Worse than expected is an understatement. Things are not getting better in China as Exports crashed 25.4% YoY (the 3rd largest drop in history), almost double the 14.5% expectation and Imports tumbled 13.8%, the 16th month of YoY decline - the longest ever. Altogether this sent the trade surplus down to $32.6bn (missing expectations of $51bn) to 11-month lows. Stocks are mounting a modest rebound on this terrible data (moar stimulus hopes) but after $1 trillion of new credit in 2 months, is there seriously anyone left who thinks moar will help?
China never had an actual economic model or growth model. It simply printed an obscene amount of money, especially after 2008, and used it to build factories, 30-storey see-through apartment blocks and highways into nowhere cities, without giving much if any thought to where this would lead when their formerly rich western customers had less to spend on its ever increasing amount of ever more useless products. It was "to infinity and beyond" from the start, but that’s a line from a kids’ fantasy story, not a 5-year plan or an economic model.
After three consecutive declines in China's Foreign Reserves in the November-January period, which averaged nearly $100 billion per month (with particular attention paid to last month's number), consensus expectations were for a moderation in reserve outflows in February to approximately $40 billion in February; moments ago the PBOC reported, that as expected, reserve outflow "slowed down" to just $28.6 billion, bringing China's total foreign reserves to $3.2 trillion, the lowest level since late 2011.
Just hours after Goldman Sachs issued a report in which it said the iron ore rally is likely to be short lived "in the absence of a material increase in Chinese steel demand, and steel raw materials will once again drive steel prices rather than the other way around", overnight Iron Ore futures traded on the Singapore SGX exploded as much as 19% higher to $58.95 in one session, its biggest jump on record.
As we wrote early yesterday when we summarized the outcome of the first day of China's People's Congress, China failed to deliver any of the major stimulus programs the market was expecting. So what exactly did China announce on its first day of the National People's Congress. Read on to find out...
There were hopes that China would announce a raft of fscal stimulus measures at the much ballyhooed NPC aimed boosting growth and taking some of the pressure off of montary policy. No such luck. The budget deficit came in at just 3%, an expansion from last year's 2.3%, but well below the 4% some analyasts were hoping for.
With all western eyes firmly focused on US payrolls tomorrow, China is preparing for the biggest leadership gathering of the year this weekend. Offshore Yuan (USDCNH) is soaring (up over 5 handles in the last 24 hours) ahead of The National People's Congress as PBOC Deputy Governor hinted at support for the currency saying that it isn't "strictly" pegged to the new basket.
China sporting negative electricity consumption. EU inflation turns negative. US services follow manufacturing into recession.
Given the vicious downward spiral of competitive devaluation that is washing around the world's economic bathtub, it appears - just as we saw during The Great Depression - that currency wars have given way to mal-investment-fueled protectionism as US launches the first missile in the trade wars with a massive 266% tariff on imports of cold-rolled steel. “There’ll be a short-term benefit,“ said John Packard of Steel Market Update. ”However, in the long run, the U.S. mills are always going to want more tariffs, and it’s questionable how much more [protection] they can get."
Following yesterday's torrid 2.4% March opening rally, which resulted in the biggest S&P gain since January and the best first day of March in history on what was initially seen as very bad news, and then reinterpreted as great news, overnight futures have taken a breather, and erased a modest overnight continuation rally to track the price of oil lower.
Having yesterday expressed clearly that there was no desire to see the Yuan depreciate, The PBOC weakened the Yuan fix by 0.16% to one-month lows. This sent offshore Yuan notably lower back to post-RRR-Cut lows. For the 2nd day in a row, PBOC also decided to 'skip' open market operations (due to ample liquidity according to their statement).
Today, Reuters finally peels away the first layer of just how bad China's mass layoff wave will be when it reports that China aims to lay off 5-6 million state workers over the next two to three years as part of efforts to curb industrial overcapacity and pollution. As Reuters adds, "China's leadership, obsessed with maintaining stability and making sure redundancies do not lead to unrest, will spend nearly 150 billion yuan ($23 billion) to cover layoffs in just the coal and steel sectors in the next 2-3 years."
With markets happy to put February in the history books because it marked the fourth consecutive monthly decline in global stocks, we move on to March 1st, which doubles down as 'Super Tuesday' in the US when Trump's presidential candidacy will almost certainly be sealed and a day in which stocks decided to join the super fun by super surging overnight on nothing but bad global macro and economic which however was promptly ignored and instead the focus was on ongoing central bank intervention and even more jawboning.
“As a proposition for someone who’s going to live in that house and what you’re getting for four million plus – that is a ridiculous joke and that is not something that’s going to work for people who just make a living in Vancouver."