When the Fed extended its guidance for extremely low rates to 2014 and later, none of the Chinese government's measures to deter property speculation could deter 'homebuyers' from bidding up prices. However, as the chart below shows, the disconnect between home prices (extreme highs) and home sales (near lows) has never been greater and with the Chinese looking to further control speculation at the same time as a Fed that is increasingly jawboning a slowing to its easy money policy, the prices of Hong Kong property has begun to drop in recent weeks. As Bloomberg notes, prices have fallen 4.2% from a record reached in mid-March, compared with a 77% contraction in sales from their post-global financial crisis peak in 2010. The prices of property is explicitly deterring the 'urban dream' that we explained here, but any sustained drop in property prices (given the shadow lending and collateralization this bubble represents) leaves China once again between a bubble-pricking rock and an inflationary (social unrest harboring) hard place.
|The United Nations is a corrupt, bureaucratic nightmare and should be abolished. Free market capitalism already does more of the UN mandate than the UN ever has or will.|
Why There Is So Much Pro-War Reporting
More indisputable proof that gold and silver prices are massively manipulated by the global Central Banking cartel.
ConvergEx's Nick Colas undertook a recent trip to Afghanistan. As he notes, the country has a long way to go to reestablish a viable economy and political stability, but he saw enough to be optimistic on both counts. Security around the capital is tight, and Afghan troops look professional and disciplined. There is ample food on display in countless local grocery stands. Girls go to school throughout the city, although women are a less common sight on the streets. Scarcity makes for odd economic outcomes – the only passenger car you’ll see is a Toyota Corolla, imported from different countries. No Afghan will be surprised that you are a tourist in their country – they are still very proud of its history and resilience. Westerners there will assume you are “On business.” Here are seven “Postcards from Kabul” with his last observations from this trip.
And so the final curtain falls on the myth of what was supposed to be, in its own words, the "most transparent administration" in history. As it turns out, the big Friday story of Bloomberg journalists snooping on clients was just amateur hour compared to what the AP was about to serve. In fact, the Watergate affair may soon appear like a walk in the park compared to the First Amendment shitstorm that is about to be unleashed following the just reported news that the US Department of Justice had "secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news." First amendment? Freedom of speech and press? Surely not when it comes to the Nobel-peace prize winning President and those who dare to expose his secret ways. And what's worst, is that the AP breach has all the makings of a spiteful hack driven by personal vengeance against one of America's premier news outlets.
In a weekend dominated by discussion of the "Taper Tantrum", i.e., interpretations of what Hilsenrath "said" after the close on Friday, what the Fed wanted him to say, what the market's response to what he said or did not say would be, and what the next steps may be, we present this convenient annotation of Hilsenrath's complete recital courtesy of Mike O'Rourke from Jones Trading.
China's Data Manipulation In One Chart, And Why The Real Data Implies Weakest GDP Growth In Over 20 YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/12/2013 13:31 -0400
By definition, exports from country A have to equal imports from country B. Unless country A is China. Then, central planning magic happens, as can be seen in the chart below showing the misreporting of Chinese exports to HK compared to HK's reported imports from China, which is just the latest nail in the coffin of Chinese economic data "integrity."
Succinctly summarizing the positive and negative news, data, and market events of the week...
The 'most hated' rally as mainstream media types prefer to call this manufactured 'market' is flashing red warning symbols under the surface wherever one looks (from complacency to earnings and macro) but, for now, none of that matters. All too often valuations for nominal equity prices are justified by data that is just as supported by fiat largesse as the flow-driven headline-making indices themselves. However, as Diapason Commodities' Sean Corrigan points out in this simple-to-understand chart, valuations for stocks are at extremes relative to the 'real' (even nominally inflated) economy. One glance at the chart of equity price relative to core capital goods orders and the message is clear - this is not an attractive time to be 'buying'; instead a time to be 'selling high' from all your gains. But that is not a narrative that plays well with asset-gathering commission-takers (who are just as dependent on the Fed since 'the AUM must flow' to keep them in the way they are accustomed - paging Larry Fink).
When you donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-election campaigns and push more hundreds of thousands of dollars through lobbying, you expect a little more back than the measly $95.6 million that SolarCity received in stimulus grants. The company, chaired by none other than Elon Musk, had applied for $325 million in federal aid in the same program that 'helped' Solyndra (and Tesla) and is now, according to the Wall Street Journal, suing the government for underpayment of green-energy subsidies. It seems SolarCity are using the M.A.D. defense, claiming that "they could lose millions more," if the government fails to provide the subsidies they asked for. As National Review details, SolarCity is one of the solar companies that is being investigated by the IRS after Treasury found that it "repeatedly overstated the value of its investments." So far the Treasury has paid out over $17 billion in green-energy stimulus grants and this case is not without precedent as a number of other renewable-energy firms are set to file suit.
Presented with no comment - because none is needed...
S&P futures volume was the lowest (ex-holidays) since October today and the intraday range was in stocks was practically its lowest all year. However, that did nothing to hamper the inexorable rise of stocks - though today was different. FX carry markets (JPY-based) were not supportive (especially AUD) as the main theme of the equity markets today appeared to be rotation - from defensives to aggressives. Correlations across asset classes were quite high as Treasury yields continued to push higher post-NFP (30Y +15bps holding at 2.99% since then). The credit fade from Friday gave way as HY especially snapped tighter in spreads catching up to stocks. Draghi's comments snapped EUR lower which provided the USD strength (but AUD also helped with its weakness). Gold ended unchanged as oil prices tested up to multi-month highs (Brent Vigilantes) before fading back a little.
Moments ago, Bank of America and MBIA both formally announced the earlier leaked settlement that sees the bank pay the monoline a long-overdue $1.6 billion in cash plus the issuance of MBIA warrants to buy 9.94 million shares, or 4.9%, of MBI stock at an exercise prices of $9.59/share, which may be exercised at any time prior to May 2018. It is perhaps worth point out that the settlement took place with nearly half of the second quarter already in the books. In addition, BAC will also provide a $500MM credit facility to MBIA. End result: a $1.6 billion pretax charge for Bank of America. And yet, none of this settlement will impact any Bank of America Q2 numbers. Why? The press release explains.