The PBOC cut itself was not surprising, considering the PBOC now has to juggle and micromanage every aspect of the economy, from its sliding currency, to the bursting stock bubble, to record capital outflow, to soaring real interest rates, to the slowing economy. In fact, bulls around the globe will welcome the latest central bank bailout. Which also happens to be the worst aspect of today's intervention, because one can once again toss all the talk that China would finally stop intervening in asset pricing, with today's decision merely perpetuating the market's reliance on central banks. As a reference, this was the second time China cut both RRR and interest rates in 2 months: the last time it did so was during the depths of the financial crisis.
Dazed And Confused: Futures Tumble Below 200 DMA, Oil Near $40, Soaring Treasurys Signal Deflationary DelugeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/20/2015 07:00 -0400
It is unclear what precipitated it (some blamed China concerns, fears of rate hikes, commodity weakness, technical picture deterioration although it's all just goalseeking guesswork) but overnight S&P futures followed yesterday's unexpected slide following what were explicitly dovish Fed minutes, and took another sharp leg lower down by almost 20 points, set to open below the 200 DMA again, as the dazed and confused investing world reacts to what both the Treasury and Oil market signal is a deflationary deluge. Indeed, oil is about to trade under $40 while the 10Y Treasury was last seen trading at 2.07%. Incidentally, the last time oil was here in March of 2009, the Fed was about to unleash QE 1. This time, so called experts are debating if the Fed will hike rates in one month or three.
Take a step back from the media, and Wall Street commentary, for a moment and make an honest assessment of the financial markets today. If our job is to "bet" when the "odds" of winning are in our favor, then exactly how "strong" is the fundamental hand you are currently betting on? This "time IS different" only from the standpoint that the variables are not exactly the same as they have been previously. Of course, they never are, and the result will be "...the same as it ever was."
If yesterday it was the turn of the upside stop hunting algos to crush anyone who was even modestly bearishly positioned in what ended up being the biggest short squeeze of 2015, then today it is the downside trailing stops that are about to be taken out in what remains the most vicious rangebound market in years, in the aftermath of the Chinese currency devaluation which weakened the CNY reference rate against the USD by the most on record, in what some have said was an attempt by China to spark its flailing SDR inclusion chances, but what was really a long overdue reaction by an exporter country having pegged to the strongest currency in the world in the past year.
The US bull market is the most ‘neutral’ bull market on record. Past examples say this could be bullish, but the absence of bearishness is a complicating factor.
What if the assumptions about a U.S. economic recovery and Fed rate hikes were wrong? Could observers be mistaken now about the trajectory of the Dollar vs. the Euro as they were back in 2000? Confidence is the only thing that really undergirds modern fiat currencies. But confidence can be very ephemeral...disappearing as quickly as it arrives. The U.S. Dollar benefits from confidence that the Euro currency may just be unworkable, that the U.S. economy will continue to improve, and that the Fed will raise rates throughout the remainder of 2015 and into 2016. If these expectations are unfulfilled, there could be a Euro reversal.
For the first half an hour after China opened, things looked bleak: after opening down 5%, the Shanghai Composite staged a quick relief rally, then tumbled again. And then, just around 10pm Eastern, we saw a coordinated central bank intervention stepping in to give the flailing PBOC a helping hand, driven by the BOJ but also involving NY Fed members, that sent the USDJPY soaring which in turn dragged ES and most risk assets up with it. And while Shanghai did end up closing down -1.7%, with Shenzhen 2.2% lower at the close, the final outcome was far better than what could have been, with the result being that S&P futures have gone back to doing their thing, and have wiped out all of yesterday's losses in the levitating, zero volume, overnight session which has long become a favorite setting for central banks buying E-Minis.
“China’s market is so distorted, you can’t sell short very confidently and you can’t buy up very confidently either," warns one Hong Kong-based asset manager as despite massive "measures" and manipulation, Chinese stocks extend yesterday's stunning losses (CSI-300 -5% at the open, Shanghai -4.1%). As Bloomberg reports, investors “are concerned and lost," although government officials tried to claim the situation by explaining they will "continue efforts to stabilize market and investor sentiment, and prevent systemic risk." As stocks continued to fall, the market is summed up by the opposing views of one broker noting "China won't tolerate a worsening stock market, so those state-backed financial institutions may start buying," and another who warned "it's hard to start a new up move after a bubble bursts... I don't think they are able to prevent it falling."
This was not supposed to happen.
"Public statements, media reports and market data reveal that Beijing unleashed 5 trillion yuan in funds - equivalent to nearly 10 percent of China's GDP in 2014 and greater than the 4 trillion yuan it committed in response to the global financial crisis - to calm a savage share sell-off. Beijing has thus produced the equivalent of around 1 index point gain for every $1 billion committed," Reuters reports.
Chinese Gold reserves jump 604 tons from 1,054 tons last reported in 2009 to 1,658 tons. Many gold observers ask: "Is that it"? Since 2009 China has mined over 2,000 tons of gold and imported over 3,300 tons of gold through Hong Kong*. Where did it all go?
"The European Central Bank has introduced secret credit lines to Bulgaria and Romania as part of a broader effort to convince foreign regulators not to pull the plug on the local subsidiaries of Greek banks," FT reports.
Chinese markets bounced last night following drastic intervention by the state when it banned large players from selling their shares in listed companies – arresting the over 30% decline of the past four weeks.
The ECB is moving to backstop Bulgaria's banking sector in an effort to get ahead of a Greek contagion."The ECB would provide access to its refinancing operations, offering euros to the banking system against eligible collateral," Bloomberg reports, citing unnamed sources.