When it comes to ridiculous, bizarre, and even "insane" contraptions, projects and ideas, China is indeed second to none. Which is why it was only a matter of time before China's engineers came up with unprecedented "solutions" to what has rapidly become perhaps the biggest problem for people living in China: air quality, in a broad sense, and specifically: unprecedented smog covering all the major metropolises on a daily basis. But fear not: China is on top of it. Declaring war on air pollution, the PRC is prepared to pump 1.7 trillion yuan ($277 billion) into coming up with solutions to curb the fuzzy sludge that opaques most of their country’s cities. This has led to the creation of several new and innovative, interesting — even ridiculous — pollution fighting methods. So here, courtesy of VJ, are the 13 most head-scratching proposals intended to do just that: fix China's smog.
Will volatility become a policy tool? The PBOC decided that enough was enough with the ever-strengthening Yuan and are trying to gently break the back of the world's largest carry trade by increasing uncertainty about the currency. As Citi's Stephen Englander notes, this somewhat odd dilemma (of increasing uncertainty to maintain stability) is exactly what the rest of the world's planners need to do - Central banks will need more FX and asset market volatility in order to provide low rates for an extended period... here's why.
Dispassionae look at the several events in the week ahead.
- Snowden: 'no relationship' with Russian government (Reuters)
- Bond Surge Worldwide Drives Index Yield to One-Year Low (BBG)
- Shares flirt with record highs on ECB easing bets (Reuters)
- Goldman Shuns Bonds Pimco’s Gross Favors in ‘New Neutral’ (BBG)
- Porn may be messing with your head (Reuters)
- Dish to Become Largest Company to Accept Bitcoin (AP)
- To Make a Killing on Wall Street, Start Meditating (BBG)
- Apple to get Beats, music mogul Iovine for $3 billion (Reuters)
- Fink Says Leveraged ETFs May ‘Blow Up’ Industry (BBG)
Western strategists and talking heads, we are sure, will know better and continue to pitch China as the renewed engine of growth in the world and that everything will be fine... but when the country's largest property developer says, the "golden era" for China’s property market has passed, adding that "The period in which everybody makes money out of property is gone," perhaps it is time to listen? Of course, we are sure there will be an orderly exit (just as there was in CNY last night which crumbled to 19-month lows) but as China Vanke Co's Yu Liang warns, "the phase where 'whoever buys makes money' is gone." Property sepculators are frustrated that the government won't bail them out "are they tryng to kill us?" as one analyst notes "this downturn is more serious than 2008."
Anyone who buys their own groceries (as opposed to having a full-time cook handle such mundane chores) knows that the cost of basic foods keeps rising, despite the official claims that inflation is essentially near-zero. Common-sense causes include severe weather and droughts than reduce crop yields, rising demand from the increasingly wealthy global middle class and money printing, which devalues the purchasing power of income. While these factors undoubtedly influence the cost of food, it turns out that food moves in virtual lockstep with the one master commodity in an industrialized global economy: oil.
- Yellen Concerned by Housing Slowdown She Has Scant Power to Cure (BBG)
- Because snow in Q1? Citigroup’s CFO Says Trading Revenue Could Slide 25% (BBG)
- Banks Raise Caution Flag on Trading (WSJ)
- The answer is yes: Hilsenrath asks if BOJ’s Kuroda Awakening to His Limits? (WSJ)
- Google Develops Prototype Cars for Fully Autonomous Driving (WSJ)
- Amazon Expects Lengthy Hachette Dispute (WSJ)
- Tencent $1 Billion Game Shows Global Hunt for Mobile Hits (BBG)
With China's push for an international physical exchange, physical demand will begin to have a stronger influence, thereby ending gold manipulation. This will allow gold to rise to a more appropriate price given the scale of macroeconomic, systemic, geo-political and monetary risks of today.
- Vietnam, China trade accusations after Vietnamese fishing boat sinks (Reuters)
- SEC Set to Spur Exchange Trading (WSJ)
- Bank of Japan quietly eyes stimulus exit (Reuters)
- Japan Risks Low Growth Even as Easing Spurs Inflation (BBG)
- Hello Japan: Bond Market Message to Fed: Your 4% Rate Outlook Is Too High (BBG)
- Malaysia, UK firm release satellite data on missing MH370 flight (Reuters)
- Fighting rages in eastern Ukraine city, dozens dead (Reuters)
- Bad Credit No Problem as Balance-Sheet Bombs Rally 94% (BBG)
- Draghi’s Asset-Backed Drive Rouses Academic Skeptics (BBG)
- For-Profit Colleges Face Test From State, Federal Officials (WSJ)
China and Russia signed an historic agreement in Shanghai this week - the ramifications of which have yet to be appreciated ... Reserve currency status does not last forever. Empires rise and fall. The world is constantly changing and evolving. Nothing lasts forever …
Vladimir Putin has concluded his lengthy interview having covered everything from "the end of the unipolar model of the world" - i.e. de-dollarization - to US and Europe's responsibility for Ukraine's "full-scale civil war." The Russian leader noted that he's "trying to help Ukraine" but following the loans from the IMF asks "where's our money?" and warned that US sanctions have had little effect on the Russian economy but will have a boomerang effect. The following distills his 120 minute discussion... Putin "expects common sense to prevail."
- The Fed can't print trade? World Trade Flows Fall in First Quarter (WSJ)
- PBOC’s Zhou Says China May Have Housing Bubble in ‘Some Cities’ (BBG)
- ECB's Weidmann - Reviving ABS market not task for central bank (Reuters)
- LOL: Fitch upgrades Greece by a notch to 'B'; outlook stable (Reuters)
- LOL x2: Spain Sovereign Debt Rating Upgraded by S&P (BBG)
- China Will Vet Tech Firms After Threatening U.S. Retaliation (BBG)
- US to claim victory over China in WTO car dispute (BBG)
- Obama urges Democrats to vote in midterms, attacks Republicans (Reuters)
- U.S. Military Pushes for More Disclosure on Drone Strikes (WSJ)
The easing of the Indian import rules is bullish for gold and the gold sector. Shares of jewellery companies surged after the RBI allowed banks to provide gold loans to the sector. The moves by the RBI, is likely to increase demand for gold. Curiously, gold prices saw little gains after the announcement.
A simple way of grasping the precarious situation China has found itself in is with this useful diagram which summarizes the negative loop that China's economy (which essentially means housing market which as SocGen recently explained is indirectly responsible for 80% of local GDP) could fall into should the government not promptly move to address the emerging dangerous situation, i.e., resume aggressive easing.
- McDonald’s Workers Arrested at Protest Near Headquarters (BBG)
- U.S. Sends Troops to Chad to Hunt for Abducted Nigeria Girls (BBG)
- BofA Scrapping Market-Making Unit Amid Trading Scrutiny (BBG)
- Biggest attack in years kills 31 in China's troubled Xinjiang (Reuters)
- Intense Fighting Flares in Eastern Ukraine (WSJ)
- Fed Officials Tussle Over Labor Market Slack (Hilsenrath)
- Ikea Economics Lure Central Bankers Seeking New Tools (BBG)
- When Putin ordered up new hospitals, his associates botched the operation (Reuters)
- Norway’s $33 Billion Man Steps Up Search in Asia Real Estate Bet (BBG)