For the first half an hour after China opened, things looked bleak: after opening down 5%, the Shanghai Composite staged a quick relief rally, then tumbled again. And then, just around 10pm Eastern, we saw a coordinated central bank intervention stepping in to give the flailing PBOC a helping hand, driven by the BOJ but also involving NY Fed members, that sent the USDJPY soaring which in turn dragged ES and most risk assets up with it. And while Shanghai did end up closing down -1.7%, with Shenzhen 2.2% lower at the close, the final outcome was far better than what could have been, with the result being that S&P futures have gone back to doing their thing, and have wiped out all of yesterday's losses in the levitating, zero volume, overnight session which has long become a favorite setting for central banks buying E-Minis.
As the NYMEX close approached, front-month WTI Crude futures slumped towards a $48 handle - the lowest since early March, having firmly rejected the algo-driven rip after this morning's inventory build and tiny production cut...
... if and when the central banks can no longer trade E-Minis with each other, we suggest you panic.
Shanghai Gold Exchange volume climbed to a record today as prices declined incentivizing value driven Chinese buyers as Chinese stocks crashed 7.4%. Chinese stocks have had the biggest two-week loss in more than 18 years and are close to entering a bear market after extending losses from their June 12 peak to 19 percent in less than three weeks.
On April 28, Zero Hedge presented what was unmistakable evidence of manipulation by spoofing in the gold market in "Dear CFTC: Here Is Today's Illegal "Spoofing" In Gold Futures." Two days later, the CME said it bas suspended two traders for placing precisely the trade we profiled previously intending to manipulate the gold market. Dear CME - you are welcome. Now if only you pursued all those other documented instances of S&P futures manipulation with the same speed and resolve...
The Saudi bombing of Yemen is another flash point and will deepen tensions between the U.S., NATO allies and Russia and indeed China. Geopolitical risk remains high and the region remains a powder keg that is likely to explode as has already been seen in Syria and much of North Africa.
For now, EIA still estimates that total U.S. crude oil production will fall in May. But we think the current oil prices are enough to get the shale E&Ps excited.
As hopeful US investors buy everything oil-related on the back of a lower than expected crude build this week (after the biggest build in 30 years the week before), The Kingdom has stepped up overnight and ruined the dream of supply-restrained price recovery as it announced a surge in production output in March to yet another record high. The nation boosted crude output by 658,800 barrels a day in March to an average of 10.294 million a day, which as Bloomberg notes, is about half the daily production from the Bakken formation. WTI Crude prices have slipped by around 2% from yesterday's NYMEX Close ramp highs as it appears Saudi Arabia is not willing to just let this effort to squeeze Shale stall.
As market participants slowly make their way back to trading desks around the post-Easter world, and especially the US where a truncated session on Friday morning ended in tears for anyone hoping for a 2015 US recovery following an abysmal March nonfarm payrolls print, they find that unlike on previous occasions, the equity futures liftathon is nowhere to be found this morning, with the S&P set to resume trading in the red for 2015. Away from Greece, whose future remains in limbo, the biggest development over the holiday weekend was a Goldman note in which the central-bank friendly firm said that "the right policy would be to put hikes on hold for now."