It was a month ago when we showed 13 "insane" proposals to fix China's unprecedented smog problem, which incidentally is now worse than any other place in the developed (or developing) world due to the country's ridiculous and unmatched pace of industrialization. As it turns out while those ideas may indeed have been insane, what we saw overnight reported by China's Xinhua is, while still completely bizarre, certainly fully operational, supposedly. Presenting China's "anti-pollution" gun which puts even the ECB's (and certainly Hank Paulson's) "bazooka" to shame.
Once again, US equity futures are roughly unchanged (while Treasurys have seen a surprising overnight bid coming out of Asia) ahead of an avalanche of macroeconomic news both in Europe, where the ECB will deliver its monthly message, and in the US where we will shortly get jobless claims, ISM non-manufacturing, trade balance, nonfarm payrolls, unemployment, average earnings, Markit U.S. composite PMI, Markit U.S. services PMI due later. Of course the most important number is the June NFP payrolls and to a lesser extent the unemployment rate, which consensus expects at 215K and 6.3%, although the whisper number is about 30K higher following yesterday's massive ADP outlier. Nonetheless, keep in mind that a) ADP is a horrible predictor of NFP, with a 40K average absolute error rate and b) in December the initial ADP print was 151K higher than the nonfarms. Those watching inflation will be far more focused on hourly earnings, expected to rise 0.2% M/M and 1.9% Y/Y. Should wages continue to stagnate and decline on a real basis, expect to hear the "stagflation" word much more often in the coming weeks.
All around Asia, PMIs are tumbling. The last few days saw a number of nations' manufacturing PMIs drop with the notable miraculous surge in China (at 2014 highs). Tonight saw the Services PMI side also tumbling with Australia first (at 2014 lows) and Japan fade back to 49 for its 3rd month in contraction. But (unlike the manufacturing side) China 'official' Services PMI faded from its rebound (55 vs 55.5). The drop in Services PMI makes some sense given the 8-month lows in employment indices within the manufacturing PMIs... But then the baffle 'em with total bullshit brigade arrived as Markit/HSBC unveiled their version of Services PMI which jumped to 53.1 - its biggest MoM on record - makes perfect sense.
On the heels of Markit's US PMI missing expectations but rising to its highest since May 2010 (with notable inflation signals and domianted by weakness in small business) despite new export orders tumbling; ISM printed at 55.3, down from May and missing expectations. Only 50% of survey respondent s expect to increase jobs - the lowest number in 2014. New export orders also fell in ISM. Following last month's utter SNAFU, we are not exactly sure whether this is real yet. So far the market reaction is positive to this bad news so we do not expect a revision...
BTFATH! That was the motto overnight, when despite a plethora of mixed final manufacturing data across the globe (weaker Japan, Europe; stronger China, UK) the USDJPY carry-trade has been a one-way street up and to the right, and saw its first overnight buying scramble in weeks (as opposed to the US daytime trading session, when the JPY is sold off to push carry-driven stocks higher). Low volumes have only facilitated the now usual buying at the all time highs: The last trading day of 1H14 failed to bring with it any volatility associated with month-end and half-end portfolio rebalancing - yesterday’s S&P 500 volumes were about half that compared to the last trading day of 1H13.
The holiday shortened, and very busy, week includes the following highlights: [on Monday] US Chicago PMI; [on Tuesday] US ISM Manufacturing, Construction Spending, and Vehicle Sales, in addition to a host of PMI Manufacturing in various countries; [on Wednesday] US ADP Employment, Factory Orders; [on Thursday] US Non-farm Payrolls and Unemployment, MP Decisions by ECB and Riksbank, in addition to various Services and Composite PMIs; [on Friday] US holiday, Germany Factory Orders and Sweden IP.
When "justifying" the abysmal Q1 GDP print, one after another economist has scrambled to explain that this number is irrelevant, due to a spending halt during the "harsh winter", following which the US consumer has been spending like mad in Q2, and the PCE, which in Q1 was an abysmal 1.0%, and the worst since 2009, is set for a major rebound. Well, guess what: after last month's huge miss (originally -0.1% now revised to 0.0%, on expectations of a 0.2% rise), the month of May - the second month of Q2 - just showed that US consumer still refuses to spend. In fact, while personal income came in line with expectations in the month of May, rising 0.4%, same as expected, and disposable income in current dollars rising by $56 billion to $12,877 billion, it was spending which missed for the second month in a row and the 4th miss in the past 6 months rising only 0.2%, half the expected 0.4%! This was the fourth spending miss in the past six months.
Following yesterday's S&P surge on the worst hard economic data (not some fluffy survey conducted by a conflicted firm whose parent just IPOed and is thus in desperate need to perpetuate the market euphoria) in five years, there is little one can comment on how "markets" react to news. Good news, bad news... whatever - as long as it is flashing red, the HFT algos will send momentum higher. The only hope of some normalization is that following the latest revelation of just how rigged the market is due to various HFT firms, something will finally change. Alas, as we have said since the flash crash, there won't be any real attempts at fixing the broken market structure until the next, and far more vicious flash crash - one from which not even the NY Fed-Citadel PPT JV will be able to recover. For now, keep an eye on the USDJPY - as has been the case lately, the overnight USDJPY trading team has taken it lower ahead of the traditional US day session rebound which also pushes the S&P higher with it. For now the surge is missing but it won't be for longer - expect the traditional USDJPY ramp just before or as US stocks open for trading.
Markit's US Services PMI printed at 61.2 (massively beating the 58.0 expectations) and soaring to its highest since records began. In other words, it doesn't get any better than this. This, based on Markit's analysis, implied a Q2 GDP surge to +6% - we can only wait. There's one thing though... Business expectations (the line item that represents company's confidence in the future) plunged from 79.3 to 75.9 - not what Yellen needs... furthermore, margins continue to come under pressure as prices charged drop as input prices rise. One wonders how long before this miracle is revised due to a technical glitch?
The S&P500 has now gone 47 days without a gain or loss of more than 1% - a feat unmatched since 1995, according to AP. Overnight markets are having a weaker session across the board (except the US of course). Even the Nikkei is trading with a weak tone (-0.7%) seemingly unimpressed by the Third Arrow reform announcements from Prime Minister Abe yesterday (and considering in Japan the market is entirely dictated by the BOJ, perhaps they could have at least coordinated a "happy" reception of the revised Abe plan). Either that or they have largely been priced in following the sizable rally in Japanese stocks over the past month or so. Abe outlined about a dozen reforms yesterday including changes to the GPIF investment allocations and a reduction in the corporate tax rate to below 30% from the current level of 35%+. Separately, the Hang Seng Index (-0.06%) and the Shanghai Composite (-0.41%) 98closed lower as traders cited dilutive IPOs as a concern for future equity gains.
Comfortably beating expectations, and in Markit's words, USA is "booming again... as data suggests that GDP should be set to rise by at least 3.0% after the 1.0% decline in the first quarter," US Manufacturing PMI printed 57.5, its highest since May 2010. Despite the "booming" economy, employment rose only very marginally and new export orders growth dropped as prices rose once again. The Fed's "you don't need QE anymore, the economy is doing great on its own" meme is confirmed. The market seems disappointed at the 'good news' and did not react at all.
This week brings PMIs (US and Euro area ‘flash’) and inflation (US PCE, CPI in Germany, Spain, and Japan). Among other releases, next week in DMs includes [on Monday] PMIs in US (June P), Euro Area Composite (expect 52.8, a touch below previous) and Japan; [on Tuesday] US home prices (FHFA and S&P/Case Shiller) and Consumer Confidence (expect 83.5, same as consensus), Germany IFO; [on Wednesday] US Durable Goods Orders (expect -0.50%, at touch below consensus) and real GDP 1Q anniversary. 3rd (expect -2.0%) and Personal Consumption 1Q (expect 2.0%), and confidence indicators in Germany, France and Italy; [on Thursday] US PCE price index (expect 0.20%), Personal Income and Spending, and GS Analyst Index; and [on Friday] Reuters/U. Michigan Confidence (expect slight improvement to 82, same as consensus), GDP 1Q in France and UK (expect 0.8% and 0.9% yoy, respectively), and CPI in Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan.
- The Man Who Broke the Middle East (Politico)
- Kerry presses Maliki as Iraq loses control of Syrian, Jordanian borders (Reuters)
- Hank Paulson takes on global warming next: The Coming Climate Crash - Lessons for Climate Change in the 2008 Recession (NYT)
- In Yellen We Trust Is Bond Mantra as Inflation Threats Dismissed (BBG)
- After port fraud, China's vast warehouse sector under scrutiny (Reuters)
- Draghi Says Unlimited Cash Through 2016 Is Rate Signal (BBG)
- Tapes Said to Reveal Polish Minister Disparaging U.S. Ties (NYT)
- CDC reassigns director of lab behind anthrax blunder (Reuters)
- BNP set to receive ban to transact in USD as part of $9 billion settlement (WSJ)
- GE Clears Last French Hurdle to Clinch Alstom Deal (BBG)
- Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt, supporters stunned (Reuters)
- ISDA Asked to Rule If Argentina Credit-Default Swaps Triggered (BBG)
Following last night's laughable (in light of the slow motion housing train wreck that is taking place, not to mention the concurrent capex spending halt and of course the unwinding rehypothecation scandal) Chinese PMI release by HSBC/Markit (one wonders how much of an allocation Beijing got in the Markit IPO) which obviously sent US equity futures surging to new record highs, it was almost inevitable that the subsequent manufacturing index, that of Europe, would be a disappointment around the board (since it would be less than "optical" to have a manufacturing slowdown everywhere in the world but the US). Sure enough, first France (Mfg PMI 47.8, Exp. 49.5, 49.6; and Services PMI 48.2, Exp. 49.4, Last 49.3) and then Germany (Mfg PMI 52.4, Exp. 52.5, Last 52.2; Services 54.8, Exp. 55.7, Last 56.0), missed soundly, leading to a broad decline in the Eurozone PMIs (Mfg 51.9, Exp. 52.2, Last 52.2; Services 52.8, 53.3, Last 53.2), which meant that the composite PMI tumbled from 53.2 to 52.8: the lowest in 6 months.
S&P 500 futures are jumping exuberantly as Japan and China PMIs print above expectations and back in expansion territory (Japan best in 3 months, China best in 7 months). This is China's best 2-month PMI rise since Oct 2010 (which makes perfect sense amid the collapsing housing market and CCFD ponzi probe) - which provides the perfect propaganda meme that targeted RRR cuts workl. However, while stocks don't care to scratch the surface, there are 2 glaring similarities that could become a problem. Both China and Japan saw employment drop (Japan's first in 11 months) and furthermore both China and Japan saw input prices rise and output prices decline - not exactly the margin expansion dream everyone is hoping for... and all this as China's Beige Book shows the slowdown deepening on most pronounced quarter-on-quarter drop in 10 quarters of surveys.