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RBC Explains What The Hell Is Going On: “Prudent” Fed & Chinese Intervention

RBC Explains What The Hell Is Going On: “Prudent” Fed & Chinese Intervention

A “prudent” Fed (and China’s “National Team”) have spurred a risk-on rally, as RBC’s head of cross-asset strategy Charlie McElligott notes the market’s ‘Pavolovian’ response to Fed’s ‘dovish hints’ contained within the Minutes – despite simultaneously staying ‘on message’ with hiking / tapering commentary – prompts a “QE of old” response: stocks and Treasuries bid, while the USD faded.

China further perpetuates the ‘risk rally’ via apparent market interventions:

1.       Intervention in FX markets to strengthen the Yuan overnight, with speculation of a number of Chinese banks selling Dollars in the onshore market overnight which drove the Yuan higher.

2.       Chinese “National Team” stock market inventions as well, with sharp-turns higher off of an initially weaker equities opening and again-weaker industrial metals.   Major reversals off lows saw nearly all domestic markets close at highs (Shanghai Prop +2.8%), while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed at highs since July 2015, with Chinese real estate developers leading.

Initial (and expected) ‘sell the news’ on the snoozer OPEC outcome, as they extend the output cut 9 months per expectations—which disappointed the ‘bullish surprise’ camp which anticipated more OPEC-‘gaming’ of the market, thinking it was possible for a deeper-cut in conjunction with the consensus extension.

This move lower in crude is notable if it were to escalate the current rollover in ‘inflation expectations’ (10Y BE’s below 200dma) which continue to show as the largest price drivers of risk-assets and major rates markets currently per the QI factor PCA model—although should be noted that both SPX and HYG (US HY proxy) are both deeply OUT OF REGIME with low r-squareds / low explanatory power.

Due to my much-discussed “Chinese deleveraging / Fed tightening / ECB pivoting ‘less dovish’” trifecta, we are seeing good buying in cash USTs and receiving in swaps (strong 5Y auction as well) keeping rates pinned despite the ongoing risk-asset rally.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Accuses US Warship Of “Trespassing” In Disputed Waters, Warns It To “Leave Immediately”

China Accuses US Warship Of “Trespassing” In Disputed Waters, Warns It To “Leave Immediately”

In the first unofficial challenge to Beijing over China’s domination of disputed waters in the South China Sea since President Trump took office, a US navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea according to the WSJ.  The navy vessel, the USS Dewey, traveled close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.


The USS Dewey

The “freedom of navigation” operation which in the past has infuriated Beijing, comes as Trump is seeking Beijing’s cooperation to rein in ally North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Territorial waters are generally defined by U.N. convention as extending at most 12 nautical miles from a state’s coastline. China’s claims to the South China Sea, which sees about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade pass every year, are challenged by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan.


Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea

The U.S. patrol, the first of its kind since October, marks the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters. One official said it was the first operation near a land feature which was included in a ruling last year against China by an international arbitration court in The Hague. The court invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over large swathes of the South China Sea.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Angry China Slams Moodys For Using “Inappropriate Methodology”

Angry China Slams Moodys For Using “Inappropriate Methodology”

The market may have long since moved on from Moody’s downgrade of China to A1 from Aa3 (by now even long-only funds have learned that in a world with $18 trillion in excess liquidity, the opinion of Moodys is even more irrelevant), but for Beijing the vendetta is only just starting, and in response to Tuesday’s downgrade, China’s finance ministry accused the rating agency of applying “inappropriate methodology” in downgrading China’s credit rating, saying the firm had overestimated the difficulties faced by the Chinese economy and underestimated the country’s ability to enhance supply-side reforms.

In other words, Moody’s failed to understand that 300% debt/GDP is perfectly normal and that China has a very explicit exit strategy of how to deal with this unprecedented debt load which in every previous occasion in history has led to sovereign default.

The Ministry of Finance reaction came after Moody’s first, and very, very long overdue, downgrade of China since 1989 citing concerns about risks from China’s relentlessly growing debt load as shown below.

“China’s economy started off well this year, which shows that the reforms are working,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.  Actually, it only shows that China had injected a record amount of loans into the economy at the start of the year, and nothing else. And now that the credit impulse is fading, the hangover has arrived.

Moody’s on Wednesday also downgraded the ratings of 26 Chinese government-related non-financial corporate and infrastructure issuers and rated subsidiaries by one notch. It also downgraded the ratings of several domestic banks, including the Agricultural Bank of China Limited’s long-term deposit rating from A1 to A2.  It also eventually downgraded Hong Kong and said credit trends in China will continue to have a significant impact on Hong Kong’s credit profile due to close economic, financial and political ties with the mainland.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China “National Team” Rescues Stocks As Downgrade Crushes Commodities

China “National Team” Rescues Stocks As Downgrade Crushes Commodities

Iron ore led a slump in industrial commodities after Moody’s Investor Service downgraded China’s credit rating and warned that the country’s debt position will worsen as its economic expansion slows. However, one glance at the divergence between industrial metals’ collapse and the sudden buying panic in Chinese stocks confirms what Asher Edelman noted yesterday about the US markets, China’s so-called “National Team” was clearly intervening

As Bloomberg reports, Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell as much as 5.6 percent to 452 yuan a metric ton, almost by the daily limit, before closing at 455.50 yuan, extending Tuesday’s 3 percent loss. Nickel led a broad slump among base metals, dropping as much as 2.4 percent to $9,125 a ton on the London Metal Exchange. Nickel stockpiles rose the most in more than a year.

In context, the overnight reversal in Chinese stocks is even more obvious…

Moody’s move, downgrading China’s debt to A1 from Aa3, adds to concerns about the effects of a slowdown in the country’s economic growth, following on from downbeat manufacturing readings and weak commodity imports, Simona Gambarini, an analyst at Capital Economics Ltd., said by phone from London. “We’re not particularly concerned about credit growth getting out of hand, but in regards to industrial metals, we have been negative on the outlook for some time on the basis that Chinese growth will slow.”

Will The National Team be back tonight?

 

Truth Has Become Un-American

Truth Has Become Un-American

Those of us who have exited The Matrix are concerned that there are no checks on Washington’s use of nuclear weapons in the interest of US hegemony over the world.

Washington and Israel are the threats to peace. Washington demands world hegemony, and Israel demands hegemony in the Middle East.

There are two countries that stand in the way of Washington’s world hegemony—Russia and China. Consequently, Washington has plans for preemptive nuclear strikes against both countries. It is difficult to imagine a more serious threat to mankind, and there is no awareness or acknowledgment of this threat among the Congress, the presstitute media, and the general public in the United States and Washington’s European vassal populations.

Two countries and a part of a third stand in the way of Greater Israel. Israel wants the water resources of southern Lebanon, but cannot get them, despite twice sending in the Israeli Army, because of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, which is supplied by Syria and Iran. This is why Syria and Iran are on Washington’s hit list. Washington serves the military/security complex, Wall Street and the over-sized US banks, and Israel.

It is unclear if the Russians and Chinese understand that Washington’s hostility toward them is not just some sort of misunderstanding that diplomacy can work out.

Clearly, Russia hasn’t interfered in the US presidential election or invaded Ukraine, and does not intend to invade Poland or the Baltics. Russia let go the Soviet empire and is glad to see it gone, as the empire was expensive and of little benefit. The Soviet Eastern European empire comprised Stalin’s buffer against another Western invasion. The Warsaw Pact had no offensive meaning. It was not the beginning, as misrepresented in Washington, of Soviet world domination.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Yuan Tumbles As Moody’s Cuts China’s Credit Rating To A1, Warns “Financial Strength Will Worsen”

Yuan Tumbles As Moody’s Cuts China’s Credit Rating To A1, Warns “Financial Strength Will Worsen”

Offshore Yuan tumbled as Moody’s cut China’s credit rating to A1 from Aa3, saying that the outlook for the country’s financial strength will worsen, with debt rising and economic growth slowing. This leaves the world’s hoped-for reflation engine rated below Estonia, Qatar, and South Korea and on par with Slovakia and Japan.
 “While ongoing progress on reforms is likely to transform the economy and financial system over time, it is not likely to prevent a further material rise in economy-wide debt, and the consequent increase in contingent liabilities for the government,” the ratings company said in a statement Wednesday.

And the most obvious reaction was Yuan selling…

Full Statement: Moody’s Investors Service has today downgraded China’s long-term local currency and foreign currency issuer ratings to A1 from Aa3 and changed the outlook to stable from negative.

The downgrade reflects Moody’s expectation that China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows. While ongoing progress on reforms is likely to transform the economy and financial system over time, it is not likely to prevent a further material rise in economy-wide debt, and the consequent increase in contingent liabilities for the government.

The stable outlook reflects our assessment that, at the A1 rating level, risks are balanced. The erosion in China’s credit profile will be gradual and, we expect, eventually contained as reforms deepen. The strengths of its credit profile will allow the sovereign to remain resilient to negative shocks, with GDP growth likely to stay strong compared to other sovereigns, still considerable scope for policy to adapt to support the economy, and a largely closed capital account.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“This Is Probably Just The Beginning” – Chinese Banks Are In Big Trouble

“This Is Probably Just The Beginning” – Chinese Banks Are In Big Trouble

That’s not supposed to happen…

With the crackdown on financial system leverage underway, Chinese banks (and securities firms) are in big trouble. As we noted previously, China’s bond curve is inverted, yields are surging, and Chinese regulatory decisions shutting down various shadow-banking pipelines has crushed securities firms’ stocks. However, as Bloomberg points out, as China’s deleveraging efforts cut into banks’ profit margins, rising base funding costs and interbank credit risk concerns have pushed banks’ cost of borrowing beyond the rate they charge customers for loans for the first time in history.

As the chart above shows, the one-year Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate has exceeded the Loan Prime Rate, the first time this has happened since the latter was introduced in 2013.

“This is probably just the beginning” and interbank funding costs will rise further amid the drive to reduce leverage, said Xu Hanfei, chief fixed-income analyst at China Merchants Securities Co. in Shanghai.

Chinese Insurer Warns Of “Mass Defaults, Social Unrest” Due To “Mass Redemption” Run

Chinese Insurer Warns Of “Mass Defaults, Social Unrest” Due To “Mass Redemption” Run

One month ago, China came “this close” to the one event which terrifies Beijing more than anything: a run on China’s shadow banks.

As a quick reminder, 150 customers of China’s Mingsheng Bank, the country’s largest private bank, were furious in mid-April when they learned that some 3 trillion yuan invested in Wealth Management Products, the backbone of China’s shadow banking system, had vaporized after bank employees had engaged in fraud and embezzled the funds without ever investing it (later it emerged that Mingsheng employees had put the money into “cultural relics” and jewelry, for their own use).

And while fraud and embezzlement are both endemic in China, the bigger concern raised by the article was the threat of a bank run across China’s massive and unregulated, nearly $10 trillion shadow banking system. Indeed, while there have been numerous allegations and warnings that China’s entire shadow banking facade, dominated by WMPs and other “investment products”, is nothing but a giant ponzi scheme in which  recoveries – should there be a bank run, a topic recently discussed on Bloomberg – would be non-existent if there is ever a bank run, defaults of WMPs issued by big banks – and this case an unapproved WMP – are rare, as are shadow bank runs.

For now.

However, in a stunning announcement made by one of China’s largest insurers, Foresea Life has warned of “mass defaults and social unrest” unless China’s regulator lifts a recent ban on its issuance of new products. In a letter to China’s insurance regulator, first reported by the Financial Times, Foresea Life Insurance which is a heavy investor in WMPs, has warned  that the company expects “redemptions” of 60 billion yuan, or $8.7 billion, this year and might be unable to meet payouts unless it is able to sell new products.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Capitulates: Injects $25 Billion Into Liquidity-Starved Banks To “Appease Investors”

China Capitulates: Injects $25 Billion Into Liquidity-Starved Banks To “Appease Investors”

Is China’s push to deleverage its financial system over?

That is the question following last night’s dramatic reversal in recent PBOC liquidity moves, when after weeks of mostly draining liquidity, the central bank injected a whopping 170 billion yuan (net of maturities), or $24.7 billion, the biggest one-day cash injection into the country’s financial markets (and contracting shadow banking system as first reported here last week, when we showed the first drop in China Entrusted Loans in a decade) in four months. The surprising move was “a fresh sign that Beijing is trying to mitigate the damage to investor confidence inflicted by its recent campaign to tamp down speculation fueled by excessive borrowing” according to the WSJ.

Today’s injection was the the largest since just before the Lunar New Year holiday in January, when Chinese banks traditionally stock up on liquidity.

Why the sudden shift?

On one hand it is possible that the PBOC is simple concerned about the sharp decline, and in fact contraction, in China’s shadow banking system, where as we showed last week Entrusted Loans posted their first decline since 2007 even as China’s M2 continued to decline.

 

The huge cash injection followed comments from Chinese officials in recent days which hinted they are getting concerned that recent moves to tighten market regulation have caused too much disruption. As a reminder, in recent weeks money market rates and yields on corporate bonds had all shot up to multi-year highs.

The real reason may be simpler: with a major leadership shuffle due later this year, the central bank is not taking even the smallest chances of turmoil in the banking sector. and as such admitted that – once again like in 2013 – its posturing to delever the world’s most leveraged financial system was just that. The WSJ has more:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bank of China ATMs Go Dark As Ransomware Attack Cripples China

Bank of China ATMs Go Dark As Ransomware Attack Cripples China

In the aftermath of the global WannaCry ransomware attack, which has spread around the globe like wildfire, a significant number of corporations and public services have found their infrastructure grinding to a halt, unable to operate with unprotected if mission-critical computers taken offline indefinitely. Some of the more prominent examples so far include:
  • NHS: The British public health service – the world’s fifth-largest employer, with 1.7 million staff – was badly hit, with interior minister Amber Rudd saying around 45 facilities were affected. Several were forced to cancel or delay treatment for patients.
  • Germany’s Deutsche Bahn national railway operator was affected, with information screens and ticket machines hit. Travelers tweeted pictures of hijacked departure boards showing the ransom demand instead of train times. But the company insisted that trains were running as normal.
  • Renault: The French automobile giant was hit, forcing it to halt production at sites in France and its factory in Slovenia as part of measures to stop the spread of the virus.
  • FedEx: The US package delivery group acknowledged it had been hit by malware and said it was “implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible.” .
  • Russian banks, ministries, railways: Russia’s central bank was targeted, along with several government ministries and the railway system. The interior ministry said 1,000 of its computers were hit by a virus. Officials played down the incident, saying the attacks had been contained.
  • Telefonica: The Spanish telephone giant said it was attacked but “the infected equipment is under control and being reinstalled,” said Chema Alonso, the head of the company’s cyber security unit and a former hacker.
  • Sandvik: Computers handling both administration and production were hit in a number of countries where the company operates, with some production forced to stop. “In some cases the effects were small, in others they were a little larger,” Head of External Communications Par Altan said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

24 Hours Later: “Unprecedented” Fallout From “Biggest Ransomware Attack In History”

24 Hours Later: “Unprecedented” Fallout From “Biggest Ransomware Attack In History”

24 hours after it first emerged, it has been called the first global, coordinated ransomware attack using hacking tools developed by the NSA, crippling over a dozen hospitals across the UK, mass transit around Europe, car factories in France and the UK, universities in China, corporations in the US, banks in Russia and countless other mission-critical businesses and infrastructure.

According to experts, “this could be one of the worst-ever recorded attacks of its kind.” The security researcher who tweets and blogs as MalwareTech told The Intercept, “I’ve never seen anything like this with ransomware,” and “the last worm of this degree I can remember is Conficker.” Conficker was a notorious Windows worm first spotted in 2008; it went on to infect over 9 million computers in nearly 200 countries.

The fallout, according to cyber-specialists, has been “unprecedented”: it has left unprepared governments, companies and security experts from China to the United Kingdom on Saturday reeling, and racing to contain the damage from the audacious cyberattack that spread quickly across the globe, raising fears that people would not be able to meet ransom demands before their data are destroyed.

As reported yesterday, the global efforts come less than a day after malicious software, transmitted via email and stolen from the National Security Agency, exposed vulnerabilities in computer systems in almost 100 countries in one of the largest “ransomware” attacks on record. The cyberattackers took over the computers, encrypted the information on them and then demanded payment of $300 or more from users in the form of bitcoin to unlock the devices.

The ransomware was subsequently identified as a new variant of “WannaCry” that had the ability to automatically spread across large networks by exploiting a known bug in Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Korea Times: “China Bracing For Emergency Situation Involving North Korea”

Korea Times: “China Bracing For Emergency Situation Involving North Korea”

With the North Korean situation tense after Friday’s latest failed missile attempt, the South Korea’s Korea Times reports that a Chinese town near the border with North Korea is “urgently” recruiting Korean-Chinese interpreters, “stirring speculation that China is bracing for an emergency situation involving its nuclear-armed neighbor.”

The Korea Times cites The Oriental Daily, a Hong Kong-based news outlet, which reportedly published the story on Apr. 27, including a photo of a Chinese government document ordering the town of Dandong to recruit an unspecified number of Korean-Chinese interpreters to work at 10 departments in the town, including border security, public security, trade, customs and quarantine.

The document did not specify the reason behind the unusual, large-scale recruiting. But experts and local citizens said the move indicated that China was bracing for a possible military clash between the United States and North Korea.

The Korean outlet goes on to speculate that this “might trigger a huge exodus of North Koreans to border towns in China.”

Whether this dismal scenario will become a reality is largely up to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.

The Dandong administration also has ordered its officials to work rotating night shifts since April 25, according to South Korea’s news agency Yonhap.

Meanwhile, China has dismissed recent reports that it has sent 150,000 additional troops to its border with the North.

 

Chinese Stocks Give Up Trump Gains As $1.7 Trillion Source Of Funds Unwinds

Chinese Stocks Give Up Trump Gains As $1.7 Trillion Source Of Funds Unwinds

The Chinese and U.S. stock markets are going in opposite directions, as an intensifying crackdown against leverage has slammed the recently ‘stable’ Shanghai Composite over the past week, erasing all post-Trump gains.

The relatsionship between the two markets is the weakest since August 2008 – just before the collapse of Lehman unleashed chaos on the global financial system.

Bloomberg reports that given how mainland stocks have become increasingly linked to global markets, however, the divergence may prove to be a short-term phenomenon, according to Daniel So, a strategist at CMB International Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong.

The Chinese government is squeezing speculation out of the market and while investors adjust, it will inevitably lag behind other parts of the world,” So said.

And as we noted previously, for a market relying more on liquidity than fundamentals, China’s worsening monetary conditions index suggests tough times ahead…

China’s deleveraging drive and the renewed focus on market irregularities have put the mainland share market into a “bad mood,” but officials aren’t likely to tolerate a lot of instability ahead of the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle later this year, said George Magnus, a former adviser to UBS Group AG and current associate at the University of Oxford’s China Centre.

“The authorities are trying to calm down leverage and housing at the margin but will not go any further than the minimum necessary,” he said. “If it looks as though regulatory tightening is delivering unfavorable outcomes, and risks any form of instability, you won’t be able to say the world ‘backtrack’ fast enough.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is China Trying To (Slowly) Burst Another Stock Market Bubble?

Is China Trying To (Slowly) Burst Another Stock Market Bubble?

The pressure point in Asian stock markets this week has been the decline in Chinese equities (the biggest weekly drop in 4 months).

Despite a stellar performance of the economy the outlook for the Shanghai Composite Index isn’t promising as the government is taking advantage of better growth to spur deleveraging.

For a market relying more on liquidity than fundamentals, China’s worsening monetary conditions index suggests tough times ahead…

The last 4 days have highlighted the unusual effect in Chinese stocks.. each time the Shanghai Composite dropped over 1% (red dotted line) it was miraculously lifted to ensure it closed with a loss less than 1%…

 

As Bloomberg reports, authorities favor a steady stock market because it helps companies fund investment and repay debt by issuing new shares, which could help boost economic growth, according to Yin Ming, a vice president at Baptized Capital in Shanghai.

“The national team is behind it,” Yin said. “State funds will likely continue to be a market stabilizer.”

So one wonders, is China desperate to delever the speculative fervor in their markets… but do it just 1% at a time? Can the ‘market’ really be that well centrally planned? We will see…

If the 6-month lag in Chines commodities is anything to go by, the breakdown in Chinese stocks is nowhere near over…

China Puts Bombers On High Alert “For A Potential North Korea Contingency”

China Puts Bombers On High Alert “For A Potential North Korea Contingency”

The US has seen evidence that the Chinese military is preparing “for a potential North Korea contingency“, CNN reports citing a US defense official, and adds that Chinese air force land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers were put “on high alert” on Wednesday.

The official added that the US has also seen an extraordinary number of Chinese military aircraft being brought up to full readiness through intensified maintenance.

The official said that these recent steps by the Chinese are assessed as part of an effort to “reduce the time to react to a North Korea contingency.”

Among the contingency options listed is the “risk of an armed conflict breaking out as tensions on the peninsula have risen in the wake of multiple North Korean missile tests.”

There has also been ratcheted up rhetoric from the US and Pyongyang, with the latter’s state media warning Thursday that a pre-emptive strike by North Korea would result in the US and South Korea being “completely destroyed in an instant.”

Beijing has long been concerned about potential instability in North Korea should the regime in Pyongyang collapse, fearing both an influx of refugees and the potential of reunification under a South Korean government closely allied to the US.

Meanwhile, China remains opposed to the US military’s presence in South Korea, protesting the recent US and South Korea decision to begin deploying elements of the THAAD missile defense system.

Given the close economic links between North Korea and China, US military officials have said that Beijing is critical to solving the North Korean situation, with President Donald Trump recently commending Chinese President Xi Jinping for Chinese efforts to curb Pyongyang’s activities.

Earlier on Thursday, Nikkei reported that as a form of ratcheting up pressure on North Korea, China may halt crude exports to North Korea should Pyongyang conduct its sixth nuclear test, “signalling a tougher attitude by Beijing.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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