Gartman seriously doubted it. In his recent investment newsletter, Gartman describes how Europe has arrived at its own “Lehman moment.”
The problem in Europe is that we’ve arrived at Europe’s own “Lehman-moment” when banks and institutions are wholly unwilling to lend money to anyone, anywhere. They are willing to draw down their lines of credit from the ECB, but they are re-depositing those borrowings back to the ECB itself. Initially we thought this reasonable. Initially we thought that the banks drew down their lines from the Central Bank and re-deposited them with the Bank awaiting investment elsewhere. We thought this normal. Now, however, we consider it disconcerting for it shows the utter sense of confusion and the even more utter sense of fear that has engulfed the banking system in Europe. Rather than viewing these new credit lines from the ECB as a source of funding for investment, the banks in Europe are viewing those ECB-created funds as a source of “fear capital” to be used should worst-come to-worse on the continent. Fear rather than optimism is driving the banking system.
We fear then that worse is about to happen, for the very core of things banking and economic depend upon trust and trust is now wholly lacking in Europe.
2011 will go down in history as one of the most volatile years for the stock market: The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung 100-plus-points from open to close more than 100 times.
Market timing became extremely difficult, especially after July. The best strategy should be just staying put, holding cash. You do better by doing nothing.
This chart gives you a nice illustration of what we have been through:
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