Spoiler alert: none of these scenarios end well...
Exactly one month ago, in the aftermath of the Chinese devaluation announcement, we made a simple prediction. "Biggest immediate loser from China's devaluation: Brazil" Today, following the overdue, long anticipated, and yet "shocking" downgrade of Brazil by the S&P to junk, this prediction is coming true.
When it comes to crisis, SocGen notes that there is an abundance of case studies; and against the backdrop of the uncertainty shock delivered by China and the subsequent market tumult, market participants have been looking to the history books for clues as to what could happen next. While individual crises create their own risks, SocGen warns, the overriding risk is that markets are taking less comfort today from the idea that central banks may step in with further QE-style liquidity injections to save the world.
The good news: the collapse in global market cap since May of 2015 is not the worst ever.
The bad news: the $9 trillion drop in combined market cap between the MSCI All World index and Chinese stocks, is the second highest ever, surpassed only by the $13 plunge in global market capitalization in late 2008.
Logically, the massive liquidation of USD assets by China and other emerging market central banks should put upward pressure on UST yields and will, all else equal, work at cross purposes with DM central bank QE. But all else is never really equal...
"If the pace of FX intervention remains at USD86bn per month, we estimate that the PBoC could lose up to USD510bn of its reserves between June and December 2015, which would represent a nonnegligible decline of 14%."
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!