As data on non-performing loans at Chinese banks shows the biggest sequential increase on record in Q1, Fitch wonders if perhaps the data actually obscures a far larger problem. Official figures on China's NPLs are obscured by a number of factors and may be grossly understated the ratings agency suggests. Furthermore, Fitch says "a protracted downturn in property markets could threaten the solvency of Chinese banks, given their modest loss-absorption capacity."
Here is what happens when you rebrand your real estate company as a cutting-edge P2P lender and your shares are listed on an exchange that's in the midst of a world-beating rally driven in part by millions of newly-minted, poorly-educated day traders...
Why would financial firms pay so much for blogger Ben Bernanke’s thoughts? Aside from the marketing benefits we noted, there is one good reason. In essence, you’d want to know what Bernanke would think if he were wrong or ill-informed about some important economic issue. That is something money managers understand in a way that academics and policymakers do not, for being wrong – and knowing what to do next – is a critical skill for the professional. Getting the most information from Bernanke, either in a one-on-one or just reading his work online, boils down to just two questions: “What doesn’t he know” and “What is he sure of that is actually wrong?”
There's never been a better time to be a home flipper. Not only are average returns at all-time highs (you can double your money in Baltimore), you can even obtain cheap financing from Wall Street as opposed to dealing with pesky local banks. Better still, there's a very good chance you won't have to deal with annoying aspiring homeowners because according to RealtyTrac, the percentage of flipped homes sold to other "investors" is at a four-year high.
Threatened with deflation, the authorities will want to turn the tide in the worst possible way. What’s the worst way to stop deflation? With hyperinflation. Yes, we may suffer a year or two more of sluggish growth... or even deflation. Stocks will crash and people will be desperate for paper dollars. But sooner or later, the feds will find their feet and lose their heads. Most likely, the credit-drenched world of 2015 will end... not in a whimper of deflation, but in a bang. Hyperinflation will bring the long depression to a dramatic close long before a quarter of a century has passed.
While the US is waking up in anticipation of what is once again said to be the "most important nonfarm payrolls number" at least since the last most important such number, because anything 250,000 and above puts the June rate hike right back on the Fed calendar, while a collapse in this lagging indicator will be explained away with harsh rain showers in April, and send stocks soaring due to yet another delay in tightening expectations despite Yellen's outright warning of overvalued stocks, the UK has been up all night following a dramatic election, whose outcome has been largely the opposite of what the experts predicted, with Conservatives set to win an outright majority, resulting in embarrassment for Labor, the Liberal Democrats and the UKIP, both of which have already seen dramatic changes in their leadership, and moments ago both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage announced they would stand down as party leaders.
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.
While many hoped that Lockhart would play good cop to Yellen's bad cop, he didn't:
*LOCKHART SAYS MARKET'S VIEW FOR SEPTEMBER HIKE 'REASONABLE'
Which has sent stocks reeling back to the levels pre-payrolls in April.
On Saturday night, a man whose name still seems to be unknown, but who was wearing a “F##k the Police” t-shirt, came out in front of police past the official curfew. This is what happened next...
As is almost always the case, the price of gold was leaned on at the standard PLAN A time in London when The Gold Cartel traders reported for work, but their nudge was thwarted pretty quickly. Gold took off again going into the Comex trading hours and managed to reach $1200 where it was stopped dead in its tracks. James Mc early this morning…
To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, anyone who wants the government and Federal Reserve to create a housing recovery, deserves to get it good and hard, like a four by four to the side of their head. Subprime mortgages, subprime auto loans, and subprime student loans driven by preposterously low interest rates are the liquefying foundation of this fake economic recovery. Most rational people would agree that loaning money to people who will eventually default is not a good idea. But it is the underpinning of everything the Fed and government apparatchiks have done to keep this farce going a little while longer. It will not end well – Again.
- Fed's Yellen says met firm at heart of leak probes (Reuters)
- EU Raises Growth Outlook as ECB Counters Greek Threat (BBG)
- Hillary Clinton Takes Hit in WSJ Poll, but Holds Edge Over GOP Rivals (WSJ)
- China stocks slump on tighter margin rules, IPOs; Hong Kong down (Reuters)
- McDonald’s Chief Promises Turnaround in a Restructuring (NYT)
- German Bond Market Selloff Continues (WSJ)
- Vanguard overtakes Pimco’s Total Return following outflows in wake of Bill Gross’s departure (WSJ)
- EU Demands Concessions as Greece Hurtles Toward Deadlines (BBG)
- Junk Bonds Are The New Haven Assets (BBG)
"China’s capital account might be closed—but it’s not that closed. Between 2003 and 2012, $1.3 trillion slipped out of mainland China—more than any other developing country... GFI says the most common way money leaks out in the developing world is through fake trade invoices. The other big culprit is “hot money,” likely due to corruption—which GFI gleans from inconsistencies in balance of payments data. In China, both activities have picked up since 2009." Just like in the U.S., the so-called government “stimulus” in China achieved nothing more than to stimulate an oligarch crime spree. Hence the global boom in $100 million real estate, art and everything extremely high-end. As intended, the bailouts and stimulus on a global basis went directly to the 0.0001%.
Nowhere is the new normal more evident than the frenzied hording of so-called "trophy homes" by the world's 1800 billionaires. As Bloomberg reports, the ultra-luxury housing market is scaling new heights as a record number of properties around the world command prices topping $100 million. Demand is growing among affluent Americans and Europeans; billionaires from unstable economies, such as Russia and Middle Eastern countries; and buyers from mainland China, who were barred from investing overseas before 2012. Why - simple (to them?)... "They’re a scarce commodity. And they’re better than gold because you can boast about it."
"In the 2014 elections, 31,976 donors - equal to roughly one percent of one percent of the total population of the United States - accounted for an astounding $1.18 billion in disclosed political contributions at the federal level. Those big givers - what we have termed the Political One Percent of the One Percent - have a massively outsized impact on federal campaigns.They’re mostly male, tend to be city-dwellers and often work in finance. Slightly more of them skew Republican than Democratic. A small subset - barely five dozen — earned the (even more) rarefied distinction of giving more than $1 million each. And a minute cluster of three individuals contributed more than $10 million apiece."