Chinese stocks are trading at the lows of the day after Overnight HIBOR rates (Hong Kong's interbank borrowing rate) exploded a stunning 939bps to a record high 13.4%. It is clear that banks are utterly desperate for liquidity and/or are extremely concerned about one another's counterparty risk. This has dragged HSCEI down 5% (to its lowest since Oct 2011).
It was an ominous beginning to what is poised to be a most tumultuous year. Market participants are quickly coming to appreciate that China does in fact matter. Few understand why. Most – from billionaires to fund managers to retail investors – will “Do Nothing.” This has worked just fine in the past – repeatedly. Not understanding and not doing anything will be detriments going forward.
In March 2014 Wall Street’s ex-items S&P 500 earnings forecast for 2015 was about $133 per share; it ended up 20% lower at $106. Yet here they go again - the consensus for 2016 started out at $137 per share last spring, and is just now beginning to make its way back toward the high $120s. It is a barometer of the abject complacency and intellectual sloth that has descended on the casino owing to two decades of Fed coddling and seven year of free money for the carry trades. In the case of Chipotle, it was always just a burrito. In the case of the US and world economy and financial markets, it’s not even that.
The half-life of the latest "market supporting" intervention by the Chinese government: just about 12 hours.
While the "sell in 1973, and go away" plan had worked out for some in the commodity space, the destruction of the last decade has only one historical comparison... the middle of The Great Depression.
Dr. Copper is sick. For the first time since May 2009, Copper futures prices traded with a $1 handle this morning ($1.99) as Nomura analysts warn the commodity is likely to see more downside risk over the medium term as the market is expected to remain in surplus through the end of the decade.
Once China set the Yuan fixing some 0.5% lower, the biggest drop since the August devaluation, all hell broke loose and unleashed a global selling panic after China's stock market was promptly shut down less than 30 minutes into trading, then European shares dropped the most in more than 4 months as Asian equities plunges, as did US stock futures, the dollar weakened against the euro and the yen; crude plunged to fresh 12 year lows. Gold rose.
- Obama, wiping tears, makes new push to tighten gun rules (Reuters)
- Global stocks hit by China worries, North Korea nuclear test (Reuters)
- Oil hits 11-year low, Saudi-Iran row cuts chances of output restraint (Reuters)
- North Korea says successfully conducts first H-bomb test (Reuters)
- Valeant Planning to Appoint New Leader as CEO Remains Hospitalized (WSJ)
- Treasuries Extend 2016 Winning Start With Growth Outlook Clouded (BBG)
Before we go into details of the overnight carnage, this is where we stand currently: S&P futures now down 33 points or 1.63% while 2Y Treasury rallies pushing its yield back below 1% as EU stocks extend their drop after China weakened its currency, North Korea says it tested a hydrogen bomb; Brent crude falls to lowest level since 2004.
Many people start a new year with renewed optimism. However, "New Year, Same Problems" is the meme of 2016... and recent trading has dashed some of that optimistic 'This time it's different' hope.
After yesterday's historic -6.9% rout in the Shanghai Composite, which saw the first new marketwide circuit breaker trading halt applied to Chinese stocks (on its first day of operation), many were wondering if the Chinese government would intervene in both the once again imploding stock market, as well as China's plunging and rapidly devaluing currency. And, after the SHCOMP opened down -3%, the government did not disappoint and promptly intervened in both the Yuan as well as the stock market, however with very mixed results which global stocks took a sign that the "national team" is no longer focused solely on stocks, and have resumed selling for a second consecutive day.
A lot of people were expecting some really great things to happen in 2015, but most of them did not happen. But what did happen? A global financial crisis began during the second half of 2015 threatens to greatly accelerate as we enter 2016. This is what the early stages of a financial crisis look like, and the worst is yet to come.
With markets wrapped up for 2015 now, reviewing the performance of asset classes last year shows that it was one where negative asset class returns were aplenty, while those finishing in positive territory were few and far between. Indeed, of the 42 assets we monitor in Figure 5, just 9 finished with a positive return in Dollar-adjusted terms over the full year. At the other end of the scale there were some notable losers.