For the first time in almost 3 years, the 'market' is fighting the PBOC in the FX markets. The last month has seen USDCNY rise almost 9 handles to as high as 6.21 (the weakest CNY in 5 months). At the same time, the PBOC's official 'fix' of CNY has been strengthened to below 6.12 (the strongest CNY in 9-months) diverging by the most in six months from the market. "The market is staying cautious and even bearish on the China macro outlook," notes Morgan Stanley, but as HSBC explains, "China doesn't want to join the currency wars [and wants to stall any speculation on trend] and that explains the fix movement." Simply put, markets doubt the PBOC and believe it will eventually be dragged into the currency war or just fundamentally deteriorate enough to warrant capital flight.
The simple message: Quantitative Easing has failed to generate inflation. Stated alternatively: QE has not been able to overcome still extant deflationary pressures. Global central banker actions in printing over $13 trillion of new money over the last 6 years have been insufficient to surmount still existing deflationary forces. It tells us the probability of further global deflationary impulses are very real. This has direct implications for any sector of the economy or financial markets whose fundamentals are negatively leveraged to deflationary pressures (think banks, real estate, etc.) Be assured the central bankers are more than fully aware of this.
The game has been lost, but central bankers are still on the field, wandering around in disbelief that their unspeakable powers to issue money and credit have failed. You can print all the money you want, but it will never boost wages to keep up with prices.
Uncertain times call for unconventional thinking...
While we were expecting that one-time "god of crude oil trading" would have a poor year as a result of his consistent bullishness on the crude space, we were quite astounded to learn, as Bloomberg first reported yesterday, that Andy Hall - the man whose name was for a decade legendary in the commodity space - would call it a day. And yet that pales in comparison to the WSJ report overnight than Phibro itself, Andy Hall's 113 year old employer currently owned by Occidental Petroleum after its sale by Citigroup, would liquidate in the US after it failed to buy a buyer, marking the end of an era.
- New Normal headlines: Global stocks up on hopes of China policy easing (Reuters)
- China inflation eases to five-year low (BBC)
- U.S. Lawmakers Agree on $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill (WSJ)
- U.S. Braced for Blowback as CIA Report Lays Bare Abuses (BBG)
- CIA tortured, misled, U.S. report finds, drawing calls for action (Reuters)
- CIA Made False Claims Torture Prevented Heathrow Attacks (BBG)
- Oil Resumes Drop as Iran Sees $40 If There’s OPEC Discord (BBG)
- OPEC Says 2015 Demand for Its Crude Will Be Weakest in 12 Years (BBG)
- Greek yield curve inverted as politics raise default fears (Reuters)
Now that China is on the same boat as the rest of the world, and its stock market is a direct reflection of hopes for constant liquidity injections by the central banks, nothing could be better for stocks than bad news, which is precisely what it got. After the biggest crash in the Shanghai Composite in 5 years, what China got just the bad economic update it needed, when it reported a PPI of PPI (-2.7%, Exp. -2.4%), the 33rd consecutive decline and a CPI (1.4%, Exp. 1.6%), lowest since November 2009, when the big banks’ RRR rate stood at 15.5% vs. current 20%. And so hope of yet more PBOC interventions to halt China's deflation promptly reversed SHCOMP losses of over 4% on the session (at which point it was just shy of correction territory from recent highs hit just this week), and stocks surged to close up almost 3%, erasing half of yesterday's losses. This spike came despite reports Chinese regulators may limit brokerages' interbank borrowing.
The Chinese stock market hit a four year high today at 3,020. This is up 53% since the middle of 2013 low and up 48% in the last six months. I guess this must mean the Chinese economy is operating on all cylinders. If you think so, you’d be wrong. As Anne Stevenson-Yang - who has lived there since 1985, told Barron's, the entire Chinese economic miracle is a fraud. The reforms are false. The leaders are corrupt and as evil as ever. The entire edifice is built upon a Himalayan mountain of bad debt. This lady is about as blunt as you can get about Chinese fraud, lies, mal-investment, and data manipulation.
On the wall of George Orwell's Ministry of Truth from his novel 1984 there were three slogans: "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" It occurred to us that these apply just a little bit too well to the way the Washington, DC establishment operates. But there is a fourth slogan they need to add to the wall of Washington's Ministry of Truth. It is this: DEFEAT IS VICTORY!
If we're in a gold bear market, then answer these questions...
If you are wondering what triggered the PBOC to pull the punchbowl of leveraged collateral away from the 'wealth-creating' stock market exuberance in China... wonder no more. The last 2 weeks saw the biggest surge in new Chinese brokerage accounts ever, with this week alone the highest since October 2010 and January 2008 with a stunning 228,000 new accounts opened. On both prior occasions of such a maniacal surge in speculative accounts, the Shanghai Composite made a significant top and fell dramatically in the ensuing months.
Worried about money-printing in China... don't! As China.org reports, an electricity generation plant in China's troubled Henan province is burning banknotes in what appears to be an effort to raise efficiency and reduce toxic emissions. One ton of scrapped banknotes can generate about 660 kWh of electricity, which means around 4,000 tonnes of coal can be saved in the province every year by using this process. Perhaps that is the solution to higher natural gas prices in winter for the US NorthEast... just transfer some banknotes up from The Eccles Building and heat the nation...
Many global macro factors are coming to a head. Downside in Treasury prices are at minimum limited this week. Treasuries are a safe haven, under-owned, under-loved, with pick up in yield to other sovereigns and denominated in a safer currency. Here is what is worrying the sell-side...
If China just suffered its biggest market selloff in years, when the plug was pulled on just $200 billion in "shadow banking" assets, let's all hope that Bank of New York and State Street, who among just the two of them control some $55 trillion in custodial, repoable assets, never get any ideas from Beijing...
Bond prices in Venezuela have totally collapsed this morning - at 45c on the dollar, they are the lowest since 1998 - as the realization of the "abyss" they are staring into sparks an exodus from all credit positions in the country. VENZ 5Y CDS rallied 130bps which signals hedgers unwinding and the simultaneous sale of the underlying bonds implies broad-based capital flight (and profit taking) as 1Y CDS surges to record highs at 4830bps.