While markets remain relatively subdued ahead of tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report, after several days of losses in US stocks which pushed the S&P500 to three week lows, overnight markets ignored the latest weak data out of China where the Caixin Services PMI was the latest indicator to disappoint (dropping from 52.2 to 51.8), and instead focused on crude, which rebounded from yesterday's post inventory-build lows and briefly printed above $45/bbl over uncertainty related to the impact of Canada wildfires on production and how long will last. The bounce in WTI has meant Brent briefly traded at parity with West Texas for the first time in 6 weeks.
Is there anyone on the planet who's actually stupid enough to believe these New Normal charts are healthy and sustainable? We doubt it. Rather, the apologists, toadies, apparatchiks and flacks are being well-paid to cheerlead, and the "leadership" (using the term lightly) of the discredited institutions are terrified of what will happen when people finally catch on. The New Normal is not sustainable.
Just a month after the UK's luxury housing bubble burst, it appears the nice friendly bankers at Barclays are looking for some scapegoats to flip their condos to. That the housing recovery has been driven primarily by a steady flow of foreign investment, and not necessarily the underlying economic fundamentals improving is becoming clear to everyone and so in what appears a desperate act of deja vu, Barclays has brought back the 100 per cent mortgage - the first major bank to do so since the last financial crisis - to keep the ponzi dream alive just a little longer.
Despite a modest rise in April's headline Services PMI print to 52.8 (from 52.1) the details under the surface paint a different picture (remaining weaker than its post-crisis average of 55.6). The rate of employment growth was the weakest seen since December 2015 as backlogs of work declined for the ninth consecutive month, which is the longest continuous period of depletion since the survey began in late-2009. ISM Services data also beat expectations, rising to 55.7 despite a drop in business activity and backlogs. As Markit warns, "the fragility of growth is highlighted by inflows of new business rising at a rate only marginally above the post-recession low."
While there was no unexpected overnight central bank announcement unlike yesterday's surprise by the RBA which unleashed volatility havoc in the FX market, which promptly spilled over into all asset classes, overnight stocks around the world saw another leg lower without a tangible catalyst, while EM currencies fell to a one-month low after two Fed presidents raised concern investors had become too complacent in their belief that U.S. interest rate raises will stay on hold. Or perhaps all that is happening is that after ignoring Trump, the market is starting to finally price in the possible reality of the Donald in the White House (although as Jeff Gundlach pointed out, Trump would be a far better president for the economy and the market than Hillary or Bernie).
Despite today's jump in the USD index, the sharp dollar selloff trend remains even as U.S. rates have climbed and the commodity rally pauses. It’s logical to query if there is an end in sight for the rout. The short answer, according to Bloomberg's Mark Cudmore, is no. The dollar may be due a bounce, but that would likely mark a consolidation phase rather than a trend reversal.
After three years of the dollar being pretty much the only strong currency in the world, US corporate profits are falling (because it’s hard to sell things abroad when you price them in an expensive currency) and growth is slowing (because an economy can’t expand if corporate profits are falling). Presumably the plunging dollar will offer some relief on those fronts. But our relief comes at a high, potentially-catastrophic price for Japan and Europe...
"We’re condemned to serial bouts of severe volatility having been trained to dismiss real and knowable risks as just improbable black swans.... Central banks can’t keep giving markets everything they want, or the volatility in the end will be catastrophic"
Back in April 2013, during the height of the IPO scramble, the NYT gushed about Fairway's just concluded IPO: "Until recently, Fairway was not much more than a popular market on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where residents went for goods like smoked salmon, medjool dates and cheeses. Today, it is a fast-growing 12-store grocery chain with ambitions of opening 300 outlets across the country." Just over three years later, the once successful IPO is now a distant memory and soon enough, so will the company behind it because overnight Fairway Group Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection,
Despite unleashing his bazooka, Mario Draghi - like his colleagues at The BoJ - appears to have hit the limit of his impotence as the European Commission cut its outlook for growth and inflation across the Union for 2016 and 2017. Citing the economic slowdown in China and other emerging markets, geopolitical tensions and uncertainty ahead of the U.K. referendum on EU membership, WSJ reports EU’s economists also cautioned that the strength of factors that have been supporting growth in the region, such as low oil prices and a weaker euro, could start to fade. This sparked modest Euro weakness (after a non-stop surge in the last week) dragging down European stocks and darkening the outlook for the banking system further.
Overnight Australia finally admitted it has succumbed to the global economic weakness plaguing the rest of the world when in a "surprise" move, Australia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a year to a record low and left the door open for further easing to counter a wave of disinflation that’s swept over the developed world. The move sent the local currency tumbling and local stocks climbing. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens and his board lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 percent Tuesday, a move predicted by just 12 of 27 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The announcement has, not surprisingly unleashed havoc across FX markets and broadly pushed global mood into its latest "risk off" phase.
Despite a trillion dollars of credit spewed into the Chinese 'economy' speculative finance channels, Manufacturing remains in a slump as April's China PMI tumbled to 49.4 after a brief bounce back up to 49.8 (from the 48.0 low in Feb). This is the 14th month in a row of contraction. As Caixin reports, relatively weak market conditions and muted client demand contributed to a further solid decline in staff numbers, which seems to put a nail in the coffin of anyone who believes recent price action in industrial commodities is anything but speculative fervor.
Central bankers have the unchaperoned power to create the greatest fortunes ever known to mankind at will and to invest that money wherever they want. With trillions of dollars at their disposal and trillions more whenever they want to conjure it into existence, what is to stop them from controlling the oil market just as they have stocks and bonds?
Update: PR Governor Padilla has spoken...*PUERTO RICO GOVERNOR SAYS WON'T PAY DEBT TOMORROW, CALLS ON U.S. CONGRESS, PAUL RYAN FOR HELP, CRISIS WILL GET WORSE IF U.S. CONGRESS DOESN'T HELP