China

China

War Threat Rises As Economy Declines, Warns Paul Craig Roberts

As the years have passed without Washington hearing, Russia and China have finally realized that their choice is vassalage or war. Had there been any intelligent, qualified people in the National Security Council, the State Department, or the Pentagon, Washington would have been warned away from the neocon policy of sowing distrust. But with only neocon hubris present in the government, Washington made the mistake that could be fateful for humanity.

China's Banks Obscure Credit Risk, Face "Insolvency" In Property Downturn, Fitch Says

As data on non-performing loans at Chinese banks shows the biggest sequential increase on record in Q1, Fitch wonders if perhaps the data actually obscures a far larger problem. Official figures on China's NPLs are obscured by a number of factors and may be grossly understated the ratings agency suggests. Furthermore, Fitch says "a protracted downturn in property markets could threaten the solvency of Chinese banks, given their modest loss-absorption capacity."

Chinese Saturation Reached: World's Largest Smartphone Market Suffers First Drop In 6 Years

Less than two years ago, the number of smartphone shipments in China soared by roughly 100% year over year, rising over 80 million for the first time. Fast forward to Q1 of 2015 when according to IDC, the Chinese smartphone market - the largest in the world since 2011 when it overtook the US - has not only reached maturity but is now also fully saturated and as a result smartphone shipments suffered their first Y/Y decline, dropping 4.3% on an annual basis. As IDC notes, "this is the first time in six years that the China smartphone market declined YoY as the market continues to mature." Worse, on a quarter over quarter basis, the market contracted 8% on the back of a large inventory buildup at the end of last year.

Who's Got The Gold?

Whoever holds the most gold will hold the most real wealth and, by extension, gain the most prominent seat at the bargaining table for decades to come. Whether that table will be the IMF, the new AAIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), or any future central economic entity, the future will go to the player with the most metal, as he will be able to create the most currency, in whatever form it may take.

Russia Asks Greece To Join BRICS Bank

As if the discussions in Brussels and Athens were not mired in enough uncertainty, Bloomberg reports that a Greek official confirms:

*STORCHAK ASKED TSIPRAS FOR GREECE TO JOIN BRICS BANK: OFFICIAL

The pivot appears to continue. Reportedly, Tsipras was pleasntly surprised by the proposal.

"Huge Disconnect Between Physical & Futures" Suggests Commodity Rally Won't Last, Barclays Warns

For many reasons the answer to the question: “will the commodity price rally continue?” is particularly important at this juncture, and the answer from Barclays is 'no' - it will prove very tough to make further significant gains in commodity prices from here unless supply/demand conditions improve very fast indeed. There are a multitude of factors but what erks them the most is the huge disconnect between price action in physical markets where differentials are signalling oversupply and futures markets where all looks rosy. The risks for a reversal in recent commodity price trends are growing, and with fewer market makers to absorb the shocks, potentially, a period of high volatility could lie ahead.

Uber Is Now Valued Higher Than 80% Of The S&P: Closing In On General Motors And Ford

Putting Uber's latest valuation in perspective, according to CapIq there were just 95 companies in the S&P500 with a market cap over $50 billion, suggesting Uber which did not exist when Lehman filed for bankruptcy, now has a market capitalization greater than 80% of the S&P. Specifically, at a $50 billion valuation, Uber is more "valuable" than FedEx, Marck, Deutsche Bank, General Dynamics, Nissan, Time Warner, Yahoo, Credit Suisse, Heineken and many other companies.

Muskular Magic (Or Smoke & Mirrors)

Elon Musk, Silicon Valley’s poster-boy genius replacement for the late Steve Jobs, rolled out his PowerWall battery last week with Star Wars style fanfare, doing his bit to promote and support the delusional thinking that grips a nation unable to escape the toils of techno-grandiosity. The main delusion: that we can “solve” the problems of techno-industrial society with more and better technology. The denizens of Silicon Valley are crazy about the Tesla. There is no greater status trinket in Northern California, where the fog of delusion cloaks the road to the future.

Key Events In The Coming Week

Today’s Eurogroup meeting will be key in determining where Greece and its creditors negotiations currently stand. Over in the US today, it’s the usual post payrolls lull with just the labor market conditions data expected.

What The Sellside Thought Of China's Leaked Rate Cut

As the SHCOMP soars, the sellside reacts to China's latest round of easing and the message is clear: more policy rate cuts are in the cards as real lending rates remain elevated and deflation risk remains high. Meanwhile, the PBoC's statement was making the rounds on WeChat hours before its official release suggesting Janet Yellen isn't the only central banker that enjoys leaking information.

Frontrunning: May 11

  • Full picture of Clinton charities' foreign government funding remains elusive (Reuters)
  • Greece Readies for Another Week of Deadlines (BBG)
  • Greece says deal will be 'difficult' at Eurogroup meeting (Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia’s Rulers Snub Arab Summit, Clouding U.S. Bid for Iran Deal (WSJ)
  • Saudi Aramco Said to Plan Spending $80 Billion Overseas (BBG)
  • The $900 Billion Influx That’s Wreaking Havoc in U.S. Bills (BBG)
  • Cameron rules out another Scottish independence vote (Reuters)
  • Banks Prep Defense for Anti-Wall Street Campaigns (WSJ)

Futures Jittery As Attention Returns To Greece; China Stocks Rebound On Latest Central Bank Intervention

With the big macro data out of the way, attention today and for the rest of the week will focus on the aftermath of the latest Chinese rate cut - its third in the past 6 months - which managed to boost the Shanghai Composite up by 3% overnight but not nearly enough to make up for losses in the past week; any resumption of the 6+ sigma volatility in the German Bund, which already has been jittery with the yield sliding to 0.52% only to spike to 0.62% shortly thereafter before retracing some of the losses; and finally Greece, which in a normal world would have concluded its negotiations during today's Eurogroup meeting and unlocked up to €7 billion in funds for the coming months. Instead, Greece may not only not make its €770 million IMF payment tomorrow but according to ever louder rumors, is contemplating a parallel currency on its way out of the Eurozone.

Paul Craig Roberts: Economic Disinformation Keeps Financial Markets Up

As we have pointed out for a number of years, according to the payroll jobs reports, the complexion of the US labor force is that of a Third World country. Most of the jobs created are lowly paid domestic services. No economist should ever have accepted the claim that the economy was in recovery while participation in the labor force was declining. Having looked at the actual details of the payroll jobs report, which are seldom if ever reported in the financial media, let’s look at what else goes unreported in the media.