As the first major exporting nation to report each month, all eyes and hopeful speculative capital was glued to tonight's South Korean trade data. After a brief respite in November, December's drop was worrisome, but January's just reported 18.5% crash - the most since the financial crisis - has only been seen during a US economic recession. Worse still, South Korean imports plunged over 20% in January as it appears crashing crude and cliff-diving freight indices are less about supply and more about demand (there is none) after all.
Having urged "don't panic" just 4 short months ago, it appears Nigeria just did just that as the global dollar short squeeze forces the eight-month-old government of President Muhammadu Buhari to beg The World Bank and African Development Bank for $3.5bn in emergency loans to help fund a $15bn deficit in a budget heavy on public spending amid collapsing oil revenues. Just as we warned in December, the dollar shortage has arrived, perhaps now is time to panic after all.
Markets these days have every reason to question the efficacy of global monetary management. Last week saw dovish crisis management vociferation from the ECB’s Draghi. Now the BOJ adopts a crisis management stance. The week also had talk of some deal to reduce global crude supply. Meanwhile, the PBOC injected a weekly record $105 billion of new liquidity. Nonetheless, the Shanghai Composite sank 6.1% to a 13-month low. There was desperation in the air – along with a heck of a short squeeze and general market mayhem.
Many believed that the NOK was backed by oil, not requiring a gold reserve. However, oil is no longer a scarce resource but an abundant commodity. Switzerland, Germany, America and other first world nations have gold reserves. Norway should have one too.
"I don’t want to invest in stocks because they’re crazy and real estate is a solid, safe investment."
Oil prices around USD 30/bbl mean that an increasingly significant volume of future oil projects no longer make sense. Although Deutsche Bank does not expect US crude inventories to reach capacity, rising US inventories and high US crude imports may heighten downside pressures to push prices closer to marginal cash costs of USD 7-17/bbl for US tight oil, with few plausible scenarios for a strong price recovery in the short term,
This is the paradox for Norway: the country needs to buy NOK in order to fund stimulus and support the economy. But by doing so, the Norges Bank is putting upward pressure on the currency at a time when it really needs to depreciate. In other words, what Norway must do to pay for stimulus (buy kroner) is indirectly hurting the economy by keeping the NOK from depreciating and functioning as a counter cyclical buffer.
The US total rig count dropped 18 to 619 in the last week with a drop of 12 in oil rigs (to 498) as the ongoing lagged drop of crude drives rig counts every lower. Perhaps oddly, given the rig count decline, WTI is tumbling as a 12 rig drop is clearly not enough...
The main reason for oil's torried surge over the past 2 days is that following yesterday's Russia-Opec "oil production cut" headline fiasco, crude traders - who as we previously reported already had a record net short position - scrambled to cover their exposure on the assumption that where there is oily smoke, there will be fire. We can now put to rest any speculation that OPEC will proceed with any supply cuts, whether Russia requests it or not, because as the WSJ reported moments ago, not only will OPEC not support a supply cut but it will also not support an emergency OPEC meeting.
It is safe to say that nobody expected the BOJ stunner announced last night, when Kuroda announced that Japan would become the latest country to unleash negative interest rates, for one simple reason: Kuroda himself said Japan would not adopt negative rates just one week ago! However, a few BIS conference calls since then clearly changed the Japanese central banker's mind and as we wrote, and as those who are just waking up are shocked to learn, negative rates are now a reality in Japan. The immediate reaction was to send the USDJPY surging by nearly 200 pips, back to levels seen... well, about a month ago.
Well that did not last long. After initial exuberance over The BoJ's wishy-washy decision to adopt a 3-tiered rate policy including NIRP, markets have realized that without further asset purchases (which were maintained at the current pace), there is no ammo to lift stocks. An almost 200 point surge in Dow futures has been erased and Nikkei 225 has dropped 1000 points from its post BOJ highs... as 10Y JGB yields hit record lows at 11bps and 20Y JGB yields drop to 82bps - the lowest since 2003
Saudi Arabia - which was busy playing headline hockey with Russia this morning over a rumored 5% production cut proposal - is running out of money. Yes, we know, that sounds absurd. But believe it or not, the country whose monarch recently rented the entire Four Seasons hotel for a 48 hour stay in Washington DC, is in fact going broke. And at a fairly rapid clip.
There is something rotten in the state of Denmark. And we are not talking just about the hapless socialist utopia on the Jutland Peninsula - even if it does strip assets from homeless refugees, charge savers 75 basis points for the deposit privilege and allocate nearly 60% of its GDP to the Welfare State and its untoward ministrations. In fact, the rot is planetary. There is unaccountable, implausible, whacko-world stuff going on everywhere, but the frightful part is that most of it goes unremarked or is viewed as par for the course by the mainstream narrative.