As a potential worst case scenario, we use the simple sum of probabilities from 2001- 2002 and the current debt stock as an example of what could happen during a protracted downturn. If this comes to fruition, we estimate fallen angel volumes over 2 years could spike to $413bn, with $117bn of 10+ fallen angel paper (again crashing into a 10+ HY market that is only $48bn in size). This is an ugly spectre that the high-grade markets would need to face in future years.
It would be hard for a year to start any worse than 2016 has... "Prices are oversold and sentiment hasn’t been this despondent in a long time (even Aug/Sept wasn’t this palpably negative) but any bounce will not be particularly impressive and in a lot of ways that is the main problem as the upside just isn’t compelling enough to make a major stand...as Western central banks attempted to mollify sentiment with dovish rhetoric but to no avail."
A financial oligarchy has seized control of the country, and, since it can't control its own appetites, is running it into the ground. Thus, it would make sense for it to have some sort of back-up plan for when the whole financial house of cards falls apart. Ideally, this plan would effectively put down any chance of revolt of the downtrodden masses, and allow the oligarchy to maintain security and hold onto its wealth. Peacetime is fine for as long as it can placate the populace with bread and circuses, but when a financial calamity causes the economy to crater and bread and circuses turn scarce, a handy fallback is war.
"Your fund made 5.6% net last month, to finish the year up 20.45% net. Gains came from the short book.... Your fund remains long bonds, short equities."
With the seasonally drawdown-prone December completed, we begin seasonally build-prone January with expectations for a 2mm barrel build. However, according to API, both total and Cushing inventory levels tumbled (-3.9mm and 300k respectively). Great news - so why is crude tumbling? Simple - massive builds in end-products again with Gasoline up a massive 7mm barrels and Distillates up 3.6mm barrels. Having ramped off sub-$30 levels aftwr NYMEX closed, and lifted by the Iran-US news, WTI is sliding back rapidly.
Another day, another plunge in The Baltic Dry Index, which just dropped a further 3.1% to 402 today - a new record low. While the index is driving headlines, under the surface, reality in the shipping (and shipbuilding) industry is a disaster. Total orders at Chinese shipyards tumbled 59% in the first 11 months of 2015, and as Bloomberg reports, with bulk ships accounting for 41.6% of Chinese shipyards’ $26.6 billion orderbook as of December, there is notably more pain to come, as one analyst warns "Chinese shipbuilders won’t be able to revive even if you try breathing some life into them."
With China now "murdering" Yuan shorts, markets are content that the Chinese debacle seems to be contained if only for a while, and so the attention of both traders and algos alike has focused on oil, which earlier in the session dragged global equities lower as it dropped by 3%, just shy of the $30 level, a new 11 year low, before staging another dramatic rebound in minutes, wiping out all losses in the aftermath of what appears to have been a deadly suicide bomber terrorist explosion on a square the middle of Istanbul's historic district.
“I’m not going to answer that. No, no, no. I don’t want to talk to you”...
Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince Muhammad bin Salman made headlines this week when he said that the kingdom was considering an IPO of Saudi Aramco, the nation’s state-owned oil company. But there are reasons to doubt that 1) the Saudi government will actually follow through on the plan, 2) even if some shares are listed, operations will change significantly, and 3) that such a move presents a huge opportunity for investors. Sure, Aramco might be worth trillions in theory. But returning cash to shareholders is not and will not be the top priority.
"Shorter-term traders will feel that many moves have gone a long way very quickly and hence appear ripe for a brief rebound. The catalyst is that, in the height of a market panic, prices can become dislocated from fundamental valuations, as margin stops get triggered and “weaker” positions get cleaned out. The counter-argument is that distortions caused by the extraordinary monetary policies of global central banks mean markets might have been disconnected from traditional fundamentals for several years."
Initially both European stocks and US equity futures were grateful that China has picked at least one asset class to prop up overnight, and rose in an extremely illiquid market with European shares gaining for first time in 4 days, as S&P futures rise even as the MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index just fell to the lowest level in more than 4 years. However, as of moments ago the Stoxx 600 had faded all its earlier gains and was trading near the flatline, as an algo takes out all stops on the top and bottom once more, and looks set to move on to US futures shortly.
"The increasingly frequent departures from Constitutional principles are destroying the Rule of Law foundation on which this country was built... The cure to these problems will not come from Washington D.C. Instead, the states must lead the way. The irony for our generation is that the threat to our Republic doesn’t come just from foreign enemies, it comes, in part, from our very own leaders."
- Texas governor Greg Abbott
Time Magazine cover says she could lead the only Chinese democracy. The same woman also said "Violence Is Normal in a Democratic Society"
Update: *SHANGHAI COMPOSITE INDEX FALLS 2.04%(AFTER BEING UP 3.2%)
With all eyes on Chinese FX and equity markets, following the worst start to a year for US (and Chinese) stocks in history, PBOC decided (after 7 straight days of devaluation and 7% devaluation since August) to halt the run and increase Yuan fix by a paltry 0.01% to 6.5636 (notably below yesterday's 6.5939 CNY close). Offshore Yuan is strengthening and US equity markets are jumping. Chinese equity markets (now theoretically unhampered by their circuit-breaker panic switch) are far less impressed.
While Gold has been grabbing the "safe haven" headlines in recent days, this morning it is Silver's turn. Having rallied 2.5%, Silver just broke its 50-day moving average for the first time in 2 months...