The question we appear to be getting answered this week is, as Grant's Interest Rate Observer's Jim Grant so poetically explains, "how much of this paper moon market is real, and how much is governmental whipped cream?" In this brief but, as usual, perfectly to the point interview with Reason.com's Matt Welch, Grant asks (and answers), "are prices meant to be imposed from on high, or discovered by individuals acting spontaneously in markets?" noting that, while many readers here may know the answer, "they’re regrettably in the minority." The always entertaining Grant then goes on to discuss the underlying causes of the recent market turbulence, why we don’t really "have interest rates anymore."
The idea of a change towards a domestic consumption-driven economy is being revealed as a woeful disaster. You can’t magically turn into a consumer-based economy by blowing bubbles first in property and then in stocks, and hope people’s profits in both will make them spend. Because the whole endeavor was based from the get-go on huge increases in debt, the just as predictable outcome is, and will be even much more, that people count their losses and spend much less in the local economy. While those with remaining spending power purchase property in the US, Britain, Australia. And go live there too, where they feel safe(r). I fear for the Chinese citizen. Not so much for Xi and Li. They will get what they deserve.
In the past week, ever since the Fed's FOMC minutes which sent the S&P tumbling from 2100 to their lows in the overnight session, some 13% lower, the US economy underwent the functional equivalent of a 15 bps rate hike, or more than half the rate hike that the Fed has been so terrified to engage in for years.
One might argue that the success of 15-year-old Brady Olsen - aka Deez Nuts - from Wallingford, Iowa, embodies more than simply a successful lampooning of the American political system. There are legitimate reasons to view this development as the opening salvo in an upheaval of the way Americans elect presidents. Does this sound hyperbolic? Let me take it a step further: Deez Nuts is actually critically important for the future of the country... and here’s why...
With China's equity bubble now squarely in the rearview and the stock market crash making headlines the world over, Beijing is out for blood in a desperate attempt to find a scapegoat for a market rout that has rattled the country to the core. In what is perhaps a worrying sign of things to come, overnight China arrested a journalist and a top investment banker for "spreading fake trading information" and "illegal trading", respectively.
From both and fundamental and technical viewpoint, there is mounting evidence that the current decline might just be sending a signal that there is more going on here than just an "overdue correction in a bull market." While it is too soon to know for sure, there seems to be little risk in being more conservative within portfolio allocations currently until the market environment clears. However, the proverbial "elephant" is margin debt.
As the ashes of the China's scorched equity markets lay smoldering at the feet of the plunge protection national team which finally gave up on rescuing the market after CNY900 billion proved inadequate to arrest the slide, and on the heels of the PBoC’s latest effort to staunch the bleeding by resorting to yet more policy rate cuts, we bring you the full, annotated SHCOMP market and policy timeline courtesy of Bloomberg.
Gross: China selling long Treasuries ????
— Janus Capital (@JanusCapital) August 26, 2015
During Monday's flurry of tripped circuit breakers and flash crashing mayhem, ETF investors learned the hard way that Howard Marks was precisely correct when he warned that ETFs "can't be more liquid than the underlying and we know the underlying can become highly illiquid." The question now, is whether subsequent flash crashes will trigger even more spectacular divergences between fair value and ETF unit prices on the way to proving, once and for all, that ETFs may indeed be the new financial weapons of mass destruction.
Courtesy of Evercore ISI, which using its own GDP equivalent index - the Synthetic Growth Index (SGI) - we get a vastly different China GDP result from the official one, namely Chinese growth of -1.1% annually. Or rather, contraction.
In spite of all the attention the nation has received in recent years, SCMP reports that thousands of so-called "politically exposed persons”, or PEPs - a category that includes heads of state and other top officials - hold Swiss bank accounts, a Swiss foreign ministry official said. But, perhaps not for much longer as Bern aims to finalize a law aimed at simplifying the process of freezing and unblocking such funds.
... or why the number 119.00 is the most important in the world right now...