After an almost unprecedented surge in credit (total social financing) and over-invoicing enabled a bounce in China's PMI data in December, both Manufacturing and Services data tumbled in January, confirming South Korean trade data. While manufacturing continues its contraction (dropping to 49.4, the weakest since Aug 2012), it is non-manufacturing's plunge from a one-year high "transition is happening, see" narrative to practically the weakest print since 2008. But apart from that all that, China is "stabilizing" according to officials.
It seems that everyone these days is exporting deflation to the US. American consumers will be delighted with everyone sending cheaper goods their way. However, what this may do to their income and employment prospects is a whole different matter.
As the first major exporting nation to report each month, all eyes and hopeful speculative capital was glued to tonight's South Korean trade data. After a brief respite in November, December's drop was worrisome, but January's just reported 18.5% crash - the most since the financial crisis - has only been seen during a US economic recession. Worse still, South Korean imports plunged over 20% in January as it appears crashing crude and cliff-diving freight indices are less about supply and more about demand (there is none) after all.
If the German authorities reject an "asylum-seeker," a local German newspaper reports officials will change his nationality and seek deportation..."He looked like someone from the Nigerian state of Ogun, whereupon we changed his birth." African embassies are paid for their help, receiving money if they allow deportation, which for Germany, is considerably cheaper than the months-long tolerance of refugees.
"The intrinsic contradiction of policy response to the crisis – suspend the laws of the market in order to save it – is resolved only by understanding that suspension is temporary. Stimulus will have to be unwound. But, and here lies the problem, accommodation has been in place for a very long time and this has had a profound impact on investors behavior, market functioning and its dynamics."
Calls by various mainstream economists to ban cash transactions seem to be getting ever louder, while central bankers have unleashed negative interest rates on economies accounting for 25% of global GDP, with $5.5 trillion in government bonds yielding less than zero. The two policies are rapidly converging. This is what the resulting cashless society would look like.
Did the BOJ’s out-of-the-blue reversal on its monetary stance which was refuted just weeks prior by Mr. Kuroda himself take place because after listening to the arguments, suggestions, as well as concerns, from the participants at Davos he concluded much like what the movie “Margin Call” depicted: It was all about to unravel? And if so: is this him deciding to be “first” and considered it his only choice?
"... if interest rates go negative, the incentives reverse: people receiving payments will prefer checks (which can be held back from collection) to electronic transfers. Such a reversal could impose novel burdens on payment systems that have evolved in an environment of positive interest rates.... that if interest rates go negative, we may see an epochal outburst of socially unproductive—even if individually beneficial—financial innovation."
November-January is the strongest consecutive 3-month period of the year. During this period, the S&P 500 is up 66.7% of the time with an average return of 3.35% going back to 1929. However, not this year. Both the November-January & the January Barometer are flashing bearish signals for 2016.
Having urged "don't panic" just 4 short months ago, it appears Nigeria just did just that as the global dollar short squeeze forces the eight-month-old government of President Muhammadu Buhari to beg The World Bank and African Development Bank for $3.5bn in emergency loans to help fund a $15bn deficit in a budget heavy on public spending amid collapsing oil revenues. Just as we warned in December, the dollar shortage has arrived, perhaps now is time to panic after all.
Markets these days have every reason to question the efficacy of global monetary management. Last week saw dovish crisis management vociferation from the ECB’s Draghi. Now the BOJ adopts a crisis management stance. The week also had talk of some deal to reduce global crude supply. Meanwhile, the PBOC injected a weekly record $105 billion of new liquidity. Nonetheless, the Shanghai Composite sank 6.1% to a 13-month low. There was desperation in the air – along with a heck of a short squeeze and general market mayhem.
America is inching ever closer to putting itself in a position of having to choose between an avowed socialist and what the Des Moines Register calls "a smash-mouth game show host" as Trump and Sanders poll strongly in Iowa ahead of caucus.