Despite Collapsing Economy, Japanese PMI Surges To 5-Month High; China PMI Tumbles, Misses By Most On RecordSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/20/2014 - 21:57
Following New Zealand's biggest monthly plunge in consumer confidence in over 2 years, Japan's Manufacturing PMI surged to its highest since March at 52.5 (handily beating expectations of 51.5). Almost the entire suite of subindices were positive except JPY weakness-inspired margin compression as output prices tumbled and input prices surged. All of this in the face of collapsing and disappointing hard data. Meanwhile, China Manufacturing PMI plunged to 51.5, missing by the most on record, as China's apparent 'hard' data shows improvement. Perhaps it is time to recalibrate the seasonal magic in these PMIs...
Three more banks have been permitted to import gold to China, as IBTimes notes, the country redoubles its efforts to attain pricing power of the commodity. The move, which brings the number of firms allowed to import gold into China to 15, comes ahead of the SGE launching its Yuan settled bullion exchange, in hopes of replacing the now discredited London Fix and become a price-discovery center. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and China Merchants Bank were joined by Standard Chartered - only the 3rd foreign bank to be allowed to import gold into China as the nation continues to increase the pace of liberalisation of the gold market following the approval last year of the country's first gold-backed WTFs.
As we noted previously, just days after the fatal shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, a 2nd officer-involved shooting ended in death for the suspect just miles from Ferguson. St.Louis Police Department - in the interests of transparency - have released video of both the alleged shoplifting and the so-called 'suicide-by-cop' shooting itself of 25-year-old Kajieme Powell.."Powell approached the officers when they arrived, yelling at them to shoot him already. When he ignored commands to drop the knife, the two officers fired a total of 12 shots."
More Americans than ever before are tapping government benefits. As WSJ reports, nearly half of Americans, 49.5%, lived in a household where at least one person was receiving some type of government benefit. Over the last few years, the number has mostly risen from more people turning to programs designed to help the poor, such as food stamps, Medicaid (the health-insurance program for the poor and disabled) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, commonly known as welfare. Welcome to Cloward-Piven's socialist America... or as some might say "Mission Accomplished."
King County, Texas has seen the biggest shift in political preferences of all US counties since 1960 according to WaPo; but as io9's Mark Strauss notes reveal that during the last two decades, this is not unusual - an increasing number of Americans have chosen to veer Right or Left in their political orientation - with almost no center ground. That trend becomes especially apparent when looking at U.S. election results, county-by-county, since 1960.
The consensus expectation is overwhelming that Fed Chair Yellen will deliver a dovish message at Jackson Hole. Macro investors have largely eliminated their short Treasury position and look to be long risk, particularly via equities and EM. FX positioning is long USD and long EM, the long USD largely because the euro zone economy is slipping again and the ECB is hinting at further ease. Our question is whether Yellen can be more dovish than what is now priced in, not whether she will be dovish on the Richter scale of dovishness. Full dovish, semi-dovish, or contingent dovish.
If there was one thing the Obama administration did not need as it is careening from one international crisis to another, was compounding comparisons to the Carter administration and its botched attempt to rescue US hostages in 1980 Iran also known as Operation Eagle Claw. Well, as of moments ago, that comparison is now in play following what the Pentagon just revealed was a botched attempt to recue a number of American hostages held by ISIS, "early this summer." The reason why the mission failed: "tho hostages were not there." Why? "We don’t know. And that’s the truth. When we got there, they weren’t there. We don’t know why that is." At least we tried to rescue some folks.
As Smedley Butler famously wrote "War is a racket," and despite those words being said 80 years ago, the last few weeks of violence in Ferguson have shown him correct as at least two firms have benefitted greatly. As Truthout reports, the majority of the munitions being used by police against protesters are made by Combined Systems or by the Defense Technology brand of the Safariland Group. The following map explores the owners and executives of these companies...
There is much hope pinned on continuing economic recovery in the United States despite a deterioration of the global economy virtually everywhere else. While it was not surprising to see a bounce back in activity after a contractionary first quarter, there are several economic data points that suggest that sustainability of the bounce is unlikely. Expectations are very likely well ahead of reality at the current time. This increases the risk of disappointment in the months and quarters ahead which could be a negative for the markets.
With the impasse over the latest Argentina default going nowhere fast, late last night president Kirchner stunned its creditors when she announced what amounts to a cramdown plan for holdouts, in which all bonds would be stripped of their existing indentures and converted to local law bonds. Or, as some would call it, a "scorched earth" transaction that burns all bridges, and goodwill, with the international creditor community and likely leaves Argentina unable to access global capital markets for the foreseeable future.
Sometimes we are convinced it was completely by design, and not a weird little coincidence, that one of Germany’s most sprawling red light districts is just steps away from the European Central Bank. This fact becomes comically obvious right around happy hour... as self-congratulatory ECB economists and their bureaucratic bank underlings crowd the bars and cafes after work which are simultaneously frequented by pimps, thugs, and other assorted low-lifes. One would be forgiven for legitimately asking the question: which of these professions has done more damage to humanity? My [fiat] money’s on the bankers.
The last 2 days have seen the USD index rise at its fastest pace in almost 4 months, closing in on 1-year highs. Led by JPY and EUR weakness, the USD is up over 1% this week (which is set for the best week in 9 months). While stocks shrugged off the hawkish minutes initial kneejerk lower and surged towards new record highs, credit markets were not as exuberant about the great suck out of liquidity (and how they'll manage to roll the wall of debt forthcoming). VIX was slammed back to one-month lows (even as the Fed admitted greater uncertainty) slamming stocks higher. Treasury yields rose notably (with the short-end underperforming) as 2Y-5Y up 5-6bps, 10-30Y up 1-3bps. Gold and silver drifted modestly lower and oil jerked higher. Copper was up from earlier on China restocking rumors. Into the close, stocks faded quickly - rather disappointingly ruining mainstream media's "new record high" headlines. Janet, save us....
The July FOMC minutes generally had a slightly hawkish tone, warns Goldman's Jan Hatzius, emphasizing that labor market slack had improved faster than expected and that the labor market was now closer to what might be considered normal in the longer run. Overall, these remarks suggest that the change in the labor market language found in the July FOMC statement - shifting focus to broader labor market indicators rather than the unemployment rate specifically - was not intended to be a dovish change, as some commentators thought at the time. Finally, some participants noted some evidence of stretched valuations in specific markets.