Can We Stop This Monster?
While the biggest news of the night had nothing to do with either oil or China, all that mattered to US equity futures trading also was oil and China, and since WTI managed to rebound modestly from their biggest 2-day drop in years, rising back over $30, and with China falling only 0.4% overnight after the National Team made a rare, for 2016, appearance and pushed stocks to close at the day's high, US E-minis were able to rebound from overnight lows in the mid-1880s, and levitate above 1900. Whether they sustain this level remains to be seen.
It certainly does feel like groundhog day today because while last week's near record oil surge is long forgotten, and one can debate the impact the result of last night's Iowa primary which saw Trump disappoint to an ascendant Ted Cruz while Hillary and Bernie were practically tied, one thing is certain: today's continued decline in crude, which has seen Brent and WTI both tumble by over 3% has once again pushed global stocks and US equity futures lower, offsetting the euphoria from last night's earnings beat by Google which made Alphabet the largest company in the world by market cap.
A new analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) international trade deal has found claims of increased jobs are likely exaggerated..."TPP would lead to employment losses in all countries, with a total of 771,000 lost jobs. The United States would be the hardest hit, with a loss of 448,000 jobs."
It's official. More than 50% of the "wealth" effect created from the 2011 lows to the 2015 highs has been destroyed (despite the world's central banks going into money-printing overdrive over that period). Almost $17 trillion of equity market capitalization has evaporated in just over 6 months with over 40 global stock indices in bear markets...
In the latest Chinese domestic financing report released by the PBOC last night, there were two divergent themes: on one hand bank loans grew far less than the expected 700Bn yuan; on the other hand total social financing soared to 1.82 trillion yuan, smashing forecasts of a 1.15 trillion increase, and the highest since June. As noted last night, this may have been the catalyst that spooked the markets, because as Bloomberg confirms, "the data shows companies are turning to alternative sources for credit given banks’ reluctance to lend."
European shares tumbled, wiping out gains from a two-day rally, Asian stocks slid and the cost of insuring corporate debt rose as investor concern over global growth prospects resurfaced. U.S. equity-index futures pared gains of as much as 0.9 percent. Government bonds rose, with yields falling to records in Japan and China amid anxiety over the world economy. U.S. crude prices stabilized after dropping below $30 a barrel on Tuesday to touch the lowest since 2003 as Iran moved closer to boosting exports.
After two months of sharp currency devaluation, the market was carefully watching last night's China trade data to see if the Yuan debasement had led to a positive trade outcome to the world's second largest economy, and as reported last night, it was not disappointed when China reported a December trade surplus of $60.09 billion from $54.1 billion in November, as a result of exports beating expectations and rising 2.3%, the first increase since June, while imports declined by just 4%, the smallest drop since 2014 despite China importing a record amount of oil, or 33.2 million tons, in December.
It was an ominous beginning to what is poised to be a most tumultuous year. Market participants are quickly coming to appreciate that China does in fact matter. Few understand why. Most – from billionaires to fund managers to retail investors – will “Do Nothing.” This has worked just fine in the past – repeatedly. Not understanding and not doing anything will be detriments going forward.
The sole focus of gold in dollar terms and the 10% fall of gold priced in dollars has led to some negative comment about gold's annual fall, the "third year of losses."
Default Rate Highest since 2009, US Distress Ratio Soars.
EU countries join the UK, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand in having plans for bail-ins in the event of banks and other large financial institutions getting into difficulty.
Prepare to be taxed.
The Muslim population of Britain surpassed 3.5 million in 2015 to become around 5.5% of the overall population of 64 million. In real terms, Britain has the third-largest Muslim population in the European Union, after France, then Germany. Islam and Islam-related issues were omnipresent in Britain during 2015, and can be categorized into five broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism and the security implications of British jihadists in Syria and Iraq; 2) the continuing spread of Islamic Sharia law in Britain; 3) the sexual exploitation of British children by Muslim gangs; 4) Muslim integration into British society; and 5) the failures of British multiculturalism.
With just two days left in 2015, the main driver of overnight global stocks and US equity futures remains the most familiar one of all of 2015 - crude oil, which, after its latest torrid bounce yesterday has resumed the familiar "yoyo" mode, and again stumbled dropping below $37 on yesterday's surprising API 2.9 million crude inventory build, as well several more long-term "forecasts" by OPEC members, with Kuwait now budgeting for $30 oil, while Venezuela's Maduro said the oil price fell to $28/bbl and is "headed downward." As a result U.S. futures declined and European stocks fell, extending their worst December drop since 2002 in thin volume on the last full trading day of the year.