China

China

The New London Gold Fix And China's Gold Strategy

China now has the opportunity to take a dominant role in London, without having to direct its order flows through the fixing banks. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that from 20th March, China will be able to control the global physical gold market, which will permit her to manage the price. She has the deepest pockets, backed by the largest single stockpile.

The West's Plan To Drop Russia From SWIFT Hilariously Backfires

If Vladimir Putin is alive and remotely capable of laughter (the jury is out on that one...) then he’s probably doing so right now. For the last several months, despite numerous warnings of the consequences, the US and UK governments have been pushing to block Russia from the SWIFT payments system. And so what is utterly hilarious - On Monday afternoon, not only did SWIFT not kick Russia out... but they announced that they were actually giving a Board Seat to Russia.

Harvard Business Review Throws Up All Over Stock Buybacks

GM did $20.4 billion worth of buybacks from 1986 through 2002. If it had saved that money and earned a modest 2.5% on it, the company would have had $35 billion on hand when the financial crisis and Great Recession hit and probably would not have had to file for bankruptcy protection. As Bob Lutz, the veteran auto executive, said recently, stock buybacks are “always a harbinger of the next downturn…in almost all cases, you regret it later”... Taxpayers and workers brought GM out of bankruptcy, yet it is the hedge funds that will reap the biggest rewards. Taxpayers and workers should demand that open-market repurchases by all companies be banned. Stock buybacks manipulate the stock market and leave most Americans worse off. In this case, it is clear that what is good for the hedge funds is bad for the United States.

Albert Edwards' "WOW!" Chart, Or Why "Draghi Makes Greenspan Look Like A Rank Amateur"

"Mario Draghi and the ECB’s manipulation of asset prices makes Greenspan’s Fed look like a rank amateur. More shocking though than the plunge in the euro, and more shocking even that 25% of sovereign eurozone bonds now trade in negative territory, is what has happened to eurozone equity valuations. For, as we approach the sixth anniversary of the US cyclical bull market, the PE expansion of eurozone equities is simply off the scale!" - Albert Edwards

US "Urges" Vietnam To Stop Helping Russian Bombers Re-Fuel

It appears Washington is losing some control among its allies. Amid a flurry of high-level visits to Vietnam last year, the US has been pouring in aid and assistance in health, education, landmines clearance, scholarships and nuclear energy. The reason is now becoming clear. As Reuters reports, Vietnam has been allowing Russia to use a former US military base to refuel nuclear-capable bombers as it rattles its sabre over the Asia-Pac region.. and America would like that to stop: "we have urged Vietnamese officials to ensure that Russia is not able to use its access to Cam Ranh Bay to conduct activities that could raise tensions in the region." All that was missing was the "or else."

Are Alarm Bells Ringing Over Greece's Pivot To Russia?

With German media asking "who is more dangerous for us? Greece or Russia," recent actions by both 'antagonists' in that question suggest they may become one and the same sooner than many expected. With tensions rising between Greece and the Eurogroup, recent and future visits to Russia have gained in importance since Russian FinMin confirmed that Moscow "could consider financial help to Greece." While this Russian pivot meme was the stuff of conspiracy theorists just weeks ago, The BBC is now asking directly, "could Europe lose Greece to Russia?" and with more Greeks positive on Russia (61%) than Europe (23%), it should not shock anyone.

From Yellen Put To Yellen Massacre

Yellen has created a narrative about the US economy, especially the (un)employment rate, and with the narrative is now firmly in place, Yellen and her stooges can claim they have no choice but to hike In short, Janet Yellen will go down into history as the person responsible for what may be the biggest economic crash ever, or at least delivering the final punch of the way into it, a crash that will make the rich banks even much richer. And there is not one iota of coincidence in there. Yellen works for those banks. The Fed only ever held investors’ hands because that worked out well for Wall Street. And now that’s over. Y’all are on the same side of the same trade, and there’s no profit for Wall Street that way.

Frontrunning: March 12

  • As reported here first: The U.S. Has Too Much Oil and Nowhere to Put It (BBG)
  • Dollar Drops From 12-Year High as S&P Futures, Bonds Gain (BBG); Dollar Bulls Retreat From 12-Year High to Euro With Fed in View (BBG)
  • Clinton Private Email Plan Drew Concerns Early On (WSJ)
  • ECB Bond Buying Not Needed With Economy Improving, Weidmann Says (BBG)
  • China Feb new yuan loans well above forecast (Reuters)
  • U.S. probing report Secret Service agents drove car into White House barrier (Reuters)
  • Kerry tells Republicans: you cannot modify Iran-U.S. nuclear deal (Reuters)
  • PBOC Pledges to Press on With Rate Liberalization Amid Slowdown (BBG)
  • China Prepares Mergers for Big State-Owned Enterprises (WSJ)

FX Volatility Spikes As More Countries Enter Currency Wars; Euro Surges On Furious Squeeze After Touching 1.04

The global currency wars are getting ever more violent, following yesterday's unexpected entry of Thailand and South Korea, whose central banks were #23 and #24 to ease monetary conditions in 2015, confirming the threat of a global USD margin call is clear and present (see "The Global Dollar Funding Shortage Is Back With A Vengeance And "This Time It's Different"). But the one currency everyone continues to watch is the Euro, which the closer it gets to parity with the USD, the more volatile it becomes, and moments after touching a 1.04-handle coupled with the DXY rising above 100 for the first time in 12 years, the EURUSD saw a huge short squeeze which sent it nearly 150 pips higher to 1.0643, before the selling resumed.

Why They Spy: IT-Powered Feudalism Is Cheaper Than Playing Fair

"The amount a state needs to expend on guard labor is a function of how much legitimacy the state holds in its population’s reckoning... Why spy? Because it’s cheaper than playing fair. Our networks have given the edge to the elites, and unless we seize the means of information, we are headed for a long age of IT-powered feudalism."

China's Latest Spinning Plate: 10 Trillion In Local Government Debt

China is in the midst of attempting to help local governments refinance a mountain of debt, some of which was accumulated off balance sheet via shadow banking conduits at relatively high rates. According to UBS, "Chinese domestic media are saying that the authorities are considering a Chinese "QE" with the central bank funding the purchase of RMB 10 trillion in local government debt."

Danger Down Under — A Brief Look At Australia's Trade Flows

Global growth forecasts are falling and the risk of deflation is rising. As a result, countries that are dependent on commodity exports are especially vulnerable. Australia relies on exports to China. If prices fall and China slows down then Australia will be in big trouble.