Update: CHINA TO CONTINUE STABILIZING MARKET, SENTIMENT, PREVENT RISKS, CSRC SAYS
As Beijing pledges to remain supportive amid a harrowing decline in Chinese stocks, China may find itself with no exit strategy for its plunge protection program. As BofAML notes, "An 'indefinite' holding period is certainly possible – it’s how the government had dealt with the last round of bad debts in the banking system, i.e., by shifting them to bad banks and never crystalizing the losses. But even under such a scenario, there may be unintended consequences."
Moments ago MarketNews reported that during today's "marathon governmental meeting" in which Greek PM Alexis Tsipras sat down with his party to hammer out and complete the "compromise" Greek proposal to be sent to the Troika before midnight, the prime minister told his ministers that he was "ready for compromises," suggesting he was willing to clash with the ultra-left part his party, Syriza. So far so good, and perhaps indeed suggestive of a big step down. The problem emerges upon a closer read of the proposal, which is clearly not nearly "capitulatory" enough.
China Soars Most Since 2009 After Government Threatens Short Sellers With Arrest, Global Stocks SurgeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/09/2015 08:57 -0400
The Shanghai Composite Index had dropped as much as 3.8% to a 4 month low before the news that the cops were going to arrest anyone who was caught "maliciously shorting stocks", when everything suddenly took off, and the SHCOMP closed a "Dramamine required" 5.8% higher, the biggest daily increase since March 2009! Stocks around the globe followed, with US equity futures wiping out much of yesterday's losses and up 1% at last check.
Even after this somewhat catastrophic drop, BofAML warns the Chinese market looks expensive. Deleveraging is likely far from over, they add, concluding that the market is a "falling knife" and only direct buying by the government will mark the bottom. As Deutsche adds, "so large are the losses for the 20 million accounts opened from mid-April to mid-June that in aggregate no money has been made for 2 years."
As one local reporter put it, despite being told not to say anything negative, "the government appeared to have lost its ability to manage the market." Chinese stocks are down 4-5% at the open, pressing new cycle lows with Shenzhen and CHINEXT now down 25% from last week. As The South China Morning Post reports, many investors said the government was at least partly to blame for the collapse because it encouraged them to go into the market - for months, state-owned media have issued daily commentaries to encourage people to load up on shares.
Mainstream media-ites continue to believe that a long period of low volatility is a sign of market health. In fact it is quite the opposite. A sleep-walking market is a reflection of complete disregard as to risk. Markets enter such periods of complacency when there has been a long uptrend, with periods of very low volatility reflecting where the market has come from, not where it is going. Such periods are far more likely to be a sign of an impending trend reversal than of a continued uptrend.
"The growing size of the asset management industry may have increased the risk of liquidity illusion: market liquidity seems to be ample in normal times, but vanishes quickly during market stress. This liquidity may be artificial and less robust in the event of market turbulence." So what's the solution? Unfortunately there isn't one. Instead, fund managers are simply resorting to emergency liquidity lines with banks which is just another manifestation of using cheap cash to delay the Schumpeterian endgame scenario which, if ever allowed to play out, will finally purge capital markets, reset the system, and free the world from the nefarious clutches of central bankers gone mad with delusions of Keynesian grandeur.
While China is rather proud of the fact that it hasn't yet implemented outright QE, Beijing has now put in place a bewildering hodge-podge of hastily construed easing measures that can't seem to get out of their own way.
"Don't fight the Fed," unless The Fed says "sell." That appears to be the message loud and clear from an absolutely exuberant Biotech bubble that is now up over 75% from Janet Yellen's "stretched valuations" warning last year...
Explosive moves ahead...
"Only if the economy is powered by the marginal borrower who will no longer borrow after a 0.25% hike, does it make sense to believe a hike will derail the economy. Comparisons to 1937, where a hike pushed the US into recession, are incomparable and groundless. On the other hand, maybe the FOMC is worried that the ‘no free lunch’ concept makes them suspicious of the possibility of a meaningfully deleterious market reaction which could have a negative impact on the broader economy. However, under this logic, delaying a hike would only exacerbate such a response."
More than merely a subjective, psychological state, the complacency of market participants can be effectively quantified, which is precisely what Deutsche Bank's David Bianco has done by looking at the ratio of the market's P/E to implied vol or VIX. As the chart below shows, on a daily basis the PE/VIX ratio just hit 1.49x - it has never been higher, and again based on DB's estimation, market sentiment has now crossed from the complacency zone into outright Mania. The last time this ratio was at the current level: late 2007/early 2008, just before the Fed had to launch a multi-trillion bailout to save capitalism as we know it.
The politicians like the bankers and the central bankers, are happy to kick the can down the road and let their successors and future generations pick up the tab and pay for the economic mess that they refuse to address.
Investors are clearly in a bit of a no-man’s land of market narrative, with the dollar weakening and U.S. corporate earnings slipping. Market participants, like all pack animals, appreciate clear direction and leadership – and we don’t have much of either right now. When considering how they will react, we can compare the two competing frameworks for understanding market behavior: the "Random Walk hypothesis" and the "House money effect." The first states that markets move in random patterns, with prior activity having no bearing on future price action. The latter shows that individuals do actually consider prior gains and losses when making economic decisions. Let’s just hope investors hold to their belief that it’s the house’s money at work here, and that they don’t walk randomly out of the market.