The Chinese Schrodinger conundrum, in which two different distinct PMI indicators continue to paint opposite pictures of the economy, as explained first here, continues. Moments ago, the HSBC Flash PMI posted a decline from 49.3 in April to 48.7. This is the 7th consecutive month in which the economy is in a contraction according to HSBC, and 10th of the last 11. Needless to say, this is only half of the story, and we expect that the official Chinese PMI index will post another increase well into expansionary territory as the random number generator known as China_Economy.xls spews fresh gibberish every time F9 is hit. In the meantime, the spin has already begun, worse is better, and futures are higher simply because the expectation is that another perfectly futile RRR hike (which does virtually nothing for real cash circulating in the economy) will follow suit. Of course, if the number had come in over 50, the spin would be that China's economy has entered into a virtuous loop as goalseeking the narrative to comply with the central planners' market intervention continues.
"The next big financial crisis we will face will not come from Europe", Charles Biderman of TrimTabs notes, "but rather from China." In a brief but thought-provoking clip, Charles takes on the corruption in the 'manufactured' GDP data and outlines three more critical real-time (hard-to-fake) data points (electricity consumption, railcar-loadings, and bank-loans) that suggest China is potentially already in a recession. "Most investors do not even think this is possible", he adds, as China is the hope that so many market participants hold on to as the engine of global growth. Add to this the collapsing real-estate bubble, on which the TrimTabs-Truthsayer provides some interesting color - relating to private-public relationships and demand (and prices) are dropping rapidly. This dismal (and somewhat shocking) conclusion that China could already be in recession only stokes the fires of money-printing-expectations of course - though Charles does add (and in keeping with our 'there's no such thing as decoupling' meme) - "What a mess this world is becoming as Europe and now China is contracting - leaving very little to justify global stock prices to be as high as they currently are" and while collapse may not be imminent, Biderman ends by stating that "The Central Banks cannot levitate asset prices forever" - leaving the question of when not if the drop occurs.
Gold’s London AM fix this morning was USD 1,555.00, EUR 1,229.44, and GBP 989.56 per ounce. Yesterday's AM fix this morning was USD 1,575.75, EUR 1,233.95, and GBP 998.76 per ounce.
Gold fell $26.20 or 1.64% in New York yesterday and closed at $1,566.80/oz. Gold fell in Asia and those falls continued in Europe where gold has been trading in a $16 range.
With Europe hitting the skids, EURUSD at multi-year lows, and the US equity market down a whopping (and terrifying) 9% from its March highs, it seems the market remains increasingly hopeful that this time will not be different in that the Central Banks of the world will print and save us once more. As a reminder we suspect the ECB can't (collateral is non-existent for the most needy sovereigns/banks) and won't (Germany and the AAA-Club vehemently opposed to losing this game of chicken), China won't (inflationary concerns), and the BoJ won't (after checking to the Fed post-downgrade last night as it appears they recognize the limit). This means, the world has pretty much checked to The Fed - but with TIPS yields a good distance from his precognitive threshold for deflation-avoidance and with the S&P 500 at 1300 still, we suspect the hope is premature. And if performance anxiety is affecting all those long-only managers who are are just now unwinding their P.A. over-allotment to Facebook, we estimate (based on QE1 and QE2) that the S&P could trade down to 1100-1150 before we see Ben step in to save the world - which by the way is only early December 2011 lows. How quickly we lose perspective and anchoring bias takes over when a market rises magically for months without any looking back.
Following the morning in Europe, a generally risk-off tone is observed, with stock futures sitting just above session lows and the German Schatz auction resulting in record low yields. Some of the risk-averse moves were noted following unconfirmed market talk that a troubled Dutch housing association may be pressed towards bankruptcy, however this seems to be linked towards an article concerning the Dutch central bank probing into the sale of derivatives to the housing group Vestia. Nonetheless, the long end of the Dutch curve remains well-bid and European 10-yr government bond yield spreads are seen generally wider across the board. Releases from the UK have come under particular focus; the BoE minutes showed an alongside-expectations vote of 8-1 to keep QE on hold. With some analysts estimating more of a lean towards further asset purchases, the initial reaction was strength in the GBP currency, but countering this effect was the parallel release of UK retail sales, with the monthly reading showing the sharpest decline since January 2010. Additionally, it was noted that several members of the board saw further QE as a finely balanced decision, placing GBP/USD back on a downward trajectory and briefly below 1.5700. Elsewhere in foreign exchange, current sentiment is reflected in EUR/USD, printing multi-month lows earlier in the session of 1.2615, with the USD index at 20-month highs which in turn has weighed on commodities.
- Rajoy to ask for ECB assistance, according to reports (Sharecast)
- Bundesbank Suggests Greek Exit From Euro Would Be Manageable (Bloomberg)
- Unemployed Burn as Fed Fiddles in Debate Over Natural Rate (Bloomberg)
- Regulators, investors turn up heat over Facebook IPO (Reuters)
- China to boost private energy investment to bolster economy (Reuters)
- OECD fears euro woe to snap brittle world recovery (Reuters)
- China slowdown threatens Australia - World Bank (Herald Sun)
- Guessing game begins over next Treasury chief (Reuters)
- Italians spurn main parties in local polls (FT)
- A fragile Europe must change fast (FT)
- Spain to outline Bankia plan, may announce bailout size (Reuters)
- China Should Adjust Policy Early - Government Researcher (WSJ)
Just when one thought it was safe to come out of hiding from under the school desk after the latest nuclear bomb drill (because Europe once again plans on recycling the Euro bond gambit - just like it did in 2011 - so all shall be well), here comes David Rosenberg carrying the launch codes, and setting off the mushroom cloud.
There’s been a lot of excitement in the past year over the rise of North American oil production and the promise of increased oil production across the whole of the Americas in the years to come. National security experts and other geo-political observers have waxed poetic at the thought of this emerging, hemispheric strength in energy supply. What’s less discussed, however, is the negligible effect this supply swing is having on lowering the price of oil, due to the fact that, combined with OPEC production, aggregate global production remains mostly flat. But there’s another component to this new belief in the changing global landscape for oil: the dawning awareness that OPEC’s power has finally gone into decline. You can read the celebration of OPEC’s waning in power in practically every publication from Foreign Policy to various political blogs and op-eds.
If China Backs Its Currency with Gold, It Could Have Profound Effects for Investors … and Consumers
First the CIC stirs havoc in Europe, saying it would rather invest in Africa than in Brussels finmin summit caterers, which at this stage in the business cycle are the most profitable corporation imaginable... and now this:
CIC'S JIN SAYS RENMINBI WILL BECOME GLOBAL RESERVE CURRENCY
Naturally, to parahprase titles of cheesy 80s movies, there can be only one. So what would happen to the current one? Maybe the same as what happened to all the prior global "reserve" currencies...
UK CPI this morning came in weaker than expected at 3.0% Y/Y in April, weighed by a fall in air fares, alcohol, clothes and sea transport, according to the ONS. The release saw aggressive selling of GBP in the currency market and has underpinned the rise in gilt futures. Alongside the 26th month low in UK CPI the IMF also issued their latest assessment on the UK economy and said further policy easing is required and that the Bank could cut its interest rate from the current 0.5% level. In other market moving news a Greek government source said that Greek banks are to receive a EUR 18bln recapitalisation down payment this Friday which initially saw the EUR and stock futures rally, however, the move was short lived as it became clear that the payment is scheduled as part of the bailout programme for Greece. Elsewhere, Fitch made a surprise announcement and downgraded the Japanese sovereign rating by two notches to A+, outlook negative. The move means Fitch has the lowest rating for Japan of the three main rating agencies so we remain vigilant for any comments from S&P and Moody’s today.
A panel of the Swiss parliament is discussing the introduction of the parallel ‘Gold franc’ currency. Bloomberg has picked up on the news which was reported by Neue Luzerner Zeitung. The Swiss parliament panel will discuss a proposal aimed at introducing a new currency, or a so-called gold franc. Under the proposal, which will be debated in the lower house’s economic panel in Bern today, one coin in gold would be worth about 5 Swiss francs ($5.30), the Swiss newspaper reported. The Swiss franc would remain the official currency, the paper said. The proposal may lead to a wider debate about the Swiss franc and the role gold might again play to protect the Swiss franc from currency debasement. The initiative is part of the “Healthy Currency” campaign which is being promoted by the country’s biggest party – the conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP).
- Hilsenrath: Fed Pondering Why Inflation and Deflation Threats Ebbed (WSJ)
- The Naivete: France to push for eurozone bonds (FT)
- The rebuke: Merkel Says She Won’t Shy From Clash With Hollande at EU Summit (Bloomberg)
- The Euro-love: Hollande's euro arguments "nonsense": Austria's Fekter (Reuters)
- Obama Campaign Does Damage Control After Dems Question Anti-Bain Strategy (ABC)
- Greece: four major banks recapitalized by Friday (L'Echo)... and if they aren't?
- China to fast-track infrastructure investments (Reuters)... because China needs more cement
- Jeeps Sell for $189,750 as China Demand Offsets Tariffs (Bloomberg)
- As Facebook’s Stock Struggles, Fingers Start Pointing (NYT)
- Facebook 11% Drop Means Morgan Stanley Gets Blame (Bloomberg)