As we noted recently, BofAML fears "a depeg of the Saudi riyal is the number one black-swan event for the global oil market in 2016," adding that it is "a highly unlikely but highly impactful risk." Given the recent action in Saudi Riyal forwards - the market's best guess at where the oil-ruch nation's currency will trade in the future - the chance of the black swan 'de-peg' is its highest since 2002. Besides this morning's "whatever it takes" moment, which oil markets quickly shrugged off, amid heavy subsidies to keep the people calm and the costs of wars in Yemen (and more in Syria), weak oil revenues leave The Sauds with few options (outside of the load the nation with ever more debt program): It's either stop it with the whole flooding an oversupplied market strategy, or let the peg fall before reserves runs dry.
"Can the government maintain this strategy of flooding the oil market? In our view, it is unlikely that Saudi leaders would want to exacerbate its ongoing reserve drain by pushing prices below $40/bbl. After all, pressure will quickly build on the riyal’s 30 year peg to the USD if Brent crude oil prices keep falling."
- Top Trade #1: Long USD vs short EUR and JPY
- Top Trade #2: Long US 10-year ‘Breakeven’ Inflation
- Top Trade #3: Long MXN and RUB versus short ZAR and CLP.
- Top Trade #4: Long EM ‘External Demand’ vs. Banks stocks
- Top Trade #5: Tighter Spread between Italy and Germany Long Rates
- Top Trade #6: Long large-cap US Banks relative to the overall S&P500
Global policymakers have gone to incredible measures to stabilize market, financial and economic backdrops. Yet reflationary measures will continue to only further destabilize. When policy-induced “risk on” is overpowering global securities markets, fragilities remain well concealed. Fragilities, however, swiftly manifest with the reappearance of “risk off.” Rather quickly securities markets demonstrate their proclivity for illiquidity and so-called “flash crashes.” So after an unsettled week in global markets, the critical issue is whether “risk on” is giving way to “risk off” dynamics.
China as the global Bubble’s focal point – the weak link yet, at the same time, the key marginal source of Bubble finance. China’s policy course appears to focus on two facets: to stabilize the yuan versus the dollar and to resuscitate Credit expansion. For better than two decades, similar policy courses were followed by myriad EM policymakers in hopes of sustaining financial and economic booms. Many cases ended in abject failure – often spectacularly. Why? Because when officials resort to such measures to sustain faltering Bubbles it generally works to only exacerbate systemic fragilities. For one, late-stage reflationary measures compound Credit system vulnerability while compounding structural impairment to the real economy. Secondly, central bank and banking system Credit-bolstering measures create liquidity that invariably feeds destabilizing “capital” and “hot money” outflows.
"... judging from market-based implied measures of longer-term inflation expectations, the effectiveness of the ECB’s announcements has proved limited so far."
- Goldman Sachs
"The rise in household savings rates amid so much central bank support is paradoxical to us, and mimics what we highlighted in the credit market earlier this year. Companies in Europe are deleveraging, not releveraging"
The previous Bubble was of the Fed’s making, and our central bank lost control. It became a Hobson’s Choice issue in the eyes of the Fed, and they fully accommodated the Bubble. These days, the Fed and global central bankers face a similar but much more precarious Bubble Dynamic: The Fed specifically targeted higher securities market prices as its prevailing post-mortgage finance Bubble (“helicopter money”) reflationary mechanism. This ensured that the Fed would again be unwilling to impose any monetary restraint before it would then become too risky to remove accommodation (Einstein’s definition of insanity?). In concert, global central bankers now aggressively accommodate financial Bubbles.
"The secular reality of deflation & inequality is intensified by recession & rising unemployment, investors should expect a massive policy shift in 2016. Seven years after the west went “all-in” on QE & ZIRP, the US/Japan/Europe would shift toward fiscal stimulus via government spending on infrastructure or more aggressive income redistribution. …buy TIPs, gold, commodities, Main Street not Wall Street."
If Western governments didn’t want a refugee crisis, they shouldn’t have been so eager to topple those governments and destabilize those countries. The refugees should camp out in the backyards of the individuals who run those governments.
China's global meltdown-inducing "adjustment" continues unabated as fixed asset investment is weakest since 2000.
So far, it’s a different type of crisis – market tumult in the face of global QE, in the face of ultra-low interest rates and the perception of a concerted global central bank liquidity backstop. It’s the kind of crisis that’s so far been able to achieve a decent head of steam without causing much angst. And it’s difficult to interpret this bullishly. If Brazil goes into a tailspin, it will likely pull down Latin American neighbors, along with vulnerable Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and others. And then a full-fledged “risk off” de-risking/de-leveraging would have far-reaching ramifications, perhaps even dislocation and a collapse of the currency peg in China. China does have a number of major trading partners in trouble. Hard for me to believe the sophisticated players aren’t planning on slashing risk.
There is no doubt that the Chinese economy is in a material economic slowdown. Policy officials’ aggressive actions and scare tactics against equity short sellers could continue to cause capital flight. However, this does not mean that China is going to sell large quantities of Treasuries. There is too much co-dependency between the US consumer and Chinese exporter. Destabilizing the US Treasury market with large sales would be tantamount to shooting themselves in the foot.
Since the GFC, 'The Great Wall of Money' that Bretton Woods II has furnished via its vendor-financing relationship, has masked the deleveraging of our world economy. The Great Wall is about to collapse and fall.