Following last week's Sohn Conference, where the overarching theme was one of prevailing bearishness topped by Stanley Druckenmiller's near-apocalyptic forecast that only gold will be left standing after all confidence evaporates in the "magic people" known as central bankers, yesterday some 1,800 hedge fund industry executives gathered in Las Vegas at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference or SALT, where the prevalent concern about the future of the world continued, driven primarily by worries about China.
"I think this is where the academics are kind of clashing with the practitioners. I think on paper negative rates make a lot of sense if you're running academic models, but in reality they make no sense... If they told you and I that they're going to tax your deposits by a hundred basis points, well it's better to put it in a safe or under your mattress. And that's why you see a resurgence in gold. The more they move to negative rates, the more gold is gonna take off because there's no carrying cost."
"Tomorrow we wake up and China has devalued 20%, the world is over. The world is over. Euro breaks up. The world is over. The euro breaks up. Everything hits a wall. There's no euro in that scenario. The US economy, I mean everything hits a wall! Everything hits a wall! It's a 'Mad Max' movie, right. OK, China gets to be the king in 'Mad Max' world. How appealing is that?"
After making a strong case over the past 3 months that Texas-based REIT United Development Funding IV is nothing but a Ponzi scheme - a name he has been short - the stock tumbled, jumped, and then tumbled again. However, after its most recent plunge moments ago which led to its being halted, we doubt it will rebound again. The reason for today's most recent, and surely final crash: an FBI raid of UDF's Texas office.
As the eyes of the financial world shift towards what may be some very serious problems in China's mammoth banking system, one analysts says fears about an imminent meltdown are overblown. Meanwhile, NPLs just hit their highest level since Q3 of 2006.
"We believe the epicenter of the problem is the Chinese banking system and its coming losses. Once analysts, politicians, and investors alike realize the sheer size of the impending losses and how they compare to the current levels of reserves, all focus will swing to the banking system."
Who are the brave souls who have decided to very openly fight the People's Bank of China? Here is a sample: Soros, Bass, Ackman, Druckenmiller, Tepper, Schreiber, Einhorn, Scogging, and Carlyle, Nexus and many more.
"Given our views on credit contraction in Asia, and in China in particular, let's say they are going to go through a banking loss cycle like we went through during the Great Financial Crisis, there's one thing that is going to happen: China is going to have to dramatically devalue its currency."
The just concluded 13-F bonanza shows that "some of the world’s top hedge fund managers scaled back their U.S. stock investments last quarter as markets tumbled." Below, courtesy of Bloomberg, is the full summary of what the most prominent hedge fund names did in Q3...
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."