This devaluation is likely not a one-time event but rather the beginning of an ongoing and persistent depreciation of the CNY versus the USD. The embedded USD short position within the carry trades will begin to result in losses and margin calls as the USD appreciates versus the CNY, thus forcing investors to liquidate some of their positions. These trades, which took years to amass, could unwind abruptly and exert an influence of historic magnitude on markets and economies.
When China sneezes, the world catches a cold. Alternatively, when China devalues, the rest of the (exporting) world scrambles to not be the last (exporting) nation standing, and to do so next, before everyone else does. We give Russia, Thailand and India (as well as the rest of the EM countries, actually make that all countries, the US included) at least a few days (hours may suffice) before they all realize that in a beggar-thy-neighbor global currency war, where the ZIRP (or NIRP) liquidity trap is already stalking at least half of the entire world, there really is no choice.
WTI Crude just broke to a $42 handle - which would be the lowest closing price on a continuous adjusted future contract since March 2009. Based on the front-month contract, Goldman Sachs warns that there is "last ditch" support between $43.24 and $42.44 - a break below there could lead to serious capitulation...
As China takes the currency wars to the next level, so OPEC, not to be outdone, rotates the oil war volume to 11. As Bloomberg reports, OPEC pumped the most crude last month in more than three years as Iran restored output to the highest level since international sanctions were strengthened in 2012. The response - as one would expect - is a plunge in crude prices, erasing all the ridiculous algo-driven gains of yesterday, pushing WTI back on the verge of a $42 handle.
US equity markets have given up almost all of yesterday's irrational exuberance ramp gains in a perfect echo of last week's Wednesday/Thursday debacle. Bond yields are plunging - also retracing all of yesterday's losses (with 2Y -5bps since Friday now). Europe is suffering most as EUR strengthens (as it was the most popular carry trade against China), driving USD weakness and sending European stocks lower (DAX is dumping almost 3%). And finally commodities are seeing Crude and copper crushed as PMs bounce...
- China Rattles Markets With Yuan Devaluation (BBG)
- China Move Sparks Wave of Yuan Selling (WSJ)
- China's devaluation raises currency war fear as Greece strikes deal (Reuters)
- Protests return to Ferguson streets, state of emergency declared (Reuters)
- Heavily armed 'Oath Keepers' inject new unease to riot-hit Ferguson (Reuters)
- Greece Secures Bailout Deal After All-Night Talks in Athens (BBG)
- U.S. Identifies Insider Trading Ring With Ukraine Hackers (BBG)
If yesterday it was the turn of the upside stop hunting algos to crush anyone who was even modestly bearishly positioned in what ended up being the biggest short squeeze of 2015, then today it is the downside trailing stops that are about to be taken out in what remains the most vicious rangebound market in years, in the aftermath of the Chinese currency devaluation which weakened the CNY reference rate against the USD by the most on record, in what some have said was an attempt by China to spark its flailing SDR inclusion chances, but what was really a long overdue reaction by an exporter country having pegged to the strongest currency in the world in the past year.
Trainwreck? Rail traffic fell in July from a year ago as WSJ reports an increase in container volumes couldn’t offset a steep decline in oil and coal shipments according to the Association of American Railroads. Despite almost constant reassurance that plunging oil prices are 'unequivocally good" for America, AAR analysts warn "railroads are overexposed, relative to the economy in general, to the energy sector," adding that traffic data indiates "growth is slow and the recovery could be threatened by an interest-rate increase by the Fed."
In "historic step," Norway may be forced to tap into its $875 billion sovereign wealth fund to help make ends meet in the face of persistently low crude prices.
Cry havoc and let slip the algos of war... WTI Crude prices are flip-flopping faster than Hillary Clinton at a fundraising event... on no news whatsoever...
Following last week's bad news for the economy (terrible ADP private payrolls, confirmed by a miss in the NFP) which also resulted in bad news for the market which suffered its worst week in years, many were focused on how the market would react to the latest battery of terrible economic news out of China which as we observed over the weekend reported abysmal trade data, and the worst plunge in Chinese factory prices in 6 years. We now know: the Shanghai Composite soared by 5%, rising to 3,928 and approaching the key 4000 level because the ongoing economic collapse led Pavlov's dog to believe that much more easing is coming from the country which as we showed last night has literally thrown the kitchen sink at stabilizing the plunge in stocks.
It makes logical sense that China would understate its gold aspirations. If you had the means to acquire hundreds, or even thousands, of tons of gold, you’d want to do so as stealthily as possible in order to avoid tipping off the market. If your strategic objective was to dramatically boost gold reserves over a period of several years, you wouldn’t want to see the price rise – at least not while you’re still accumulating. And if you had no ethical qualms about interfering in the market, you’d want to rig prices lower so you could obtain more ounces. Chinese officials are more than willing to manipulate markets, whether through subterfuge, deceit, or outright force.
"This is the big concern because we keep on thinking that lower energy prices are somehow good for the economy. That can't be, because energy prices or commodity prices in general don't drive economic growth. Economic growth drives commodity prices. So there are a lot of telltales out there that this drop in oil prices, this drop industrial metal prices, this is not good. It's a canary in the coal mine that something is not right in the global economy. And that is a concern for us all."