Somehow, like it or not, the world turns. Today's hegemon becomes tomorrow's also-ran. Today's reserve currency becomes tomorrow's wallpaper. Today's cock o' the walk becomes tomorrow's dinner. Hey, we didn't create this system. We don't even especially like it. But that's just the way it is. Whether you already have made a fortune, or are trying to build one, you need to be very careful about what currency... or currencies... your wealth in denominated in. From an economic point of view, the system (established by Richard Nixon in 1971) is loopy. The Chinese pretend they have good customers. Americans pretend they have good credit. And everyone pretends to get richer … based on promises to settle up sometime in the future. Instead of edging toward a reckoning, all major governments seem to want to make the situation worse.
"There's no near-term resolution in sight," warns TCW Group's David Loevinger, as "Thailand has entered an extended period of political instability." This uncertainty has led to foreigners abandoning the nation's stock market in record size - and collapsing the Thai Baht at the same time. Why should US investors be worried? Thailand was the catalyst that started the 1997 Asian crisis, broke LTCM, and instigated the most epic experiments in central bank liquidity provision on record. With the Fed Tapering, both Indonesia and Thailand (and Turkey) are already seeing major currency collapses but of course, as long as US equities rise, no one cares (which is exactly what they said last time)...
Following David Woo's initial $1300 fair-value price target for Bitcoin, the BofAML strategist has had to suffer through some significant changes; not the least of which is China's increasingly strict Bitcoin regulation. The shifts, he notes, raise key questions about the future of Bitcoin as he asks "is this the end of Bitcoin?"
A little followed development is revealing about the emerging financial architecture and the role of the dollar. A dispassionate discussion.
Chinese demand may once again stem the decline in gold prices. Chinese buyers eagerly scooped up gold at bargain prices overnight after the 4% price fall. Gold volumes for the benchmark cash contract on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), China’s biggest spot bullion market, climbed to a 10 week high as lower prices led to increased buying.
Yesterday it was the US Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network that tightened its grip on businesses that accept Bitcoin. Today, it is China, where the world's largest Bitcoin exchange by trading volume, BTCChina announced that he had received word from "above" that his platform would no longer be able to accept renminbi from BTC buyers. "As of right now, we have received notice from our third-party payment company that they will disallow customers from making deposits into our exchange," Bobby Lee, a former Yahoo developer who co-founded BTCChina this year, told the Financial Times. The result, not surprisingly, is an overnight crash in BTC, which crashed by 50% from $900 two days ago to just $455 hours ago.
Two years ago, the CME announced USD/CNH futures trading enabling speculation (and hedging or risk transfer) of offshore Chinese Renminbi and the writing on the wall of the dollar's demise grew clearer. On the other side of the world this week, a couple of gentlemen that few people have ever heard of signed an agreement that has massive consequences for the global financial system. It was a Memorandum of Understanding signed by representatives of the Singapore Exchange and Hong Kong Exchange. Their aim – to combine their forces in rolling out more financial products denominated in Chinese renminbi. This is huge...
"Just be long. Pretty much anything. So here’s how I understand things now that I am no longer the last bear standing. You should buy equities if you believe many European banks and their sovereign paymasters are insolvent. You should buy shares if you put a higher probability than your peers on the odds of a European democracy rejecting the euro over the course of the next few years. You should be long risk assets if you believe China will have lowered its growth rate from 7% to nearer 5% over the course of the next two years. You should be long US equities if you are worried about the failure of Washington to address its fiscal deficits. And you should buy Japanese assets if you fear that Abenomics will fail to restore the fortunes of Japan (which it probably won’t). Hey this is easy… And then it crashed"
- Hugh Hendry
In every organization, including the Chinese Communist Party, there are forces of movement and forces of order. The forces of movement have moved into ascendancy in China and this was signaled by establishment of the special economic zone in Shanghai and the program emerging from recent Third Plenary Session. However, the uncertainty over implementation kept domestic and foreign investors cautious.
Overview of the week's economic and poltiical calendar in the context of the investment climate.
Chart Of The Day: How China's Stunning $15 Trillion In New Liquidity Blew Bernanke's QE Out Of The WaterSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/25/2013 21:25 -0400
Even we were shocked when we ran the numbers on this one...
A dispassionate analysis of Bitcoins, their function and implications.
China Fires Shot Across Petrodollar Bow: Shanghai Futures Exchange May Price Crude Oil Futures In YuanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/21/2013 09:23 -0400
With the US shale revolution set to make America the largest exporter of crude, however briefly, the influence of Saudi oil is rapidly declining. This has been felt most recently in the cold shoulder the US gave Saudi Arabia and Qatar first over the Syrian debacle, and subsequently in its overtures to break the ice with Iran over the stern objections of Israel and the Saudi lobby (for a good example of this the most recent soundbites by Prince bin Talal ). But despite the shifting commodity winds and the superficial political jawboning, the reality is that nothing threatens the US dollar's hegemony in what many claim is the biggest pillar of the currency's reserve status - the petrodollar, which literally makes the USD the only currency in which energy-strapped countries can transact in to purchase energy. This may be changing soon following news that the Shanghai Futures Exchange could price its crude oil futures contract in yuan, its chairman said on Thursday, adding that the bourse is speeding up preparatory work to secure regulatory approvals.
Five years ago it was worth $0. Then, a month and a half ago it went to $150 a piece. On Monday it shot to over $600.
Many observers believe the U.S. dollar (USD) will lose its status as the world's reserve currency sooner rather than later. Proponents of this view often mention China's agreements with various trading partners to settle trade in their own currencies rather than the dollar as evidence of this trend. More substantial evidence can be found in the diversification of reserves held by many nations. One set of observers has long held that the ideal replacement for the dollar is a hybrid currency issued by the IMF called SDRs. However, since the SDR is just an aggregate of fiat currencies, it cannot really change the fundamentals of the current status quo. Boiled down to its essence, the SDR is presented as a shortcut solution to deeply seated problems. The reserve currency problem cannot be fixed by a basket of fiat currencies, as fiat currencies (and the trade imbalances they generate) are the problem.