This is the third day in a row that an attempt to mount an overnight ramp out of the US has fizzled, with first the Nikkei closing down for the second day in a row and snapping a week-long rally, and then the Shanghai Composite following suit with its 5th consecutive drop in a row as the rumblings out of the PBOC on the inflation front get louder and louder, following PBOC governor Zhou's statement that inflation expectations must be stabilized and that great importance must be attached to inflation. Stirring the pot further was SAFE chief Yi Gang who joined the Chinese chorus warning against a currency war, by saying the G20 should avoid competitive currency devaluations. Obviously China is on the edge, and only the US stock market is completely oblivious that the marginal economy may soon force itself to enter outright contraction to offset the G-7 exported hot money keeping China's real estate beyond bubbly. Finally, SocGen released a note last night title "A strong case for easing Korean monetary policy" which confirms that it is only a brief matter of time before the Asian currency war goes thermonuclear. Moving to Europe, it should surprise nobody that the only key data point, Eurozone Industrial Production for January missed badly, printing at -0.4% on expectations of a -0.1% contraction, down from a 0.9% revised print in December as the European recession shows no signs of abating. So while the rest of the world did bad or worse than expected for the third day in a row, it will be up to the POMO and seasonally adjusted retail sales data in the US to offset the ongoing global contraction, and to send the perfectly manipulated Dow Jones to yet another all time high, in direct refutation of logic and every previous market reality ever.
- One in four Germans would back anti-euro party (Reuters)
- EU Chiefs Seeking to Stave Off Euro Crisis Turn to Cyprus (BBG)
- Ryan Says His Budget Would Slow Annual Spending Growth to 3.4% (BBG)
- Goldman leads decline as Wall Street commodity revenues plummet (Reuters)
- South Korea and US begin military drills (FT) and North Korea cuts off hotline with South Korea (Reuters)
- Karzai Inflames U.S. Tensions (WSJ)
- Algorithms Get a Human Hand in Steering Web (NYT)
- Meeting Is Set to Choose Pope (WSJ)
- More U.S. Profits Parked Abroad, Saving on Taxes (WSJ)
- Banks rush to redraft pay deals (FT)
- Fugitive Fund Manager Stuffed Underwear With Cash, Fled (BBG)
- Post-Newtown Gun Limits Agenda Narrows in U.S. Congress (BBG)
- China Hints at Shift in One-Child Policy (WSJ)
First it was a sudden bout of tightening following a series of record liquidity withdrawing repos, then it was two disappointing PMIs, then it was a warning that China's property market is (as usual) overheating and major curbs were being implemented, then it was China's "state of the union" address in which the country trimmed substantially its outlook for the remainder of the year, predicting well below trendline economic growth, inflation and credit expansion, then we got an absolute collapse in Chinese imports indicating the domestic economy had gone into a state of if not shock then outright stasis, and finally overnight we got an update on China's retail sales and industrial output which both had their weakest combined start to a year since the global recession in 2009, leading Bloomberg to title its summary article, "China’s Economic Data Show Weakest Start Since 2009", and further adding that the data is now "adding to signs of a moderating rebound in the world’s second-biggest economy." Luckily, in the new batshit normal, who needs the fastest growing marginal economy: the weight of the growing world can obviously be dumped on the shoulders of the savings-less, part-time working US consumer, accountable for 70% of US GDP, and thus about 20% of the global economy. What can possibly go wrong?
So much for that December plunge in the US trade deficit, which plunged from $48.6 billion to three year low of $38.5 billion supposedly on a drop in energy imports, but in reality was due to a drop in broad imports as the US economy ground to a halt ahead of the Fiscal Cliff. In January, or after the stop gap measure to allow the economy to continue, things went back to normal, with the US returning to doing what it does best: importing, especially importing expensive energy, and sure enough the deficit spiked promptly back to $44.4 billion - it recent long-term average - as exports were $2.2 billion less than December exports of $186.6 billion while January imports were $4.1 billion more than December imports of $224.8 billion. Immediate result: look for banks to trim 0.2-0.3% GDP points from their Q1 GDP forecasts.
- French unemployment rises again to highest since 1999 (Reuters)
- BoJ rejects call for monetary easing (FT)
- North Korea threatens pre-emptive nuclear strike against US (Guardian)
- Firms Race to Raise Cash (WSJ)
- Time Warner Will Split From Magazine Unit in Third Spinoff (BBG) - slideshows, kittens, "all you need to knows" coming to Time
- U.S. economy, world's engine, remains in "neutral": Fed's Fisher (Reuters)
- BOE Keeps QE on Hold as Officials Weigh More Radical Measures (BBG)
- Jobs start to go as US sequestration cuts in (FT)
- BofA Times an Options Trade Well (WSJ)
- Congress Budget Cuts Damage U.S. Economy Without Aiding Outlook (BBG)
- Dell’s Crafted LBO Pitch Gets Messy as Investors Circle (BBG)
- Dell says Icahn opposes go-private deal (Reuters)
- Portugal Rating Outlook Raised to Stable by S&P on Budget Plan (BBG)
- China’s Richer-Than-Romney Lawmakers Reveal Reform Challenge (BBG)
In official testimony before Congress in December 1912, just three months before his death, J.P. Morgan stated quite plainly: "[Credit] is not the money itself. Money is gold, and nothing else." Of course, this testimony came only 253 days before H.R. 7837, better known as the Federal Reserve Act, was introduced on the floor of Congress. The Federal Reserve Act went on to become law and pave the way for the perpetual fraud of fiat currency which underpins our modern financial system. And if unbacked paper currency isn't bad enough, we award dictatorial control of the money supply to a tiny handful of people, and then simply trust them to be good guys. Owning gold is the same as voting against this system, turning your paper currency into something that they cannot inflate or conjure out of thin air. Yet there's one problem.
- As ZH has been saying for months... Draghi Will Need to Push the Euro Down Some More (WSJ) ... but careful with "redenomination risk"
- Senate Report Said to Fault JPMorgan (NYT)
- EU Opens Way for Easier Budgets After Backlash (BBG)
- China Moves to Temper Growth - Property Bubble Is a Key Concern (WSJ)
- China bets on consumer-led growth to cure social ills (Reuters)
- Italian president mulls new technocrat government (Reuters)
- Grillo says MPS won't back technocrats (ANSA)
- The Russians will be angry: Euro Chiefs Won’t Rule Out Cyprus Depositor Losses (BBG)
- China Bankers Earn Less Than New York Peers as Pay Dives (BBG)
- Investors click out of Apple into Google (FT)
- Community colleges' cash crunch threatens Obama's retraining plan (Reuters)
- Alwaleed challenges Forbes over his billions - Calculation of $20bn net worth is flawed, says Saudi prince (FT)
- Guy Hands Dips Into Own Pockets to Fund Bonuses at Terra Firma (BBG)
- North Korea to scrap armistice if South and U.S. continue drills (Reuters)
It has been four years since we first introduced the non-believing world to China's ghost cities. Two years later, we revisited to check on the widescale immigration that was expected to occur into these salubrious suburbs. Alas, another epic Keynesian fail as we so delicately described the 'if we build it, they will come' mentality. Now, four years after the news of the Chinese real estate bubble began to break on tin-foil hat-wearing blogs, the mainstream media (to wit, Sixty Minutes) have gone in depth - taking a wonderfully eery trip through these ghost cicties explaining the growing (and in some places popping) bubble in Chinese real estate markets. The incredulous host concludes this chilling saga, "Meanwhile, people who can afford it are still buying as much real estate as they can... potential buyers crowding buses to see new construction and new owners line up to register their new apts... Like us in our bubble, they just don't believe the good times will ever end." It's all make-believe -- non-existent supply for non existent demand.
ViaMat, a Swiss logistics company that has been safeguarding precious metals since 1945, is literally the gold standard in secure storage. They have vaults from Switzerland to Hong Kong to Dubai, and they count among their clients some of the largest mining companies in the world. They know what they’re doing. And now they’re dumping US citizens.... due to US tax structure changes. If history is any guide, storing gold abroad is critical.
Fundamentals? What the hell does that mean?
Keep your eyes on the prize. The important part of the G20 statement had nothing to do with currency wars.
Gold edged up on Thursday, as bargain hunters showed buying interest and gold was particularly strong in euro terms after data from Europe confirmed the continent remains very vulnerable to economic shocks.
The euro area recession deepened and data showed that the euro area economy shrank the most since 2009 and its three biggest economies, Germany, France and Italy, suffered slumping output.
Following yesterday's G-7 announcement which sent the USDJPY soaring, and its embarrassing "misinterpretation" clarification which undid the entire spike, by an anonymous source in the US who said the statement was in fact meant to state that the Yen was dropping too fast and was to discourage "currency wars", it was only a matter of time before another G-7 country stepped into the fray to provide a mis-misinterpretation of the original G-7 announcement. That someone was the BoE's outgoing head Mervyn King who at 5:30 am eastern delivered his inflation reporting which he said that "it’s very important to allow exchange rates to move," adding that "when countries take measures to use monetary stimulus to support growth in their economy, then there will be exchange rate consequences, and they should be allowed to flow through." Finally, King added that the BOE will look through CPI and relentless UK inflation to support the recovery, implicitly even if it means incurring more inflation.
Concerns about the devaluations and the growing risk of a severe bout of inflation have led to calls for a return to fixed exchange rates and a gold standard. Bloomberg’s Trish Regan and Adam Johnson interviewed TCW Group’s Komal Sri-Kumar and Bank of New York Mellon's Michael Woolfolk about the risks from currency wars on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." Trish Regan asks whether there is a danger that “we have massive inflation worldwide for years to come?” The answer is yes and both agree that inflation is a real risk as is a loss of credibility by central banks.
In what has been a quiet start to week dominated by the G-20 meeting whose only purpose is to put Japan and its upstart currency destruction in its place, many are expecting a formal G-7 statement on currencies and what is and isn't allowed in currency warfare according to the "New Normal" non-Geneva convention. Because while there may not have been much overnight news, both the EURUSD and USDJPY just waited for Europe to open, to surge right out of the gates, and while the former has been somewhat subdued in the aftermath of the ECB's surprising entry into currency wars last week, it was the latter that was helped by statements from Haruhiko Kuroda (not to be confused with a Yankee's pitcher) who many believe will be the next head of the BOJ, who said that additional BOJ easing can be justified for 2013. He didn't add if that would happen only if he is elected. Expect much more volatility in various FX pairs as the topic of global thermonuclear currency war dominates the airwaves in the coming days.