For the second night in a row, China, and specifically its currency rate which saw the Yuan weaken once more, preoccupied investors - and certainly those who had bet on endless strenghtening of the Chinese currency - however this time it appeared more "priced in, and after trading as low as 2000, the SHCOMP managed to close modestly green, which however is more than can be said about the Nikkei which ended the session down 0.5%. Still, the USDJPY was firmly supported by the 102.00 "fundamental" fair value barrier and as a result equity futures, which had to reallign from tracking the AUDUSD to the old faithful Yen carry, have been propped up once more and are set to open at all time highs. If equities fail to breach the record barrier for the third time in a row and a selloff ensues after the open in deja vu trading, it will be time to watch out below if only purely for technical reasons.
All eyes were on China overnight, where first the PBOC drained a quite substantial CNY 100 billion in liquidity via 14 day repos in the month following the biggest credit injection on record, pushing those worried about China's credit schizophrenia to the edge, and then things got even more bizarre when in an act of clear PBOC intervention, the CNY dropped to the lowest since August 2013 as concerns about the global carry trade's impact on China (as noted here previously) start to reverberate. We will have more to say about China's Yuan intervention, but what should be noted is that the Shanghai Composite has tumbled nearly 10% in the past week, and was down another 2% overnight and is once again just barely above 2000, a level it can't seem to get away from for years (which is fine: recall that the real bubble in China is not the stock but the housing market). Chinese property stocks dropped to 8-month lows as concern continues about bank's withdrawing some liquidity for the asset class.The USDJPY drifted along and after rising to a resistance level of about 102.600 has since slide just shy of its 102.20 support area which means US equity futures are now in the red, and concerns that the S&P 500 may not close at a new record high are start to worry the technicians.
The Russians had dangled their multi-billion euro carrot - then swiftly removed it pending further details of who is really running the show (demanding a crackdown on the extremists who are trying to establish power). The Europeans have promised an even bigger carrot - predicated on, we presume, total abdication of sovereignty. But now the Americans are jumping in - Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "urged" Ukraine's interim leader Yatsenyuk to start talks with the IMF as he and Lagarde agreed the fund would be the best foundation for advice and financing (if sought by a fully established Ukrainian government). And the winner is...
- *UKRAINE'S KUBIV PLANS TO INVITE IMF MISSION, UNIAN SAYS
Which means only thing - Russia is locked out and gas prices are about to take off.
While social unrest has been a thing that occurs "over there", the increasing visualization of people taking to the streets in the face of desperate economic situations amid an elite class of politicians, dictators, and tyrants is becoming clearer by the day. As the following chart shows, across 500 billion words in over 5.2 million books, the words "unemployment, "taxes", and "inequality" tend to correlate highly with "war". The 18th century saw these terms the most correlated and as the following chronology suggests, that is not a time to reflect gladly upon...
Yulia Tymoshenko (Ukraine's "Iron Lady") Freed, Vows To "Run For President"; Addresses Protesters - Live FeedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/22/2014 15:38 -0400
*TYMOSHENKO URGES PROTESTERS TO STAY IN INDEPENDENCE SQUARE "NOW UKRAINE IS A FREE UKRAINE:"
Yulia Tymoshenko was the heroine of the 2004 pro-Western Orange Revolution in Ukraine. But, as DPA notes, the two-time former prime minister was convicted in 2011 of abuse of power in connection with a gas deal with Russia (detailed below). This morning she was freed from prison in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine Saturday after parliament voted for her release...
*TYMOSHENKO LEAVES HOSPITAL WHERE SHE WAS UNDER GUARD;: WEBSITE
*UKRAINE'S TYMOSHENKO SAYS SHE WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT: ITAR TASS
and is set to address the protesters in Independence Square... (full chronology below) The US welcomed her freedom and is "closely monitoring"; Russia is displeased blaming opposition for violence. Meanwhile,
- *UKRAINE EX-INT MIN ZAKHARCHENKO CAUGHT TRYING TO FLEE BY BORDER SERVICE: IFX
With 328 (of the 450 seats) voting in favor, the Ukraine parliament has agreed to removed President Viktor Yanukovych:
*UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES TO REMOVE PRESIDENT YANUKOVYCH
*UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES TO HOLD EARLY ELECTIONS ON MAY 25
“Yanukovych, in an illegal manner, removed himself from his constitutional duties,” Turchynov says in chamber before vote. The Russians are not at all happy with Siluanov exclaiming these actions "pose a direct threat to Ukraine's sovereignty and constitutional order." As Martin Armstri0g warns, the nation will survive divided for there is far too much resentment to simply put this all behind and walk forward. Divide Ukraine along the historical language faultline and there is a chance to calm things down. Otherwise, this will flare up and take others with it.
1. Within 48 hours of the signing of this agreement, a special law will be adopted, signed and promulgated, which will restore the Constitution of 2004 including amendments passed until now. Signatories declare their intention to create a coalition and form a national unity government within 10 days thereafter.
2. Constitutional reform, balancing the powers of the President, the government and parliament, will start immediately and be completed in September 2014.
3. Presidential elections will be held as soon as the new Constitution is adopted but no later than December 2014. New electoral laws will be passed and a new Central Election Commission will be formed on the basis of proportionality and in accordance with the OSCE & Venice commission rules.
4. Investigation into recent acts of violence will be conducted under joint monitoring from the authorities, the opposition and the Council of Europe.
5. The authorities will not impose a state of emergency. The authorities and the opposition will refrain from the use of violence. The Parliament will adopt the 3rd amnesty, covering the same range of illegal actions as the 17th February 2014 law.
This was one of the all too real Bloomberg headlines posted overnight: "Asian Shares Rally as U.S. Manufacturing Data Beats Estimates." Odd: are they refering to the crashing Philly Fed, or the just as crashing Empire Fed data? Wait, it was the C-grade MarkIt PMI that nobody ever looks at, except to confirm that where everyone else sees snow, the PMI saw sunshine and growth. Remember: if the data is weak, it's the snow; if it's strong, it's the recovery. Odder still: one would think Asian shares care about manufacturing data of, say, China. Which happens to be in Asia, and which two nights ago crashed to the lowest in months. Or maybe that only impact the SHCOMP which dropped 1.2% while all other regional markets simply do what the US and Japan do - follow the USDJPY, which at one point overnight rose as high as 102.600, and brought futures to within inches of their all time closing high. Sadly, it is this that passes for "fundamental" analysis in this broken market new normal...
It seems the Democratic Republic of Congo has been learning its diplomacy from other nations...
- *DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO POLICE FIRE ON OPPOSITION RALLY
- *CONGO POLICE FIRED TEAR GAS, BULLETS AT RALLY IN BUKAVU
- *CONGO POLICE BLOCKED OPPOSITION LEADER KAMERHE AT RALLY
- *CONGO OPPOSITION SAY SEVERAL WOUNDED AFTER SHOTS FIRED
Of course, we will have to see if China (who has been building interest in Africa), Russia, the US, or France (who seem to like to stir things up in Africa) get involved?
Once we get rid of these obsolete middleman parasites - Wall Street, the banking sector and the Federal Reserve - we have a delightful question to answer: what else can we do with the $1.25 trillion we'll save every year by eliminating these obsolete financial middleman parasites? A lot.
The Ukrainian health minister just state that at least 64 have died since February 18th; protesters claim the number is over 100 - either way, this is horrific (and we suspect, once the Olympics is over, will get worse). As Martin Armstrong outlines below, Ukraine is the pawn on the chessboard. The propaganda war is East v West.
WHITE HOUSE URGES UKRAINE PRESIDENT TO IMMEDIATELY WITHDRAW SECURITY FORCES FROM DOWNTOWN KIEV, RESOLVE CRISIS BY POLITICAL MEANS; 'OUTRAGED' BY ACTIONS OF UKRANIAN SECURITY FORCES
Ad Russia proclaims US/EU sanctions as "balckmail." However, those power plays are masking the core issue that began with the Orange Revolution – corruption. Armstrong warns that "Yanukovych is a dictator who will never leave office. It is simple as that. There will be no real elections again in Ukraine." This is starting to spiral down into a confrontation that the entire world cannot ignore.
After learning that it snowed in China this winter following the release of the abysmal February Flash HSBC PMI numbers, we found out that there had also been snow in Europe, following misses across virtually all key French, German and composite PMIs with the exception of the German Services PMI which was the sole "beater" out of 6. To wit:
- Eurozone PMI Manufacturing (Feb A) M/M 53.0 vs Exp. 54.0 (Prev. 54.0); Eurozone PMI Services (Feb A) M/M 51.7 vs Exp. 51.9 (Prev. 51.6)
- German Manufacturing PMI (Feb A) M/M 54.7 vs. Exp. 56.3 (Prev. 56.5); German PMI Services (Feb A) M/M 55.4 vs Exp. 53.4 (Prev. 53.1)
- French PMI Manufacturing (Feb P) M/M 48.5 vs. Exp. 49.6 (Prev. 49.3); French PMI Services (Feb P) M/M 46.9 vs. Exp. 49.4 (Prev. 48.9)
Of course, economic data is the last thing that matters in a manipulated market. Instead, all that does matter is what the USDJPY does overnight, and as we forecast yesterday, the USDJPY 102 tractor beam is alive and well and managed to pull equity futures from a -10 drop overnight to nearly unchanged, despite the now traditional pattern of USDJPY selling during the overnight session and buying during the US session.
After surging yesterday for no reason whatsoever because as we explained on several occasions, there were no surprises in the Tuesday BOJ statement, and the doubling and extension of its loan facilities was implicit and factored into the doubling of its monetary policy (as goldman explained quite well), both the Nikkei and the USDJPY has been forced to revert, with the latter all important carry funding pair back to 102 and in danger of sliding lower, as a result ES is now below yesterday's lows. Which is why the 102 USDJPY "invisible hand" tractor beam will be all important today especially if the market finally starts paying attention to the proxy civil war that has gripped the Ukraine. Stocks traded lower, albeit in a relatively range-bound range this morning, with the Spanish IBEX-35 underperforming. Banking names remained under pressure, with focus still on yesterday’s reports that Spanish banks' bad loans marked a fresh record, together with comments by ECB's Weidmann, who said that sovereign debt purchases would constrain the central bank via political pressure. Similar view was also echoed by ECB’s Nowotny, who said that government bond buying US Fed-style would be difficult to do under ECB's mandate.
Our entire monetary system requires that we all trust the high priests of central banking and economics. Those that stray from the state’s message and spread economic heresy are cast down and vilified. Recall the case of Harvard professors Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart who wrote the seminal work: 'This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly' highlighting dozens of shocking historical patterns where once powerful nations accumulated too much debt and entered into terminal decline. The premise of their book was very simple: debt is bad. And when nations rack up too much of it, they get into serious trouble. This message was not terribly convenient for governments that have racked up unprecedented levels of debt. Not to worry, though, the IMF has now stepped up with a work of its own to fill the void. Translation: Keep racking up that debt, boys and girls, it’s nothing but smooth sailing ahead.
When overnight we were following the Ethiopian Airline hijacking story, one thing that was missing from the Twitter narrative was the lack of any reports of scrambled Swiss fighter jets - something that has become a staple when an airplane deviates even modestly from its course above the continental United States. As it turns out it wasn't merely a journalistic oversight: there were, in fact, no fighter jets scrambled. Why? Because the hijacking which took place around 3 am, and culminated with the 767 landing in Geneva just after 6 am, took place outside of regular air force hours! No really: "... the Swiss airforce is only available during office hours. These are reported to be from 8am until noon, then 1:30 to 5pm."