Citi's Economics team downgraded global growth expectations once again, expecting 3.0% this year (versus 4.0% last year) with more aggressive downgrades next year to only 2.9% (from 3.2% expectations last month and 3.7% two months ago). Growth revisions were downgraded for every major global economy as expectations move with Goldman's coincidentally-timed discussion of stagnation (also tonight) with advanced economies cut more than developed though Eastern Europe saw the most significant reductions. They note that 'the recent pace of GDP forecast downgrades is among the greatest of the last ten years' and extends the recent run of lower forecasts to four months-in-a-row. In a secondary note, Willem Buiter and team also pour cold water on market expectations for the EFSF pointing out, as we have done for a few weeks now at every suggestion, that all the different options have their shortcomings and are unlikely to be implemented quickly.
We have written extensively over the course of the last few weeks on the increasing rhetoric from Asia over currency fluctuations and furthermore how China was playing the US and Europe off against one another in a quasi-trade-war gambit. A flurry of headlines today/tonight via Bloomberg reminded us to revisit what is also a very worrying trend in Chinese CDS (and more broadly Asian sovereigns), as perhaps sophisticated investors look for the cheapest low cost long vol trades on a non-decoupled world devolving to its lowest common denominator. Between Carney's 'substantially undervalued Yuan' comments, record slides in Dim Sum Bonds, growing concerns over growth longevity, Japanese retail sales, Aussie home prices, Sony's troubles in currency-land, and Barclay's warning of a restart to the Yuan peg in the case of global recession - contagion and transmission channels appear alive and well in global trade.
When one compiles the annals of the great deflationists of the early 21st century, they will be hard pressed to decide who is deserving of the title most ferocious deflationist in a runoff between David Rosenberg and Gary Schilling. And while David did not have much notable to say today, despite his daily release of interesting and insightful commentary from his perch atop Gluskin Sheff, Gary Schilling took advantage of the media vacuum to appear on Bloomberg TV and preach, what else, deflation. Among the topics touched upon were the #1 issue du jour - the Chinese hard landing, presented earlier here, and the resulting collapse in copper, on bond market volatility, on investing and speculation, and lastly on the S&P, which just like Rosenberg, he see as deserving of a 10x multiple applied to a soon to be revised S&P 500 EPS of 80 (do the math). All in all sensible stuff except for one thing: his statement "Inflating away is an excess supply world is almost impossible, even for the Fed" leaves a little to be desired. While he may be spot on, it does not mean the Fed will not try. And try it will: we expect rumblings for full blown LSAP to commence in a few days, and QE4 in which the Fed will pull a BOJ and buy ETFs, REITs (in addition to MBS and Agency bonds) early in 2012, after which it will be time to quietly depart from these continental US, or else load up on lead, spam and precious metals.
The risk faced by those who are analyzing macro trends is sounding like a broken record. For those younger readers who have no idea what that means, imagine an MP3 song that will stick on and endlessly repeat a random segment of the song you are listening to until you give your device a sharp knock on the side. That's what a broken record sounded like. The world economy is on the ropes and it won't ever recover. At least not to anything resembling its recent past. Neither the gleeful housing bubble nor the free-flowing credit that enabled that side bubble to emerge will return. The resources simply do not exist to repeat that final orgy of consumption. A new reality is upon us and - while fortunately more and more people are choosing to face our predicament rather than pretend the current risks and challenges do not really exist - the absolute numbers are still small and for the most part don't inlcude any of our political leaders.
Earlier today Bank of America released a presentation and a conference call in which the firm's head of China equity strategy David Cui spoke about the dreaded "China Hard Landing" or the event that would kill all decoupling dreams for ever and ever, and probably lead to a world depression. It seems that the latest down move in the market is being partially attributed to just this notification finally making the rounds as can be seen in the note below: "BofAML’s David Cui is the Markets’ #1 rated China Strategist according to the 2011 Institutional Investor All-China Survey. While he is not responsible for our China GDP forecast, he sees significant Chinese specific financial market risks that could trigger lower than expected Chinese growth. He sees that those financial market risks as having increased considerably. He will expand on this on the call, but he sees these financial stresses as having a very high probability of triggering lower than expected growth. That lower growth could well be sub 7%, and therefore by Chinese market standards would be termed a “hard landing”, clearly a HUGE issue for all global markets." Granted this is not news to those who have been following the Chinese situation (as fringe blogs have been for over a year), but the market does tend to have a habit of being about 12-18 months behind the curve. Here is what Bank of America had to say...
As realization settles in that levered EFSF may not be the best solution since it is circular and puts the ratings of every country in Europe at risk, along comes another proposal to save Europe. The "Eureca" plan which can be found at www.rolandberger.com has made its way around the market the past couple of days. The premise of the plan is that speculators are to blame and that Greece should sell its state assets "such as ports, airports, highways, and real estate". The market seems to be grasping at straws. Plan after plan seems to catch a brief following, but falls apart under any scrutiny. Why are any plans on how to manage a Greek default completely ignored? I remain convinced that a Greek default could be dealt with.
Today's core durable goods number is being desperately spun as yet another inflection point for the economy. Alas, nobody buys it any more. Enter Goldman Sachs, which says that while encouraging, is quite dubious if the "recent growth rates will be sustained." Growth of what? Stainless steel scaffolding for lies and rumors that reach to the sky? If so, then yes absolutely. Otherwise, with China rumored to be gearing up to downgrade the CNY (and finally push Schumer over the cliff), we wish the optimists the traditional dose of good luck with their daily hopium.
- Euro Crisis Makes Fed Lender of Only Resort as Funding Dries Up (Bloomberg)
- Germany Slams 'Stupid' US Plans to Boost EU Rescue Fund (Telegraph)
- US Inflation Expectations Lowest for a Year (FT)
- Chinese Banks Raise Cash to Cushion Against Bad Debts (WSJ)
- Banks Wary of Financing Big Projects (FT)
- German Ruling Coalition Faces Tricky Bailout Vote (WSJ)
- Health Insurance Costs Deal Blow to Obama (FT)
- China Warns Asia Not to Hide Behind U.S. Military (Bloomberg)
- Japan Ruling Party Proposes $120B Tax Increase (Bloomberg)
I'd say the world's biggest bubble is real estate in China, but real estate bubbles are just starting to deflate elsewhere, too—in Australia and Canada, for example. It's relatively hard to short real estate, of course. Shorting bank stocks is an indirect way to play it. I'd say bonds are the short sale of the century. They're going to be destroyed. Bonds pose a triple threat to capital because:
- Interest rates are artificially low, and as interest rates rise—which they must—bonds will fall.
- Bonds are denominated in currencies, and most currencies, let's say dollars, are going to lose a lot of value.
- The credit risk of most bonds, certainly those issued by governments, is high.
On the long side, mining stocks are very cheap relative to the price of gold right now. I'd say there's an excellent chance of a bubble being ignited in gold mining stocks, especially the small ones; in fact, I'd put my finger on that as likely being the easiest way to make a killing.
A mere two weeks ago FIVE central banks intervened to help the European banking system. The benefits of that intervention last one week. Things are now so bad in Europe that corporations are now pulling their money from private banks and depositing directly with the ECB:
Presenting A Post Mortem Of "Anonymous" First Trade Reco: Anon To Give Muddy Waters A Run For Its Fraudbuster MoneySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/27/2011 14:57 -0400
Yesterday we reported on the historic transition of Operation Anonymous from a loose, disorganized, and quite dangerous hacker collective, to a (substantially more) organized, opaque, unregulated, and seemingly, quite effective and just as dangerous research organization. As Zero Hedge first reported, yesterday Anonymous (which is now known as Anonymous Analytics) came out with a report on (then) $HK 8.5 billion Hong Kong agri-firm Chaoda, alleging the company is a total fraud, and that its stock will soon be delisted. So how did Anon do when the stock opened for trade late last night Eastern time? See for yourself. It looks like Muddy Waters has finally got some competition. We can't wait until these dedicated short sellers finally shift their attention away from China, and start taking down the ponzi monstrocities of our own stock market...
Still confused by the 500 DJIA point rally in 48 hours? You are not alone. Here is David Rosenberg guaranteeing that your confusion will be even greater when you realize that nothing has really changed, suffice to say that the record confusion has provided the best smokescreen for nothing short of a collusive global window dressing session for massively underwater hedge and mutual funds.
For some odd reason, even though it is by now very, very clear that the world is back in a depressionary state, some are still fascinated by the inflection point of the global economy, and wonder: "are we headed for a recession?" (which obviously is the wrong question). Anyway, to help with the answer is this set of 9 interactive charts from Reuters which should remove any last bit of doubt as to what is about to unfold, at least in the perception of conventional wisdom. Furthermore, since most of these data sets are coincident or lagging, it is safe to say that the NBER will shortly announce that the recession started some time in H1.
- A European official said a detailed plan is being worked on leveraging EFSF money with the plan using some EFSF money to shore up bank capital.
- The Austrian finance minister said Euro-zone officials are to discuss the EFSF leveraging plan on Monday
- German Chancellor Merkel says we are not prepared to implement further stimulus programmes.
- Confirmation of the EFSF leveraging talks sparked outrage in Germany, where opposition politicians threatened to derail the plans by voting against a key amendment to the bail-out fund this Thursday.