That China openly manipulates its economic data, especially around key political phase shifts, such as one communist regime taking over for another, is no secret. That China is also the marginal economic power (creating trillions in new loans and deposits each year) in a stagflating world, and as such must be represented by the media as growing at key inflection points (such as Q4 when Europe officially entered a double dip recession, and the US will report its first sub 1% GDP in years) as mysteriously reporting growth even without open monetary stimulus (something we have said the PBOC will not engage in due to fears of importing US, European and now Japanese inflation) is critical for preserving hope and faith in the future of the stock market, is also very well known. Which is why recent market optimism driven by "hope" from Alcoa that China is recovering and will avoid yet another hard landing, and Chinese reports of a surge in Exports last week, are very much suspect. But no longer is it just the blogosphere that is openly taking Chinese data to task - as Bloomberg reports, even the major banks: Goldman, UBS and ANZ - are now openly questioning the validity and credibility of the goalseek function resulting from C:\China\central_planning\economic_model.xls.
- Obama Picking Lew for Treasury Fuels Fight on Budget (BBG)
- Deutsche Bank Bank Made Huge Bet, and Profit, on Libor (WSJ)
- Spain Beats Maximum Target in First 2013 Debt Sale (BBG) - In other news, the social security fund is now running on negative?
- "Icahn is also believed to have taken a long position in Herbalife" (NYPost) - HLF +5% premarket
- Lew-for-Geithner Switch Closes Era of Tight Fed-Treasury Ties (BBG)
- Turkey Beating Norway as Biggest Regional Oil Driller (BBG)
- Greek State Firms are Facing Closure (WSJ)
- Draghi Spared as Confidence Swing Quells Rate-Cut Talk (BBG)
- China’s Yuan Loans Trail Estimates (BBG)
- SEC enforcement chief steps down (WSJ)
- CFPB releases new mortgage rules in bid to reduce risky lending (WaPo)
- Japan Bond Investors Expect Extra Sales From February (BBG)
26-year-old Hu Bin is China's most popular online market commentator - just four years after starting his blog. As Bloomberg BusinessWeek notes, his success started when Premier Wen Jiabao announced a 4 trillion renminbi rescue plan and as 'Commander in Chief of the Stock Market Army' Hu says "I knew I just needed to be clever and use this chance of high liquidity in the market to make myself famous." The brash, eccentric, and outspoken blogger is among the Top 10 most influential people on the Chinese stock market (though under his alias 'Yerongtian' - though preferring the nickname 'Batman') and notes that "any eccentric behavior would attract people's attention. If you understood this vital point, you could control people's minds." Hu says he is not a financial rabble-rouser adding that "the stock market in the US is managed by regulations; the Chinese market is managed by humans. The 72 million 'retail' Chinese investors aren't as mature as American investors, and I write to meet their immediate needs." While recognizing the irresistible pull of stocks, he understands he's giving advice to people he knows probably shouldn’t be in the market but are going to invest anyway. What's Chinese for BooYaa?
- IMF Demands Partial Default for Cyprus (Spiegel)
- Boehner's 'Plan B' Gets Pushback (WSJ)
- Beijing criticises US ‘political checks’ (FT)
- White House Said to Tell Business Groups Talks Stall (BBG)
- NYSE tries to get hitched again: IntercontinentalExchange in talks to buy NYSE (Reuters) -> N-Ice coming?
- Greece faces ‘make or break’ year (FT)
- Fed rejects idea of consensus forecasts, "maybe forever": Fisher (Reuters)
- Rajoy Drives Spanish Revolution With Low-Cost Manufacture (BBG)
- Italian Senate Set for Budget Vote Before Monti Resigns (BBG)
- BOJ Loosens With Pledge to Review Inflation Objectives (BBG)
- Bowing To Abe, BOJ To Review Price Goal (WSJ)
- MSM discovers window dressing: Fund Managers Lift Results With Timely Trading Sprees (WSJ)
- White House Unyielding on Debt Limit (WSJ)
- Obama, Boehner talk; Geithner prepared to go off "cliff" (Reuters)
- Republicans urged to resist tax rises (FT)
- China looms large over Japanese poll (FT)
- As predicted here two months ago, Greek Bond Buyback Leads S&P to Cut to Selective Default (BBG)
- Japan opposition LDP set to win solid election majority – polls (BBG), but...
- Japan Opposition LDP’s Main Ally Cautions Abe on BOJ Pressure (BBG)
- U.S. and Europe Tackle Russia Trade (WSJ)
- King Seen Maintaining QE as Osborne Extends Fiscal Squeeze (BBG)
- Syria pound fall suggests currency crisis (FT)
- Irish budget seeks extra €3.5bn (FT)
- U.K. Extends Cuts Due to Poor Outlook (WSJ)
- ECB Seen Refraining From Rate Cuts as Yields Sink on Bond Plan (BBG)
- As this has been priced in since September 13, it should come as no surprise to anyone: Fed Stimulus Likely in 2013 (Hilsenrath)
- Bowles Says Fiscal Cliff Deal Unlikely by End of Year (Bloomberg)
- Argentina debt repayment order frozen (FT)
- Obama Is Flexible on Highest Tax Rates (WSJ)... not really
- Geithner deployed for fiscal cliff talks (FT)
- Audit firms Deloitte and KPMG sued in HP's Autonomy acquisition (Reuters)
- Euro-Zone Budget Proposal Is Unveiled (WSJ)
- EU Nations Clash on Thresholds for Direct ECB Oversight (Bloomberg)
- LDP leader Abe: BOJ must ease until inflation hits 3 percent (Reuters)
- SNB’s Jordan Says High Swiss Franc Burdens Many Companies (Bloomberg)
- EU to launch free trade negotiations with Japan: EU officials (Reuters)
Chinese economic data has in general been surprising to the downside in recent weeks - in opposition to the positive (seasonally adjusted awesomeness) of US data. However, for tonight's entertainment we have GDP at 7.4% YoY - perfectly in line with expectations (but the 7th consecutive quarter of slowing growth), Industrial Production beat modestly, Retail Sales beat handsomely (biggest beat in 18 months), and FAI beat...
- *CHINA 3Q GDP RISES 7.4% VS ECONOMISTS' EST. 7.4% :NBSZ CH
- *CHINA SEPT. INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT RISES 9.2% VS 9% ECONOMISTS' EST.
- *CHINA JAN.-SEPT. FIXED-ASSET INVESTMENT UP 20.5% VS EST. 20.2%
- *CHINA SEPT. RETAIL SALES RISE 14.2% FROM YEAR EARLIER
So, no new stimulus coming anytime soon - leaving Bernanke and Draghi all alone (and the latter is stuck waiting for Rajoy to say 'Si'). AUD lurched violently up and down; US equity futures are unmoved; and Treasury yields rose perhaps 1bps.
Whether you believe China is an economic miracle - or a government-sponsored fraud; and can ignore the broken growth model or believe that the CCP can bailout the world; Michael Pettis, of China Financial Markets, provides a much-needed dose of reality for bulls and bears when it comes to the future of the global growth engine. After summing up (and laying-waste to) the three mainstays of China bulls' arguments: he asks the three toughest questions any China bull must be able to answer. Analogizing China's position perfectly he cites Mills: "Panics do not destroy capital; they merely reveal the extent to which it has been previously destroyed by its betrayal into hopelessly unproductive works." Simply put, the bull argument cannot ignore the hidden bad debt.
- Europe’s crisis will be followed by a more devastating one, likely beginning in Japan. (Simon Johnson)
- Porsche, Daimler Indicate Europe’s Car Crisis Spreading (Bloomberg)
- No progress in Catalonia-Madrid talks (FT)
- Hilsenrath speaks: Fed's Kocherlakota Shifts on Unemployment (WSJ) - luckily QEternity made both obsolete
- Lenders Reportedly Consider New Greek Haircut (Spiegel)
- Fed Officials Highlight Benefits of Bond-Buying (WSJ)
- ESM to Launch without Leverage Vehicle Options (WSJ)
- Japanese companies report China delays (FT)
- Borg Says Swedish Taxes Can’t Go Into Ill-Managed European Banks (Bloomberg)
- Greek Leaders Struggle With Spending Reductions (Bloomberg)
- Asian Stocks Rise as iPhone 5 Debut Boosts Tech Shares (Bloomberg)
- China government's hand seen in anti-Japan protests (LA Times)
Where is the bacon, Mrs. Clinton?
- Germans write off Greece, says poll (FT) - Only a quarter of Germans think Greece should stay in the eurozone
- As predicted here two months ago: ECB chief and Spanish PM on collision course (FT)
- Gold Wagers Jump To 5-Month High As Fed Spurs Rally (Bloomberg)
- Euro zone factories faltering as core crumbles (Reuters)
- Those who expected more China easing, beware: PBOC Has No Short Term Intention for Loose Money Policy (Financial Market News)
- French jobless tops three million, minister says (AFP)
- Spain Leads Europe’s $25 Billion Gamble Before ECB (Bloomberg)
- US investor is Ireland’s biggest creditor (FT)
- Draghi May See Silver Lining In Disappointing Investors (Bloomberg)
- China's steel traders expose banks' bad debts (Reuters)
- NY probes private equity tax strategy (FT)
It's been a while since the ridiculous "China bails out Europe" rumor made the scene: in fact, the last time we can find with definitive confirmation was back in September of 2011, just before the bottom fell out of Europe, and when the FT, based on "anonymous sources" tripped over itself to report that "[insert European country] is in talks with China to buy bonds, assets." Sure enough, now that Merkel came, and saw, but hardly conquered Beijing, it is the turn of China's Wen Jiabao to add his 10 pips to the EURUSD rumormill: Reuters reports: "China is prepared to buy more EU government bonds amid a worsening European debt crisis that is dragging on the world economy, Premier Wen Jiabao said, in the strongest sign of support for its biggest trading partner in months." Naturally, considering how often this rumor (re)appeared in the past it will be excusable if nobody but the dumbest vacuum tubes fall for it this time, especially considering that the Chinese economy itself is going down in flames faster than the October Iron Ore contract. And lest there be any confusion, China's commitment is about as definitive as a Best Buy LBO "preunderwritten" with a Jefferies highly confident letter: "China is willing, on condition of fully evaluating the risks, to continue to invest in the euro zone sovereign debt market, and strengthen communication and discussion with the European Union, the European Central Bank the IMF and other key countries to support the indebted euro zone countries in overcoming hardships," [Wen] said after meeting Merkel." Ah, conditional aid. The kind that gets Mario Monti to break out the petulant ex-Goldman child act and refuse to leave the Belgian catered dining room until the beggees succumb to his technocratic platitudes. Needless to say, we'll believe China's "continued" investment in Europe when we see it.
Today the Chinese stock market did something unthinkable: it plunged to fresh post 2009 lows on news so bad they would have been enough to send the stock markets of such "developed" bizarro economies as the US and Europe limit up. The catalyst, as Bloomberg reports, was that Chinese industrial companies’ profits fell in July by the most this year, a government report showed today, adding to evidence the nation’s economic slowdown is deepening. Income dropped 5.4 percent last month from a year earlier to 366.8 billion yuan ($57.7 billion), the fourth straight decline, National Bureau of Statistics data today showed. That compares with a 1.7 percent slide in June and a 5.3 percent drop in May. What is disturbing is that the slide persisted even as revenue in the first seven months increased 10.6 percent to 50 trillion yuan, today’s report showed. Which means that cost and wage pressures are starting to truly bite Chinese corporations, that the US ability to export inflation to China is much more limited, and that one can forget the PBOC easing monetary conditions any time soon for many of the reasons discussed in the past week. It also means that China is now stuck hoping that Wen Jiabao will at least implement some fiscal stimulus. The reality however, judging by the SHCOMP's reaction, is that the benefit from fiscal programs in China, and everywhere else, is far more limited than monetary policy intervention. End result: SHCOMP down 1.74%,to 2,055, a three year low.
When China started tightening policy to fight inflation, almost no one thought that it would slow the economy to what China is in right now. When China started imposing ever more aggressive real estate prices curb, some people believed that that it would not make home prices drop (because there are many people in China, and urbanisation, etc), and even less believed that it would slow the economy to what China is in right now. When China started to slow down more than most thought, almost no one thought that it could be a big problem, while some thought that the slowdown was “engineered” to fight inflation. Because it was an intentional slowdown, not many people believed that it could get much worse. Digging deeper, we have not found much good reasoning behind those who insist on the uber-optimistic case, and most bullish arguments can be boiled down: "This is China. China is different. Don’t ask, just buy."
All major macro data from China over the last 2 days have been disappointing. The third quarter started on a surprisingly weak note for China despite all the talks (and hope) on stimulus and monetary policy easing. The macro data pretty much confirm our view that economic growth did not reach a bottom in the second quarter as the consensus used to believe. If anything, the economy seems to be worsening somewhat again. We hope that the consensus is (finally) right and that we are wrong. We hope that we will not be repeating the joke that “the consensus is expecting a recovery in next quarter during every quarter”. Unfortunately, we just don’t see that, and we doubt if the government has the willingness at this point to do much more, and we doubt whether the government really has the ability as the market thinks. We do not see convincing signs of recovery (except, perhaps, Wen Jiabao making waves every other week), and we even struggle to see signs of stabilisation. If we see anything, we are seeing a bottomless pit.