And then there were 21. Hours ago on Saturday, the country whose currency is largely pegged to the dollar which itself is now anticipating a rate hike in the coming months, surprised the world by confirming its economic slowdown yet again following a recent rate cut just this past November when it lowered its benchmark rate by 40 bps, after it again cut benchmark lending and deposit rates by 25 bps starting on March 1. Specifically, the PBOC will lower the one-year lending rate to 5.35% from 5.6% and its one-year deposit rate to 2.5% from 2.75%. It also said it would raise the maximum interest rate on bank deposits to 130% of the benchmark rate from 120%.
With the invasion of Syria, pardon, the "Islamic State" on behalf of US allies in the middle east imminent, it is time to send the fear meter to Max, and spook the US population with the reminder that far from being expert, Hollywood-quality video editors, ISIS is engaged in not only in selective, carefully sponsored and funded beheadings several thousand miles away, but is operating right under everyone nose.
Last week it was 19 central banks (including the ECB which accounts for 19 nations) which had cut rates in 2015, mostly in "surprise", unexpected easing decisions. Moments ago the number became 20 when the Israel central bank just cut its interest rate by 0.15% to 0.1%, the lowest on record, a move which once again caught the market by surprise as only 3 of 23 analysts had predicted it.
With the world's oldest central bank - Sweden's Riksbank - taking the plunge into negative rates, there have been 19 'eases' by central banks this year, Morgan Stanley warns of "ghosts of the 1930s." With competitive 'easing' stoking fears of international currency wars, The Telegraph notes however that looser monetary policy is not the order of the day everywhere in the world, and herein lies potential danger for the world economy.
Moments ago the number of central banks who have eased so far in 2015, most of them unexpeted, rose by one more from 15 to 16, when in addition to Singapore, Europe, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, India, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Peru, Albania, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, Russia and, most recently, Australia it was China's turn to do what so many banks had said was inevitable, even if meant backtracking on all its blustery talk about limiting bad debt expansion, and cut its reserve requirement ratio for bank by 0.5% effective Thursday, to boost liquidity and support the economy.
The rally that was sparked by yesterday's late-day FT report had all but fizzled overnight, replaced by more concerns about the state of the global economy when Austrialia's central bank surprised the world (just 9 of 29 analysts had expected this move) by becoming the 15th in a row to ease in 2015 (the list: Singapore, Europe, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, India, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Peru, Albania, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, Russia and now Australia), cutting the cash rate to an all-time low of 2.25%, and sparking more concerns about a global currency war or rather USD war against every other currency, when the USDJPY algos woke up again, and did everything they could to re-defend the critical 117.20 level in the USDJPY which has proven critical in supporting the market in recent weeks, once again using the Greek "softening tone" story as the basis for the ramp as Europe woke up, which in turn sent the DAX promptly to new all time highs, while the Athens stock market surged by 9% at last check.
Asian Markets In Turmoil - Weak Japanese Bond Auction; Surprise Aussie Rate Cut; India Holds Rates, Cuts Reserve RatioSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/03/2015 00:27 -0500
UPDATE: *INDIA'S CENTRAL BANK KEEPS BENCHMARK POLICY RATE AT 7.75%, CUTS SLR TO 21.5% OF NDTL FROM 22%
UPDATE: Dow Futs -80 points, S&P Futs -9pts
Following the 15th surprise rate cut of 2015 (Singapore, Europe, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, India, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Peru, Albania, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, Russia and now Australia), the Aussie Dollar has cratered to its lowest since May 2009 against the US Dollar at 0.7650 (and bond yields crashed by the most since 1997 to record lows). Aussie stocks kneejerked higher (on an extremely dovish RBA statement) but are fading (as are Chinese stocks). Perhaps even more concerningly indicative of the central banks losing control, following this morning's weak Japanese auction (or more properly expressed - BoJ monetization farce), USDJPY (under 117), Japanese stocks (down 350 points from US session highs), and JGBs (yields up 6-8bps) are all being sold.
Yesterday we reported that in less than 1 month in 2015, so far a whopping 13 countries have proceeded with "surprising" rate cuts: Singapore, Europe, Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, India, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Peru, Albania, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. As of this morning, make that total 14, because in one of the more "surprising surprises" so far, it was none other than the Bank of Russia which cut its main interest rate from the 17% shocker it instituted at an emergency session on December 17 to halt the Ruble collapse (as a result of the crude price plunge) to 15% less than an hour ago. At the same time it cut the deposit rate to 14% and the repo rate to 16%.
For those keeping track of currency wars around the globe, 2015 - a year in which two central banks, those of Switzerland and Singapore have already admitted defeat, is shaping up as nothing short of historic. As DB's summarizes: just about 31 countries have, in less than a month, eased in the form of 13 mostly "surprise" rate cuts, while just 5 have tightened monetary policy.
The bottom line is that unfortunately for the BTFDers, with the Fed no longer giving explicit buy signals with the "considerable time" language struck, and with an implicit economic upgrade suggesting a rate hike is still on the table, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to frontrun the Fed's "wealth creation" intentions.
Be afraid, be very afraid. While French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday "The nation is relieved tonight," after the two standoffs concluded, as CNN reports, the French government's work is not over. French law enforcement officers have been told to erase their social media presence and to carry their weapons at all times because terror sleeper cells have been activated over the last 24 hours in the country, according to a French police source. Investigations continue into which terrorist group was ultimately responsible and, not be outdone in the fearmongery, The US State Department has issued a Worldwide Caution warning travelers, of the "continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world." Thank goodness we have the governments to protect us.
Halliburton’s takeover of Baker Hughes is setting out to be the oil and gas merger of the year. One of the largest such deals in years, it has not, however, met with unanimous approval. From antitrust concerns to management frictions and negative market forces, this has not been a smooth ride. And with a $3.5 billion break-up fee promised to Baker Hughes by Halliburton should the merger fall through, failure would come at a hefty price. Here are five reasons why the deal might still capsize.
Back in September, there was a summit meeting in a city that involved an organization that most Americans have never heard of. Mainstream media coverage was all but nonexistent. The place was Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, a country few Westerners could correctly place on a map. But you can bet your last ruble that Vladimir Putin knows exactly where Tajikistan is. Because the group that met there is the Russian president’s baby. It’s the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), consisting of six member states: Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. We should care what’s going on inside the SCO. Once India and Pakistan get in (and they will) and Iran follows shortly thereafter, it’ll be a geopolitical game changer.
China first delegated the management of gold policy to the People's Bank by regulations in 1983. To our knowledge this subject has not been properly addressed by any private-sector analysts, which might explain why it is commonly thought that China's gold policy is a more recent development, and why even industry specialists show so little understanding of the true position. But in the thirty-one years since China's gold regulations were enacted, global mine production has increased above-ground stocks from an estimated 92,000 tonnes to 163,000 tonnes today, or 71,000 tonnes; and while the west was also reducing its stocks in a prolonged bear market all that gold was hoarded somewhere.
The latest IMF data also shows that in July, the National Bank of Kazakhstan added 45,000 ounces to its official gold reserves, taking its total holding to 5.1 million ounces. As well as Kazakhstan, other countries in the region have also actively been increasing official gold reserves this year including Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Currency wars are set to intensify in the coming months.