When looking at the current state of the Chinese economy it is important to note what happened leading up the ongoing predicament.
"The severely adverse scenario is characterized by a severe global recession, accompanied by a period of heightened corporate financial stress and negative yields for short-term U.S. Treasury securities.... As a result of the severe decline in real activity and subdued inflation, short-term Treasury rates fall to negative ½ percent by mid-2016 and remain at that level through the end of the scenario."
The ink was not yet dry on the seemingly endless Monsanto-Syngenta on again/off again takeover drama, when moments ago in a shocking development the newswires were lit up with news that a new, and very much unexpected, bidder has emerged for the Swiss pesticides giant Syngenta: China National Chemical Corp, or ChemChina as it is known, which according to WSJ and BBG is set to pay $43.7 billion to acquire a piece of Swiss corporate history.
It certainly does feel like groundhog day today because while last week's near record oil surge is long forgotten, and one can debate the impact the result of last night's Iowa primary which saw Trump disappoint to an ascendant Ted Cruz while Hillary and Bernie were practically tied, one thing is certain: today's continued decline in crude, which has seen Brent and WTI both tumble by over 3% has once again pushed global stocks and US equity futures lower, offsetting the euphoria from last night's earnings beat by Google which made Alphabet the largest company in the world by market cap.
Hong Kong home prices tumbled the most since July 2013, and after a 12 year upcycle, prices are now down a whopping 10% from the recent peak four short months ago. But not only has the Hong Kong housing bubble burst, it has done so in spectacular fashion: as quoted by the SCMP, the local Centaline Property Agency estimates that total Hong Kong property transactions in January were on track to register the worst month since 1991, when it started compiling monthly figures. In other words, the biggest drop in recorded history!
"This Is Much Larger Than Subprime" - Here Are The Legendary Hedge Funds Fighting The Chinese Central BankSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/31/2016 20:57 -0500
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.
Did the BOJ’s out-of-the-blue reversal on its monetary stance which was refuted just weeks prior by Mr. Kuroda himself take place because after listening to the arguments, suggestions, as well as concerns, from the participants at Davos he concluded much like what the movie “Margin Call” depicted: It was all about to unravel? And if so: is this him deciding to be “first” and considered it his only choice?
Markets these days have every reason to question the efficacy of global monetary management. Last week saw dovish crisis management vociferation from the ECB’s Draghi. Now the BOJ adopts a crisis management stance. The week also had talk of some deal to reduce global crude supply. Meanwhile, the PBOC injected a weekly record $105 billion of new liquidity. Nonetheless, the Shanghai Composite sank 6.1% to a 13-month low. There was desperation in the air – along with a heck of a short squeeze and general market mayhem.
... Rothschild’s Penney wrote that the U.S. “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world.” The U.S., he added in language later excised from his prepared remarks, lacks “the resources to enforce foreign tax laws and has little appetite to do so.”
"So why do speculators make claims that run counter to reality? Analysts said it is because either the short-sellers haven't done their homework or that they are intentionally trying to create panic to snap profits."
In concert with denial and obfuscation, pride and hubris may be clouding the image the Chinese have of themselves and their economy. What they are trying very hard NOT to communicate is how much pain their Ponzi debt burden has put them in. It’s not even fully clear to what extent Xi himself is aware of this, but he knows at least enough to keep his mouth shut on the topic. It’s quite possible that some of his top aides dare not reveal the real tally to their boss for fear of their jobs and heads. Beijing might solve some of these problems by devaluing the yuan by 30%, or even 50%, but it would invite a large amount of other problems in the door if it did. Like a full-blown currency war. Still, it’s just a matter of time till Xi and Li either do it voluntarily or are forced to by ‘the market’.
JD.com cut prices of Apple products on the internet marketplace by as much as 17%, according to information on the JD website. Customers can also purchase Apple products in 12 monthly installments with no interest charges and no downpayment." Among the discounts, iPad Air tablet with 16GB memory is priced at CNY 2,399 (USD 365), compared with CNY 2,888 on the Apple online store in China. The iPhone 6s Plus handset with 64GB memory is priced at CNY 6,288, compared with the official price of CNY 6,888.
Apple's guidance was considerably worse than expected, but always spinning positively, analysts proclaim somehows that it was "better than feared." It appears not as AAPL is now down almost 4% despite every sell-side analyst's pleas that "the bottom is in." The ultimate "no brainer" stock is now down over 28% from its highs last year and analyst targets are still at $137 on average - a nearly 50% gain from here. And finally, as if a crashing stock was not enough, Apple's Safari browser is reportedly crashing if users attempt to search - not a great day for Tim Cook.
"Nobody is really sure where we go from here, and nobody is brave enough to make the call,” Peter Dixon, Commerzbank AG’s global equities economist in London told Bloomberg. “Corporate earnings season won’t provide much of a support - markets may find a floor if the Fed is extremely dovish tonight. At least investors will have time to think and reassess valuations."