It appears the tit-for-tat cyber-spying debacle between China and the US is escalating (unless it's all curious coincidence). Having blasted the US as a "mincing rascal" and "high-level hooligan" in the Chinese (state-run) media, The FT reports that authorities have ordered state-owned enterprises to cut ties with US consulting companies such as McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group because of fears they are spying on behalf of the US government. Furthermore, the crackdown is worse as, in the face of the "US hacker empire," China’s leaders announced on Thursday that all foreign IT products and services sold in China would be subject to a new security screening process. So it seems China has entered both the currency war (CNY weakness) and protectionism racket... now how has that ended for the world in the past?
China and Russia signed an historic agreement in Shanghai this week - the ramifications of which have yet to be appreciated ... Reserve currency status does not last forever. Empires rise and fall. The world is constantly changing and evolving. Nothing lasts forever …
When does the market break? When will the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence fail? Implicit (and sometimes explicit) in these questions is the belief that this – whatever this is – simply can’t go on much longer, that there is some natural law being violated in today’s markets that in the not-so-distant future will visit some terrible retribution on those who continue to flout it. There has never been a more unloved bull market or a more mistrusted stock market high. Public markets today are essentially hollow, as what passes for volume and liquidity is primarily machines talking to other machines for portfolio “positioning” or ephemeral arbitrage rather than the human expression of a desire to own a fractional ownership share of a real-world company. We believe that today’s public market price levels primarily reflect the greatest monetary policy accommodation in human history rather than the real-world prospects of real-world companies. We believe that the political risks to both capital market structure and international trade (which are the twin engines of global growth, period, end of story) have not been this great since the 1930’s. Simply put, we believe we are being played like fiddles.
Could this be the last straw?
"I Will Never Sell My Gold," Marc Faber Warns, China's "Gigantic Credit Bubble" Unwind Is Just BeginningSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/24/2014 20:47 -0400
While the S&P 500 closed at record highs (and VIX near record lows), Marc Faber says the "momentum sell-off has caused serious internal damage to the market," with many of the most-loved and most-levered stocks down 30-50%. Interestingly Faber warns that if bond bears are correct and rates rise to 4% then stock prices "will really tumble." But it is China that worries him the most. Faber warns that Chinese growth figures are a fallacy and that "if one analyzes the data carefully" it is clear that "China is growing at most 4%" and given the "gigantic credit bubble" the outlook is not hopeful as the sharp deceleration in growth is likely to continue. Faber also has strong words for Western nations treatment of the rest of the world and "the US will have to back off.. because China is so important."
Do not look at this chart if you remain of the opinion that everything is fine in the world. For the 3rd time in the last 4 months, world trade volumes dropped. The 0.5% fall in March - it must have been weathery all over the world? - continues the biggest plunge in global trade since May 2009. As WSJ reports, exports from developing economies in Asia recorded the largest decline, a drop of 4.5%. Central and Eastern Europe was the only region to record a rise in exports as the decline in trade flows is consistent with other evidence that suggests the global economy got off to a weak start this year. So, $12 trillion of global money printing and world trade is unable to sustain growth...
Below, for the third year running, we present the 50 most shorted (and most convex) Russell 2000 names, which are sufficiently small and illiquid, that even the tiniest rumor or upgrade by a contrarian research shop is able to send into a short covering frenzy. They are sorted by short interest as a % of the float in declining order, which means that the absolutely most hated stocks are at the top.
One of the most intellectually disingenuous statements made by western policymakers is that inflation is tame… nonexistent. However the actions of the World Bank this beggars belief as 'poverty' is re-defined (just like GDP) to ensure the planners can conjure hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air without any consequences whatsoever. Zero risk.
Curious how and why commercial bank traders manipulate the price of gold? The following detailed narrative from the FCA should answer most lingering questions.
For two decades now mainstream Keynesian economists have been gumming about China’s remarkable economic boom and its accumulation of unprecedented foreign exchange reserves. The latter hoard has now actually crossed the $4 trillion mark. But this whole narrative is PhD jabberwocky with a Wall Street accent.
If oil is “just another commodity,” then there shouldn’t be any connection between oil prices, debt levels, interest rates, and total rates of return. But there clearly is a connection. As we have seen, rising interest rates will bring an end to our current equilibrium, by raising costs in many ways, without raising salaries. It will also reduce equity values and bond prices. A rise in the cost of extraction of oil, if it isn’t accompanied by high oil prices, will also put an end to our equilibrium, because oil producers will stop drilling the number of wells needed to keep production up. If oil prices rise (regardless of reason), this will tend to put the economy into recession, leading to job loss and debt defaults. The only way to keep things going a bit longer might be negative interest rates. But even this seems “iffy.” We truly live in interesting times.
With global debts 30% higher than they were at the 2007 crisis peaks, enabled by the money printing of central banks, Marc Faber warns that the "asset inflation" of the last years is not reflective of the broad growth seen in the 70s. "The system is still very vulnerable," he warned as investors are exuberant over "hot new issues" just as they were in 2000 and fears "excessive speculation" means investors should brace for a "general asset deflation." Emerging markets are relatively cheap to the US and Europe, he notes, but it is too early; there is nothing to like about low treasury yields but they are good to offset risk. As the market soared recently, fewer and fewer stocks are making new highs and this internal weakness (lack of breadth) and the breakdown in so many 'loved' stocks says the drop is coming sooner rather than later...
With de-dollarization escalating and Chinese officials now openly calling for "a new and more efficient system," specifically on which is not dominated by the US and the dollar, it appears the day of a rebalancing is approaching more rapidly than most would like to believe. On the heels of the vice president of China's central bank commenting that "renminbi will become the reserve currency" we thought it time to look at the long-run history of the Chinese currency and its rapidly rising internalization efforts.
Central banks see their main role now in supporting asset markets, the economy, the banks, and the government. They are positively petrified of potentially derailing anything through tighter policy. They will structurally “under-tighten”. Higher inflation will be the endgame but when that will come is anyone’s guess. Growth will, by itself, not lead to a meaningful response from central bankers. No country has ever become more prosperous by debasing its currency and ripping off its savers. This will end badly...
Last week we commented that based on TIC data, while "Belgium's" unprecedented Treasury buying spree continues, one country has been dumping US bonds at an unprecedented rate, and in March alone Russia sold a record $26 billion, or 20% of its holdings. So as Russia is selling a record amount of US paper, what is it buying? For the answer we go to Goldcore which tells us that "Russia Buys 900,000 Ounces Of Gold Worth $1.17 Billion In April."