"With the encouragement of regulators, some lenders, including HSBC, have even run modelling for the imposition of capital controls, according to people briefed on the exercise. Banks said regulators had demanded a stress test that modelled for a 20 per cent fall in sterling."
Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters is fighting the battle to right the ship at the bank on two fronts. First, Winters needs to figure out a way to deal with plunging revenues and billions in NPLs. On the other front, the CEO is working to change a culture in which he is finding many bankers consider themselves "above the law."
The headlines go from bad to worse for the UK and EU establishment as yet another new poll this weekend, by Opinium, shows "Brexit" leading by a remarkable 19 points (52% chose to leave the EU against 33% choosing to keep the status quo). With market anxiety rising, as One River's CIO notes, if Brexit happens, gold will soar.
Now that all eyes have turned on China eager to find how it will react to a potential Fed rate hike in June or July, the question is whether the sharp Chinese devaluation unveiled overnight, which sent the Yuan to fresh 5 year lows, will be a one-off event, and whether the PBOC will intervene far more aggressively in the offshore CNY market to keep FX market turmoil to a minimum. According to at least one person, the answer is no.
In the latest indication of contracting global growth, overnight Hong Kong reported that its Q1 GDP fell off a cliff 0.4% qoq, widly missing estimates of 0.1% growth as retail sales plummeted and the property market continued its collapse. On a y/y basis, the economy grew only 0.8% when compared to the same period last year, less than half the 1.9% y/y growth reflected in Q4.
What investigators found from the recently published Panama Papers database and other leaked documents is that none other than Goldman Sachs and three other banks that are licensed by the state of New York had set up Panamanian shell companies. The other banks are BNP Paribas SA, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Standard Chartered Plc.
While markets remain relatively subdued ahead of tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report, after several days of losses in US stocks which pushed the S&P500 to three week lows, overnight markets ignored the latest weak data out of China where the Caixin Services PMI was the latest indicator to disappoint (dropping from 52.2 to 51.8), and instead focused on crude, which rebounded from yesterday's post inventory-build lows and briefly printed above $45/bbl over uncertainty related to the impact of Canada wildfires on production and how long will last. The bounce in WTI has meant Brent briefly traded at parity with West Texas for the first time in 6 weeks.
With the Fed decision just one day away, followed the very next day by the increasingly more irrational BOJ, stocks had no desire to make significant moves and overnight's boring session was the result, as European stocks and U.S. index futures rose modestly but mostly hugged the flatline while Asian declined 0.2% for a third day as raw-material shares declined and Tokyo equities slumped before central bank meetings in the U.S. and Japan this week. China’s stocks rose the most in almost two weeks, up 0.6% but failed to rise above 3000 on the Shanghai Composite, in thin trading.
China launched yuan denominated gold bullion trading today in a move that will further boost its power in the global gold and fx markets. Critics of the existing pricing mechanisms hope that it will lead to increased transparency and may end price manipulation.
Overnight a historic event took place when China, the world's top gold consumer, launched a yuan-denominated gold benchmark on Tuesday as had been previewed here previously in what Reuters dubbed "an ambitious step to exert more control over the pricing of the metal and boost its influence in the global bullion market."