Trade Balance

The Donald vs. China (Or The Fallacy Of Protectionism)

For reasons that will forever remain a mystery to us, mercantilism and protectionism actually hold enormous popular appeal. The best explanation we can come up with for this phenomenon is that the support for such policies is based on a mixture of economic ignorance and relentless propaganda by vested interests over the past, say, four centuries. Still, it is almost comical that people are so vociferously clamoring for policies that can actually cost them a fortune and will definitely lower their standard of living.

Frontrunning: August 13

  • China central bank tries to soothe global markets, says no reason for yuan to fall further (Reuters)
  • Huge blasts at Chinese port kill 44, with hundreds injured (Reuters)
  • China efforts to slow yuan fall hoist Europe shares, bond yields (Reuters)
  • Greek Economy Unexpectedly Surged Before Capital Controls (BBG)
  • Joe Biden Is Sounding Out Allies About a 2016 Bid (WSJ)
  • U.K. Tries to Kick-Start Shale Gas With Planning Speedup (BBG)

Chinese Stocks Soar On Terrible Economic Data; US Futures Levitate; Brent Drops To 6 Month Lows

Following last week's bad news for the economy (terrible ADP private payrolls, confirmed by a miss in the NFP) which also resulted in bad news for the market which suffered its worst week in years, many were focused on how the market would react to the latest battery of terrible economic news out of China which as we observed over the weekend reported abysmal trade data, and the worst plunge in Chinese factory prices in 6 years. We now know: the Shanghai Composite soared by 5%, rising to 3,928 and approaching the key 4000 level because the ongoing economic collapse led Pavlov's dog to believe that much more easing is coming from the country which as we showed last night has literally thrown the kitchen sink at stabilizing the plunge in stocks.

"They'll Blame Physical Gold Holders For The Failure Of Monetary Policies" Marc Faber Explains Everything

"The future is unknown and we are not dealing with markets that are free markets anymore...now we have government interventions everywhere. [But] in the last say twelve months, I have observed an increasing number of academics who are questioning monetary policies. That's why I think they will take the gold away and go back to some gold standard by revaluing the gold say from now $1000/oz to say $10,000 dollars. An individual should definitely own some physical gold. The bigger question is where should he store it? because... the failure of monetary policies will not be admitted by the professors that are at central banks, they will then go and blame someone else for it and then an easy target would be to blame it on people that own physical gold because - they can argue - well these are the ones that do take money out of circulation and then the velocity of money goes down - we have to take it away from them... That has happened in 1933 in the US."

With All Eyes On Payrolls US Futures Tread Water; China Rises As Copper Crashes To New 6 Year Low

Here comes today's main event, the July non-farm payrolls - once again the "most important ever" as the number will cement whether the Fed hikes this year or punts once again to the next year, and which consensus expects to print +225K although the whisper range is very wide: based on this week's ADP report, NFP may easily slide under 200K, while if using the non-mfg PMI as an indicator, a 300K+ print is in the cards. At the end of the day, it will be all in the hands of the BLS' Arima X 12 seasonal adjusters, and whatever goalseeked print the labor department has been strongly urged is the right one.

Futures Rebound On Ongoing Dollar Strength; Commodities Rise, China Slides, Greek Banks Continue Plunging

In many ways the overnight session has been a mirror image of yesterday, with the dollar accelerating its Lockhart-commentary driven rise, which curiously has pushed ES higher perhaps as a result of more USDJPY correlation algos being active and various other FX tracking pairs. Indeed, the weak yen is all that mattered in Japan, where the Nikkei 225 (+0.5%) rose amid JPY weakness, despite opening initially lower as index heavyweight Fast Retailing (-4.5%) reported a 2nd consecutive monthly decline in Uniqlo sales. Elsewhere in mirror images, China slid 1.7%, undoing about half of yesterday's 3.7% jump, and is now down for 4 of the past 5 days.

Peter Schiff: What If "They" Are Wrong (Again)?

What if the assumptions about a U.S. economic recovery and Fed rate hikes were wrong? Could observers be mistaken now about the trajectory of the Dollar vs. the Euro as they were back in 2000? Confidence is the only thing that really undergirds modern fiat currencies. But confidence can be very ephemeral...disappearing as quickly as it arrives. The U.S. Dollar benefits from confidence that the Euro currency may just be unworkable, that the U.S. economy will continue to improve, and that the Fed will raise rates throughout the remainder of 2015 and into 2016. If these expectations are unfulfilled, there could be a Euro reversal.

Greek Banks Crash Limit Down For Second Day; China And Commodities Rebound; US Futures Slide

After a lukewarm start by the Chinese "market", which had dropped for the past 6 out of 7 days despite ever escalating measures by Beijing to manipulate stocks higher, finally the Shanghai Composite reacted favorably to Chinese micromanagement of stock prices and closed 3.7% higher as Chinese regulators stepped up their latest measures by adjusting rules on short-selling in order to reduce trading frequency and price volatility, resulting in several large brokerages suspending short sell operations. At this pace only buy orders will soon be legal which just may send the farce of what was once a "market" limit up.

Futures Flat Ahead Of Greek Bridge Loan Approval

After weeks of overnight turbulence following every twist and turn in the Greek drama, this morning has seen a scarcity of mostly gap up (or NYSE-breakding "down") moves, and S&P500 futures are unchanged as of this moment however the Nasdaq is looking set for another record high at the open after last night's better than expected GOOG results which sent the stop higher by 11% of over $40 billion in market cap. We expect this not to last very long as the traditional no volume, USDJPY-levitation driven buying of ES will surely resume once US algos wake up and launch the self-trading spoof programs. More importantly: a red close on Friday is not exactly permitted by the central planners.

Will Greek "Hope" Offset "Limit Down" Contagion From The "Frozen" China Crash

Today's market battle will be between those (central banks) "hoping" that a Greek deal over the weekend is finally imminent (which on one hand looks possible after a major backpeddling by Tsipras - who may never have wanted to win the Greferendum in the first place - yesterday in Brussels and today during his speech in the Euro Parliament, but on the other will be a nearly impossible sell to Greece as any deal terms will be far harsher than the deal offered by the Troika 2 weeks ago and will have no debt reduction), and those who finally noticed that the Chinese central planners have effectively lost control.

US Stock Futures Rebound On "Hope" Although China Has Big Trouble As Market Begins To Freeze

When it comes to Greece, and Europe in general, "hope" continues to remain the driving strategy. As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow summarizes this morning, "if you were looking for a word to describe the general feeling of equity markets today, you might well pick hopeful. U.S. equity futures opened higher and have been up all day. European bourses opened cautiously     higher as they await word, any word, from the European finance ministers or more importantly, Chancellor Merkel. Equity markets will continue to be very reactive to European headlines, but so far, no news has been taken as a reason for hope." Which incidentally, has been the general investment case for the past 6 years: "hope" that central banks know what they are doing.

Tumbling Futures Rebound After Varoufakis Resignation; Most China Stocks Drop Despite Massive Intervention

More than even the unfolding "chaos theory" pandemonium in Greece, market watchers were even more focused on whether or not China and the PBOC will succeed in rescuing its market from what is now a crash that threatens social stability in the world's most populous nation. And, at the open it did. The problem is that as the trading session progressed, the initial 8% surge in stocks faded as every bout of buying was roundly sold into until every other index but the benchmark Shanghai Composite turned sharply red.