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.
The new term follows in the footsteps of the classic (but now tired) “Grexit” and its underrated predecessor “Graccident,” and refers to two of the four outcomes Citi imagines are possible in the unfolding Greek drama. The bad news: both scenarios involve capital controls, deposit flight, and defaults.
"Listening to Goldman for advice on how to run the economy is like listening to Dracula on how to run a blood bank,” a prominent British economist says, in response to the bank's assessment of the dangers inherent in a "leftward shift" in the UK government. "Their real aim is to avoid 50p tax rates for high earners, the Mansion Tax and other small impositions which shift some of the burden of austerity onto the shoulders of the rich, the likes of Goldman Sachs bankers and their clients," another economist notes.
While the reality is that nobody has a clue what China's actual gold holdings are, the good news is that the answer is coming. As noted above, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has asked the head of the International Monetary Fund to include China's yuan currency in its special drawing rights (SDR) basket. If indeed China is serious about CNY inclusion in the SDR, it will finally have to reveal its cards, which would mean it finally will provide an update, with a 6 year delay, of just what its latest gold holdings are. As such, don't be surprised to wake up one morning to headlines blasting that Chinese gold holdings have gone up by 2x, 3x, 5x or (more x) since 2009, a long-overdue update which will catalyze the next major leg higher in the precious metal.