It appears that Asia is not done tightening. In a surprising move South Korea's central bank on Friday raised its policy rate by a quarter point which was against market expectations and comes after rates were held steady for past two months. From Bloomberg: "South Korea’s Kospi Index (KOSPI) fell 0.7 percent, erasing a 1.1 percent gain, after Governor Kim Choong Soo boosted the benchmark seven-day repurchase rate to 3.25 percent from 3 percent, following quarter-percent increases in January and March." In other news, the beancount for China's GDP appears to be slowing following a smaller than expected trade surplus: "The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.4 percent after China’s customs bureau said exports rose 19 percent from a year earlier and imports climbed 28 percent. The compared with the median forecasts for a 20 percent gain in overseas shipments and a 22 percent increase in exports" (we will have a full breakdown of the Chinese trade numbers tomorrow). Too bad the inflation in China is not slowing to go with its GDP, and the latest CPI print is now expected to be a record 5.5%. And completing the pain out of Asia was the deplorable Indian IP number which tumbled to just 4.4% YoY. As the chart below shows futures are definitely not liking this latest set of data (but, but, the services ISM was not a total disaster...) and the EURUSD is back to intraday lows. Europe opens next and Europe will not be happy.
"The primary trend I see in the markets is the destruction of the purchasing power of all fiat currencies, with the U.S. dollar having the most to lose as the world’s reserve currency. Nothing throws a population into more of a tizzy than a destroyed currency. Similarly, nothing provides a more fertile ground for power hungry control freaks to take over your lives than economic chaos. What has really started getting my attention in the last several months is how the UN seems to be trying to position itself as a “world government” savior of sorts. First, the UN decided it would be a good idea to launch a war in Libya and Obama decided the U.S. would get involved without ever asking Congress for an authorization of force (which according to George Friedman of Stratfor is a first). What is so pathetic is where are the fake liberals in America? Where are the anti-war protests? We are so successfully divided in the fake Republican/Democrat, Red/Blue, Yankees/Mets paradigm of stupidity that the “left” in this country won’t criticize Obama for starting a new war because he is “their guy.” This is pathetic and dangerous because guess what will happen when we get a Republican thug as president that uses the precedents Obama has set to shed even more blood all over the world. Who will protest then and who will care? "
Dealers Scramble To Cut Treasury Exposure Ahead Of QE2 End, Flip Record 75% Of Just Issued 7 Year Allocation To The FedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/09/2011 10:28 -0500
For those who care what is happening behind the scenes even as everyone continues to predict there will be no snags associated with the transition from a QE2 to a non-QE2 world, should look at this brief analysis. On May 26 the Treasury issued $29 billion in 7 Year bonds (Cusip QQ6)- the auction was considered a smashing success by all with the Bid To Cover coming at a record high 3.24 Bid To Cover, and pricing 2 bps inside of the When Issued: an indication of massive demand. Dealers were allocated $11.4 billion and as Stone McCarthy reported: "The $62.3 billion Dealer bid was up from $54.7 billion last month and it was the largest Dealer bid since February 2010." So far so good right? Here is what happened next. On June 1, barely a day after the bonds had settled, Dealers shipped $5.393 billion right back to the Fed (making who knows how much in "fees" in the process) in that day's POMO. And today, just a week after the last 7 year targeting POMO, Dealers sold another $3.168 billion to Brian Sack. Total tally: $8.561 billion monetized by the New York Fed in less than two weeks following the auction. Simply stated: the Dealers' unprecedented interest in the auction... was transitory. Just two weeks later, the Dealers have flipped back 75% of their entire position in the latest 7 Year On The Run bond. And this is the kind of sleight of hand that allows the Treasury to represent success after success in bond auctions, only to allow the Fed to do the backdoor switcheroo literally hours later, and compensate the conning Dealers for fooling the marks: in this case US taxpayers, naive believers that there is actual interest in US Paper, and of course China and other foreign investors who bought $13.8 billion of the same auction. What happens when Dealers are unable to flip up to 75% of any given bond back to the Fed in under two weeks: stay tuned and find out in precisely 3 weeks.
Corn Prices Near Record On Plunge In Corn Stocks, China Use Surge, Tightest US Corn Supply Levels In 15 YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/09/2011 09:50 -0500
So much for transitory inflation as corn prices are again pennies of a fresh all time high. Earlier today an update by the USDA showed that corn stocks will come in much lower than expected at the end of the 2011/12 marketing year at just 695 million bushels: this is far lower than the analysts consensus of 771 million bushels. The spring weather was blamed for the drop: "cold, rainy spring and flooding cut U.S. corn plantings by 1.6 percent, will reduce the harvest by 2 percent and will keep U.S. corn supplies at their tightest level in 15 years through the fall of 2012, the government said on Thursday." Another factor for the record price: surging China demand: "USDA also forecast a hefty increase in corn use by China -- up 8 million tonnes, or 5 percent, this year and up 13 million tonnes, or 8 percent, in 2011/12. China will draw down its stocks rather than import corn, USDA said." Just like in China where record droughts have been replaced with deadly floods, the weather continues to be unusually volatile, not just in the US: "Besides plaguing the eastern Corn Belt, rains and
floods have slashed the rice crop by 5.5 percent since May, USDA said.
Drought in the Southwest would reduce the cotton crop by 1 million
bales, or nearly 6 percent, to 17 million bales, and the rice crop, at
199.5 million hundredweight, would be the smallest in four years." This is probably the latest data the market needed to completely ignore today's worse than expected initial claims data, and go into full "Inflation: ON" mode. In other news, expect Obama to announce the launch of an Adverse Weather Task Force investigating speculative movements in air masses momentarily.
Since "the China Story" is the foundation of global growth, demand for commodities and ultimately, stock market profits, when China's stock market breaks down it behooves us to pay attention. Technical analysis offers a number of tools to help us chart the past and present and calibrate probabilities of what might happen in the future. Much of the time there are no clear signals, and chartists can lose their way trying to discern patterns and trends which may or may not pan out in the future. One classic pattern is a flag or pennant (a.k.a. a wedge). The psychology behind the pennant is rather transparent. Lower highs reflect a decline in Bullish enthusiasm and buying pressure, as every "buy the dip" fails to match the previous dip-buying. he direction of China's market has been decisively signalled: breakdown. In technical analysis, it doesn't get any better than this.
- Obama Considering Another Stimulus Tax Cut (New Republic)
- Taxes on the menu in debt-reduction talks (Reuters)
- Americans torn over debt limit (WaPo)
- Dimon Challenges Bernanke on Wall Street Regulation (Bloomberg)
- The Great Property Bubble of China May Be Popping (WSJ)
- Beige Book confirms break in supply chain(FT)
- Trichet May Play ECB Rate Card as Germany Risks Split on New Greek Rescue (Bloomberg)
- Slow growth to anchor Bank rates despite price pressure (Reuters)
- President Obama Authors The Economic Recovery That Isn’t (Forbes)
- New Cracks in Oil Cartel (WSJ)
'Worst Ever' OPEC Meeting Sees Oil Rise Sharply – Inflation Pressures, Growth And Sovereign Debt Concerns Support BullionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/09/2011 06:04 -0500
Gold is marginally lower while silver is showing strength again today after yesterday’s 'worst ever' OPEC meeting ended in disarray and saw oil prices surge. Markets await today’s ECB rate decision and signs as to whether interest rates are set to rise sooner rather than later. Signs of an interest rate rise in July should see the euro and gold rally versus the dollar. The precious metals are also likely to be supported by further sharp falls in peripheral markets bonds, particularly Greece, this morning. While all eyes are on the ECB today, there was a reminder late yesterday that it is not just the Eurozone that is struggling with debt. Fitch Ratings said it would put US debt on watch in early August if Congress fails to raise the federal debt limit. OPEC, the oil cartel’s increasing impotency was seen yesterday when Libya, Iraq, Angola, Ecuador and Algeria sided with increasingly influential Iran and Venezuela rather than Saudi Arabia and its allies Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. Also, Japan’s nuclear crisis is leading to a decline in nuclear energy production, possibly long term in nature, and China’s massive drought has led to marked decline in hydroelectric energy production. There is increasingly the real risk of an oil crisis especially given the very tense geopolitical situation in North Africa and the Middle East. Separately, Iran announced it planned to treble its capacity to produce highly enriched uranium which alarmed western powers and was deemed ‘provocative’ by one international relations analyst. Oil prices have risen over 10 times since 1999. For gold prices to just catch up with the price increases seen in ‘black gold’, gold would have to rise over $2,500/oz (10 X $250/oz).
For the nth time, China let loose that "excessive" holdings of US dollars are risky because "Washington could pursue a policy to weaken the dollar, a senior currency regulator said in comments published on a website that briefly pushed the dollar lower." Oddly this time, the statement which came from Guan Tao of China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) which is the entity responsible for managing the country's $3+ trillion in USD FX holdings, was promptly retracted, following an announcement by Tao to Reuters "that the comments had been made in private academic discussions and represented his personal view only." In other words this is an identical episode to the one when the BOC's Mark Carney told "a private circle" that the US is going to hell in a handbasket. While the announcement briefly pushed the dollar lower, is the take home message that everyone is secretly hating America, while in public keeping a rosy appearance? The answer, of course, is a resounding yes.
One of the most unbelievable developments in the past few days has been the rank, unprecedented, totally amateur and outright pathetic backlash against writers of "short China" theses by the management teams of these same companies that have garnered the all too deserved definition of "Fraudcaps." We have shown before that the hit rate of pieces accusing Chinese companies is well north of 80% as exhibited by the fact that virtually all companies currently halted indefinitely on the Nasdaq are of Chinese origin. But of course, the fact that their stocks plunge only after an investor who has actually done their homework exposes Chinese frauds for what they are, does not prevent these companies to stoop to the lowest rung on the ladder and actually sue these contrarians who in the long run merely prevent further capital erosion from future lazy momos who may have invested in these crap companies. It is time for these smokescreening, grautious, shareholder fund-depleting lawsuits to stop, and for shareholders to instead sue their management teams.
After all, if these allegations are so wrong, than it is the fiduciary
duty of the management team to buy back as much stock as humanly
possible, using both corporate and personal funds: if there is no fraud, this represents a massive discount to fair value and the highest IRR investment these clueless fraudulent management teams can pursue. Commit
fraud once, with the help of the NYSE and Nasdaq, that's fine - the
idiot momos who buy your shares will lose everything, but continue this
charade and CEOs deserve to go to jail immediately, hopefully while ignoring the completely toothless SEC which has failed and continues to fail
miserably when it comes to protecting shareholder interests, especially in this most recent Chinese fraud contagion. Also, we leave the question of when any incompetent sellside banker will be sued for peddling a BUY rating on Chinese fraud completely open...
China Surpasses US As Largest Energy Consumer; World Has 46.2 Year Of Proved Oil Reserves; Crude Has Lots Of Upside In Real TermsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/08/2011 09:43 -0500
In its just released must read Statistical Review of World Energy, BP has many critical observations, the key of which, while not a surprise to most, is that as of 2010, the US is no longer the world's biggest consumer of energy. The new leader, with a 20.3% share of global energy consumption: China. Keep in mind that the Chinese economy is still (in whatever centrally planned terms it discloses) not even half the size of the US, thus one can only imagine how far this number will rise should China ultimately succeed in its goal of converting from an export-led to a consumer-led society. And here we have a market worried about a few million bpd in quota courtesy of the now defunct OPEC. From the report: "World primary energy consumption – which this year includes for the first time a time series for commercial renewable energy – grew by 5.6% in 2010, the largest increase (in percentage terms) since 1973. Consumption in OECD countries grew by 3.5%, the strongest growth rate since 1984, although the level of OECD consumption remains roughly in line with that seen 10 years ago. Non-OECD consumption grew by 7.5% and was 63% above the 2000 level. Consumption growth accelerated in 2010 for all regions, and growth was above average in all regions. Chinese energy consumption grew by 11.2%, and China surpassed the US as the world’s largest energy consumer. Oil remains the world’s leading fuel, at 33.6% of global energy consumption, but oil continued to lose market share for the 11th consecutive year." And in terms of production reserves: "World proved oil reserves in 2010 were sufficient to meet 46.2 years of global production, down slightly from the 2009 R/P ratio because of a large increase in world production; global proved reserves rose slightly last year. An increase in Venezuelan official reserve estimates drove Latin America’s R/P ratio to 93.9 years – the world’s largest, surpassing the Middle East."
Too bad there is no central bank to sell weather future puts and induce a "great moderation" in climatic conditions, which lately have seen volatility surge through the roof. The most recent example of why the CBOE needs a weather VIX is China, where following weeks of inflation spiking near-record drought conditions, the weather has flipped, and heavy rainfalls since June 3 have created floods that have killed at least 52 people led to 32 more missing, and much more is coming. According to Xinhua, "Heavy rains have inundated parts of 12 provinces in
central and southern China and affected 4.81 million people so far since
the flood season arrived, Shu Qingpeng, deputy head of the Office of
State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, told a conference. Floods have destroyed 7,462 houses and submerged 255,000 hectares of farmland, incurring direct economic losses of 4.92 billion yuan (760 million U.S. dollars), he said. Heavy rainfalls since June 3 have drenched the previously parched lower and middle parts of the Yangtze River basin, increasing water of rivers to alert levels in the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan and Guizhou." The PBoC's, which is preparing with spinning a record 5.5% CPI print imminently, just can't catch a fair weather break.
- Fed Sees Recovery Lagging (Jon Hilsenrath)
- Grand Bargain U.S. Debt-Deal Failure Would Set Up 2012 Election Showdown (Bloomberg)
- Ruling party lawmakers attack new Greek bailout (Reuters)
- IMF's Lipsky says QE3 not necessary (Reuters)
- Yuan's band may be widened (China Daily)
- Tank Looks Dry for the Australian Dollar (WSJ)
- Berlin seeks 7-year Greek debt extension (FT)
- It’s Bubble Time as Asia Braces for Fed’s QE3 (Bloomberg)
- G20 targets volatile food prices (FT)
Yesterday Reuters reported that a troubling, yet potentially inevitable development may be imminent: the default of the US, granted, a short-lived one (though we are not sure just how the world's "reserve" currency will be backed by a national that is technically insolvent). Luckily for the US, everyone else (except China) is just as bankrupt. Yet if there is one thing pushing Lehman into competitive bankruptcy just so that Goldman would have a monopoly in the US fixed income sales and trading market, it is that any such action will have massive downstream consequences, and in the pyramid of "unpredictable downstream effects", the insolvency of the US is at the very top. And just to make it clear, now that a default is becoming a palpable option, China announced that the United States is "playing with fire" if it opts to briefly default on its debt, which could undermine the dollar, Li Daokui, an adviser to China's central bank said on Wednesday. Yet the statement could very well backfire after Li, speaking on the sidelines of a forum, said China needs to dissuade the United States from defaulting on its debt, but he believed China may hang on to its investment in U.S. Treasuries in any case. This is precisely the case made by Stanley Druckenmiller: in fact, should there be a technical default, US bonds will become a true safe haven investment as America will for the first time take a step to indicate that it believes the relentless abuse of its fiscal situation is coming to an end.
What happens if energy and food prices keep going up? Can we be sure that this won’t happen? No of course not so these markets are far too complacent in my view and are not pricing enough risk premium. I am not even convinced that a lot of higher input prices have been passed on yet so the consumer will either face higher prices or the producer will see margins collapse and neither is good for equities. Europe is in a mess and it looks increasingly likely that a restructuring WILL happen somewhere at some point, whilst Trichet seems determined to jack up rates on principle. Don’t forget that even though European politicians want to help for fear of the consequences, ultimately the outcome will be decided by backbench politicians in PM Papandreou's parliamentary party. If austerity measures are not approved by parliament on Jun 28, then all hell could break loose. And just look at the EUR; what’s it doing up here? There is little risk priced here it seems and yet the risks are huge. Central banks are sucking volatility from these markets in a bid to create a false sense of security. This covert intervention is very clever as it’s tough to fight. Without doubt G20 is behind this and the accord is strong. They need a stable equity markets and stable FX markets to help buy time. Very clever.
Starting at 9pm Eastern, something lit up a fire under the Japanese Yen, sending all pairs, but specifically the USDJPY and EURJPY down sharply for no apparent reason. At last check the Dollar Yen was back under 79.85, the level at which the BOJ 3 months ago had to run like a petulant, crying child to its pedophile uncles from the G-7, begging for a rescue. The only mildly related news came out just prior when it was announced that China's net purchases of Japan debt hit a new record in April. From Bloomberg: "China’s net purchases of Japan’s long-term debt reached a record as the larger nation seeks to diversify the world’s biggest currency reserves. China bought a net 1.33 trillion yen ($16.6 billion) in Japanese long-term bonds in April, the biggest amount since records began in January 2005, according to data released today in Tokyo by Japan’s Ministry of Finance. The nation sold a net 1.47 trillion yen of short-term debt, the data shows. “As China tries to diversify its assets with its huge foreign-exchange reserves, it probably wants to have yen- denominated assets to some extent” in the longer term, said Tetsuya Inoue, chief researcher for financial markets for Tokyo- based Nomura Research Institute Ltd. “China has a strong trading relationship with Japan." If anything this would be dollar negative, not so much Yen positive... We will follow and update if anything is noted.