August 16th, 2013
If there is one day when the pent up tensions on both sides resulting from the Egyptian coup over a month ago may boil over and lead to an all out civil war (still unclear how John Kerry would "define" that one) today may be that day, as Cairo is braced for what may be the most violent confrontations yet with supporters of the deposed president Mursi calling for “day of rage” protests after Friday prayers, and the Egyptian polic (now using live ammo) and army set to crush any such "illegal" protests. Since millions are set to hit the streets, there is no way this will have a peaceful outcome.
Think the market is liquid? Think again, especially if you are one of the unlucky ones who bought into the SAC get rich quick dream and now just want to get your money out of the world's most notorious hedge fund. According to Bloomberg, the CT firm that has been branded by the government as a "veritable magnet for market cheaters," has "refused clients’ requests that the firm speed up payouts on the billions of dollars earmarked for withdrawals, according to three people familiar with the discussions."
Harping on about rhapsodious aspirations and opportunity knocks at the door of the youthful unemployed of Europe.
- Critics Decry Risks Posed by Link Between China's Banks and Bonds (WSJ)
- U.S. retailers say uneven recovery keeps consumers cautious (Reuters) - er, what recovery?
- Easy Credit Dries Up, Choking Growth in China (NYT)
- Fed's Bullard Floats Idea of Small Cuts to Bond Buying (WSJ)
- EU wants one definition of bad loans for bank tests (Reuters) - because in Europe they can't even agree what an NPL is...
- Nagasaki Bomb Maker Offers Lessons for Fukushima Cleanup (BBG)
- With Gmail Overhaul, Not All Mail Is Equal (WSJ)
- Snowden downloaded NSA secrets while working for Dell, sources say (Reuters)
- Apollo co-founder buys into New Jersey Devils (FT)
- Republicans to vote on debate boycott because of Clinton programs (Reuters)
- J.C. Penney Heads for Ninth Quarter of Plunging Sales (BBG)
As it turns out, just as we had suspected, the 6% move in the Chinese A-shares index, was nothing more than a CNY7 billion (just over $1 billion) fat finger in the "arbitrage system" of Everbright securities. And just what system is that - if the market is about to sell off do a smash-the-open to kill all downward momentum, and as for the losses from the trade, well there is a PBOC to foot the costs? Also, if all it takes to move a multi-trillion stock market is just a $1 billion "fat finger", imagine what $85 billion per month would do...
Starting with the Asian markets this morning, it appear the roller coaster ride for markets continued overnight. Asian equities started the day trading weaker but shortly after the open though, all of Asia bounced off the lows following the previously noted surge in Chinese A-shares soaring more than 5% in a matter of minutes in what was initially described as a potential “fat finger” incident. As DB notes, alternative explanations ranged from a potential restructuring of the government’s holdings in some listed companies, to market buying ahead of a rate cut this coming weekend. All indications point toward a fat finger. The A-share spike has managed to drag other indices along with it though some gains have been pared. Yet for all the drama the Shanghai Composite soared... and then closed red. The region’s underperformer is the Nikkei (-0.75%). Elsewhere, the NZDUSD dropped 0.5% after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the city of Wellington this morning. Looking at the US S&P500 futures are trading modestly higher at 1660. Looking ahead to today there is very little in the way of Tier 1 data to be expected. Housing starts/permits from the US and the preliminary UofM Consumer Sentiment reading for August are the main reports. The moves in rates and perhaps oil will probably offer some markets some directional cues.
One solution to Leviathan on the loose!
Update: The entire spike has been fully retraced by the close of China
In the new normal where broad-based equity indices that represent the corporate health of entire nations in one bit-sized propaganda-plagued number, the fact that China's Shanghai Composite spiked instantaneously by 6.2% this evening will come as no surprise...Some large stocks (PetroChina and AgBank jumped as much as 10% before plunging back instantly to reality). While the Exchange is "investigating" the spike, their PR is currently saying that it is "operating normally" - 'new normally' we presume. Between today's gold and silver spikes, FX market volatility, and now Chinese stocks gapping wildly, it would appear something is afoot in the leveraged world of carry-trades (and instant illiquidity).
Recently, Fox News interviewed a self-described beach bum named Jason Greenslate who was very open about the fact that he has no problem sponging off of all the rest of us. When he was asked if he ever had any interest in actually getting a job, his response was "not whatsoever". Instead, he says that his job is to "make sure the sun's up and the girls are out" and he would rather spend his days partying. Of course every American should be free to live their own lives as they see fit, but the problem is that Jason Greenslate is using food stamps to help support his lifestyle. Of course the vast majority of those enrolled in the food stamp program are not like this. But there are also those such as Jason Greenslate that are openly abusing the system and making it more difficult for those that actually need the help to get it. Sadly, he is a product of the system that he was raised in.
Most readers have probably heard of the Silk Road. No, not the historical trade routes that linked Europe to Asia, but rather the online illegal drug marketplace accessible only via anonymity browsing software Tor, and where the only currency accepted is Bitcoin. Those of you who have heard about it, probably know far less about the man that runs it. A character who only goes by the name Dread Pirate Roberts. Irrespective of what you think of the Silk Road specifically, there is no doubt it has led the way in figuring out a way to retain a certain level of anonymity and privacy within the surveillance state due to the nature of its business. We can all learn from, and hopefully improve on their tactics, as we transition from extreme centralization to a more decentralized and freer world.
How is the Federal Reserve going to stem the deflationary tide with equity markets at their highs?
Mike Maloney warns that "The world will have a new monetary system in this decade... people will simply lose confidence in currency, and what do they always go back to through out history? Time after time, for the last 5000 years, they always go back to gold and silver." This excellent documentary - which focuses on the inevitability of the seven stages of empire - and the endgame of the most predictable long-term economic cycle, connects the dots across 140 years of monetary history.
Obviously, there are numerous reasons why (no matter what the economic situation is) the Fed will need to Taper (deficits, technical fragilities, and sentiment). Furthermore, it seems the world is more than happy to give the central bankers the benefit of the doubt that not only is Tapering not tightening but that Tapering is a 'positive' as it means all is rosy in the world (despite our earlier point of the 'difficulty' that any actual unwind poses). However, there is one big reason (highlighted further this morning in the TIC data) why the Fed's Taper matters... they are (simply put) the only one buying...