China has some stunningly beautiful natural landscapes, but, as boredpanda.com explains, they may not count for much when, in other parts of the country, pollution runs totally unchecked. China is very close in size to the USA. Yet, as The Burning Platform notes, their population is the size of the entire Western Hemisphere, plus Japan, Germany, and France. The land can not support this mass of humanity without very dire consequences, and these shocking photos show what severe pollution people have to deal with in some parts of China...
- ECB to decide on bond-buying plan to revive euro zone (Reuters)
- Draghi Is Pushing Boundaries of Euro Region with QE Program (BBG)
- Investors Wonder Whether ECB Will Do Enough (WSJ)
- Treasuries Drop With Bunds Before ECB; U.S. Futures Rise (BBG)
- European shares hit seven-year high (Reuters)
- At least eight civilians killed in shelling of Ukrainian trolleybus (Reuters), both sides blame each other
- OPEC Will Blink First in Battle With Shale Drillers, Poll Shows (BBG)
- China Injects $8 Billion Into Banking System (WSJ)
- New York says Barclays not cooperating in 'dark pool' probe (Reuters)
With less than two hours until the ECB unveils its first official quantitative easing program, the markets appear to be in a unchanged daze. Well, not all markets: the Japanese bond market overnight suffered its worst sell off in months on a jump in volume, although for context this means the 10Year dropping from 0.25% to 0.32%. Whether this is a hint of the "sell the news" that may follow Draghi's announcement is unclear, although Europe has seen comparable weakness across its bond space as well and the US 10 Year has sold off all the way to 1.91%, which is impressive considering it was trading under 1.80% just a few days ago. Stocks for now are largely unchanged with futures barely budging and tracking the USDJPY which after rising above 118 again overnight, has seen active selling ever since the close of the Japanese session.
As we detailed previously, the first USD-denominated Chinese corporate bond default last week - of developer Kaisa Group - signals considerably deeper problems in China's economy as one manager noted, "everyone is rethinking risk right now." As Bloomberg reports, Chinese companies comprised 62% of all U.S. dollar bond sales in the Asia-Pacific region ex Japan last year, issuing $244.4 billion and that huge (and illiquid) market "has been too complacent," according to one credit strategist who warned, investors would be “rational to adopt a cautious approach in view of the fact that anything can happen, anywhere, anytime. It would be irrational to continue thinking that after Kaisa none of the companies will see a similar fate."
China's broad stock indices were flip-flopping between gains and losses from the open (although securities firms continued to get monkey-hammered on more tightening by regulators) heading into the avalanche of data that hit at 2100ET. GDP growth - which was estimated at sub-7% based on real-time hard-date - was released/leaked 10mins early - rising 7.3% YoY in Q4 (just beating expectations of a 7.2% rise) but grew only 1.5% QoQ (missing the 1.7% expectation). Then came Retail Sales - beating by the most since May 2014 with a 11.9% YoY gain (against 11.7% expectations). Industrial Production grew at 7.9% YoY (beating expectations of 7.4% by the most since July 2013). Of course the fact that Chinese GDP growth of 7.4% YoY was the weakest since 1990 was entirely ignored as the immediate reaction was Yuan and Chinese equity strength.
The last session in China on Friday provided an epic roller-coaster as exuberant retail BTFD'ers met their match with fading inflation and surging default risk concerns. The Monday session has opened to more of the same - with the Shanghai Composite opening down another 1.3% and erasing all the year's gains. As Shanghaio Daily reports, the Chinese property developer Kaisa Group Holdings (that we have discussed in detail here and who's next here) failed to repay a US$26 million bond coupon, making it the first Chinese property firm to default on dollar bonds.
Draghi Launches New Year With More QE Jawboning, Sending Euro To New 4 Year Low, Yields Lower, US Futures HigherSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/02/2015 07:00 -0500
The new year has officially started because it wasn't even a day in and Mario Draghi was once again out and about, jawboning the Euro to a lower level than where it was when he said back in 2012 he would do "whatever it takes" to push it higher. The reason, as Reuters reports, why the Euro sank to a nearly 5 year low against the USD, was "clear indications that the European Central Bank will soon embark on outright money-printing." Actually, it was on just more hollow rhetoric by Draghi, who told German Handelsblatt that "the risk that we don’t fulfill our mandate of price stability is higher than it was six months ago." He also added that "it’s difficult to say” how much the institution will have to spend on government-bond purchases.
Well that didn't take long... With the smell of fireworks still lingering in the air, Bloomberg reports that Chinese developer Kaisa Group defaulted on a HK$400 million ($51.6 million) loan triggered by forced repayment terms after the firm's chairman resigned. With shares already down over 50% in December alone, trading is suspended as the company faces what S&P calls "more challenges" ahead and the 2018 bonds have collapsed to just 43c on the dollar (yields over 42%).
The speculative fever in Chinese stocks has reached 11 on the Spinal Tap amplifier of euphoria. Last week saw a stunning 900,000 new stock trading accounts opened - the most since October 2007 (right before the Shanghai Composite collapsed 70% in the following 9 months). With real estate prices floundering, everyone and their pet rabbit is piling into Chinese stocks, as one 'investor' explained to The NY Times, "almost everyone I know is investing, so I think I should be investing, too."
2014 was quite a bizarre year. The past 12 months brought us MH370, Ebola, civil war in Ukraine, civil unrest in Ferguson, the rise of ISIS and the fall of the Democrats in the midterm elections. Our world is becoming crazier and more unstable with each passing day, and we have a feeling that things are going to accelerate greatly in 2015... despite record-er-est US stock prices.
- Police officers' slaying raises pressure on New York mayor (Reuters)
- People Call for Cooling of Racial Tensions After Murder of NYPD Officers (BBG)
- The $6.3 Trillion Frenzy That Vanquished Treasury Bears (BBG)
- China Investigates Possible Stock-Price Manipulation (WSJ)
- Citigroup Was Wary of Metals-Backed Loans (WSJ)
- UPS Turns Parking Lots Into Sorting Centers to Add Speed (BBG)
- U.S. Move to Normalize Cuba Ties Boosts Firms’ Asset Claims (WSJ)
- Meredith Whitney’s Fund Said to Drop 11% as Office Put on Market (BBG)
- Railcar Bottleneck Looms for Oil (WSJ)
For the second time in 2 days, a Chinese car maker's stock has been utterly devastated overnight - on absolutely no news. Shares in BYD - the Chinese electric car maker part-owned by Warren Buffett - crashed 47% in a bout of total panic selling (before recovering modestly), just a day after Geely - another car maker - crashed 22% on an earnings warning. The reason - perhaps unsurprising - given by some is worries over Mainland China IPOs "caused a liquidity squeeze," as the recent rally in mainland shares is led by leverage financing leading to major margin-calls on modest drops. Is it any wonder the PBOC is trying to tamp down the speculation.
After drifting unchanged for much of the overnight session, US futures exploded higher shortly after the previously noted SNB's NIRP announcement, which took place at 2 am eastern, which made it explicit that yet another banks will herd the bouncing dead cats right into new all time stock market highs, and following the European open, were carried even higher as the global "risk-on" momentum ignition algos woke up, spiking all recently depressed assets higher, including energy as Brent rose almost 3% despite Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi once again saying "it is difficult if not impossible" for OPEC and his kingdom to reduce output.
- Ruble Sinks to 80 a Dollar Defying Surprise Russia Rate Increase (BBG)
- Oil slumps near $59 for first time since 2009 on oversupply (Reuters)
- Oil sinks, Russian moves fail to quell nerves (Reuters)
- Fed Seen Looking Past Low Inflation to Drop ‘Considerable Time (BBG)
- Students Among Dead as Pakistan Gunmen Kill 126 at Army School (BBG)
- Repsol to buy Talisman Energy for $13 billion (Reuters)
- Indonesia’s Rupiah Erases Decline After Central Bank Intervenes (BBG)
- Anti-Islam Rally Grows as Immigrant Backlash Hits Europe (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia is playing chicken with its oil (Reuters)
When the PBOC popped the Chinese equity market bubble earlier in the week, American investors (and talking heads) were stunned by such limitations on speculative excess. However, as the following chart suggests, perhaps it was a public service they were doing as the demise of Macau's easy-visa workarounds to currency controls has meant China's habitual gamblers needed to find a new outlet for their cash... "customers who used to wager on casino tables are probably now sitting at home betting on stocks."