From Novotny, Coeure, and Jazbec, the leaks this morning have been clearly angled towards "do not expect any more Q€ anytime soon," so one wonders if, having seen the reaction in EUR weakness still whether Mario Draghi will try and talk these 'hawkish' comments back?
"Monetary policy can’t solve the problems we face," warns German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, daring to admit that monetary policy-makers "are moving in a direction which is very dangerous" with regard to excess global liquidity. Amid fears of fed tightening and demands for BoJ and PBOC easing, it appears Europe's leadership fears the consequences of a "market bubble" as the global economy is awash in more public and private debt relative to GDP than at any time post-WWII.
The growing roar of 'the establishment' crying for help from The Fed should make investors nervous. While your friendly local asset-getherer and TV-talking-head will proclaim how a rate-hike is so positive for the economy and stocks, we wonder why it is that The IMF, The World Bank, Larry Summers (twice), Goldman Sachs, China (twice), and now no lessor nobel-winner than Paul Krugman has demanded that The Fed not hike rates for fear of - generally speaking - "panic and turmoil," however, as Krugman notes, “I think it would be a terrible mistake to move. But I’m not confident that they won’t make a mistake."
"We believe a global recession scenario has become the most likely global macroeconomic scenario for the next two years or so. Helicopter money drops would be the best instrument to tackle a downturn in all DMs. We expect to see QE #N, where N could become a large integer, as part of the monetary policy response in the US and the UK, and QEE2 in Japan."
The world is in the waning days of a historic multi-decade experiment in unfettered finance. International finance has for too long been effectively operating without constraints on either the quantity or the quality of Credit issued. From the perspective of unsound finance on a globalized basis, this period has been unique. History, however, is replete with isolated episodes of booms fueled by bouts of unsound money and Credit – monetary fiascos inevitably ending in disaster. We see discomforting confirmation that the current historic global monetary fiasco’s disaster phase is now unfolding.
More debt begets higher market value of equites which in turn improves the debt/equity ratio which gives the incentive to issue more debt ad infinitum. Or in a slightly simpler version, debt begets more debt. We have seen the story before. In the shaded grey areas we highlight episodes when the virtuous relationship turns ferociously vicious. Remember, markets take the escalator up, but the elevator down. And the longer the escalator the further down the elevator goes.
Given the global implications of what’s going on in China’s stock market and the fact that the yuan devaluation is set to accelerate the great EM FX reserve unwind while simultaneously driving a stake through the heart of beleaguered emerging economies from LatAm to AsiaPac it’s wholly understandable that everyone should focus on equities and FX. That said, understanding the scope of the risk posed by China’s many spinning plates means not forgetting about the other problems Beijing faces, not the least of which is a massive collection of debt.
Doomed if you do, doomed if you don't: trash your currency and watch capital gush out of your economy and financial sector, or support your currency and watch your export sector's sales and profitability crater.
Whichever option China chooses, it loses.
Having recently explained (in great detail) why QE4 (and 5, 6 & 7) were inevitable (despite the protestations of all central planners, except for perhaps Kocharlakota - who never met an economy he didn't want to throw free money at), we found it fascinating that no lessor purveyor of the status quo's view of the world - Citigroup's chief economist Willem Buiter - that a global recession is imminent and nothing but a major blast of fiscal spending financed by outright "helicopter" money from the central banks will avert the deepening crisis. Faced with China's 'Quantitative Tightening', the economist who proclaimed "gold is a 6000-year old bubble" and cash should be banned, concludes ominously, "everybody will be adversely affected."
The idea of a change towards a domestic consumption-driven economy is being revealed as a woeful disaster. You can’t magically turn into a consumer-based economy by blowing bubbles first in property and then in stocks, and hope people’s profits in both will make them spend. Because the whole endeavor was based from the get-go on huge increases in debt, the just as predictable outcome is, and will be even much more, that people count their losses and spend much less in the local economy. While those with remaining spending power purchase property in the US, Britain, Australia. And go live there too, where they feel safe(r). I fear for the Chinese citizen. Not so much for Xi and Li. They will get what they deserve.
Plenty amongst you will be talking about economic cycles, and opportunities, and debate how to ‘play’ the crash, but all this is useless if and when a market doesn’t function. And just about all markets in the richer part of the world stopped functioning when central banks started buying assets. That’s when you stopped being investors. And when market strategies stopped making sense. Central banks will come up with more, much more, ‘stimulus’, but what China teaches us today is that we’re woefully close to the moment when central banks will lose the faith and trust of everyone. After injecting tens of billions of dollars in markets, which thereby ceased to function, the global economy is in a bigger mess then it was prior to QE. The whole thing is one big bubble now, and we know what invariably happens to those.
"The head of a Chinese exchange that trades minor metals was captured by angry investors in a dawn raid and turned over to Shanghai police, as the investors attempted to force the authorities to investigate why their funds have been frozen."
Between micromanaging the economy, equities, the yuan, and public opinion, there's no question that China has its hands full these days. But with everyone's attention now focused sqaurely on Beijing's plunge protection team and the PBoC's "controlled" yuan devaluation, the market may be ignoring the biggest risk of all...
Offshore Yuan continues to trade at a discount to onshore against the USD (imply a modest further devaluation is due) but the spread is narrowing and today's practically unch Yuan fix is dragging USDCNH lower (stronger Yuan). Yesterday's afternoon session ramp in stocks managed to extend its gains as margin debt rises for the 7th straight day. The PBOC injects 120 bn Yuan liquidity via 7-day reverse-repo (notably more than the 50bn maturing), as HSBC's Stephen King concludes, the message from last week's surprise devaluation is clear - China no longer wants to play the "global shock absorber" role - instead is more focused on domestic instability... and there is no other nation yet willing (or able) to shoulder the responsibility.
There is an economic and financial trainwreck rumbling through the world economy. Namely, the Great China Ponzi. In all of economic history there has never been anything like it. It is only a matter of time before it ends in a spectacular collapse, leaving the global financial bubble of the last two decades in shambles. The resulting deflationary spiral will suck the global economy into its vortex. And Wall Street will go down for the count because this time the Fed will be utterly powerless to reverse the tide.