"Mutually assured destruction" now best describes the uneasy stand-off between an increasingly indebted US government and an increasingly monetarily frustrated China. So here's a quiz: 1) Which country is the world’s largest sovereign miner of gold? 2. Which country doesn’t allow an ounce of that gold to be exported? 3. Which country has advised its citizenry to purchase gold? Three questions. One answer. In each case: China. Is it plausible that, at some point yet to be determined, a (largely gold-backed) renminbi will either dethrone the US dollar or co-exist alongside it in a new global currency regime?
Perhaps the most notable feature of the October Treasury International Capital report is that in October foreigners sold a whopping $27.2 billion in US equities, surpassing the dump just after the first Taper Tantrum, when they sold $27.1 billion in June of 2013 when they also sold $40.8 billion in Treasurys. This was the largest selling of US corporate stocks by foreign entities since the August 2007 quant flash crash, when some $40.6 billion in US stocks were sold by offshore accounts. However, what this month's TIC data will surely be best remember for, is that both China and Russia dumped US Treasurys in October, some $14 billion and $10 billion, respecitvely, in the process sending China's total Treasury holdings to just $1,253 billion, the lowest since February 2013 and just $30 billion more than the TSYs held by America's second largest (offshore) creditor, Japan.
The shale oil “miracle” was an epochal stunt. Thanks to ZIRP, what every pom-pom carrying cheerleader failed to note was how much of the day-to-day shale operation was being run on junk bond financing. ZIRP destroyed the most fundamental index in the financial universe: the true cost of borrowing money. Finance was the lifeblood of the global economy and scam after scam left it riddled with wormholes of fragility. That fragility has been waiting to express itself and the ability of bank wizards to squelch and conceal it may have come to an end. There will be no quick cure for cratering oil prices and the damage it will wreak among the shale drillers.
One of the very strange non-sequiturs in today's Syndey hostage siege, now approaching its 15th hour, is that the gunman who prepared for a long standoff with authorities somehow forgot to pack the ISIS flag and as reported earlier, has been said to demand it from the outside world. Strange to say the least. But the bigger question remains: who is he? Now, courtesy of a report in Australia's The Age we know. The man who continues to hold more than a dozen people hostage, placing Sydney's CBD into lockdown is no stranger to the NSW police or the judiciary. Self-described cleric, Man Haron Monis, 50, first came to attention of police when he penned poisonous letters to the family of dead Australian soldiers seven years ago. Last year he was charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife and mother of two.
The Russian Ruble has collapsed this morning. Despite a modest dead-cat-bounce-like rally in crude oil, the Ruble is down almost 3 handles smashing through the 61/USD level for the first time ever. Minutes after flash-crashing to 61.46/USD, officials, according to Reuters, halted trading in certain instruments to “prevent possible manipulation of equity futures market." Russia's 5Y CDS has broken above 500bps for the first time since 2009 (+21bps today), the RTS stock market is down over 6%, and 5Y bond yields are pushing towards 13%. It seems Putin is increasingly being put under pressure to do something...
- Sydney Siege Sparks Muslim Call for Calm Amid Backlash Fear (BBG)
- Oil Spilling Over Into Central Bank Policy as Fed Enters Fray (BBG)
- Biggest LBO of 2014: BC Partners to acquire PetSmart for $8.7 billion (Reuters)
- Tremble algos: the SEC has hired... "QUANTS" (WSJ)
- When the bubble just isn't bubbly enough: There’s $1.7 Trillion Locked Out of China’s Stock Rally (BBG)
- Oil price slide roils emerging markets, yen rises (Reuters) - may want to hit F5 on that
- Libya Imposes Force Majeure on 2 Oil Ports After Clashes (BBG) ... and will resume production in days
- Amid Crisis, Pimco Steadies Itself (WSJ)
"... America has followed the Soviet Union down the path of re-engineering its ideological culture... shifting towards a new socialist middle ground where centralization has woven the macro economic system tighter around a supra-sovereign statehood... They will say no one saw it coming... The sad reality is that the disorganized masses will remain ignorant to the whole process as they become consumed with television news drama that hides the structural truth behind the engineered cultural implosion of the American identity."
In space, no one can hear you scream... unless you happen to be Venezuela's (soon to be former) leader Nicolas Maduro, who has been doing a lot of screaming this morning following news that UAE's Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said OPEC will stand by its decision not to cut crude output "even if oil prices fall as low as $40 a barrel" and will wait at least three months before considering an emergency meeting.
It is amazing the speed at which FOMC officials have embraced not falling oil prices but collapsing crude. The pace of the decline is being driven, contrary to the fracking miracle, by the fact that nobody seems to want to bid on the stuff. That is, as I noted earlier, a demand problem. But officials like Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer and FRBNY President Bill Dudley are saying that these lower oil prices, due to lower demand, will end up boosting demand – big time. That is the essence of their argument, that recession is the latest “stimulus.”
The largest economy of the Eurozone is showing important signs of fatigue...
The only reason this bond bubble exists isn`t due to the lower price of oil, it is directly a result of too much cheap liquidity via ridiculously low interest rates by central banks.
One sign would be for non-energy junk bonds to begin dropping in price. That would mean large holders are exiting from all junk bonds, not just those companies affected by low oil prices.
Another sign would be sudden drops in share prices for banks or insurance companies that hold small amounts of energy-related bonds or bank loans, a clue that some market participants think they have derivative exposure.
A third sign to look for would be the rumors or news that the big, investment-grade energy companies are having trouble renewing their Commercial Paper, bank loans or maturing bonds (the Exxon-Mobils and Shells of the world).
... it remains to be seen if market bubblemania on the back of central bank multiple expanion around the world can thrive, especially as corporate cash flow (and revenue, and GAAP EPS) growth trickles to a halt, coupled with an energy and junk bond market implosion, but when it comes to Barron's covers top-ticking the market, it is never different.
One thing is certain about the ensuing “race to the bottom”. Japan’s retirement colony will end up with the hindmost. And they will surely burn professors Krugman and Summers in effigy—-even if driftwood is the only fuel they have left.
The US dollar's run stopped last week, but not before new highs were recorded against the euro, sterling, and the yen. By the end of the week, the euro had risen 1.4%, sterling 0.9%, and the yen had risen as much as the two of them put together. It was the biggest weekly gain for the yen in 16-months.
There is one pressing question that international investors will be mulling this weekend: How far and how long is the dollar's correction?