A week ago, when showing the following chart of Chinese housing trends, we reported that the "burst Chinese housing bubble leads to first annual price decline since 2012", and warned that it is only a matter of time before both China's GDP, extensively reliant on housing construction, as well as Chinese bank assets, vastly consisting of housing-related loans and other fixed income exposure, take a major hit. This happened yesterday, when in an exchange filing China's Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the largest lender by assets in both China and the entire world, reported its biggest jump in bad loans since at least 2006. Specifically, ICBC’s nonperforming loans rose to 115.5 billion yuan in September from 105.7 billion yuan in June. The increase was the biggest since quarterly data became available.
Day after day after day this 'market' is manipulated and managed by headlines that memory-less machines read and act upon. Today - yet again - at 210am Japan time, Nikkei news decides it is time to print these headlines:
*JAPAN GPIF TO CUT JAPAN DEBT ALLOCATION TO 35%, RAISE DOMESTIC STOCK ALLOCATION TO 25%: NIKKEI
And sure enough JPY explodes instantly in an attempt to spark momentum. This is not news (it's a constant headline every day since October 19th) as Abe sacrifices his economy and his people's economic future for an uptick in stocks. S&P e-minis just posted the record for most contracts traded in a second!!!
If one had to pick a carbon copy replica of yesterday's 5 Year tailing auction, today's 7 Year probably ranks toward the top. Just like yesterday, the auction priced with a tail to the 2.009% WI, coming in 0.9 bps wider at 2.018%. Just like yesterday, the high yield was a steep drop from the September auction, sliding from 2.24 to just over 2%, and just like yesterday the Bid to Cover slid alongside the yield, with the 2.415 BTC printing at the lowest level since November 2013. Finally, and just like yesterday, the internals demonstrated the same trend with Directs taking down 15.42%, less than the 23.11% TTM average, Indirects ended up with 46.6% or more than the recent average, and dealers left holding 38.0%: right on top of where it has been in the past year. In fact, the only difference from yesterday is that there is no FOMC announcement in less than an hour.
There are three things that are certain: death, taxes and M&A "synergies." And while the recent debt and record stock price-funded M&A bubble has been a present from god, or rather the Fed, to the activist shareholders and owners of target stocks (and acquirors, because in the New Normal M&A announcements somehow boost the price of both), it has been a scourge for everyone else: namely the employees of companies that undergo M&A as the first and foremost place where EPS "synergies" are extracted is by eliminating duplicative headcount, read mass layoffs. This is precisely what workers at Canada's Tim Hortons are about to find out first hand, because as Financial Post reports, citing a study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, "widespread layoffs and strict cost cutting measures could befall Tim Hortons if Burger King’s parent company takes over the chain." Small correction replace "could" with "definitely will" and the sentence will be spot on.
Tim Cook's decision to openly discuss his sexual orientation is dominating the news cycle with many hoping it can be a watershed moment in the acceptance of openly gay people in the workforce. While it appears nothing but a positive in the United States, there are still stunningly many nations around the world (including Iran, where Apple is trying to sell to now) where Tim Cook's admission is considered "morally unacceptable" by the great majority. Will his Op-Ed affect sales?
We're being hit with a double-whammy: Wages are under deflationary pressure, and almost everything else is exposed to inflationary pressure. No wonder we feel poorer: most of are poorer.
It appears the machines forgot the shift in DST across the pond and started their European close flush a little early. Someone/something decided it was an opportune time to dump thousands of contracts of gold and silver futures this morning - clearly ignoring Alan Greenspan's advice. Gold ETF holdings are now back at levels first seen in April 2009. Gold's break below $1,200 likely brought some momentum chasers but Silver is in freefall, down over 5% and back to Feb 2010 lows. WTI Crude also broke below the crucial $81 level...
And then there is BusinessWeek, which quite to the contrary, is urging its readers in its cover story, ignore common sense, and do more of the same that has led the world to dead economic end it finds itself in currently. In fact, it is, in the words of NYT's Binyamin Appelbaum, calling the world governments to become the slaves of a defunct economist. And spend, spend, spend, preferably on credit. Because, supposedly, this time the resulting crash from yet another debt-funded binge will be... different?
No negative rates for the putative Bancor... Keynes must surely be rotating in his grave. It turns out the IMF is not going to lend SDRs for less than nothing, thus breaking ranks with some well-known central banks out there. Instead, the IMF has decided to set a floor for its SDR interest rate to maintain its role as a profit center…it will be at what is nowadays a downright usurious height of 0.05%.
First it was Libor, then gold, then dark pools, now for those who want a glimpse into just how for years bank FX traders, whether belonging to "The Cartel" or "The Bandits Club" or otherwise, colluded on trades around the daily fix, breached fiduciary duty, and generally engaged in illegal rigging of the world's largest market by volume, Bloomberg News had received a transcript of the instant-messages by various FX traders currently being investgated for FX rigging. Here are some excerpts.
Having made new record lows for 7 days in a row, various technical triggers, short squeezes, and rumors of Central Bank intervention prompted the Russian Ruble to rally over 5% - the biggest swing since 1998 as chatter of a very aggressive (greater than 50bp) rate-hike at tomorrow's meeting.