- Millions of Tons of Metals Stashed in Shadow Warehouses (WSJ)
- Moguls Rent South Dakota Addresses to Dodge Taxes Forever (BBG)
- Fastest Japan Inflation Since ’08 Stokes Wage Pressure (BBG)
- Thai crisis deepens as army chief hints at intervention (Reuters)
- Anti-Assad Lebanese ex-minister killed in Beirut bomb (Reuters)
- Foreigners Unload Turkey Bonds as Probe Tarnishes Erdogan Growth (BBG)
- Small ISS Change Shakes Up Boards: Tweak to Influential Shareholder Adviser's Recommendations Has Directors Rethinking Proposals (WSJ)
- Japan’s Nishimura Calls for Quick Corporate Tax Cut to Under 30% (BBG)
- Japan's Abe bets U.S. alliance, ratings can weather shrine visit (Reuters)
It's the last Friday of 2013. Here is what happened overnight.
While the US consumer is rushing to spend what little savings they have left and grab that last for 2013 "X% off" deal from the local inventory-clearance bin on plastic Made in China trinkets or marked-down clothing, Chinese consumers are likewise scrambling to buy products. Only, unlike in the US, the object of China's affection is not some gizmo that will end up in the local landfill within 3-6 months. China News Network shows what it is.
Following David Woo's initial $1300 fair-value price target for Bitcoin, the BofAML strategist has had to suffer through some significant changes; not the least of which is China's increasingly strict Bitcoin regulation. The shifts, he notes, raise key questions about the future of Bitcoin as he asks "is this the end of Bitcoin?"
From the first headline to the last, the following brief month-by-month summary of the year shows just how far markets and global happenings have come...
While global currency wars have esclataed over the last 4 years (as we noted here), the potential return to fund outflows triggered by the Fed taper, combined with higher demand for funds ahead of Chinese New Year, means there will be continued pressure for China’s money market rates to stay high heading into January. With China's reform and rate liberalization plans, it seems 2014 may be the year of the Taper Wars.
Another day, another low volume overnight meltup to record highs in equity futures. Stocks traded higher in Europe this morning, with tech stocks outperforming following reports that Apple has finally secured a deal to bring the iPhone to China Mobile, which has more than 750 million subscribers. As a result, the likes of ARM Holdings and STMicro traded with gains of over 2% and Apple's German listing traded up around 2.5%. At the same time, French CAC index under performed its peers, with Technip among the worst performing stocks after being removed from Goldman's Sustained Focus List. Addtionally, over the weekend, the ECB's Praet said that the ECB is ready to intervene if credit contracts - and since Euro credit is contracting at a record pace, we wonder what he is waiting for. This happened as Fitch affirmed France at AA+, outlook stable. Looking elsewhere, thin trading conditions resulted in an aggressive spike higher in CME US 30y futures this morning after a large clip was traded, which consequently saw the exchange adjust prices lower, but did not bust any trades.
Chinese demand may once again stem the decline in gold prices. Chinese buyers eagerly scooped up gold at bargain prices overnight after the 4% price fall. Gold volumes for the benchmark cash contract on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), China’s biggest spot bullion market, climbed to a 10 week high as lower prices led to increased buying.
As reported yesterday, following a surge in various short-term and money market rates in the aftermath of the Fed's taper announcement, the PBOC admitted after the close that it used Short-term Liquidity Obligations (SLO) to add funding to the market, and in doing so, bailing out money markets - the same product that nearly collapsed the financial system in the aftermath of Lehman. The bank didn't specify when it added the funds but, in another direct echo of the June panic, the PBOC said it is prepared to add more. However, it seems the market was less the convinced, and despite an early plunge in the seven day repo rate by over 2%, it suddenly and rapidly reversed direction and instead blew out hitting a whopping 9%, the highest since the June near-crash of the Chinese banking sector. The outcome: China said it injected another $50 billion to bailout and stabilize its money markets in what is increasingly looking like a replay of this summer's liquidity lock up. Perhaps the PBOC hinting at tapering at a time when the Fed is actually doing so is not the smart choice...
If yesterday's price action in the moments following (and preceding) the FOMC announcement was just a little suspicious, with a seemingly endless supply of VIX selling originating as if from nowhere (or perhaps the 9th floor of Liberty 33) the morning after has so far been a snoozer. Perhaps this is to be expected following the third biggest one-day surge in the stock market in the year (1st = Jan 2nd, 2nd = October 10th), or perhaps the market is finally focusing on Bernanke's tongue in cheek suggestion that the taper may be lowered by $10 billion per month (we disagree as described previously). Or perhaps the creep higher in 10 Year yields, at 2.915% at last check and just shy of the 3.00% psychological level, is finally being noticed. Or perhaps the fact that China, very surprisingly, is also tapering concurrently is finally being appreciated as is the fact that despite all talk of preparedness, developing economies were hardly left unscathed following yesterday's development. Whatever the reason, the euphoria this morning has "tapered."
We think not as increasing signs of corporate distress in China will weigh on emerging market growth.
- MOAR: BOJ Said to See Significant Room for More Bond Purchases (BBG)
- Meltdown Averted, Bernanke Struggled to Stoke Growth (Hilsenrath)
- New Mortgages to Get Pricier Next Year (WSJ)
- Republicans to Seek Concessions From Obama on Debt Limit (BBG)
- Hunting for U.S. arms technology, China enlists a legion of amateurs (Reuters)
- Jury Begins Deliberating in Case of SAC Portfolio Manager (WSJ)
- BP to Write Off $1 Billion on Failed Well (WSJ)
- Rajan Unexpectedly Keeps India Rates Unchanged to Support Growth (BBG)
- Thai protesters say they will rally to hound PM from office (Reuters)
- SEC Brings Fewer Enforcement Actions, Slows Early-Stage Probes (WSJ)
We want to believe the fake unemployment rate of 7% rather than the real rate of 14+% because the officially sanctioned forgery feeds our belief that our bloated, corrupt Empire of Debt is sustainable, fair and working well. To accept that we've been bamboozled, ripped off, taken advantage of and ultimately cheated out of an authentic economy and life by swindlers is too painful.
The rise of the yuan has been exaggerated. Strip out data involving Hong Kong and the claims of trade flows that are concealed capital flows and one might get a more accurate picture.
As a general rule, extreme economic decline is almost always followed by extreme international conflict. Sometimes, these disasters can be attributed to the human survival imperative and the desire to accumulate resources during crisis. But most often, war amid fiscal distress is usually a means for the political and financial elite to distract the masses away from their empty wallets and empty stomachs. War galvanizes societies, usually under false pretenses. We're not talking about superficial “police actions” or absurd crusades to “spread democracy” to Third World enclaves that don’t want it. No, we're talking about REAL war: war that threatens the fabric of a culture, war that tumbles violently across people’s doorsteps. The reality of near-total annihilation is what oligarchs use to avoid blame for economic distress while molding nations and populations. Because of the very predictable correlation between financial catastrophe and military conflagration, it makes quite a bit of sense for Americans today to be concerned.