Reports of individuals snapping up near-record numbers of gold and silver coins are coming in from around the world. While individual buyers aren't the dominant players in precious metals, they do make a difference; and their renewed enthusiasm is matched by some recent national trends. There's no guarantee that this buying, encouraging as it seems, is anything more than a blip; but in the aggregate it does seem like a lot of buyers, old and new, are finding current prices to be attractive. That's how bottoms form and new bull markets begin.
De-dollarization has been an ongoing theme hidden just below the surface of the mainstream media for more than a year as Russia and China slowly but surely attempt to "isolate" the US Dollar. Until very recently, direct trade agreements with China (in other words, bypassing the US Dollar exchange in bilateral trade) had been with smaller trade partners. On the heels of Western pressure, Russia and China were forced closer together and de-dollarization accelerated from Turkey to Argentina as an increasing number of countries around the world realize the importance of this chart. However, things are about to get even more dramatic. As Bloomberg reports, China will start direct trading between the yuan and the euro tomorrow as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to spur global use of its currency in a "fresh step forward in China’s yuan internationalization." With civil unrest growing on every continent and wars (proxy or other) at tipping points, perhaps, just perhaps, the US really does want rid of the weight of the USD as a reserve currency after all (as championed here by Obama's former right hand economist)... now that would be an intriguing 'strategy'.
For the longest time anyone suggesting that Europe's economic collapse was nothing short of a deflationary collapse (which would only be remedied with the kind of a money paradopping response that Japan is currently experiment with and where, for example, prices of TVs are rising at a 10% clip courtesy of the BOJ before prices rise even more) aka a "Japan 2.0" event, was widely mocked by the very serious economist establishment, and every uptick in the EuroSTOXX was heralded by the drama majors posing as financial analysts as the incontrovertible sign the European recovery has finally arrived. Well, they were wrong, and Europe is now facing if not already deep in a triple-dip recession. Which also explains why now it is up to the ECB to do all those failed things that the BOJ did before the Fed convinced it it needs to do even more of those things that failed the first time around, just so the super rich can get even richer in the shortest time possible. So we were a little surprised when none other than Goldman Sachs today diverged with the ranks of the very serious economists and the drama major pundits, and declared that "recent trends in some European economies already qualify as a Japanese-style stagnation."
It was all up to the Japanese banana market to fix things overnight: after the biggest tumble in US equities in months, and Asian markets poised for their third consecutive weekly drop, the longest streak since February, Japan reported CPI numbers that despite still surging (for example, in August TV prices soared 9.5%, but "down" from 11.8% the month before), when "adjusting" for the effects of the April tax hike, missed across the board. As a result the USDJPY was at the lows and threatening to break the recent parabolic surge higher which has helped move global equities higher in the past few weeks when the usual spate of GPIF-related headlines, because apparently the fact that Japan will and already has begun sacrificing the retirement funds of its citizens just to keep Abe's deranged monetary dream alive for a few more months has not been fully priced in yet, sent the USDJPY soaring yet again.
Understanding how the power structure thinks, and how it intentionally manipulates the emotions of the masses, is key to overcoming and rolling back totalitarian ambitions. Indeed, to borrow a term from Glenn Greenwald, “fear-manufacturing” has been in overdrive across the Five Eyes nations over the past several weeks, but nowhere is fear being used in a more clownish and absurd manner to strip the local citizenry of its civil liberties than in Australia.
As we have reported since May 2013, when we explained the role of Commodity Funding Deals in Chinese "trade" and especially in the laundering of hot money flows, and most recently when we followed up on the first revelations that unknown amounts of physical commodities had been corizined in China's port of Qingdao, one of the key uses of monetary commodities in China is for purposes of "trade" in the form of FX loans, and especially to artificially boost exports by way of fake trade invoicing. Well, like a recovering junkie addicted to fabricated data, China finally admitted it has a problem when overnight it "uncovered almost $10 billion in fraudulent trade nationwide as part of an investigation begun in April last year, including many irregularities in the port of Qingdao, the country’s currency regulator said today." “Some companies used the trade channel to bring in hot money,” said Zhou Hao, a Shanghai-based economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. SAFE’s investigation “will likely further cool down hot money inflows and commodity imports could slow as banks will likely conduct more careful checks on documentation.”
Despite or maybe because of the recent bout of price weakness, gold and silver American eagle coin sales from the U.S. Mint have picked up significantly from last month. Smart money continues to accumulate bullion when prices are pushed lower.
Behold Obama’s dream project – a global infrastructure fund. This idea was floated and endorsed at The G-20 in Cairns this weekend. “We have agreed to come away from government-financed growth measures to more private investment,” said Australia’s Finance Minister Joe Hockey. These are being called Public Private Partnerships (PPP), and will be extremely critical in the future for here lies the final destruction of the pension funds precisely as Japan bankrupted the Japanese Postal Saving Fund using that private money for political purposes to try to stimulate the economy, which failed. With PPP, public funds will be sold to the public as being a highly professional long-term investment that will further shrink economic growth and liquidity. They cannot possibly work.
With the snoozer of an FOMC meeting in the rearview mirror, as well as Scotland's predetermined independence referndum, last week's key events: the BABA IPO and the iPhone 6 release, are now history, which means the near-term catalysts are gone and the coming week will be far more relaxed, if hardly boring. Here is what to expect.
We, like Bloomberg's Richard Breslow, were bemused this weekend by the communiques from the wisest men in the room at the G-20 meeting. On one side of their mouths they warned of "excessive risk-taking," in markets noting that there were "mounting economic risks" also. On the other hand, stories continue to print of US equity strength implying optimism over global growth - despite the ongoing collapse in consensus GDP expectations. However, away from this hope and fear, it was the almost coordinated responses of the PBOC (Chinese Finmin Lou Jiwei signaling not to get carried away with stimulus expectations), ECB (Visco saying may not need additional QE step since EUR had dropped 'enough'), and finally the BOJ (Iwata saying Abenomics misunderstood, USDJPY 90-100 'fair); all dashing market expectations of a smooth hand over from a feckless Fed to a free-printing rest-of-the-world. Stocks (and carry) responded by selling off.
- Quid pro quo Clarice: Iran seeks give and take on Islamic State militants, nuclear program (Reuters)
- Alibaba’s Banks Said to Boost IPO Size to Record $25 Billion (BBG)
- European Stocks Fall Amid China Concern as Tesco Slides (BBG)
- Tesco Suspends Executives, Probes Error That Triggers New Profit Warning (WSJ)
- Kurds say they have halted Islamic State advance on Syrian town (Reuters)
- Because luck and managing money is genetic: Financial Elite's Offspring Start Their Own Hedge Funds (WSJ)
- Islamic State Onslaught Spurs Mass Exodus of Syrian Kurds (BBG)
- Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity From Fossil Fuels (NYT)
While some were wondering if last night's sudden, commodity-liquidation driven selloff would last, most were not, expecting that the perfectly predictable levitation in the USDJPY around a round "tractor beam" number would provide a floor under the market .Sure enough, starting around midnight eastern, the USDJPY BTFDers emerged, oblivious to comments from former BOJ deputy governor Iwata who late last night said the obvious, and what we have been saying since January 2013, namely that a weak yen puts Japan at recession risk, and that a USDJPY in the 90-100 range reflects Japan fundamentals. And, as expected, the 109 level is where the algos have hone in today as a strange FX attractor, which also means that ES has reverse sharper overnight losses and was down just 7 points at last check even as the poundage in the commodity sector continues over rising fears of a sharp Chinese slowdown driven by its imploding housing sector (most recently observed here) without an offsetting stimulus program, following several comments by high-ranked Chinese individuals who poured cold water on any hopes of an imminent Chinese mega-QE or even modest rate cut.
USDJPY has been on a tear in recent weeks. Since China unleashed QE-lite, JPY and CNY have greatly diverged with USDJPY breaking above 109 and pushing six-year highs. This recent 'relative strength' is the most extreme overbought for the currency pair since early 2001 - which saw USDJPY plunge 30% in the following six months. The tick-for-tick rise in Japan's stock market also broke a 9-month almost-perfect analog with the last time the nation raised its consumption tax. Perhaps even more worrying in the world of FX trading, ECB Governing Council member Ignazio Visco told the G-20 that it may not need to add stimulus measures after steps in the past three months pushed down the euro.
“We are mindful of the potential for a build-up of excessive risk in financial markets, particularly in an environment of low interest rates and low asset price volatility,” the G-20 officials said in a communique released in Cairns, Australia. “We welcome the stronger economic conditions in some key economies, although growth in the global economy is uneven.”It is unclear just what that statement means: BTFATH, but only on a downtick?
While none of these people, many of whom are unemployed and paid by others to stay in line for days, will spend the $3,600 someone in China just paid for a "gold" iPhone, they will gladly pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket, or in many cases simply lease with zero money down, the latest and greatest aspirational gadget to show they are cooler than they actually are.