Wen Jiabao

China Hikes Rates For Second Time In 2011, Fourth Since October

One hour ago the PBOC announced the most recent Chinese rate hike, second in 2011, and fourth since October 2010, in the country's ongoing fight with excess-liquidity driven (both courtesy of the Fed and the PBoC itself) inflation, which has been running near a 28-month high of 5.1% hit in November. Benchmark one-year deposit rates will be lifted by 25 basis points to 3.25 percent, while one-year lending rates will be raised by 25 basis points to 6.31 percent, the People's Bank of China said in a statement on its website. The hike will be effective beginning Wednesday, April 6.

Frontrunning: March 22

  • Arab Regimes Under Siege (WSJ)
  • Rift Over Command of Libya Campaign (FT)
  • Premier Wen Jiabao Says ‘Urgent Steps’ Needed on China’s Trade Imbalance (Bloomberg)
  • Japan Maintains Threat of Further G-7 Action (WSJ)
  • China Central Bank to Lift HK Yuan Clearing Interest Rate (Reuters)
  • U.S. Banks Oppose Tighter Money Rules (WSJ)
  • How Germany Can Avoid a Two-Speed Europe (George Soros)
  • Trichet Signals Rate Increase Likely (WSJ)
  • Osborne to Reveal Borrowing Increase (FT)

Chinese Inflation Heats Up Again As PBoC Takes Another Step To Establish Yuan As Reserve Currency

That China's February inflation just came out at a consensus-beating 4.9% is no surprise. After all, the country miraculous slipped just below the consensus so the Department of Truth had to keep things somewhat symmetric. And yes, while this is the 5th consecutive month that Chinese inflation is higher than the official target of 4%, this is not the news of the evening: a press release just issued by the PBoC however is...

Oil, Gold Rise And Silver Surges To Record On MENA Contagion And Greenspan’s “Faulty” Fiat Currency Concerns

Currency debasement on a scale never seen before in modern history continues in the U.S. and other countries. This is leading to a real risk of stagflation and possible even hyperinflation if sane monetary policies are not returned to soon.
The fiat currency experiment of the last 40 years (since Nixon came off the Gold Standard in 1971) grows more precarious by the day. Ironically, Alan Greenspan, the central banker most responsible for the cheap money policies and asset bubbles of the last 20 years, has again warned about the euro and dollar being “faulty” fiat currencies. Greenspan again said how gold is the ultimate form of payment and currency (see interview and transcript of interview in News). "What the price of gold is saying is essentially that there are elements within the marketplace which feel very uncomfortable with respect to what's going on generally," the former Federal Reserve chairman said. "It's not an accident that you're finding that central banks are going in to buy gold."

China Gold Demand Voracious - Chinese Yuan Gold Standard?

The lack of animal spirits in the gold and silver bullion markets is also seen in the decline of the gold ETF holdings (see chart above) and the Commitment of Traders open interest (see below). Neither show any signs of speculative fever whatsoever. This would suggest that the recent record prices are due to short covering on the COMEX (possibly by Wall Street banks with concentrated short positions as alleged by the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee or GATA and being investigated by the CFTC) and buying of bullion in the Middle East and Asia, particularly in China. While all the focus is on the geopolitical risk in the Mediterranean, the not insignificant risks posed by the European sovereign crisis, the possibility of a US municipal and sovereign debt crisis and continuing currency debasement internationally are the prime drivers of gold today. Quantitative easing, debt monetisation and competitive currency devaluations have not gone away and are leading to deepening inflation which will likely result in much higher prices in 2011 and 2012.

China "Attacks The Dollar" - Moves To Further Cement Renminbi Reserve Currency Status

In a surprising turn of events, today's biggest piece of news received a mere two paragraph blurb on Reuters, and was thoroughly ignored by the broader media. An announcement appeared shortly after midnight on the website of the People's Bank of China. Reuters provides a simple translation and summary of the announcement: "China hopes to allow all exporters and importers to settle their cross-border trades in the yuan by this year, the central bank said on Wednesday, as part of plans to grow the currency's international role. In a statement on its website www.pbc.gov.cn, the central bank said it would respond to overseas demand for the yuan to be used as a reserve currency. It added it would also allow the yuan to flow back into China more easily." To all those who claim that China is perfectly happy with the status quo, in which it is willing to peg the Renmibni to the Dollar in perpetuity, this may come as a rather unpleasant surprise, as it indicates that suddenly China is far more vocal about its intention to convert its currency to reserve status, and in the process make the dollar even more insignificant.

Gold Reaches New Record High - News Barely Reported By Mainstream Media

Gold’s all time record nominal high yesterday was barely reported in most of the mainstream business and financial press today - slightly more online but there was little or no coverage in print. This is an indication that gold and silver remain far from the “bubbles” that some have suggested. Speculative manias and bubbles are characterised by mass participation and widespread enthusiasm and “irrational exuberance” by all sectors of society including the media and particularly the retail investor and the “man in the street”. The majority of investors and savers in the western world do not know what gold bullion is and could not tell you the price of an ounce of gold or silver in dollars – let alone in pounds, euros or other local currencies. The majority are unaware of the huge developments in the gold markets (only reported by specialist financial press) such as China’s emergence as one of the largest buyers of gold in the world (see news and our video below) and the fact that central banks and astute hedge funds are some of the largest buyers of gold in the world today.

As Bloomberg Reporter Is Beaten Up In China, Wen Jiabao Promises To Crack Down On "Power Abuse"

With violent protests springing up like mushrooms, following recent appearances in North Korea and Vietnam, and following last weekend's failed attempt at a Jasmine Revolution, China's authoritarian regime is about to be put to the supreme test. Bloomberg reports that "Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to punish abuse of power by officials and narrow the growing wealth gap as police blanketed Beijing and Shanghai to head off planned protests inspired by revolts in the Middle East." In other words, beatings (and disappearances) will continue until morale finally improves. As for the beatings, Bloomberg's Stephen Engle managed to experience one up close and personal: "Security officers also detained several foreign journalists, including
Stephen Engle, a reporter for Bloomberg Television. The Wall Street
Journal saw Mr. Engle being grabbed by several security officers, pushed
to the ground, dragged along by his leg, punched in the head and beaten
with a broom handle by a man dressed as street sweeper." Yes, China may be the most repressive regime when push comes to shove, but should 1+ billion angry and hungry Chinese decide there is nothing all that unique about China compared to Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast, Vietnam, North Korea, Djibouti and countless more to come, not even the most convincing "blanketing" by police forces will do much of anything to prevent the only revolution that matters.

Chinese Futile Inflationary Response Intensifies As PBOC Hikes RRR By 50 bps, Again

China continues to joust with windmills as its latest attempt to counter inflation, a 50 bps RRR hike, is now history, and will be just as successful as all of its previous RRR, and interest rate hikes at rebuffing gentle Ben's attempt at genociding a few hundred million additional serfs. Luckily for now the "silver for rice" trade continues, keeping a lid on rice prices. Indicatively, as we showed previously, neither interest rate hikes nor RRR have any impact on the Chinese market whatsoever, confirming that the only source of global liquidity that matters resides in the Marriner Eccles building.

Niels Jensen Asks If Plunging Chinese Power Output Is Indicative Of A "Dramatic Economic Slowdown"

The latest letter by Absolute Return Partners' Niels Jensen is a must read for anyone still on the fence about the Chinese "thesis." With many prominent pundits pitching either side of the China bull/bear case, often times covering up weaknesses in their arguments with extended and superfluous rhetoric, sometimes it gets easy to get lost in the noise: here is where Jensen's ability to create signal shines through. Jensen starts off with the official revelation that Chinese GDP is a made up number, discussed previously on Zero Hedge. "In a leaked 2007 cable Li Keqiang, who is the favourite to become the next premier, confided that official Chinese GDP figures are “man made” and “for reference only” (surprise, surprise), and that one should rather look at alternative measures such as electricity consumption, rail freight volumes and bank lending, if one wants a true picture of economic growth in China." It is all downhill from there.

One Minute Macro Update

Markets mostly bullish this AM following the holiday weekend in the US. Friday’s CPI print seemed reflective of inflation, showing increases in core and non-core metrics, while retail sales was mixed relative to expectations. We fear the real demand rally might well be short lived. Today’s Empire Manufacturing and November TIC flows will be watched closely for forward indications in the US, while the story out of Europe continues to be the market’s focus.

Shanghai Composite Tumbles 1.3% On Latest 50 bps Reserve Requirement Ratio Hike By PBoC

After the PBoC raised the RRR for the fourth time in two months (and 6 times in 2010), and following the Christmas Day interest rate hike, Chinese stocks once again find themselves reacquainted with gravity as the SHCOMP was trading down 1.3% at last check. The hike will be effective January 20 and will bring the RRR to a record 19%. And this most ineffective of monetary interventions will certainly not be the last: according to Bloomberg, "China may boost reserve ratios by more than 200 basis points in 2011, according to HSBC Holdings Plc economist Qu Hongbin. Industrial Bank Co. economist Lu Zhengwei estimates the ratio may reach 23 percent." Unfortunately, this latest move is too little too late, as Chinese food prices are already starting to make the politburo uneasy about what the world central bank cartel's actions mean for rice prices (remember the 3Rs as predicted by ZH - as we predicted in October, the next bubbles are Rare Earths, Rice, and Rubber).

GoldCore Review of 2010 And Outlook For 2011

Zero Hedge is happy to announce a new collaboration with the precious metals experts at Gold Core. We look forward to posting periodic industry updates, notes, analysis and commentary in conjunction with GC on all matters of topical significance in the PM space. As an introduction, we would like to present GoldCore's review of 2010 and Outlook for 2011. A sample from the analysis: "Should the dollar and other debt laden currencies and government bonds fall sharply in value due to a panic and wholesale liquidation we could experience hyperinflation. In this scenario paper assets will be shunned and people will protect themselves by buying hard assets such as real estate, commodities and gold and silver bullion. In such a scenario, gold and silver surge would quickly reach their inflation adjusted 1980 high of $2,300/oz and $130/oz before overshooting to much higher levels as was seen in Weimar Germany and more recently in Zimbabwe."