Last week, the world was introduced to what Deutsche Bank has branded "quantitative tightening" or, in layman’s terms, "reverse QE." We - as well as Citi and SocGen - have endeavored to speculate on what hundreds of billions (if not trillions) in EM FX reserve liquidation may mean for UST yields, but if you’re looking for other ways to trade QT, Deutsche Bank has an idea.
China has just cornered the Fed: not just diplomatically, as observed when China's PBOC clearly demanded that Yellen's Fed not start a rate hiking cycle, but also mechanistically, as can be seen by the acute and sudden selloff across all asset classes in the past 3 weeks. Now Yellen has about 365 days or so to find a solution, one which works not only for the US, but also does not leave China a smoldering rubble of three concurrently burst bubbles. Good luck.
Curious why the S&P futures have opened down some 0.6%, wiping out the entire late-Friday ramp? The reason is that as SocGen summarizes it best, following the Jackson Hole weekend, we now know that despite Bill Dudley' platitudes "the door is still fully open to Fed liftoff in September."
Hint: think Treasurys, oil, and renminbi...
The size of the epic RMB carry trade could be as high as $1.1 trillion. If China were to liquidate $1 trillion in reserves (i.e. USTs) in order to stabilize the yuan in the face of the carry unwind, it would effectively offset 60% of QE3 and put around 200 bps of upward pressure on 10Y yields. So in effect, China's UST dumping is QE in reverse - and on a massive scale.
On Tuesday evening, we quantified the staggering cost of China’s near daily open FX operations in support of the yuan. In short, the new currency regime has led the PBoC to dump more US paper in the past two weeks than it had YTD. In conclusion, we asked if anyone else was set to join China in liquidating US Treasurys at a never before seen pace. Here's the answer and what it means for the US economy and monetary policy going forward.
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.
Gross: China selling long Treasuries ????
— Janus Capital (@JanusCapital) August 26, 2015
... in the past two weeks alone China has sold a gargantuan $106 (and over) billion in US paper just as a result of the change in the currency regime!
"Some Chinese agencies involved in economic affairs have begun to assume in their research that the yuan will weaken to 7 to the dollar by the end of the year, said people familiar with the matter. [Their] projections suggest a depreciation of more than 8 percent by Dec. 31 and about 20 percent by the end of 2016."
"China halts intervention in stock market so far this week as policy makers debate merits of an unprecedented government campaign to prop up share prices and what to do next, according to people familiar with situation. Some leaders support argument that stock market is too small relative to broader economy to cause crisis, says one of the people, who asked not to be identified as deliberations are private Leaders also believe intervention is too costly, person says."
The missing clue came from a report by SocGen's Wai Yao, who first summarized the total liquidity addition impact from today's rate hike as follows "the total amount of liquidity injected will be close to CNY700bn, or $106bn based on today's onshore exchange rate." And then she explained just why the PBOC was desperate to unlock this amount of liquidity: it had nothing to do with either the stock market, nor the economy, and everything to do with the PBOC's decision from two weeks ago to devalue the Yuan. To wit:" In perspective, the PBoC may have sold more official FX reserves than this amount since the currency regime change on 11 August."
Following the recent broad market selloff which has taken all US stock indices into the red for 2015 and in some cases, red for the past 52 weeks, the real question traders should be asking themselves now that the power and potentcy of central bank intervention is increasingly questioned is whether stocks are now fundamentally cheap or at least, "fairly" valued. The answer, as SocGen's Andy Lapthorne points out, is a resounding no.
Moments ago, without any specific catalyst, US equity futures just plunged when in thin, illiquid tape, a seller took out about 30 consecutive bid levels and as of last check, the ES was down as much as -48 to just 1923, or 2.5%, after being down a modest -13 minutes ago.
"Clearly, markets have lost faith in the ability of unorthodox monetary policies to kick start the economy over time. This also fits the findings of academic literature suggestion diminishing returns from subsequent rounds of QE."