"The rise of China’s currency on global markets is arguably the most significant development in currency trading since the introduction of the euro in 1999."
On the heels of a veritable bloodbath in Chinese equities overnight which saw the SHCOMP slide a harrowing 8.5%, the entire world is now beginning to take a hard look at the notion that dramatic bouts of selling pressure are aggravated and perhaps triggered by an unwind in the multiple backdoor margin lending channels that allowed investors to skirt official restrictions on leverage and helped to drive the market’s world-beating rally. Here is the complete guide to China's CNY4 trillion shadow margin edifice.
Late last month, we suggested that the pressure on Chinese equities - which at that point had only begun to build - was at least partially attributable to an unwind in the country’s CNY1 trillion backdoor margin lending edifice. Precisely measuring the amount of shadow financing that helped drive Chinese stocks to nosebleed levels is virtually impossible, as is determining how much of that leverage has been unwound and how much remains or has been restored, but BofAML is out with a valiant attempt to not only identify each shadow lending channel, but to quantify just how much leverage may be built into the Chinese market. The figures will shock you.
In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow, where Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller and China National Petroleum Corp Vice President Wang Dongjin signed a gas export deal which paves the way for 30 bcm/y to China via a new "Western Route." Now, slumping Chinese demand (a pervasive problem at the heart of the global commodities downturn), threatens to undercut the agreement.
Something is very rotten in the state of China, and its crashing, manipulated stock market is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Is China (or the US) the next Greece?
After a record $92.5 billion drop in March, "Belgium" sold another $24 billion in April, and another $26 billion last month, bringing the total liquidation to a whopping $142.5 billion for the months of March, April and May.
After a day-long meeting of the Eurogroup, the European FinMins were unable to reach a conclusion on the third Greek bailout and instead once again punted the revised term sheet, this time with absolutely draconian terms, back to Tsipras, and told him he has until tomorrow to agree to the terms, and until Wednesday to pass them into law, for talks to even begin!
The long-awaited BRICS bank has officially launched, marking yet another milestone on the road to global de-dollarization and lending further credence to the notion that the sun is finally setting on the US-dominated multilateral institutions that have defined the post-war world and served to underwrite six decades of dollar dominance.
What to expect next week.
The Fed's QE policies of recent years have, for all intents and purposes told the world that “the dollar is our currency and your problem.” And, in recent years, the dollar has been a genuine problem for a number of emerging countries. Following this traumatic event, and the change in the perception of US stability, China went around the world and invited the likes of Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Korea to shift some of their China trade away from the dollar and into renminbi. China started doing this in 2011 and, as we see it, the renminbi’s attempt to become a trading currency is potentially one of the most important financial developments. Yet no-one seems to care.
"Both the US and China have a vital interest in reaching an understanding because the alternative is so unpalatable," Soros wrote in an article for the New York Review of Books, with the danger imminent if Chinese economic reforms fail forcing President Xi Jinping to "foster some external conflicts to keep the country united and maintain himself in power." These "conflicts" would present themselves in the form of a Sino-Russo alliance which could draw the entire world into war.
Two critically important themes which have far-reaching geopolitical and economic consequences came together recently when it became apparent that Gazprom had begun settling all crude sales to China in yuan. This marked the intersection of yuan hegemony and the death of petrodollar mercantilism. Now, the trend continues as Russia and China will de-dollarize hundreds of millions in natural gas settlements.