China has officially entered the realm of "unconventional" monetary policy, joining the Fed, the ECB, the BoJ, and a whole host of other global central banks in an attempt to bring the supposedly all-mighty printing press and the unlimited balance sheet that goes with it to bear on subpar economic growth. We suspect the results will be characteristically underwhelming (at least in terms of lowering real interest rates, although in terms of boosting risk assets, the results may be outstanding) meaning it's likely only a matter of time before LTRO becomes QE in China just as it did in Europe.
With the state of California mired in its fourth year of drought and a mandatory 25% reduction in water usage in place, reports of water theft are becoming increasingly common. With a stunning 46% of the state in 'exceptional' drought, and forecast to worsen, huge amounts of water are 'going missing' from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a state investigation has been launched...
Real Estate is a highly “illiquid” asset class ‘most of the time’. It always has been and always will be. However, some times, such as now - and from 2003 to 2007 as a prime example - when liquidity is flowing like water, Real Estate’s illiquidity is masked. Speculators can do no wrong. Simply having access to short-term or mortgage capital to purchase Real Estate guaranties a double-digit return. This continues until one day, suddenly, it doesn’t; and, the snap-back to the true, historical illiquid nature of the Real Estate sector happens suddenly and is amplified at first. This creates a snowball effect from which both house supply and illiquidity surge at the same time. Price then becomes the liquidity fulcrum and will drop, relentlessly ripping speculators faces off, until capital begins to view the asset class as a relative value once again.
Zero Hedge first brought attention to the Atlanta Fed over two months ago, when the first massive divergence between bullish consensus and objective reality appeared. Since then it has been nothing but a downhill race for reality, with consensus scrambling to catch up. Moments ago, the Atlanta Fed just cut its Q2 GDP forecast once more, this time to 0.7% from 0.8%. This is on the back of a Q1 GDP which as of this moments is around -1.0%.
In short, the very project of counting “jobs” is essentially laughable in the context of the US economy as it is currently structured - for better or worse. But regardless of the equities and efficiencies of the current labor market, one thing is abundantly clear. The Payroll Friday report amounts to virtually meaningless noise. It is bad enough that the bubble vision Romper Room and the casino robo-traders are oblivious to this reality. What is scary is that the Eccles Building is just as clueless.
As innovation ouptaces regulation, a few pointers on how to manage risk in the search for funding and revenue
Instead of collapsing quietly, the US has decided to pick a fight with Russia. It appears to have already lost the fight, but a question remains: How many more countries will the US manage to destroy before the reality of its inevitable defeat and disintegration finally catches up with it? As Putin said last summer when speaking at the Seliger youth forum, “I get the feeling that no matter what the Americans touch, they end up with Libya or Iraq.” But there is another question that deserves to be asked: Do the Americans “touch” themselves? Because if they do, then the next candidate for extreme makeover into a bombed-out wasteland might be the United States itself...
What is extremely clear is that there is something amiss with the statistical headline employment and economic data. While there are indeed pockets of improvement, which should be expected following a recessionary contraction, there is a lack of widespread recovery. That sentiment is clearly reflected in every major poll of American's over the last year. What is important is that there is a clear disconnect between the financial markets, statistical economic headlines, and the reality of the vast majority of American consumers. So, riddle me this - what happens when that disconnect is eventually resolved?
In 2011, McDonald's announced it would hire 50,000 new employees on April 19 for its National Hiring Day. They eventually hired 62,000 people. Over 1 million people applied. With 62,000 hired out of more than 1 million, that leaves the McDonald's acceptance rate at 6.20%. Let's see how that compares with the Ivy League acceptance rate in 2011...
Moments ago, in an embarrassing setback for the president, Senate Democrats in a 52-45 vote - short of the required 60 supporters - blocked a bill that would give President Barack Obama fast-track authority to expedite trade agreements through Congress, a major defeat for the president and his allies who "say the measure is necessary to complete a 12-nation Pacific trade deal that is a centerpiece of the administration’s economic agenda." But don't count it out yet: the WSJ cites Mitch McConnell who told reporters shortly before the vote, which he expected to lose, that “This issue’s not over" adding that "I’m hopeful we’ll put this in the win column for the country sometime soon.”
Is it even plausible that China would go all nuke on the U.S. over Taiwan?
The Justice Department looks set to extract "unprecedented" guilty pleas from some of Wall Street's largest banks in connection with their role in rigging FX markets. Nevertheless, fears of triggering an "Arthur Andersen effect" will ensure that once again, TBTF institutions will suffer no material consequences.
For the first time in history, China overtook the US as the world’s biggest importer of crude oil in April, as The FT reports, representing the culmination of a seismic shift in global energy flows over the past decade. The jump in China imports last month was partly down to higher shipments from Iran, who "may be offering more discounts on its oil as part of an effort to increase ties with Chinese oil companies," according to consultancy Energy Aspects. "Iran is keen to secure more Chinese investment." But as OilPrice.com's Jim Hinton warns this shift means that China could hold the oil markets to ransom... And that means that oil futures are tied intimately in with China and the future of the South China Sea.
Less than two years ago, the number of smartphone shipments in China soared by roughly 100% year over year, rising over 80 million for the first time. Fast forward to Q1 of 2015 when according to IDC, the Chinese smartphone market - the largest in the world since 2011 when it overtook the US - has not only reached maturity but is now also fully saturated and as a result smartphone shipments suffered their first Y/Y decline, dropping 4.3% on an annual basis. As IDC notes, "this is the first time in six years that the China smartphone market declined YoY as the market continues to mature." Worse, on a quarter over quarter basis, the market contracted 8% on the back of a large inventory buildup at the end of last year.