"I think it's pretty bad style"...
...and it just promises to get worse!
When we see guys like Bernie Sanders get visibly angry at guys like Alan Greenspan it behooves all of us to go beyond the entertainment of it or some prima facie agreement and to truly understand why the anger is justified. If we were to all take the responsibility to understand the lifeblood of our American existence i.e. the economy, we will most certainly be moved to remove not only the policymakers but the system that together serve only those at the top of the economic food chain and at a cost to the rest of us. When we do we will be asking why in the hell is no one yelling at Janet Yellen??
Heading into the China session, offshore Yuan signaled a 1% devaluation was on the cards. Of course, all media eyes were focused on the disaster in Tianjin but after 3 days of what was supposed to a 'one-off' adjustment, The PBOC has in fact surprised with a modestly stronger fix at 6.3975 from yesterday's 6.4010 Fix. That leaves the CNY Fix devaluation to a 4.60% loss in 4 day. Of course, its a bit hypocritical of Americans or Europeans to regard the Chinese as mean and nasty and currency warriors because they're letting their currency adjust against a constantly-devaluing dollar and euro. The US has been devaluing the dollar for years, but that's a-ok for Western commentators, apparently. It appears - judging by the opening devaluation and closing intervention - that China is as set on crushing the herd of one-way carry traders as any export-enhancing currency debasement.
Although the headline number suggests that credit demand in China was robust in July, the "expansion" was entirely attributable to Beijing's mammoth equity plunge protection effort. As for the real economy, well, the picture isn't pretty.
As we first warned in March, and as became abundantly clear over the weekend Beijing had no choice but to join the global currency wars, as the yuan's dollar peg will ultimately prove to be too painful going forward. And sure enough this evening the PBOC weakens the Yuan fix by the most on record.
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.
You cannot understand gold if you think it goes up and down, that the dollar is the measure of gold. Gold does not necessarily go up with interest, inflation, or commodities. Indeed, it does not go anywhere. It's the dollar going places (mostly down).
We have argued that it is a perilous myth that central bankers these days control a general price level. They instead incentivize massive financial flows into securities markets and fashionable sectors. Over time, ramifications and consequences reach the profound. For one, excess liquidity promotes over/mal-investment. It’s only the scope and nature that remain in question. If major Bubble flows inundate new technology investment, the resulting surge in the supply of high-margin products engenders disinflationary pressures elsewhere. Policy responses to perceived heightened “deflation” risks then only work to exacerbate Bubbles, mounting imbalances and structural fragilities. This was a critical facet of “Roaring Twenties” analysis that was lost in time.
In almost all cases, including the most recent rise, the intermittent change in psychology that drove interest rates higher in the short run, occurred despite weakening inflation. There was, however, always a strong sentiment that the rise marked the end of the bull market, and a major trend reversal was taking place. This is also the case today. Presently, four misperceptions have pushed Treasury bond yields to levels that represent significant value for long-term investors. While Treasury bond yields have repeatedly shown the ability to rise in response to a multitude of short-run concerns that fade in and out of the bond market on a regular basis, the secular low in Treasury bond yields is not likely to occur until inflation troughs and real yields are well below long-run mean values.
No bubble can remain aloft without a heavy dose of monetary inflation. The fact that China’s authorities, including its central bank, have been unable to stem the decline stands as a stark warning to the many Western investors who seemingly believe that central banks are nigh omnipotent entities run by magicians. This is not the case. Once an asset bubble begins to burst, there there is nothing central bankers can do to stop it – and we have plenty of bubbles awaiting their turn in the barrel.
It has been a mostly quiet overnight session with Europe solidly green on another bout of Greek hope even as Bundesbank's Weidmann warned that Greek insolvency risks are rising and Greece reporting that its unemployment rose once more from 26.1% to 26.6% in Q1, in which we got two more rate cuts by New Zealand (which sent the Kiwi crashing the most since 2011) and South Korea (the Won initially dipped only to rebound) but China stole the stage with its latest report on retail sales, industrial production, and fixed investment all of which showed a modest bounce from multi-year lows suggesting the PBOC's attempts to shock the economy into growth may be starting to work (which is bad news for the market).
It just blows our mind, that in the face of almost every indicator having collapsed over the first 6 months of this year, market ‘pros’ just act as though it isn’t happening! It’s impressive to watch the insanity, the denial, the delusion, that has become the basis of the steady state market. What is continuing is us extending ourselves again on the very assumption that the American Consumer will rebound to its peak strength. Because there are those few all powerful economic cannibals that profit on policy rather than economics, we will continue down this flawed path until the legend of the Almighty American Consumer succumbs to reality. And that day my friends will be an ugly one for the record books.
Our current money system began in 1971. It survived consumer price inflation of almost 14% a year in 1980. But Paul Volcker was already on the job, raising interest rates to bring inflation under control. And it survived the “credit crunch” of 2008-09. Ben Bernanke dropped the price of credit to almost zero, by slashing short-term interest rates and buying trillions of dollars of government bonds. But the next crisis could be very different…
As the afternoon session opened overnight in China, stocks were crashing 6-7% (after dropping over 10% and soaring over 15% in the 5 days prior). With record and exponentially growing margin trading one can only imagine the vast majority of new account-holding housewives were stopped out of various positions. Which makes us wonder, just who the mysterious buyer of last resort was that lifted Chinese stocks ever-so-linearly all the way back to unchanged (and in fact green for Shanghai). We suspect you know the answer, and sure enough, just as Bloomberg notes, who cares about China's economy when stocks are rising this much? Simply put, this is bread-and-circuses distraction for the masses of Chinese facing the harsh economic reality of a post debt-fueled bubble bursting.