Yesterday, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was the keynote speaker at KPMG’s 2014 Insurance Industry Conference Tuesday, where he answered questions such as 1) where the economy is going, 2) why, and 3) when (if ever) is it likely to improve. The answers, as reported by Property Casualty 360, are: 1) nowhere fast, 2) because nobody is willing to invest, and 3) eventually, but nobody can tell when. He listed 9 specific reasons why the "economy stinks", although surprisingly, nowhere did he mention the fact that the current and future economic disaster is all a direct result of his ruinous reign at helm of the Fed where as a result of his "great moderation" and the Fed's catastrophic monetary policies conceived mostly under Greenspan himself, the economy is now perpetually stuck in a boom-bust cycle, and where every time a bubble bursts another has to replace it or else the entire western way of life will be gone in a heartbeat.
Just when we thought centrally-planned markets could no longer surprise us, here comes last night's superspike in the USDJPY which has moved nearly 100 pips higher in the past few trading days and moments ago crossed 105.000. The reason for the surprise is that while there was no economic news that would justify such a move: certainly not an improving Japanese economy, nor, for that matter, a new and improved collapse, what the move was attributed to was news that Yasuhisa Shiozaki, who has been advocating for the GPIF to reduce allocation to domestic bonds, may be appointed the Health Minister when Abe announces his new cabinet tomorrow: a reshuffle driven by the fact that the failure of Abenomics is starting to anger Japan's voters. In other words, the GPIF continues to be the "forward guidance" gift that keeps on giving, even if the vast majority of its capital reallocation into equities has already long since taken place. As a result of the USDJPY surge, driven by a rumor of a minister appointment, the Nikkei is up+1.2%, which in turned has pushed both Europe and Asia to overnight highs and US equity futures to fresh record highs, with the S&P500 cash now just 40 points away, or about 4-8 trading sessions away from Goldman's revised 2014 year end closing target.
If you like your de-escalation, you can keep your de-escalation. To think that heading into, and following the Russia-Ukraine "summit" earlier this week there was so much hope that the tense Ukraine civil war "situation" would somehow fix itself. Oh how wrong that thinking was considering overnight, following rebel separatists gains in the southeast of Ukraine which included the strategic port of Novoazvosk and which is "threatening to open up a new front in the war" including setting up a land corridor to Russia controlled-Crimea, Ukraine's president Poroshenko for the first time came out and directly accused Russia of an "Invasion", or at least a first time in recent weeks, saying he has convened the security council on the recent Russian actions.
In addition to the countless other reason already presented here over the past year why the bond market simply refuses to sell (scarcity of "high quality collateral", shadow banking lubrication, fears over a slowing economy, reverse rotation by pension funds from stocks into bonds, etc), here is one more reason: today the spread between the 30 Year Bund and the 30 Year Treasury just hit a record wide.
As Chinese Credit Plummets US Stocks Soar On Hopes Of More PBOC Easing; But Is Conventional Wisdom Again Wrong?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/13/2014 22:19 -0400
Conventional wisdom, now so habituated to getting all the cheap credit it can get, did not anticipate such a dramatic collapse in Chinese credit last month, is eagerly expecting a proportional response from the PBOC, one which would potentially involve significant easing, which is precisely what US equities priced in today when they closed near the highs of the day, even as there was not a single piece of good macroeconomic news overnight. Pretty cut and dry right? Well not really. Recall that as we reported in the last week of July something odd was revealed: namely that China quietly unveiled and implemented its Pledge Supplementary Lending line, or as it is increasingly better known: China's QE.
Overview of the investment climate and the likey impact from data and events, delivered in dispassionate, even if dry prose.
Investing in oneself and enterprises one actively controls may now be the only legitimate deployment of capital that qualifies as an investment in the traditional sense - that is, capital isn't being risked in rigged gambling halls and Ponzi schemes.
With Shanghai having limited retail exposure to high-yield bonds, and the Chinese corporate bond market has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest and is set to soak up a third of global company debt needs over the next five years, it is no wonder that, as Bloomberg reports, analysts fear "a prelude to a storm." Privately issued notes totaling 6.2 billion yuan ($1 billion) come due next quarter, the most since authorities first allowed such offerings from small- to medium-sized borrowers in 2012. This week a 4th issuer has faced a "payment crisis" and while officials are trying to expand financing for small companies (which account for 70% of China's economy, with debt-to-equity ratios exceeding 200%, this is nothing but more ponzi. As Goldman warns, it appears China's Minsky Moment is drawing near (as the hangover from Q1's credit impulse kicks in).
Which appears more likely - a straight-line extension of the past two years' rise in stocks, or another "impossible" decline to complete the megaphone pattern?
"Excess credit creation is at the heart of much of China’s GDP growth, and why this means that China must choose between a sharp slowdown in GDP growth as credit is constrained, or a continued unsustainable increase in debt. The key point is that we cannot simply put the bad debt behind us once the economy is “reformed” and project growth as if nothing happened. Earlier losses are still unrecognized and hidden in the country’s various balance sheets."
Vested interests are threatened by the losses generated by small financial fires, so these are systemically suppressed. As a result, the fallen deadwood piles ever higher, creating more fuel for the next random lightning strike to ignite. Once the deadwood piles high enough, the random lightning strike ignites a fire so fast-moving and so hot that it cannot be suppressed, and the entire financial system burns to the ground. So go ahead and keep defending the Status Quo as the best system possible, or believe Elites will keep suppressing fires forever because they're so powerful, or whatever excuse, rationalization or justification you prefer. It won't matter, because the firestorm won't respond to words, beliefs, ideological certainties, reassurances or official pronouncements. It will do what fires do, which is burn all available fuel until there's no fuel left to consume.
"We’re in a world where there are very few unambiguously cheap assets...If you ask me to give you the one big bargain out there, I’m not sure there is one." But frustrating as the situation can be for investors hoping for better returns, the bigger question for the global economy is what happens next. How long will this low-return environment last? And what risks are being created that might be realized only if and when the Everything Boom ends?
A look at the investment climate through the currency market and upcoming events and data.
All around Asia, PMIs are tumbling... except for China's government-sponsored Manufacturing PMI. This week saw Aussie Services PMI (linked significantly to China) tumbled to 2014 lows, Japan's PMI drop, and China's own Services PMI disappoint and fade to 2-month lows. So where is all this exuberance coming from in China's manufacturing industry (despite a 8-month in a row drop in employment)? We don't know; but the fact that China coal prices just hit a record low hardly supports the smog-choking industry of China being at 7-month highs... Hard data vs soft surveys? You decide.