At first glance, the title to this commentary seems facile, especially to those readers in higher income brackets. The reality, however, is that “investing in food” is a risk-free means of generating an annual return on one’s investment that would likely exceed the return one could earn on almost any other investment – despite the fact that nearly all other asset classes carry significant risks.
China and Russia have taken the lead in establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, seen as a rival organization to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are dominated by the United States with Europe and Japan. These banks do business at the behest of the old Bretton Woods order. The AIIB will dance to China and Russia's tune instead.
Does it get any funnier than this? Well, arguably, we’ve already seen an even funnier episode from these financial “Wile E. Coyotes”. But let’s begin with a look at the most recent “botched operation” by the psychopaths of the One Bank.
While the west huffs and puffs, and threatens to unleash even more "costs" on Russia in the form of additional sanctions which will assure that Europe's latest deflationary recession is even more acute, an "isolated" Russia is looking to outside, and to the east, and as part of its most recent de-dollarization initiative, the Moscow Exchange announced it has started trading Chinese Renminbi-Russian Ruble currency futures.
Why understanding of market cycles is crucial for investment success
Last month the Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, Japan’s Naoyuki Shinohara, openly stated that emerging markets in Asia should begin the process of de-dollarisation “to mitigate against external shocks and constraining the central bank’s ability as lender of last resort.”
No catalyzing event - China CPI modestly hotter than expected and Aussie confidence weak - but FX markets are fast in the Asia session with USDJPY surging above 122.00 for the first time since July 2007 and EURUSD dropping below 1.08 as USD strength dominates (up 1.65% from payrolls). Japanese stocks have decoupled from USDJPY's rally and are down notably and despite the USD strength, WTI crude has jumped (perhaps on news of Iraqi forces taking back an oil field near Tikrit). Gold is falling as Offshore Renminbi weakens. All in all - markets are turmoiling for no good reason...
Following a year of threats that the west would kick Russia out of SWIFT, Moscow finally took the plunge and created its own international payment system alternative. And now, seeing how easy and fast it can be done, here comes China next with its own "China International Payment System" or CIPS, as one after another major global powers wave goodbye to a dollar-based, Washington-controlled (and NSA-supervised) international funds-transfer protocol. One that no longer relies on the US Dollar.
With all eyes squarely on the ECB as Mario Draghi prepares to flood the EMU fixed income market with €1.1 trillion in new liquidity starting Monday, Soc Gen’s Albert Edwards reminds us that “another type of QE” is drying up thanks largely to the relative strength of the US dollar. "The bottom line is that in a world of over-inflated asset values, the strength of the dollar is resulting is a rapid tightening of global liquidity as emerging economies (and indeed the Swiss) stop printing money to buy the US dollar. This should be seen for what it is — a clear tightening of global liquidity. Investors ignore this at their peril."
Bubbles arise if the price far exceeds the asset’s fundamental value, to the point that no plausible future income scenario can justify the price
The US had a credit bubble, China has a credit bubble. The US had a housing bubble, China has a housing/investment bubble. Will China eventually have to go down the same path as the U.S., and the Eurozone? The answer: yes.
When we arrived to Bangkok the other day, coming down the motorway from the airport we saw a huge billboard - and it floored us. The billboard was from the Bank of China. It said: “RMB: New Choice; The World Currency”
You wouldn't know it if you looked at the price of oil, but arguably the world's largest economy just unloaded a kitchen sink of fears, warnings, and downgrades on its economy; the most notable being:
*CHINA SETS 2015 GDP GROWTH TARGET AT ABOUT 7% (from 7.5% in 2014)
In a report to be delivered to the government tonight, Premier Li Keqiang warned China may face more economic difficulties in 2015 vs 2014 and downward economic pressure is still growing (despite Western 'analysts' proclaiming China fixed). The currency is weakening on the news and AsiaPac stocks are lower and as Chinese stocks open lower (despite hints at more easing), millions of newly minted "can't lose" Chinese investors begin to worry.
Financial systems that seem robust are more often than not inherently fragile - China is no exception!
"None dare call it a “currency war” because that would be counter to G-10/G-20 policy statements that stress cooperation as opposed to “every country for itself”, but an undeclared currency war is what the world is experiencing. Close to the same thing happened in the 1930’s, a period remarkably similar to what many countries’ policies resemble today.... Negative/zero bound interest rates may exacerbate, instead of stimulate low growth rates in all of these instances, by raising savings and deferring consumption... Asset prices for stocks, high yield bonds and other supposed 5-10% returning investments, become stretched and bubble sensitive; Debt accumulates instead of being paid off because rates are too low to pass up – corporate bond sales leading to stock buybacks being the best example. The financial system has become increasingly vulnerable only six years after its last collapse in 2009.... Central banks have gone and continue to go too far in their misguided efforts to support future economic growth."