China Stocks Crash, More Than Half Of Market Halted Limit Down; PBOC Loss Of Control Spooks Global AssetsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/18/2015 08:09 -0400
Just hours after the PBOC announced a modestly "revalued" fixing in the CNY, which curiously led to weaker trading in the onshore Yuan for most of the day before a forceful last minute intervention by the central bank pushed it back down to 6.39 it was the local stock market spinning plate - which had been relatively stable during the entire FX devaluation process - that China lost control over, and after 7 days of margin debt increases the Shanghai Composite plunged by 6.2% in late trade, tumbling 245 points to 3748, just 240 points above its recent trough on July 8, a closing level some 27% off its June peak.
NAHB Sentiment jumped to 61 - the highest since 2005 - despite weakening new home sales and collapsing lumber prices. Housing Starts also remain tepid (especially compared to 2005 levels) but hope springs eternal for an industry almost 100% reliant on hope. Prospective buyer traffic rose 2 points as Northeast saw a drop as West and South saw modest increases.
It was a quiet start to the week today with just the June Euro area trade balance (which rose €21.9bn vs €23.1 bn expected, up from €21.3 bn) in the European timezone and Empire manufacturing and NAHB housing market index for August this afternoon in the US. Under the radar, but perhaps the most news today, is the June TIC data which will likely confirm the ongoing liquidation of "FX Reserves" aka TSYs by "Belgium" aka China. Expect another $15-20 billion drop in Belgian Treasury holdings in the month of June.
It was a relatively quiet weekend out of China, where FX warfare has taken a back seat to evaluating the full damage from the Tianjin explosion which as we reported on Saturday has prompted the evacuation of a 3 km radius around the blast zone, and instead it was Japan that featured prominently in Sunday's headlines after its Q2 GDP tumbled by 1.6% (a number which would have been far worse had Japan used a correct deflator), and is now halfway to its fifth recession in the past 6 year, underscoring Abenomics complete success in desrtoying Japan's economy just to get a few rich people richer. Of course, economic disintegration is great news for stocks, and courtesy of the latest Yen collapse driven by the bad GDP data which has raised the likelihood of even more Japanese QE, the Nikkei closed 100 points, or 0.5% higher.
After weeks of overnight turbulence following every twist and turn in the Greek drama, this morning has seen a scarcity of mostly gap up (or NYSE-breakding "down") moves, and S&P500 futures are unchanged as of this moment however the Nasdaq is looking set for another record high at the open after last night's better than expected GOOG results which sent the stop higher by 11% of over $40 billion in market cap. We expect this not to last very long as the traditional no volume, USDJPY-levitation driven buying of ES will surely resume once US algos wake up and launch the self-trading spoof programs. More importantly: a red close on Friday is not exactly permitted by the central planners.
And so the 2015 season of the Greek drama is coming to a close following last night's vote in Greek parliament to vote the country into even more austerity than was the case before Syriza was voted into power with promises of removing all austerity, even with Europe - which formally admits Greece is unsustainable in its current debt configuration - now terminally split on how to proceed, with Germany's finmin still calling for a "temporary Grexit", the IMF demanding massive debt haircuts, while the rest of Europe (and not so happy if one is Finnish or Dutch) just happy to kick the can for the third time.
Following April's hope-filled spike in Housing Starts and Building Permits SAAR (and the exuberant jerk to 10 year highs in NAHB Sentiment), May data is more mixed. Housing Starts plunged 11.1% MoM (against expectations of a 4% drop) missing for the 3rd of last 4 months. Permits, on the other hand, spiked 11.8% (againmst expectations of a 3.5% drop) smashing the hope to its highest since August 2007. So - in summary - hope is soaring, reality is falling and all the hope is based on America as 'rental nation' with a record number of multi-family unit permits.
Another day of constant Grexit chatter, and this time the futures are really starting to react as what was seen as mostly impossible for the past 4 months is now almost inevitable. The first tremors emerged when Greece announced it would not present a new proposal to the Eurogroup to unlock aid, relying instead on what has already been submitted and which the Troika said was inadequate. Then, confusing matters, a new GPO poll posted on Greece's Mega TV showed that increasingly more, or over 56% at last count, of Greece would prefer a "bad" deal with creditors than being kicked out of the Eurozone putting the future of Tsipras' cabine tin jeopardy. And then, hinting that the endgame is officially here, the FT reported that "Eurozone officials discuss holding emergency summit on Greece", suggesting a second Lehman weekend may be just around the corner.
European shares remain lower, close to intraday lows, with the banks and autos sectors underperforming and food & beverage, retail outperforming. Tsipras hardens Greek stance after collapse of bailout talks. The Italian and Swedish markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the U.K. the best. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Greek 10yr bond yields rise; Spanish yields increase. Commodities decline, with copper, nickel underperforming and natural gas outperforming. U.S. Empire manufacturing, net TIC flows, NAHB housing market index, industrial production, capacity utilization due later.
Less than a week ago, fresh from the aftermath of the recent dramatic six-sigma move in German Bunds, one of Europe's largest banks openly lamented that so far the ECB's QE had done absolutely nothing: "two months of QE for nothing." And lo and behold, as if on demand, overnight the ECB confirmed it had heard SocGen's lament when just before the European market open, ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure delivered a speech at the Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis (appropriately named after a hedge fund) at Imperial College Business School (not to be confused with the July 26, 2012 Mario Draghi "whatever it takes" speech which also took place in London) in which he said that the ECB intends to "frontload" i.e., increase, its purchases of euro-area assets in May and June ahead of an expected low-liquidity period in the summer.
Since November, HAHB homebuilder sentiment has only beaten expectations once. May printed 54 (notably short of the 57 expectation). Despite all the previous hope for future sales, buyer traffic has fallen as The Midwest saw the biggest drop in sentiment (what about the post-weather bounce?) and The West rising modestly. The story was well-known: pessimism now offset by optimism later: present single family sales falls to 59 vs 61 last month, while future single family sales rise to 64 vs 63 last month, even as prospective buyers traffic falls to 39 vs 40 last month.
As the economic calendar slowly picks up following the NFP lull, we are looking at a busy week both globally and in the US, where an army of Fed speakers culminates with a Yellen speech on Friday at 1pm in Rhode Island.
With equities having long ago stopped reflecting fundamentals, and certainly the Eurozone's ever more dire newsflow where any day could be Greece's last in the doomed monetary union, it was up to gold to reflect that headlines out of Athens are going from bad to worse, with Bloomberg reporting that not only are Greek banks running low on collateral, both for ELA and any other purposes, that Greece would have no choice but to leave the Euro upon a default and that, as reported previously, Greece would not have made its May 12 payment had it not been for using the IMF's own reserves as a source of funding and that the IMF now sees June 5 as Greece's ever more fluid D-day. As a result gold jumped above $1230 overnight, a level last seen in February even as the Dollar index was higher by 0.5% at last check thanks to a drop in the EUR and the JPY.
With lumber prices plunging to fresh 3 year lows, the divergence between homebuilders and the most economically-sensitive commodity is starting to suggest a rather scary case of deja vu all over again.