If it smells like a rat it probably is a rat, and so it is with respect to these deals by collusion between China and Western governments, and their chosen corporate protégés, whether on currency or trade or investment matters. This is all an exercise in some combination of crony capitalism (with cronies on both sides!) and diplomacy by stealth. The gains and gainers are deliberately kept opaque. The losers are much less evident than the gainers, on whichever side of the fence, but principle and practice tells us that the total losses are much larger than the gains.
"It is ironic that we are perhaps best known for advising “that you panic”. However, if you are anxious at the wrong time it can prove very painful. Today, we would advise that you don’t panic! ... by withdrawing the “Greenspan put” and using their asset purchase schemes to eviscerate any notion of value, the authorities have paradoxically created a safer yet more paranoid market."
Dennis Gartman, author of the institutionally well followed ‘The Gartman Letter,’ has asked questions about gold’s peculiar price action last week and raised the question as to whether there was official central bank manipulation of gold prices.
China as the global Bubble’s focal point – the weak link yet, at the same time, the key marginal source of Bubble finance. China’s policy course appears to focus on two facets: to stabilize the yuan versus the dollar and to resuscitate Credit expansion. For better than two decades, similar policy courses were followed by myriad EM policymakers in hopes of sustaining financial and economic booms. Many cases ended in abject failure – often spectacularly. Why? Because when officials resort to such measures to sustain faltering Bubbles it generally works to only exacerbate systemic fragilities. For one, late-stage reflationary measures compound Credit system vulnerability while compounding structural impairment to the real economy. Secondly, central bank and banking system Credit-bolstering measures create liquidity that invariably feeds destabilizing “capital” and “hot money” outflows.
Back in September we explained why, contrary to both conventional wisdom and the BOJ's endless protests to the contrary, neither the BOJ nor the ECB have any interest in boosting QE at this - or any other point - simply because with every incremental bond they buy, the time when the two central banks run out of monetizable debt comes closer. Since then the ECB has jawboned that it may boost QE (but it has not done so), and overnight as reported previously, the BOJ likewise did not expand QE despite many, including Goldman Sachs, expecting it would do just that.
Having disappointed an expectant market by voting overwhelmingly (8-1) to leave monetary policy unchanged, the initial plunge in USDJPY and Japanese stocks has found a mysterious (and massive) JPY seller and Nikkei 225 buyer. USDJPY is now 100 pips and Nikkei 225 500 points above post-BOJ dip lows... because hawkish is the new bullish...
As all eyes, ears, and noses anxiously await the scantest of dovishness from Kuroda and The BoJ tonight (despite numerous hints that they will not unleash moar for now), the data that was just delivered may have helped the bad-news-is-good-news case. Most notably Japanese household spending dropped 0.4% YoY (with tax hike issues out of the way) missing expectations by a mile as the 'deflationary' mindset remains mired in Japanese heads. AsiaPac stocks are hovering at the week's lows unable to mount any bid as China fixed the Yuan notably stronger and instigated a new central pricing plan for pork prices (which suggests concerns about inflation domestically). Once again Chinese margin debt reaches a new 8-week high as 'stability' has prompted releveraging among the farmers and grandmas.
Haruhiko Kuroda owns 52% of all Japanese ETFs. And now he wants more. Facing a lack of willing JGB sellers, the BoJ now faces the possibility that ramping up its easing efforts will entail expanding the bank's already elephantine equity portfolio. "At a fundamental level, I don’t support the idea of central banks buying ETFs or equities. Unlike bonds, equities never redeem. That means they will have to be sold at some point, which creates market risk."
The weakness seen in world economic activity is partly the result of the lack of a real purge of the financial system in 2008. It has become unimaginable to let entire parts of the system collapse, and the titling of some financial institutions as “systemic” is part of this logic. Policymakers attempting to keep unhealthy economic and financial institutions alive are making a mistake. The very essence of capitalism lies in the process of creative destruction. What we see here is not a way out of the crisis. Instead, we are on the edge of a new financial disaster.
Two biggest move overnight came from everyone's favorite carry pair, the USDJPY, which may have finally read what we said yesterday, namely that with the Fed and ECB both doing its job, there is little need for the Bank of Japan to repeat its Halloween massacre for the second year in a row, and as a result will keep its QQE program unchanged. It promptly tumbled from its 121 tractor level, to just above 120.25, where BOJ bids were said to be found. With the FOMC October meeting starting today, the other overnight catalyst was not surprisingly the latest Hilsenrath scribe in which he removed any uncertainty about a Wednesday hike, "leaving mid-December as the central bank’s last chance to raise rates this year."
There are two general schools of thought amongst noted contrarians and libertarians regarding China’s overriding objectives. One school has it that China is very much a part of the One World Government philosophy and their primary goal is to acquire a more powerful seat at the IMF. Having done so, they will settle in and be content to be one of the leading jurisdictions that run the world collectively. The other school suggests that China means to become the most powerful nation in the world - to replace the US in every way as the world’s dominant nation. And that’s the case here. The world’s most powerful (and most oppressive) political/economic power structure has begun to go under the bulldozer. Its replacement will hopefully be a better one.
It was only a couple of months ago that a rapidly rising dollar was pushing the global economy closer to a new crisis. It seems unlikely that the conditions that made a rapidly rising dollar a problem in August have all been resolved by October. Those who bought stocks last week in response to hints of more easing from Draghi – and the rate cut in China – may find themselves in the same position as Pavlov’s dogs, wondering why no meal follows the ringing of the bell.