What started out a quiet Asian open is startting to esclate rapidly. Japanese stocks futures had levitated along with a weaker JPY and US equity futures all day and opened higher. News confirming further leaks at Fukushima (1) started the selloff, but soon after that AFP reported that (2) Madrid may be edging out Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics (stocks leg down), and then the big one hit:
*S.KOREA MAY BAN IMPORTS OF SOME JAPAN FISHERIES PRODUCTS:YONHAP
As South Korea bypasses the currency wars and goes straight to a trade-war (3) and tanking the Nikkei 225 by over 200 points and slamming USDJPY back under 100.00. Treasuries are modestly bid with 10Y trading with a 2.97% handle.
Bonds Bleed: Largest Bubble In History Unwinds, But The “Great Rotation” Into Stocks Is Deceptive Wall Street HypeSubmitted by testosteronepit on 09/05/2013 18:40 -0500
The evaporating “wealth effect”
Asia is a damned excited part of the world. And Singapore is the financial epicenter of all of it. For the last 24-hours, banker and fund manager friends of mine have been telling me stories about oil refinery deals in North Korea, their crazy investments in Myanmar, and the utter exodus of global wealth that is finding its way to Singapore. In the last few weeks we are seeing two new groups moving serious money into Singapore - customers from Japan and India. The contrast is very interesting. From Japan, people who see the writing on the wall just want to be prepared with a sensible solution. They’re taking action before anything happens. From India, though, people are in a panicked frenzy. They waited until AFTER the crisis began to start taking any of these steps. As a result, they’re suffering heavy losses and taking substantial risks... some wealthy Indians are trying to smuggle out diamonds... anything they can do to skirt the government's capital controls.
What perhaps Minsky couldn’t conceive of was the point at which debt, deficits and interest rates would go to such extremes that the creation of credit itself, which was and remains the heart of capitalism, would be threatened. No longer might the seventh inning stretch lead to a Coke, some “Cracker Jacks” and the resumption of the old ballgame. Instead, zero-bound interest rates and debt/GDP ratios in a majority of capitalistic economies would begin to threaten, not heal, the nature of finance and investment in the real economy. Investors, leery of not only overleveraged investment banks such as Lehman Brothers, but overextended countries such as Greece, Cyprus and a host of Euroland lookalikes would derisk as opposed to rerisk as per the Minsky model. As well, with interest rates close to the zero bound, investors in intermediate and long term bonds would become dependent on Big Bank to do their bidding. When that QE buying power became jeopardized via tapering and the eventual ninth inning conclusion of asset purchases, then the process of maturity extension and the terming out of historically modeled corporate lending was prematurely threatened.
When last week the revised Q2 GDP print was announced, which beat expectations solidly driven entirely by a surge in net exports, we said that "with China on the rocks and tightening, the Emerging Markets in free fall, and Europe still a net exporter (so not benefiting the US), anyone hoping this trade led-recovery will be sustainable, will be disappointed." Sure enough, the first trade data update for the third quarter as of July, confirmed just this, as the trade deficit widenedfrom a revised $34.5 billion deficit, to a substantially larger monthly deficit, amounting to $39.1 billion. This was $500MM more than consensus expected, or $38.6 billion, and it means that as we predicted, the downward revisions to Q3 tracking estimates are about to start rolling in, trimming ~0.1%-0.2% from US GDP for this current quarter. Specifically, imports for the month rose from $225.1 billion to $228.6 billion while exports fell from $190.5 billion to $189.5 billion. But perhaps most notable is that in July, the US trade deficit with China and the EU rose to a record of $30.1 billion (from $26.6bn last month) and $13.9 billion (from $7.1bn) respectively.
- Yes: Support Builds in Congress for U.S. Strike Against Syria (WSJ)
- No: Boehner backs Obama on Syria, but House leaning toward ‘no’ (The Hill)
- U.S. Congress fight over Syria pits establishment versus upstarts (Reuters)
- Wednesday humor: Japan’s Abe Says Fukushima Will Be Resolved Before 2020 Olympics (BBG)
- Bank of Japan to Consider Further Easing if Sales Tax Hike Goes Ahead (Reuters)
- S&P accuses U.S. Justice Department of filing $5 billion lawsuit against it in "retaliation" for the company's downgrade of America's debt in 2011 (WSJ)
- German Candidates Spar Over Records (WSJ)
- Emerging Nations Save $2.9 Trillion Reserves in Rout (BBG)
- Split Congress Mulls Denial of Military Force Request (BBG)
- Sharp Fall in Overseas Investment By Chinese Firms (WSJ)
- Jorge Lemann: He Is...the World's Most Interesting Billionaire (BusinessWeek)
- Why Amazon Is on a Warehouse Building Spree (BW)
Today's morning summary is a carbon copy of yesterday's. Some things happened, China continues to make up data to fit its current policy outlook, things in Europe continue to go bump in the night ever louder as we approach the German election despite reflexive diffusion indices - this time Service PMIs - desperately signalling a surge in confidence, Italy has just reminded everyone it is a big political basket case as Berlusconi is said to consider withdrawing his support for the Letta government and calling for elections this year, and so on, but it is still all about Syria. Last night the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has agreed on a resolution on using military force against Syria. The resolution would limit the duration of any US military action in Syria to 60 days, with a 30-day extension possible if Obama determines it is necessary to meet the goals of the resolution. In other words, a "surgical strike" lasting a minimum of 90 days, and then with indefinite additional extensions tacked on. Yet judging by the modest drop in crude and gold, the market may need more than just fighting words at this point to push to th next level of risk aversion.
Equity markets across AsiaPac are once again a sea of crimson with India and Indonesia taking front of stage... but in divergent ways for a change. After slamming lower to new record lows (not surprising given the forwards weakness all day), speculation was rife that the RBI intervened in the Rupee and Indian stocks jumped exuberantly on the news (NIFTY +1.3%). But no such luck for Indonesia where the Jakarta Comp is -2%. Conversely (for now), Indonesia's Rupiah is relatively well bid (+1.28%) and the Rupee is still -0.6%. Elsewhere, the Philippines are being hit FX down and stocks -1.9% and even the larger equity markets of China, Australia, and Japan are red. US Treasuries are leaking higher in yield (10Y +2bps at 2.88%) and US equity futures are limping higher (now +1pt). Silver is pushing lower (-0.8%) while gold and Crude are only modestly lower.
Moments ago a powerful 6.5 quake struck the Izu Islands, 400 miles south of Tokyo, strong enough to be felt among the taller buildings of the Japanese capital. Luckily, there was no tsunami or any destructive aftermath, at least none publicly announced. None was needed, because the great earthquake of March 2011 and subsequent tsunami and nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima continue to do enough damage. Sadly, it is the gift that keeps on giving... gamma rays. Not to mention constant news of the deterioration from the disaster zone, now that the world's attention has once again refocused on the fallout zone which for over two years both the Japanese government and TEPCO lied was under control. It wasn't. And now that the lies are catching up with reality, the "shocking" facts are hitting fast and furious. To wit: it was only this past Saturday when we reported that the radiation levels at Fukushima had hit a post-explosion record of 1,800 millisieverts/hour. Today, three short days later we get an update, and a stunning deterioration of over 20%. Reuters reports, citing the Nuclear Regulation Authority, that readings just above the ground near a set of tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant showed the radiation had risen as high as 2,200 millisieverts (mSv). Both levels would be enough to kill an unprotected person within hours.
With the value of the rupee plunging to new lows, the current account deficit at an all-time high and inflation running at nearly a ten-percent annual clip, India is in serious economic trouble. Indeed many are beginning to wonder whether the country is edging toward a replay of the events in the summer of 1991. Back then, an acute balance of payments crisis forced New Delhi into the indignity of pawning its gold reserves in order to secure desperately needed international financing. At a small public event the other week, Duvvuri Subbarao, the outgoing head of the central bank conceded that policymakers rarely learn from their mistakes: "...in matters of economics and finance, history repeats itself, not because it is an inherent trait of history, but because we don’t learn from history and let the repeat occur."
This is our first out of four series where we look at all the various bail-out schemes concocted by Eurocrats.
Today we look at how the ECB has evolved since 2007. In the next three posts we will look at the Target2 system, various fiscal transfer mechanisms and last, but not least the emergence of a full banking union.
It seems the hopes and dreams of a Japanese public (and their illustrious leaders) is being dashed on the same rocks as the US worker. Amid surging input prices (thanks to a devalued currency) with consumer prices rising at the fastest rate since 2008, Bloomberg notes that Japanese salaries extended the longest slide since 2010 squeezing the consumer as the failure of demand pull inflation becomes more than real. Despite a stock market that is surging and politicians the world over proclaiming Japan's victory, "companies aren't confident enough on the sustainability of the economic recovery," instead cutting salaries (in an oh-so-American manner) to manage higher input costs. With a sales-tax increase on its way, the consumer faces even more pressure, "if wages don't improve much, it may pose a political risk" to Abe's administration.
- Mediterranean 'Ballistic Targets' Were Part of Israeli Test – Defense Ministry (RIA)
- Microsoft to Buy Nokia’s Devices Unit for $7.2 Billion (BBG)
- Long-Term Jobless Left Out of Recovery (WSJ)
- Swiss banks apologize for assisting tax cheats (Reuters)
- As Obama pushes to punish Syria, lawmakers fear deep U.S. involvement (Reuters)
- India Looking to Expand Rupee-Payment System (WSJ)
- Citigroup Dialing Back Its 'Alternative' Holdings (WSJ)
- Libya Seeks New Solutions to Oil Crisis (WSJ)
- Lenovo Chief Yang Shares Bonus With Workers a Second Year (BBG)
First it was "contained." Then we found out there was a "small leak." Then, after numerous media reports confirmed it, Japan admitted there was "a big leak," which only became bigger with time. Then the severity level of Fukushima was raised from level 1 to level 3, the highest since the March 2011 disaster. And now it is many leaks. According to AP, "Japan's top nuclear regulator raised safety concerns Monday about hastily built storage tanks and their foundations at the damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant after signs of new leaks of radioactive water. The latest leak was found over the weekend in a connecting pipe. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said it suspects there may also have been leaks from three storage tanks because elevated radioactivity was detected near them. The levels were not considered deadly." Oh so it was not the 1.8 sieverts/hour reported over the weekend? Maybe in the case the honorable Prime Minister can take a big swig from the supposedly undeadly water.
China's Manufacturing PMI printed in line with its Flash estimate last night and the Services PMI just printed at a disappointing 11-month low as the 2 segments of the economy diverge by their most on record. The 'good' news that Obama backed away from the big red button for 5 minutes (and improving European PMIs) is spurring some more catch up in Asia tonight and while critical nations like India (whose PMI was dismal) and Indonesia are still languishing, the bounce back in the last few days has pushed MSCI's AsiaPac (ex-Japan) index up to 3-month highs... Well, it's a hot-money current-account-deficit vicious cycle dip to be bought, of course. Treasuries re-opened in line with futures expectations (around 5bps higher in yield) and S&P futures are leaking very gently off this morning's exuberant heights (but remain up over 1% from Friday's close). WTI is hovering around $107 (down from Friday) but Brent is at $114.50 (slightly higher than Friday's close). Silver is holding its strong gains and gold is flat.