Trading volumes in Chinese exchanges spiked exponentially, with SHFE rebar and DCE iron ore futures becoming the No.1 and No.3 most-traded contracts in the world, surpassing volumes of ICE Brent and NYMEX WTI contracts, which have been the most widely-traded and liquid contracts for three decades.
Overnight, Hong Kong's local gold excange announced it would team up with the world's largest bank to build a massive, HK$1 billion gold vault facility and trading hub which would include a bonded warehouse, trading floor and related offices areas in Qianhai: that would make it among the largest if not the biggest gold vault and trading hub in the world.
Following yesterday's OPEC "production freeze" meeting in Doha which ended in total failure, where in a seemingly last minute change of heart Saudi Arabia and specifically its deputy crown prince bin Salman revised the terms of the agreement demanding Iran participate in the freeze after all knowing well it won't, oil crashed and with it so did the strategy of jawboning for the past 2 months had been exposed for what it was: a desperate attempt to keep oil prices stable and "crush shorts" while global demand slowly picked up. And whether it is central banks, or chronic BTFDers, just 12 hours after oil opened for trading with a loud crash, the commodity has nearly wiped out all losses, and both brent and WTI were down barely 2%, leading to both European stocks and US equity futures virtually unchanged on the session.
Massive borrowing to pay the interest is everywhere and always a sign that the the end is near. The crack-up phase of China’s insane borrowing and building boom is surely at hand.
With Europe back from Easter break, we are seeing a modest continuation of the dollar strength witnessed every day last week, which in turn is pressuring oil and the commodity complex, and leading to some selling in US equity futures (down 0.2% to 2024) ahead of today's main event which is Janet Yellen's speech as the Economic Club of New York at 12:20pm, an event which judging by risk assets so far is expected to be far more hawkish than dovish: after all the S&P 500 is north of 2,000 for now.
With European markets closed across the continent on Monday as the Easter holiday continues, overnight Asia was busy with China Shanghai Composite letting off some steam, and closing down 0.7% at session lows on concerns the Shanghai and Shenzhen home bubble have been popped by the politburo, Japan was a different story with the Yen sliding following a report by the Sankei newspaper that Abe will announce in May his intention to delay the planned levy hike, coupled with additional reports that Japan will unveil a major fiscal stimulus (and just on Friday Abe said he is "not thinking at all about supplemental budget" at this time).
It appears that the Chinese Politburo has also noticed that it finds itself straddled with yet another unsustainable housing bubble, not only in Shenzhen, but also Shanghai, and all other Tier 1 cities and has taken aggressive steps to slow down this exponential surge in prices before it gets even more out of control. As a result, on Friday the local government took the following "sudden" steps to halt the exponential rise in home prices and tighten the local housing market dramatically.
Following yesterday's dollar spike which, which topped the longest rally in the greenback in one month, the prevailing trade overnight has been more of the same, and in the last session of this holiday shortened week we have seen the USD rise for the fifth consecutive day on concerns the suddenly hawkish Fed (at least as long as the S&P is above 2000) may hike sooner than expected, which in turn has pressured WTI below $39 earlier in the session, and leading to weakness across virtually all global risk assets.
“Your urgent assistance is greatly appreciated! My Governor would like to draw from your good experience."
Nothing does China's housing bubble justice quite like a simple chart showing what is going on right now with home prices in Shenzhen, which incidentally also puts the housing bubble in the context of China's recently burst stock market bubble. No comment necessary.
“Funds used for down payments cannot be borrowed." You might think that what’s implied there is too bad to be true - even in the increasingly ludicrous world of P2P and marketplace lending. But in fact, P2P lenders in China have indeed been funding down payments on homes, embedding an enormous amount of excess leverage into the market while simultaneously driving up prices in Tier-1 cities.
Today Janet Yellen and the FOMC will go back to square one and try to reset global expectations unleashed by the ill-fated December rate "policy mistake" hike, when at 2pm the Fed will announce assessment of the economy, even if not rate hike is expected today. Just like in December the Fed will be forced to telegraph that it is hiking rates as a signal of a strengthening US, and global, economy where "risks are balanced" and hope that the subsequent global reaction will not be a rerun of what happened in January and February when confusion about the Fed's intentions led to a global market rout.
While Asia was up on China's bad data, and Europe was higher again this morning to catch up for the Friday afternoon US surge, US equity futures may have finally topped off and are now looking at this week's critical data, namely the BOJ's decision tomorrow (where Kuroda is expected to do nothing), and the Fed's decision on Wednesday where a far more "hawkish announcement" than currently priced in by the market, as Goldman warned last night, is likely, in what would put an end to the momentum and "weak balance sheet" rally.
What The Average Zhou Thinks Of China's Housing Bubble: "Only After War Breaks Out, We'll Be Able To Afford It"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2016 22:30 -0400
"[the empty homes] belong to the real estate speculators, the hoarders and the corrupt officials... It's just a game for the rich! Beijing isn't a livable city at all. The price makes it off-limits. It’s also a food chain: Only the richest and most capable people can live here... The housing market is part of the bubble economy. In 5 years or so, after a war has broken out, then the middle class will be able to afford a home."
What is worrisome is that since this trick can be applied basically anywhere in China, it will be and the elite in Shanghai and Beijing will catch on as will tier 2-4 cities, whose governments are even more desperate to rescue the housing market. With the elite and smart money milking the existing banking system in this way and moving money out, China's 3.2 Trillion (and declining for 4 consecutive months) official reserves doesn't look all that impressive.