Yesterday we noted that India was preparing to send its Navy into the South China Sea - defending its mineral rights from China's increasingly vociferous presence. The Philippines also expressed concern. Today, it's Vietnam's turn as Reuters reports the nation is condemning China's "serious violation of sovereignty" as Chinese boats sabotaged Vietnamese State oil and gas company - PetroVietnam's operations (by severing a seismic cable). The actions stem from China's 'belief' that two Vietnamese-owned archipelagos (Spratly and Paracel Islands) are theirs. While China (who oppose unilateral oil and gas development in disputed waters) argued somewhat comically that "Chinese fishing boats were operating normally," the Vietnamese saw it as "blatant violation of Vietnamese waters," and are deploying marine police and a border force to stop foreign vessels. As one analyst noted, "It's going to lead to friction."
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Europe doing about fine on its own and with an urge to test higher risk levels, in absence of negative news. US more fickle on FCDRE. If this goes on until year-end… If it wasn’t for a bit of FCDRE… Tick. By. Tick. Movements. Equities high. Soft Core closing on historic lows.
"11 O’Clock Tick Tock " (Bunds 1,39% -2; Spain 5,23% -1; Stoxx 2587 +0,3%; EUR 1,308 +20)
- Two weeks ago here: The Latest Greek "Bailout" In A Nutshell: AAA-Rated Euro Countries To Fund Massive Hedge Fund Profits... and now on Bloomberg: "Hedge Funds Win as Europe Will Pay More for Greek Bonds" (BBG)
- Oracle sends shareholders cash as tax uncertainty looms (Reuters)
- GOP Makes Counteroffer In Cliff Talks (WSJ)
- Iran says captures U.S. drone in its airspace (Reuters)
- IMF drops opposition to capital controls (FT)
- Vogue Editor Wintour Said to Be Possible Appointee as U.K. Envoy (BBG)
- Juncker Stepping Down French Finance Minister to Head Euro Group? (Spiegel)
- Australia cuts rates to three-year low (FT)
- Europe’s banking union ambitions under strain (Reuters)
- EU Nations Eye New ECB Bank Supervisor Amid German Doubts (BBG)
- Frankfurt's Ambitions Get Cut Back (WSJ)
- House Republicans Propose $2.2 Trillion Fiscal-Cliff Plan (BBG)
Bill Gross' latest monthly missive begins with some political commentary on the latest presidential election, pointing out the obvious: after the euphoria comes the hangover, completely irrelevant of what happens to the Fiscal Cliff: 'whoever succeeds President Obama, the next four years will likely face structural economic headwinds that will frustrate the American public. “Happy days are here again” was the refrain of FDR in the Depression, but the theme song from 2012 and beyond may more closely resemble Strawberry Fields Forever, as Lennon laments “It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out.” Why is it so hard to be someone these days, to pay for college, get a good-paying job and retire comfortably?" And while political campaigns were just that, the truth is that nobody has the trump card to a perfect quadrangle of problems which will mire the US economy for years to come, among which i) debt/deleveraging; ii) globalization, iii) technology, and iv) demographics. Gross' outlook is thus hardly as optimistic as all those sellside reports we have been drowned by in the past 2 weeks, hoping to stir the animal spirits one more time: 'We may need at least a decade for the healing.... it is getting harder to maintain the economic growth that investors have become accustomed to. The New Normal, like Strawberry Fields will “take you down” and lower your expectation of future asset returns. It may not last “forever” but it will be with us for a long, long time." Sad: looks like it won't be different this time after all...
Quiet session so far, with a notable move higher in the last block of trading in China pushing the SHCOMP for its first gain in 6 days, and off post-2008 lows. What precipitated the buying is irrelevant, although we got a good glimpse into the state of the Chinese economy thanks to Australia prior where the RBA cut rates by 25 bps to a historic low 3.00% (a move that sent the AUD higher), a level last seen during the financial crisis, and confirming that not all is well for the Chinese derivative economy despite loud promises from the Chinese politburo that growth is back. Bypassing the bullish propaganda were Renault Nissan's Chinese car sales for November which fell by 29.8% Y/Y. Some "recovery" there too. In Europe, the status quo continues, with chatter out of Germany's Merkel who begins her 2013 election campaign today, that Germany wants a strong Eurozone (it doesn't), and a strong Euro (it doesn't), but that nobody can predict when the Eurozone crisis will end (not even Hollande or Monti who did just that yesterday?). Otherwise sentiment there is still driven by the formal Spanish re-request of aid (and imminent receipt of €39.5bn in bank recap funds) from the EU by mid-December. As a reminder Spain did this originally in June but the algos were so confused yesterday they thought this was an official sovereign bail out request sending risk soaring only to tumble later (only in the New Normal is admission of sovereign insolvency a "good thing"). Nonetheless, despite the massive overvaluation of European markets (more on that later), the EURUSD continues to the upward momentum (in the process further curbing German exports and assuring the German recession), and was last seen trading up to 1.3075, about 30 pips higher.
Although its interests in the continent are broadly similar, India’s engagement with Africa differs significantly from China. Will it prove sustainable? Close ties between India and Africa are not new. Trade has flourished between East Africa and India’s west coast for centuries. New Delhi’s interest in Africa waned in the 1990s, but rapid economic growth and soaring energy requirements, however, forced India at the turn of the new millennium to rethink its neglect of Africa. The domination of oil and natural resources in India’s imports from Africa and of manufactured goods in its exports to the continent has drawn criticism that India is indulging in a “neo-colonial grab” for Africa’s resources. "This is an uninformed view. Africa of today is not the same as during colonial times. When countries exploit the resources of Africa today, the terms are set by the African nations and not by outsiders. The deals are mutually beneficial." India hopes that its capacity building, people-centric approach and efforts to build a sustainable partnership with Africa will keep such allegations at bay.
We find ourselves more amazed than ever at the ability of those in power to lie, misinform and obfuscate the truth, while millions of Americans willfully choose to be ignorant of the truth and yearn to be misled. It’s a match made in heaven. Acknowledging the truth of our society’s descent from a country of hard working, self-reliant, charitable, civic minded citizens into the abyss of entitled, dependent, greedy, materialistic consumers is unacceptable to the slave owners and the slaves. We can’t handle the truth because that would require critical thought, hard choices, sacrifice, and dealing with the reality of an unsustainable economic and societal model. It’s much easier to believe the big lies that allow us to sleep at night. The concept of lying to the masses and using propaganda techniques to manipulate and form public opinion really took hold in the 1920s and have been perfected by the powerful ruling elite that control the reins of finance, government and mass media. How many Americans are awake enough to handle the truth? Abraham Lincoln once said that he believed in the people and that if you told them the truth and gave them the cold hard facts they would meet any crisis. That may have been true in 1860, but not today.
Two Years Too Late SEC Wakes Up To Chinese Reverse Merger Fraud; Closing Chinese Fraudcap Basket With 40% ProfitSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/03/2012 13:28 -0500
Moments ago the SEC, with about a two year delay, decided to finally act tought, and in a parting present to the most ineffective and clueless chairman of the coopted and corrupt organization ever seen, that would be Mary Schapiro of course, lashed out at Chinese affiliates of Big Four accounting firms as well as BMO, for refusing to produce audit work papers and other documents related to China-based companies under investigation by the SEC for potential accounting fraud against U.S. investors. Of course, readers of Zero Hedge will recall what we dubbed the formation of a cottage industry exposing Chinese fraudcaps back in November of 2010 when we warned that virtually every reverse merger out of China will soon prove to be a fraud, but because of the listing fees that US exchanges would get as a result of local listing, nobody cared, and only that now extinct class of gullible and naive investors would lose their entire investments. It is now two years and one month later, and the SEC has finally acted on it.
U.S. Manufacturing Index Plunges to 3 Year Low … While Manufacturing Rises in the BRICS
As if global geopolitics were not tempestuous enough, it seems China's increased military presence near Indian state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp's (ONGC) Nam Con Son basin operations near Vietnam are sparking India's navy into action. India's Navy Chief Joshi according to Reuters, said it was prepared to act, if necessary, to protect its maritime and economic interests in the region. He added that "When the requirement is there, for example, in situations where our country's interests are involved, for example ONGC... we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that." While the Straits of Hormuz seem to get most of the world's attention, the growing trouble in the South China Sea is troubling since it "is one of the most important international waterways and freedom of navigation there is an issue of utmost concern to India," because a large portion of India's trade is through the South China Sea. Noting that the modernization of China's Navy is "truly impressive", Joshi concluded: "...are we preparing for it? Are we having exercises of that nature? The short answer is yes!" The Chinese are not making any friends as The Phillippines also condemned China's actions.
Fiscal Cliff Discussion Risk Event still very much alive. Spain maths on budget. Italian maths, French… Bah… Still feels like things are a bit out of touch with reality here (equities vs. bonds). And that Greek buy-back looks really, really generous. Outwordly. Then again, best way to get rid of private ownership. After the OMT, the OPM… Obviously, other people’s money. PMI paint a slightly less bleak picture, but on rock bottom levels.
"Out Of Touch" (Bunds 1,41% +3; Spain 5,24% -6; Stoxx 2580 unch; EUR 1,306 +50)
Remember Michael Feroli? The JPM economist who "predicted" US Q4 GDP would be boosted by 0.5% due to iPhone sales (don't laugh: yes, US GDP, not that of China where the iPhone is actually produced, but the US where the consumer merely incurs more record student loans to be able to afford it)? Well, the same JPMorganite has now cut his Q4 GDP expectation to 1.5% for all the same reasons why we penned the second Q3 GDP revision: namely ugly internals, a surge in hollow government and inventory contributions to "growth", and a collapse in the purchasing power of the US consumer (who somehow is still expected to boost Q4 GDP with iPhone sales). And while there is no mention of the iPhone in his just released downward revision, he still believes the cell phone will provide a boost to Q4 GDP. In other words, of the 1.5% in GDP growth in Q4, the iPhone will account for 33% of this! One really can not make this up.
Depending on what market or macro indication you choose to believe in, China is doing terribly badly or is on a sustainable path to a more domestic consumption-based economy. This weekend's PMIs show the economy is barely limping higher but Industrial Output is dismally low; HSI is ripping higher while SHCOMP is at multi-year lows. What is more critical, as Bloomberg's Michael McDonough points out today, is China’s growing role as a transmission mechanism between the economies of the developing and developed world. China’s economic rise has been accompanied by a surge in its appetite for imports - especially raw materials - even as global demand has been slow to recover. This introduces new stresses for many export-oriented countries by reducing the diversity of their trade relationships as they become more and more dependent on China in particular, creating substantial risk for those economies, which account for an increasing share of global GDP. Russian, Brazilian and Indian trade volumes have become heavily dependent on China at 10.6 percent, 17.5 percent and 9 percent, respectively. An economic crisis in Brazil would have a minimal impact on the Chinese economy, while a slowdown in China would likely crush Brazil’s external sector and domestic economy.
November sales of U.S. American Eagle gold coins are on track to be the best in 14 years as uncertainty surrounding the U.S. fiscal cliff and the election of President Obama led to safe haven buying. Buyers timing the market also increased coin sales by buying during sharp price movements that occurred in the beginning and end of November, coin dealers noted. Bullion dealers in the U.S. report an influx of high net worth individuals that are buying gold coins in volume and taking physical possession of their bullion. Month to date 131,000 ounces of American Eagles sold, that tripled last year's November sales and is the strongest November since 1998, data from the U.S. Mint's website shows. In October, the U.S. Mint sold 59,000 vs 50,000 ounces the previous year, while November marked its 2nd successive monthly rise. Coin banks have come in to buy the stock as the mint usually ends 2012 coin production in early December so it can begin minting the 2013 coins.