UPDATE: BIST-100 Closes -10.47% - Biggest drop since March 2003
Until mid-last week, the Turkish equity market was up 90% from the start of 2012 and up 19.5% in 2013. Of course, why not. Global easy money and a nation in the middle of economic and geopolitical hotspots - buy it with both hands and feet. However, it appears reality is starting to sink in. Last week's (and ongoing) social unrest is beginning to take the shine off the hot-money flows. The broad Turkish stock market is now down 17% from its highs last week (very reminiscent of Japan) having given up in 3 days the gains from the first five months of the year. Turkish bond yields also spiked (moar hot-money outflows from 'reaching for yield') by their most on record (71bps) to 6.78%.
So much for the Chicago PMI 8 Sigma renaissance. Moments ago the Manufacturing ISM came out and confirmed that all those "other" diffusion indices were correct, except for the "data" out of Chicago (yes, shocking). Printing at a contractionary 49.0, this was a drop from 50.7, well below expectations of 51.0 (and far below the cartoonish Joe Lavorgna's revised 53.0 forecast). More importantly, this was the worst ISM headline print since June 2009, the first sub-50 print since November 2012, while the New Orders of 48.8, was the worst since July 2012. Both Production and Backlogs tumbled by -4.9 and -5.0 to 48.6, and 48.0 respectively. In brief, of the 11 series tracked by the ISM, only 3 posted a reading over 50 in May. This compares to just 2 out of 11 that were below 50 in April. Oh well, so much for this recovery. But the good news for the market is that today is really bad news is really good news day, and stocks have soared as according to the vacuum tubes, the result means no taper. The farce must go on.
While "risk-on, risk-off" has been an oft-repeated mantra in this period of extreme monetary policy machinations, it would appear the most relevant factor in the last six months is in fact "Abenomics-on" as a concerted plan to devalue the JPY has provided ammunition for carry traders to rampage through every dismal risk asset in the world. After collapsing through the Maginot Line of 100 on May 9th, JPY has rallied back and spent the last two weeks fighting over 101. It appears, given today's shift back under 100 that, for now, Abe is going to need a bigger boat. It seems, as with the Fed's balance sheets, that it's not about the 'stock' of USDJPY (level) but the 'flow' (depreciation rate) if risk assets are to continue their march ever higher in the face of a not-so-bullish reality. As one would expect, NKY futures and US (and European) equities are fading fast along with this 'driver'.
By my count we are now in our fourth “Recovery Summer.” The recession was officially (and mistakenly) declared over in June 09. Yet, no data series in economics not influenced drastically by liquidity and a zero interest rate policy (e.g., stock prices and home prices) supports the claim. Recovery advocates point to the stock market as a barometer of how well the economy is doing. A key takeaway is that the stock market misled people during the 1930s and may be doing the same thing today. Those who want to argue against this position will declare the 1930s an unfair comparison because it was a Great Depression. Just what makes them think what we are in today is not the same thing, although not yet as far advanced. Given the trillions of dollars wasted to hide the true condition of the economy, that is not an unreasonable possibility. This liquidity hides the true nature of the economy (also falsely drives up financial asset prices) and creates even bigger distortions in the real economy.
While we are told day-after-day just how 'fixed' Europe is; just how 'past the crisis' they are; and just how close to banking union; the reality is the nations of Europe are as disparate as they have ever been. We discussed the dismal unemployment picture last week, but one glance at the chart below will highlight the growing divergence between the haves and have-nots in Europe. As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, unemployment rates are diverging at record levels in the euro area.
In almost every asset class, volatility has made a phoenix-like return in the last few days/weeks and while equity markets tumbled Friday into month-end, the bigger context is still up, up, and away (and down and down for bonds). From disinflationary signals to emerging market outflows and from fixed income market developments to margin, leverage, and valuations, here is the 'you are here' map for the month ahead.
From Rosie: "The next major theme is stagflation — this will be the legacy of the Bernanke regime. You cannot keep real short-term rates negative for this long in the face of even modestly positive real economic growth without generating financial excesses today and inflationary pressures in the future. Imagine dusting off the Phillips Curve and getting away with it — it's as if the Fed has changed religions as it now believes there is some trade-off between inflation and unemployment The last time we had negative real policy rates for this long with a central bank wedded to the Phillips Curve was under the Burns-led Fed of the early 1970s. As I have said recently — I am undergoing my own epiphany. I am renowned for being very early — to a fault — in my calls and no doubt am early yet again."
Don't look now but Lonmin shares are pulling a "summer of 2012", following news from the South African police that two people have been shot at a Lonmin mine, one of whom has died. Expect the now usual kneejerk fireworks to hit the price of platinum as the supply of the precious/industrial metal is once more put in jeopardy. Also, look for more weakness in the ZAR, as the South African economy, already weakened by last year's interminable "wage negotiations", will hardly be able to weather a second year of constant worker strikes following a year in which all of the purported negotiated pay hikes have shown to be transitory.
- BIS lays out "simple" plan for how to handle bank failures (Reuters) - Are we still holding our breath on Basel III?
- Deficit Deal Even Less Likely - Improving U.S. Fiscal Health Eases Pressure for a 'Grand Bargain' Amid Gridlock (WSJ)
- IRS Faulted on Conference Spending (WSJ)
- Deadly MERS-CoV virus spreads to Italy (CNN)
- Turkish PM Erdogan calls for calm after days of protests (Reuters)
- Financial system ‘waiting for next crisis’ (FT)
- Russia to send nuclear submarines to southern seas (Reuters)
- China Nuclear Stockpile Grows as India Matches Pakistan Rise (BBG)
Nothing like a solid dose of schizophrenia to start the week, following Chinese PMI news which showed that once again the Chinese economy was both contracting and expanding at the same time. Sure, one can justify it by saying HSBC looks at smaller companies while the official data tracks larger SMEs but the reality is that just like in the US, so China has learned when all else fails, baffle with BS is the best strategy. As a result the media is attributing he drop in European stocks to the weaker than expected China PMI, while the green prints in US futures are due to... stronger than expected China PMI. There were no split-personalities in Japan, however, where Mrs. Watanable's revulsion with recent euphoria led the Nikkei to tumble over 500 points, to closed down another 3.72%, and is now on the verge from a 20% bear market from its May 23 multi-year highs. The fact that the USDJPY reached within 3 pips of the Abenomics "fail" zone of USDJPY 100 didn't help overnight sentiment.
Last week, the state of California claimed that its version of Obamacare’s health insurance exchange would actually reduce premiums. But, as Forbes reports, the data that the executive director of California's 'exchange' released tells a different story: Obamacare, in fact, will increase individual-market premiums in California by as much as 146 percent. The exuberance that Peter Lee exclaimed over the 'savings' is a misleading comparison. He was comparing apples - the plans that Californians buy today for themselves in a robust individual market-and oranges - the highly regulated plans that small employers purchase for their workers as a group. If you're a 25 year old male non-smoker, buying insurance for yourself, the cheapest plan on Obamacare’s exchanges is the catastrophic plan, which costs an average of $184 a month; but in 2013, on eHealthInsurance.com, Forbes explains, the median cost of the five cheapest plans was only $92. In other words, for the typical 25-year-old male non-smoking Californian, Obamacare will drive premiums up by between 100 and 123 percent. The desperate spin of the PR disaster is incredible as talk of a 'rate shock' is now very prescient, "these extraordinary increases are up to 15 times faster than inflation and threaten to make health care unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of Californians."
The Flash PMI had already 'warned' of a contractionary print but the final May HSBC Manufacturing PMI is now the lowest in a year at 49.2. The last two months have seen this measure of the Chinese economy plunge at its fastest rate since March 2011. Of course the 'official' data still remains a handsome 50.8 (not contracting at all) but the underlying data of the HSBC/Markit index is just as awful with little in the silver-lining camp to save the day (or night). Employment dropped, new export orders and total orders fell, purchasing activity fell, with only a meager rise in output saving the index from a more precipitous decline. Output prices also plunged (but input prices dropped on the back of cheaper raw materials - particularly base metals) and inventories rose (in a lack of demand manner as opposed to 'if we build it' perspective according to HSBC). So, once again, just as in Q1 2012 (before the reality swoon) China is both expanding and contracting...