Hong Kong

Iran Responds To US Naval Escalation, Sends Warship Escort For Yemen Aid Vessel

The Iranian Navy is escorting Yemen-bound ships which Tehran says are carrying humanitarian aid for those caught in the crossfire between the Houthis and the Saudis. Given 'coalition' suspicions surrounding the possibility that Iran is arming militiamen, expect the US to be very interested in inspecting the aid vessels, setting the stage for a possible "accident" off the war-torn country's coast.

Global Bond Rout Returns With A Vengeance; 10Y Treasury Tumbles Under Key Support; Futures Pounded

It all started again in Asia, although not in China where the berserker mania bid for stocks has returned and the SHCOMP is now up nearly 5% in the past two days following the PBOC's latest easing, but in Japan where once again the massively illiquid JGB market, of which the BOJ owns roughly a third as of this moment, is going through yet another shock period (if not quite VaR yet) with last night's 10 Year JGB auction seeing the lowest Bid to Cover since 2009. This was the beginning, and promptly thereafter bond yields around the globe spiked once more, with 10-year Treasury yields climbing to a five-month high, as the global rout in debt markets deepened. The biggest casualty so far is the Bund, which having retraced some of the flash crash losses from two weeks ago is once again in panic selling mode, and while not having taken out the recent 0.8% flash crash wides, traded just shy of 0.75% this morning.

Free Trade Is Plutocratic Propaganda

In 2003, Kevin Flanagan was an information technology employee at Bank of America. They told him he was being replaced with foreign labor, and he was ordered to train his replacement. After he completed his assignment, he was laid off. Then he went to the parking lot and shot himselfThat's "free trade."

Frontrunning: May 7

  • Fed’s Yellen: Stock Valuations ‘Generally Are Quite High’ (WSJ)
  • Britain's dead-heat election 'down to the wire' on polling day (Reuters)
  • European Markets Roiled by U.S. Fed Chief Janet Yellen’s Comments (WSJ)
  • Stocks Drop With German Bonds to Extend $2 Trillion Global Loss (BBG)
  • Oil heads toward 2015 highs despite ample supply (Reuters)
  • Wary of bond 'cliff,' Fed plans cautious cuts to portfolio (Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia mulling land operations on Yemen border (Reuters)

It Begins: US Government Issues $700,000 Fine Against A Digital Currency

By going after Ripple (a major player in the industry), FinCEN is trying to scare all the smaller players into ratting out their customers. You don’t see rich, stable countries doing this sort of thing. In fact, the exact opposite. An official from HK Treasury recently stated that: “the Government does not consider it necessary to introduce at the moment new legislation to regulate trading in such virtual commodities or prohibit people from participating in such activities.”

Wynn Calls "Big" Recovery "Complete Dream" As Gaming Revenues Collapse

"If you were to ask me, since we’re making forward-looking statements, what will the second quarter look like in Las Vegas? Weak. Do you hear me? Weak. So I’m trying to lower expectations here. This notion of a big recovery is a complete dream," Steve Wynn says, underscoring not only the weakness in gaming revenue from the Vegas strip to Macau, but also the fact that there simply is no economic recovery in the US.

Hong Kong 'Loophole' May Have Flooded China With Radioactive Japanese Foods

And the 'incidents' just keep coming for Japan. Lax safety checks at Kwai Chung container terminal - the only sea entry point for food from overseas - have allowed banned imports from Japan to enter Hong Kong, according to Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan. As The South China Morning Post reports, radioactive contaminated food may have been entering the city unnoticed for years because of deficiencies in safety controls on fresh produce since the ban following the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident in 2011.

China Faces End Of "Migrant Miracle" As Demographic Ceiling Imperils Economy

China is faced with a new reality wherein the very conditions that have supported the country's rapid economic growth may now be set for a wholesale reversal, as the "migrant miracle" gives way to a consumer-driven economy characterized by rising wages, decreased savings and investment, and falling export competitiveness. Meanwhile, what was once a "demographic dividend" is quickly becoming a "demographic deficit" as the number of working-age Chinese begins to decline. Beijing's response to this new reality will go a long way towards shaping the country's economic future.

Frontrunning: May 5

  • Fed's Yellen says met firm at heart of leak probes (Reuters)
  • EU Raises Growth Outlook as ECB Counters Greek Threat (BBG)
  • Hillary Clinton Takes Hit in WSJ Poll, but Holds Edge Over GOP Rivals (WSJ)
  • China stocks slump on tighter margin rules, IPOs; Hong Kong down (Reuters)
  • McDonald’s Chief Promises Turnaround in a Restructuring (NYT)
  • German Bond Market Selloff Continues (WSJ)
  • Vanguard overtakes Pimco’s Total Return following outflows in wake of Bill Gross’s departure (WSJ)
  • EU Demands Concessions as Greece Hurtles Toward Deadlines (BBG)
  • Junk Bonds Are The New Haven Assets (BBG)

China Stocks Tumble Most In 4 Months; Australia Cuts Rates To Record Low

Yesterday, when we heard that China brokers may impose tighter margin requirements to contain what is now a laughable stock bubble we said that tonight's Shanghai session could get exciting: "China may get exciting: Some China Brokers Raise Margin Trading Requirement: Sec. News" It did: overnight the Shanghai Composite tumbled by 4.1% to under 4300, the biggest one day drop since January 19.

How Chinese Oligarchs Used Fake Trade Invoices To Launder Almost $1 Trillion Globally

"China’s capital account might be closed—but it’s not that closed. Between 2003 and 2012, $1.3 trillion slipped out of mainland China—more than any other developing country... GFI says the most common way money leaks out in the developing world is through fake trade invoices. The other big culprit is “hot money,” likely due to corruption—which GFI gleans from inconsistencies in balance of payments data. In China, both activities have picked up since 2009." Just like in the U.S., the so-called government “stimulus” in China achieved nothing more than to stimulate an oligarch crime spree. Hence the global boom in $100 million real estate, art and everything extremely high-end. As intended, the bailouts and stimulus on a global basis went directly to the 0.0001%.

Billionaires Hoard $100 Million Homes At Record Pace: "Beats Gold, Because You Can Boast"

Nowhere is the new normal more evident than the frenzied hording of so-called "trophy homes" by the world's 1800 billionaires. As Bloomberg reports, the ultra-luxury housing market is scaling new heights as a record number of properties around the world command prices topping $100 million. Demand is growing among affluent Americans and Europeans; billionaires from unstable economies, such as Russia and Middle Eastern countries; and buyers from mainland China, who were barred from investing overseas before 2012. Why - simple (to them?)... "They’re a scarce commodity. And they’re better than gold because you can boast about it."

Key Events In The Coming Week

Quickly looking at the potential market moving events this week, US payrolls on Friday will be the clear focus. In terms of expectations, our US colleagues are expecting a +225k print which matches the current Bloomberg consensus, while they expect the unemployment rate to drop one-tenth to 5.4%. Elsewhere, Thursday’s UK Election will be closely followed while Greece will once again be front and center.

Frontrunning: May 4

  • Win or lose, Cameron's political career hangs by a thread (Reuters)
  • Greece aims for deal with lenders, IMF hard on reforms: minister (Reuters)
  • Greek Jobless Legacy Adds Danger for Tsipras as Funds Dry Up (BBG)
  • U.S. Will Change Stance on Secret Phone Tracking (WSJ)
  • China April HSBC PMI shows biggest drop in factory activity in a year (Reuters)
  • Goldman Sachs in Talks to Sell Its Coal Mines (WSJ)
  • Takeover Fuel Begins to Flow as S&P 500 Bull Run Makes History (BBG)

Futures Flat As Global Markets Closed For May Day

Holidays in Europe and Asia left things quiet overnight after some traders used the last day of April to frontrun the old "sell in May and go away" market adage. Market closures also kept the Chinese day trading hordes from using a tiny beat on the official manufacturing PMI print as an excuse to pile more money into the country's equity mania, while Japanese shares ended mostly unchanged as investors fret over when the BoJ will deliver the next shot of monetary heroin. In the US we'll get a look at ISM manufacturing and the latest read on consumer confidence as we head into the weekend.