Peering in from the outside or through the looking glass at what’s going down on the other side is always a distortion of reality. We sit here in the west looking at the development, the changes and the progress of China and then the stark reality kicks in.
In much of the world, small countries are hoping to retain their independence, whilst portions of larger countries are trying to establish their independence. Understandably, they're meeting with resistance, as it's usually the areas that are the net-contributors to the larger economy that seek independence, whilst the areas that are the net-recipients wish to take the conglomerate approach (and to continue to eat their neighbour's lunch). This is evident even in the US, where those states that are net-contributors are experiencing the same frustration as Venetians and are making noises about secession. And, although no major changes have taken place recently, early rumblings can be heard all over the world.
One can see that while the traditional 6:00 AM USDJPY buy program is just duying to resume aggressive upward momentum ignition, futures are still leery and confused by the recent post-open high beta selloffs. Then again, things like yesterday's ridiculous no news 3:30pm ramp happen and confused them even more just as momentum is about to take a downward direction. Stocks in Asia (ex-China) advanced amid a reversal in sentiment after Citigroup (+4.15%) inspired positive close on Wall Street, however Shanghai Comp (-1.4%) underperformed as concerns over GDP data on Wednesday following weak money supply data weighed on sentiment. Stocks remained on the back foot (Eurostoxx50 -0.42%), with Bunds supported by the release of lower than expected German ZEW survey and also ongoing concerns surrounding the stand-off between Ukraine/Russia. Short-Sterling bear steepened after UK CPI fell to its lowest level since October 2009, but house prices across Britain posted its biggest rise since June 2010, reviving concerns over an overheating market.
Combining China's aggregate domestic production and apparent imports indicates that she has now over 3,514 tonnes. Assuming the U.S. still owns all the gold held by the Fed, this would make China the world's second largest national owner... but it remains unclear whether the Fed's published Gold holdings are actually the property of other nations. Clearly the recent price rise in gold owes something to inflation fears, repressed interest rates and to the Ukrainian situation. In the meantime, a growing awareness of a possible serious and increasing shortage of physical gold and a decline in the power of western central banks to suppress the price, point to a resumption of the fundamental bull market in gold, despite a possible increase in fears of recession.
- Three dead in shootings at Kansas Jewish centers; man to face charges (WSJ)
- Sanctions Blowback in Russia Targets Burgers to Movies (BBG)
- Deadly Virus's Spread Raises Alarms in Mideast (WSJ)
- China group buys $6bn Glencore Peru copper mine (BBG)
- Iran lodges complaint against United States over U.N. envoy ban (Reuters)
- Russian assets down sharply on Ukraine conflict fears (Reuters)
- ECB comments knock euro, but not much (Reuters)
- World-Leading $25 Hourly Wage Roils Swiss Businesses (BBG)
Ahhh, the smell of "fake" headlines in the morning. It smells like victory, especially as there goes another conspiracy "theory"
- Sensitive Market Data Leaked After Government Phone Call (WSJ)
- This is a actual Bloomberg headline: China Fake Data to Skew More Export Numbers (BBG)
- This is another actual BBG headline: U.S. as Global Growth Engine Putt-Putts Instead of Purring (BBG)
- Ukraine wants to buy European gas to boost energy security (Reuters)
- JPMorgan Profit Falls 19% on Trading, Mortgage Declines (BBG)
- Record Europe Dividends Keep $2.8 Trillion From Factories (BBG)
- Why is Goldman shutting down Sigma X: SEC eyes test that may lead to shift away from 'dark pools' (Reuters)
- Ebola Outbreak Empties Hotels as West Africa Borders Closed (BBG)
- Australian PM says searchers confident of position of MH370's black boxes (Reuters)
- Gross Says El-Erian Should Explain Reason for Exit (BBG)
After a selloff as violent as that of last night, usually the overnight liftathon crew does a great job of recovering a substantial portion of the losses. Not this time, which coupled with the sudden and quite furious breakdown on market structure, leads us to believe that something has changed rather dramatically if preserving investor confidence is not the paramount issue on the mind of the NY Fed trading desk. Nikkei 225 (-2.38%) suffered its worst week since March'11 amid broad based risk off sentiment following on from a lower close on Wall St. where the Nasdaq Biotech index suffered its largest intra-day decline since August 2011. Negative sentiment carried over into European session, with stocks lower across the board (Eurostoxx50 -1.17%) and tech under performing in a continuation of the recent sector weakness seen in the US. JP Morgan (JPM) due to report earnings at 7:00AM EDT and Wells Fargo (WFC) at 8:00Am EDT.
It was about 5 years ago, roughly the same time we launched our crusade against HFT, that we also first made the accusation that as a result of QE and the Fed's central planning, the forward-looking, discounting mechanism formerly known as the "market" no longer exists, and instead has been replaced with a policy vehicle designed to create a "wealth effect" if only for those already wealthy. In other words, while HFT may have rigged the market, it was the Fed that has openly broken it. Today, none other than the WSJ is the latest to confirm this.
The main overnight event, which we commented on previously, was China's trade data which was a disaster. March numbers turned out to be well below market consensus with exports falling 6.6% YoY (vs +4.8% expected) and imports falling 11.3% YoY (vs +3.9% expected). The underperformance of imports caused the trade balance to spike to $7.7bn (vs -$23bn in Feb). Pricing on the Greek 5-year syndicated bond is due later today, with the final size of the bond boosted to EUR 3bln from EUR 2.5bln as order books exceed EUR 20bln (equating to a rough bid/cover ratio of over 6) as the final yield is set at 4.75% (well below the 5.3% finance ministry target and well above our "the world is a bunch of idiots managing other people's money" 3% target). Ireland sold EUR 1bln in 10y bonds, marking the third successful return to the bond market since the bailout. Also of note, this morning saw the release of lower than expected French CPI data, underpinning fears of potential deflation in the Eurozone.
Remember CDOs? Murky, illiquid investments, backed by bulge-bracket firms that offered lots of yield over similar-rated corporates - just don't ask questions. As SCMP's Shirley Yam reports, China's so-called "trust" products, promise high returns with big-name backing, but a scheme touted at Ping An Bank highlights just how murky the world of mainland investment offerings is. After reading this, we suspect, that last trace of faith that the PBOC has the Chinese shadow banking system under control (and a growth renaissance is due any moment) will be eviscerated.
In what would likely get her a daily (armed) drone surveillance package with blanket NSA supervision, if not outright burned at the stake in the US, Leonie Ki - who is the new head of Hong Kong's government campaign to alleviate poverty - dared to suggest what is the absolute anathema to any nanny state such as the US: instead of relying on the government for everything, people should achieve prosperity by their own hard work. Surely in the US words such as these would result in her being tar and feathered by at least half the population for daring to suggest something so loathsome to a nation which is increasingly convinced personal prosperity comes courtesy of government handouts of everything: from Obamaphones to Obamacare and, coming soon, Obamafood.
"Whatever it takes," appears to have become the new mantra across global financial systems and with Chinese shadow banks under increasing pressure (as cash-for-commodity deal financing dries up and "hedge" losses mount on 'surprise' Yuan weakness), property developers are increasingly desperate for liquidity. The solution, as The FT reports, Chinese property companies are buying stakes in banks and raising fears that the country’s already stretched developers are trying to cosy up to their lenders. 10 Chinese developers, who have been active in recent bank IPOs, have invested an 'unprecedented' $3bn in their potential lifeline lenders.
Dr Faber discussed the importance of not owning gold stored in the U.S., the mystery of the Fed gold, why Singapore is safest for gold storage, the risks of bitcoin and how small countries should revert to national currencies. The must watch interview can be watched here ...
A mere two weeks since former JPMorgan banker, Kenneth Bellando jumped to his death, Bloomberg reports that the former CEO of Dutch Bank ABN Amro (and his wife and daughter) were found dead at their home after a possible "family tragedy." This expands the dismal list of senior financial services executive deaths to 12 in the last few months. The 57-year-old Jan Peter Schmittmann, was reportedly discovered by his other daughter when she arrived home that morning. Police declined to comment on the cirumstances of his (and his wife and daughter's) death. This is not the first C-level ABN Amro banker to be found dead. In 2009, former CFO Huibert Boumeester was discovered with (assumed self-inflicted) shotgun wounds.