Yesterday, the FT triumphantly proclaimed: "Beijing abandons large-scale share purchases", and that instead of manipulating stocks directly as China did last week on Thursday and Friday, China would instead focus on punishing sellers, shorters, and various other entities. We snickered, especially after the Shanghai Composite opened down 2% and dropped as low as 4% overnight. Just a few hours later we found out that our cynical skepticism was again spot on: the moment the afternoon trading session opened, the "National Team's" favorite plunge protection trade, the SSE 50 index of biggest companies, went super-bid and ramped from a low of 2071 to close 140 points higher, ending trading with a last minute government-facilitated surge, and pushing the Composite just 0.8% lower after trading down as much as -4.0%.
News That Matters
Following Monday’s historic stock market downturn, many politicians and so-called economic experts rushed to the microphones to explain why the market crashed and to propose "solutions” to our economic woes. Not surprisingly, most of those commenting not only failed to give the right answers, they failed to ask the right questions.
Update: So much for the "no more intervention" - CHINA SAID TO ORDER BROKERAGES TO BOOST STOCK MARKET SUPPORT
A busy weekend in Asia was dominated by mayhem in Malaysia, and witch-huntery in China. Chinese authorities began a wide-scale crackdown on rumor-mongerers, arrested journalists, and even detained a regulator for insider trading, as they lifted loan caps on the banking system at the same as withdrawing (verbally) support for the stock market. China strengthen the Yuan fix by 0.15% to 6.3893 - this is the biggest 2-day strengthening of the Yuan fix since Nov 2014. Then just to rub some more salt in the wounds, Goldman cut China growth expectations to 6.4% and 6.1% respectively for the next 2 years. Chinese stocks are opening modestly lower (SHCOMP -3.3%).
The economic slowdown in China was set in motion a long time ago when the yearly rate of growth of the money supply fell from 39.3 percent in January 2010 to 1.8 percent by April 2012. The effect of this massive decline in the growth momentum of money puts severe pressure on bubble activities and in turn on various key economic activity data. Any tampering with the currency rate of exchange can only make things much worse as far as the allocation of scarce resources is concerned.
"Something happened The August turbulence in global markets has produced significant shifts, including a 6.6% fall in equity prices. The currencies of emerging market countries have depreciated substantially against the G-4, while emerging market borrowing rates for sovereigns and corporates have moved higher. Global oil prices have been whipsawed as have G-4 bond yields. The speed and magnitude of these movements is reminiscent of past episodes in which financial crises emerged or the global economy slipped into recession. However, nothing appears to be breaking."
In the latest example of Beijing attempting to deleverage and re-leverage all at once, China has lifted a cap on loan-to-deposit ratios for banks while simultaneously capping local government debt issuance for 2015. Meanwhile, bad loans are still on the rise at China's "big four" banks, underscoring the extent to which China's economy is rapidly deteriorating and drawing a line under the risk the PBoC is running by forcing banks to lend into an extraordinarily uncertain environment.
It appears a combination of Stan Fischer's 'September is still on the table' hawkishness (among others at Jackson Hole) and the "promise" once again that China will not intervene in the stock market anymore has taken all the exuberance out of last week's epic short squeeze in US stocks. Dow futures have given all of Friday's manipulation back and are trading back near Thursday's JPM panic lows - down 220 from Friday's close.
Curious why the S&P futures have opened down some 0.6%, wiping out the entire late-Friday ramp? The reason is that as SocGen summarizes it best, following the Jackson Hole weekend, we now know that despite Bill Dudley' platitudes "the door is still fully open to Fed liftoff in September."
...one theory is that some within the Fed realized that QE wasn’t working, and never worked, thus another path was needed. But what alternative did they have, since rates were already ZERO? So maybe they changed course and took a strong dollar policy vs. a weak one to intentionally weaken the commodity sector and thus boost consumer spending. Throughout this down turn, that message has been repeated by Yellen herself many times, as a source of economic stimulus and for sure has been repeated over and over in the media and the talking heads of Wall Street.
A defensive trading idea that appreciates during a sell-off and is even better than holding extra cash!
For the moment, to paraphrase Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the “permanent lie [has become] the only safe form of existence”.
But the world cannot postpone, indefinitely, dealing decisively with the economic, resource management, social and political challenges we face.
The week that passed has left many of the so-called “smart crowd” flummoxed, disheveled, dismayed, and disrobed from their expensive facades of “expert insightful analysis.” It seems all that “expert” as well as “insight” wasn’t all it was made out to be. In less than a week: historic records weren’t only broken – they were smashed to smithereens. And the one’s that were the most historic? They weren’t set for positive things.
"The first three months of 2015 only saw a marginal increase in SWF assets in the headwind of falling oil prices. TheCityUK expects that SWFs’ assets will increase by 4% in 2015 to $7.4 trillion, well below the 12% average annual growth seen over the previous five years. Flows into some funds could turn negative. Growth in SWFs’ assets is closely related to the price of oil, as around 60% of SWFs’ assets originate from commodity exports."
We are heading for a crisis that will be exponentially worse than 2008. The global Central Banks have literally bet the financial system that their theories will work. They haven’t.