With China's equity bubble now squarely in the rearview and the stock market crash making headlines the world over, Beijing is out for blood in a desperate attempt to find a scapegoat for a market rout that has rattled the country to the core. In what is perhaps a worrying sign of things to come, overnight China arrested a journalist and a top investment banker for "spreading fake trading information" and "illegal trading", respectively.
Iran’s oil minister says his country supports calls for an emergency OPEC meeting to explore ways to shore up the price of oil, but even without such an effort, Tehran is willing to regain its market share “at any cost.”
"Regional buyers need a lot of conviction to step in front of this speeding train [especially] in context of a rapidly changing economic environment."
"It is an old saying in commodities that the best cure for low prices is low prices. Market participants are now asking how much further prices need to fall and how long they need to stay there to bring supply and demand back in to balance and halt the price declines across a broad swathe of different raw materials markets. The fear is that just as the upside of the supercycle brought an unprecedented and long period of historical price highs, the plunge to the downside is shaping up to be equally dramatic and may yet have a way to run."
Over the weeks, months, and years ahead we’ll begin to understand more about the fallout from the death of the petrodollar and nowhere is it likely to be more apparent than in Saudi Arabia where widening fiscal and current account deficits have forced the Saudis to tap the bond market to mitigate the FX drawdown that's fueling speculation about the viability of the dollar peg. As Bloomberg reports, the current situation mirrors a "very scary moment" in Saudi Arabia’s history.
OPEC next gathers December 4 in Vienna, just over a year since Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi announced at the previous OPEC winter meeting the Saudi decision to let the oil market determine oil prices rather than to continue Saudi Arabia’s role of guarantor of $100+/bbl oil. Despite the intense financial and economic pain this decision has inflicted on Saudi Arabia, its fellow OPEC members, and other oil producers, the Saudis have given no indication they plan to alter course. Given the Saudi decision’s positive impact on their and their Gulf Arab allies’ relative position within OPEC and its negative impact on OPEC outsiders, it is possible, perhaps even likely, the Saudis will face an OPEC outsider revolt at the December 4 OPEC meeting.. with three possible outcomes - Reconociliation, Separation, or Divorce.
Persistently low oil prices have already inflicted economic pain on oil-producing countries. But with crude sticking near six-year lows, the risk of political turmoil is starting to rise. There are several countries in which the risks are the greatest – Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, and Venezuela – and, as we noted previously, RBC Capital Markets has labeled them the “Fragile Five.”
- Crude prices fall towards $40 on global glut (Reuters)
- China Central Bank Injects Most Funds Since February as Money Rates Increase (BBG)
- Divided Fed Puts Yellen on Hot Seat (Hilsenrath)
- So Long September: Bond Traders Defer Their Date With the Fed (BBG)
- More Foods Boast Non-GMO Labels—Even Those Without GMO Varieties (WSJ)
- UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site (AP)
- IAEA says access to Iran's Parchin military site meets demands (Reuters)
- Time to End Quarterly Reports, Law Firm Says (WSJ)
Even before the latest shot across the bow in the escalating global currency wars, EM FX was beset by falling commodity prices, stumbling Chinese demand, and a looming Fed hike. And while, as Barclays notes, "estimating the global effects China has via the exchange rate and growth remains a rough exercise," more than a few observers believe the effect may be to spark a Asian Financial Crisis redux. For their part, BofAML has endeavored to compare last week’s move to the 1994 renminbi devaluation, on the way to drawing comparisons between what happened in 1997 and what may unfold in the months ahead.
The story behind the deadly chemical explosion that rocked China’s Tianjin port last Wednesday continues to evolve amid fears that the public could be at risk from the hundreds of tonnes of sodium cyanide stored at the facility. Indeed, new samples show that the cyanide level in the water around the site is some 28 times the safety standard. It looks as though determining who actually owns Ruihai will be complicated by the fact that in China, it’s not uncommon for front men to hold shares on behalf of a company’s real owners. In an effort to pacify the country’s censored masses, party mouthpiece The People’s Daily said 10 people, including the head and deputy head of Ruihai had been detained since Thursday. Finally, initial estimates put the cost of the blast at bewteen $1 billion and $1.5 billion.
Today many are talking about the economy, but that’s all they’re doing: talking. Doesn’t matter if its today’s politician, CEO’s from the largest corporations, some national or regional business association figure-head, right down to academia with its self-perpetuating gaggle of Ivory Tower economic aficionados. All they are doing is paying lip-service to the problems. And the reason? They can’t do anything about it because as of today, the U.S. economy is being controlled high-handedly by The Federal Reserve. The U.S. economy has never before been under the command and control of a single entity – until now. Today the Fed. entices nearly all businesses to focus on short-term games of financial engineering rather than on core business principles to grow. This is what a stance at the zero bound gives rise to.
If crude’s slump back to a six-year low looks bad, Bloomberg notes that it’s even worse when you reflect that summer is supposed to be peak season for oil, and “it will get more so as refiners go into maintenance.”
"Losses on car loans taken out by bad-credit borrowers are continuing to climb. What's driving the rise? Nomura has an idea."
What was once the most popular Android manufacture in the world, HTC’s market price has now fallen below the value of its own cash reserves of roughly $1.4 billion. According to Calvin Huang of Sinopac Financial Holdings Co. in Taipei, “HTC’s cash is the only asset of value to shareholders. Most of the other assets shouldn’t be considered in their valuation because there’s more write-offs to come and the brand has no value.”
In an irony of ironies, Saudi Arabia is set to take advantage of the very same forgiving capital markets that have served to keep its US competition in business as persistently low oil prices and two armed conflicts look set to strain the Kingdom's finances.