Forget tapering. Forget Ukraine. The largest single risk to the world economy and financial markets right now is China. What’s going on in China is very reminiscent of South Korea in the 1990s, before that economy’s crash in 1998.
China's potential in shale gas production is nearly as staggering as its potential growth in demand for natural gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that China possesses by far the world's largest reserves of technically recoverable shale gas. Although China's shale gas industry is not as advanced as the United States', it could be the most advanced outside of North America. It remains unclear whether this will be able to satisfy most of China's demand, and China's potential demand spikes leave those other liquefied natural gas importers worried -- especially those, such as Japan, that have few options other than importing liquefied natural gas.
China, having abstained from voting against Russia in the UN, has been relatively quiet during this crisis... until now... As ITAR-TASS reports, spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce Shen Danyang said that while "the situation in Ukraine remains tense," and they are watching developments, "we are ready for cooperation with Crimea after the situation there gets back to normal.” This appears to implicitly recognize Crimea as its own region - as opposed to part of Ukraine - even after this morning's "very strict anti-secessio One China policy" comments.
Like any Ponzi scheme, China growth has topped out and it's all the runners of the con (Chinese Government) can do to keep investors from pulling out of the game
Many had feared (or expected), fallout from Crimea's referendum and subsequent accession to Russia may embolden ethnic minorities in many bordering nations to seek self-determination. It appears that is taking place in Moldova where Vedomosti reports that Mikhail Burla, head of the Transnistria region's legislature, has asked Russia's Duma for draft laws on accession to Russia to be altered to allow the region to join. The timing of this move is surreal as headlines appeared this morning that Europe is looking to speed up its "association" with Moldova. In a 2006 referendum, over 97% of Transnistrians voted to join Russia...
PBOC Denies It Will Bail Out Collapsed Real Estate Developer While Chinese Property Developer Market CrashesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2014 09:15 -0500
The PBOC is reported to be scrambling to bail out China's second corporate default in one month, real estate company Zhejiang Xingrun, even as the Chinese property developer market is crashing and rapidly shutting down. So why did the PBOC personally just go to Weibo to deny such speculation. And what happens next?
- Lost Jet’s Path Seen as Altered via Computer (NYT)
- Fed Links Low Rates to “Persistent Headwinds” in Economy (Hilsenrath)
- Top German Court Clears Euro-Zone Bailout Fund (WSJ)
- U.S., EU set sanctions as Putin recognizes Crimea "sovereignty" (Reuters)
- Indian wealth effect: Sensex, Nifty hit life highs as domestic-focused firms rally (Reuters)
- China bond default has positive effect on local government groups (FT) - unless it's negative
- Russia tensions risk higher gas prices (FT)
- China Home-Price Growth Slows in Big Cities on Tight Credit (BBG)
- ECB's Weidmann says German surpluses "here to stay" (Reuters)
- Microsoft Office for iPad (AAPL) to be introduced this month (The Verge)
Has the market done it again? Two weeks ago, Putin's first speech of the Ukraine conflict was taken by the USDJPY algos - which seemingly need to take a remedial class in Real Politik - as a conciliatory step, and words like "blinking" at the West were used when describing Putin, leading to a market surge. Promptly thereafter Russia seized Crimea and is now on the verge of formally annexing it. Over the weekend, we had the exact same misreading of the situation, when the Crimean referendum, whose purpose is to give Russia the green light to enter the country, was actually misinterpreted as a risk on event, not realizing that all the Russian apparatus needed to get a green light for further incursions into Ukraine or other neighboring countries was just the market surge the algos orchestrated. Anyway, yesterday's risk on, zero volume euphoria has been tapered overnight, with the USDJPY sliding from nearly 102.00 to just above 101.30 dragging futures with it, in advance of Putin's speech to parliament, in which he is expected to provide clarity on the Russian response to US sanctions, as well as formulate the nation's further strategy vis-a-vis Crimea and the Ukraine.
While Marc Faber is adamant that "there’s lots of funny things that are happening in China. And when the whole thing unwinds it will be a disaster," it is his comments with regard Ukraine (and Russia) that are worth paying significant new attention to. As The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report editor notes in this brief Bloomberg TV interview, if you put yourself in Putin's shoes "he did the right thing from his perspective," given Crimea's strategic importance. However, as Faber concludes, "Crimea moving to Russia gives essentially a signal to China that one day they can also move and seize some territory that they perceive belongs to them."
It would appear that the widening of the daily trading bands (we discussed last night) are having a directional effect on USDCNY as the devaluation continues on the back of forced carry-trade unwinds. At 6.19, CNY is its weakest in 11 months (2.5% weaker than its lows in January) and the last 2 months have seen by far the biggest weakening in the currency on record. This 'implied' easing is modestly supporting the stock market and copper for now (though we suspect that is more spillover from risk-on squeezes post-Ukraine). While Goldman and BofA are adamant that widening the bands will not mean a change in trend overall, it seems clear that hot money is outflowing and driving a trend change anyway as corporate bond prices are not rising and home-price appreciation is slowing in the major cities.
Having offloaded its short-dated Ukraine bonds to clients (recommending they buy them in size when Yanukovych was ousted for a decent loss so far), the boys from Goldman are up to their old tricks with a lorry-load of German stocks to sell you... "Year to date, the DAX is one of the worst performing indices in Europe (down 4.6% relative to the European market which is flat)... but we think the overall German market will outperform the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index, and also highlight a list of DAX stocks that are currently Buy rated by our analysts."
"All the Trumans – the economists, fund managers, traders, market pundits –know at some level that the environment in which they operate is not what it seems on the surface…. But the zeitgeist is so damn pleasant, the days so resplendent, the mood so euphoric, the returns so irresistible, that no one wants it to end."
Klarman is here referring to the waning days of this third and greatest financial bubble of this century. But David Stockman's take is that the crack-up boom now nearing its dénouement marks not merely the season finale of still another Fed-induced cycle of financial asset inflation, but, in fact, portends the demise of an entire era of bubble finance.
The last time the FT penned an article on the topic of gold manipulation, titled "Gold price rigging fears put investors on alert" it was promptly taken down without much (any) of an explanation. Luckily, we recorded the article for posterity here. Earlier today, another article on the topic appears to have slipped through the cracks of the distinguished editors of the financial journal that enjoys the ad spend of the status quo, when it reported that "Gold pricing scrutiny widens", hardly an update that will take the world by storm, however it is notable that "even" the FT, where for years goldbugs claiming gold manipulation had been ridiculed, is finally start to admit the glaringly obvious.
The Zagat-style summary, the market is "extremely overvalued", but it will rise on an "increase in the level of profits" and "we expect an 8% rise in the level of earnings this year", even though "we expect many firms will issue negative earnings guidance ahead of 1Q 2014 reporting season that takes place from mid-April to mid-May."
S&P 500 rise to new high recently was a "party for one" as other global indexes did not participate; "there are so many issues with the market that it strains the imagination," writes Sterne Agee technical analyst Carter Worth in note. Nikkei 225 "deteriorating for weeks" has “look and feel of an important topping-out formation” while European stocks at or below February lows. Small cap stocks, including solar, marine shipping, new-era dot.com, and micro-cap biotech stocks "surging with abandon"