There is one thing that could dramatically slow down China's metal exports - tariffs, anti-dumping duties and other forms of protectionism. “What may slow down the exports is anti-dumping and protectionist measures that several countries have taken against cheap imports,” said Ernst & Young’s Agrawal. In other words, a trade war... which is precisely what the U.S. just launched by hiking tariffs on Chinese steel imports by a whopping 256%.
- Central Bankers Urge Fed to Get On With Interest-Rate Increase (WSJ)
- Bond Market Casualties Leading Biggest S&P 500 Revival Since '11 (BBG)... on hopes of more easing
- U.S. Patrols to Test China’s Pledge on South China Sea Islands (WSJ)
- Merkel Under Fire: German Conservatives Deeply Split over Refugees (Spiegel)
- Assault Weapons Ban Before U.S. Supreme Court (NBC)
- Hedge Funds Are Playing 'Dangerous Game' With Copper (BBG)
We're beginning to believe the nation will not be unified behind a common cause when the coming financial eruption unleashes molten lava of chaos, punishing economic distress, civil strife, class warfare, race wars, and ultimately global war. As Strauss and Howe foretold, the establishment (aka corporate fascist military industrial surveillance state) has seen a sequential loss of popular trust as their blatant corruption, sociopathic stranglehold on the levers of power, and unrelenting greed have angered the critical thinking aware citizens of this country. The next leg down in this Greater Depression will sever the remaining trust, disintegrating any remaining support for the existing civic order. What comes next will be heavily dependent upon whether the 5% to 10% of liberty minded believers in the Constitution are able to gain the trust of the masses.
Of course, with Goldman's desk making millions in commissions executing AAPL's weekly, if not daily, buyback orders, the last thing Goldman would dare to do is issue a report that angers Tim Cook. But another problem may be emerging for AAPL: China. As a reminder, China recently became the biggest end-market for iPhone demand and any hints this may be jeopardized could have severe repercussions on the stock price. Which is why we paid particular attention to the report overnight from China's finance ministry, which accused a China unit of Apple of underpaying taxes in 2013 by 452 million yuan ($71 million), "which comes as China toughens its stance on tax payments by foreign firms."
Spontaneous combustion. Alien invasion. Zombie apocalypse. What do these have in common? Their likelihood is next to impossible. So why worry? This is how people tend to think about the financial system. Mentioning even the possibility, for example, that the US could default on its debt is met with so much scorn and contempt it would be safer to stand on the street corner warning about an alien invasion. The same goes for the imposition of capital controls. Or a collapse in the banking system. Or a currency crisis. And yet the most casual glance at the headlines proves that these events not only can happen, they do happen... and for one underlying reason...
"...If the S&P500 were to come down by 50% look at the bright side. The Millennial generation can finally buy into America’s future at a good price. Look at what they are facing right now: very little return on their savings and very lofty prices that they have to pay to invest in their future. So we often forget that these wrenching dislocating financial events, particularly for older generations, can create opportunities for the young, and often create space for something more durable for the times to be built. So I’ll just summarize it with Schumpeter’s phrase: creative destruction. That’s how I prefer to see what happens in a Fourth Turning."
During “normal times” – an economic growth phase accompanied or generated by rising systemic leverage – central banks have incentive to promote nominal growth and inflation, which make banking systems profitable and their free-spending political overseers happy. In such times, commercial banks have fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders to constantly increase their market values, which they do by expanding their balance sheets. Now that economies are highly leveraged, extinguishing debt would require banks to reduce the sizes of their loan books, which would shrink their market values. Thus, it seems economic policy makers never have incentive to promote debt extinguishment in the banking system, regardless of economic conditions or prospects.
What could possibly go wrong? Clearly having not learned their lesson from 'interfering' in free markets (and all the deflation-creating over-supplying, crony-capitalizing, taxpayer money-wasting malinvestment that goes with it), NBC News reports, The White House has announced a goal to train 75,000 workers in the solar industry by 2020, many of them veterans. In a sentence only President Obama could utter, he explains "these are good-paying jobs that are helping folks enter the middle-class." Climate 'fixed', folks 'fixed', veterans 'fixed' middle-class-economics 'fixed'... and we are sure it will be unequivocally good for America (until trade wars pick up once again).
Debt, Distraction, Currency Wars, Itchy Fingers
The inability of the linear thinking ruling class to acknowledge the seriousness of our current circumstances and the implications of the era of depression and violence the country is about to experience can be witnessed on a daily basis by listening to mainstream media talking heads or politicians of all stripes who bloviate about economic improvement and progress just ahead. Could there be a better example of myopia, delusion and willful ignorance than the theme and opening line of Obama’s State of the Union speech: "The Shadow Of Crisis Has Passed" Do Obama and his advisors actually believe this Crisis is over? Or is he purposely misleading the American people about the seriousness of our circumstances because he has been instructed to do so by the men who really pull the levers of this country?
- Stick to tapering and rates pledge, says Boston Fed chief (FT)
- Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as U.S. drops arms to defenders (Reuters)
- Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, some leave early (Reuters)
- Japan GPIF to Boost Share Allocation to About 25%, Nikkei Says (BBG)... or three months of POMO
- Japan Stocks Surge on Report GPIF to Boost Local Shares (BBG)
- China Growth Seen Slowing Sharply Over Decade (WSJ)
- Russia, Ukraine Edge Closer to Natural-Gas Deal (WSJ)
- Leveraged Money Spurs Selloff as Record Treasuries Trade (BBG)
- After clashes, Hong Kong students, government stand their ground before talks (Reuters)
Zero inflation is like death penalty to debt-laden countries. It has been estimated that Italy would need a primary surplus of ~8% if it wanted to stabilize its debt/GDP at zero inflation, which means just stopping it from moving even higher. Spain would need a primary surplus of 2%+, instead of current negative 1.44%. Which means more austerity and more contractionary policies, to cause more internal devaluation than it is currently the case, more declines in unit labor costs, more salary cuts, more unemployment, less consumer spending, less corporate investments.... Incidentally, we have for European assets and the ECB the same feeling we have for Japan and the BoJ. Abenomics has a high chance of failure, in the long term. Nevertheless, on the road to perdition, chances are that efforts will be stepped up and more bullets shot in an attempt to avert the end game. As stakes are raised, financial assets will be supported and melt-up in bubble territory, doing so at the expenses of a more turbulent end-game in the years ahead.
Confirming Europe's realization just how serious events are, and how far down the rabbit hole Europe's bureaucrats have gone, French President Francois Hollande, while stressing that a failure by Russia to reverse a flow of weapons and troops into eastern Ukraine would force the bloc to impose new economic measures i.e., nothing new, it is what he said just after that indicated a dramatic change in rhetoric: "Are we going to let the situation worsen, until it leads to war?" Hollande said at a news conference. "Because that's the risk today. There is no time to waste."
The sudden military escalation in Ukraine in recent days has, according to JPMorgan's Alex Kantarovich, reduced the earlier hopes that the high level meeting in Minsk on 26 August would help to defuse the conflict. As Kantarovich warns, the markets are now bracing for the US/EU responses. In the worst case scenario, now appearing more likely, severe pressure on stocks may extend. As he concludes, "we believe that with the significant deterioration in the Ukrainian situation, markets may treat this as a Lehman-style shock."