People's Bank Of China
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For those curious what it looks like when a centrally-planned market devolves into complete chaotic hell despite the relentless intervention of the local authorities and central planners, look no further than the chart below...
Less than two weeks after Bank of China became the first Chinese bank to join the list of participants in the London gold auction, The Shanghai Gold Exchange confirms that a yuan-denominated gold fix will be in place by the end of 2015.
Chaos reigns, with contradictory headlines pushing and pulling futures in any one direction, only for the next headline to undo the previous one. And only headline scanning frontrunning algos have any chance of trading any of this...
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.
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As the SHCOMP soars, the sellside reacts to China's latest round of easing and the message is clear: more policy rate cuts are in the cards as real lending rates remain elevated and deflation risk remains high. Meanwhile, the PBoC's statement was making the rounds on WeChat hours before its official release suggesting Janet Yellen isn't the only central banker that enjoys leaking information.
On the heels of last week's equity rout, China cuts interest rates for the third time since November. The move comes on the heels of last month's RRR cut and follows trade data that missed expectations (again) and a PPI print that betrayed persistent deflation risks. Perhaps more importantly, Chinese stocks fell last week amid still more rumors that tighter margin requirements are on the way.
As a result of constant jawboning that the PBOC may not only cut rates even more but proceed to launch QE (which it will ultimately, just not for a while), both the Shanghai Composite has been trading at multi-year highs and oil has found a bid strong enough that in the past two months it has surged by some 50% on hopes that Chinese demand will finally come back once the local economy is so weak it leaves the PBOC no other choice. However, two things suggest that the great "reflation" trade is ending.
"China has a $28 trillion problem. That’s the country’s total government, corporate and household debt load as of mid-2014... equal to 282 percent of the country’s total annual economic output," Bloomberg notes, adding that efforts to deleverage this massive debt burden aren't compatible with the measures Beijing needs to take to boost economic growth. But if you thought the debt problem was bad now, it's going to get worse because as Reuters notes, China is about to activate the ABS machine.
The People’s Bank of China may have tripled holdings of bullion since it last updated them in April 2009, to 3,510 metric tons. It is worth noting that the U.S. refuses to allow their gold reserves to be publicly audited and the Bundesbank is having difficulty repatriating much of its gold stored with the Federal Reserve. This has led many analysts to speculate that the U.S.’s gold reserves have been leased out or sold or are encumbered as part of an ongoing effort to manipulate gold prices.
The following clip seemed to sum up perfectly just what The PBOC is attempting to do (and just exactly how it will end). With Chinese equities entirely decoupled from any sense of fundamentals, elementary-school-educated people piling their life savings into a market that is up 100% YoY amid the worst economic conditions in a decade or more, and margin trading that is surging (and now being probed - as Reuters reports, PBOC Shanghai has asked banks to check margin trading risks); how could anything go wrong?
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