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Europe Warns Of An Upcoming “Trade Apocalypse”

As European officials struggle to do everything they can to save the WTO, which appears headed for an all-but-certain demise thanks to President Trump’s aggressive trade policies, EU leaders have apparently circulated an “internal memo” drafted by the European Commission that accuses the US of deliberately instigating the collapse of the global trade order, and warns of an upcoming “trade apocalypse.” In short, if this document is any guide, the trade war is about to get worse – as if Trump’s threat to impose 20% tariffs on all cars coming into the US last week wasn’t bad enough.


According to Bloomberg, the EU warned that the “rules-based system of international commerce” could revert to an trade environment where “the strong impose their will upon the weak,” the memo said.

Our world will go back “to a trading environment where rules are only enforced where convenient and where strength replaces rules as the basis for trade relations,” according to the memo.

The flirtations with a return to an environment of “mercantilist deals” have intensified as President Trump has been determined to narrow the trade deficit at any cost – even if the price is the collapse of the multilateral trade order.

Specifically, the memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg, spells out three complaints raised by the EU:

  • Gaps in the rulebook of global trade “leading to distortions, many of which associated with non-market policies and practices in major trading nations, that the WTO does not seem able to address adequately”
  • Aggressive unilateral actions by the US targeting allies and foes alike with punitive tariffs
  • The US’s decision to block appointments of members to the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body that serves as the final arbiter in trade disputes.

The EU also complained about the US’s practice of blocking appointments to the appellate body that would help render a judgment in a WTO trade dispute.

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

Global Stocks Dive On Fears Of “Irreversible” Trade War; Italian Bonds, Turkish Lira Tumble

Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk:

  • Trump is said to be planning new restrictions on tech exports to China
  • PBoC says they are to cut the re-lending rate for SME loans by 50bps, following the RRR cut over the weekend
  • Looking ahead, highlights include, US New Home Sales and BoJ’s Sakurai speaking

Global stocks are diving in what has been a generally quiet session, amid renewed trade war fears following reports that the Treasury Department is planning to heighten scrutiny of Chinese investments in sensitive U.S. industries under an emergency law, putting Washington’s trade war with Beijing on what Bloomberg dubbed a “potentially irreversible course”, while at the same time Trump threatened “more than reciprocity” to trade barriers.

According to overnight news reports, the US Treasury is devising rules to block firms with 25% Chinese ownership from acquiring companies involved in industrially significant technologies and that it plans using International Emergency Economic Powers Act 1977 to impose investment restrictions. “This one could well result in an escalating trade war,” Lee Ferridge, a macro strategist at State Street Corp., told Bloomberg TV in Hong Kong. “Volatility is going to continue to rise from here.”

Adding to the trade war jitters, an EU internal memo says trade crisis “set to deepen in coming months” and warns of the breakdown of rules-based trading. The EU Commission has also warned of a direct response to any new taxes on EU cars imported into the US.

The result has been a sea of red with European equities following Asia lower from the open, with the mining and auto sectors underperforming, resulting in a sea of red across global stock markets.

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

BIS Confirms Banks Use “Lehman-Style Trick” To Disguise Debt, Engage In “Window Dressing”

Several years ago we showed how the Fed’s then-new Reverse Repo operation had quickly transformed into nothing more than a quarter-end “window dressing” operation for major banks, seeking to make their balance sheets appear healthier and more stable for regulatory purposes.

As we described in article such as “What Just Happened In Today’s “Crazy” And Biggest Ever “Window-Dressing” Reverse Repo?”,Window Dressing On, Window Dressing Off… Amounting To $140 Billion In Two Days”, Month-End Window Dressing Sends Fed Reverse Repo Usage To $208 Billion: Second Highest Ever“, “WTF Chart Of The Day: “Holy $340 Billion In Quarter-End Window Dressing, Batman“, “Record $189 Billion Injected Into Market From “Window Dressing” Reverse Repo Unwind” and so on, we showed how banks were purposefully making their balance sheets appear better than they really with the aid of short-term Fed facilities for quarter-end regulatory purposes, a trick that gained prominence first nearly a decade ago with the infamous Lehman “Repo 105.”

And this is a snapshot of what the reverse-repo usage looked like back in late 2014:

Today, in its latest Annual Economic Report, some 4 years after our original allegations, the Bank for International Settlements has confirmed that banks may indeed be “disguising” their borrowings “in a way similar to that used by Lehman Brothers” as debt ratios fall within limits imposed by regulators just four times a year, thank to the use of repo arrangements.

For those unfamiliar, the BIS explains that window-dressing refers to the practice of adjusting balance sheets around regular reporting dates, such as year- or quarter-ends and notes that “window-dressing can reflect attempts to optimise a firm’s profit and loss for taxation purposes.”

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

China Cuts Reserve Ratio, Unlocks 700BN Yuan Amid Rising Trade War, Mass Defaults And Margin Calls

As widely expected, China’s central bank announced it would cut the Required Reserve Ratio (RRR) for some banks by 0.5% effective July 5, just over two months after the PBOC did a similar cut on April 17, the first such easing since the start of 2016.

The move is expected to unlock 700 billion yuan ($108 billion) in liquidity amid growing trade war tensions, a sharp slowdown in the Chinese economy, a tumbling stock market, rising forced margin call, and a spike in corporate defaults.

According to the central bank, the aim of the cut is” to support small and micro enterprises, and to further promote the debt-to-equity swap program.” The cut will apply to major state-run commercial banks, joint-stock commercial lenders, postal banks, city commercial lenders, rural banks and foreign banks, in other words: virtually everyone.

“The size of the liquidity being unleashed has beat expectations and it’s larger than the previous two cuts this year”, said Citic fixed income research head Ming Ming. “It’s almost a universal cut as it covers almost all lenders.”

The RRR cut was also widely expected following the publication of a central bank working paper on Tuesday calling for such a cut.

A cut in China’s RRR by the PBOC is imminent following central bank’s working paper released Tuesday arguing for such a cut.

According to Bloomberg, the cut is designed to achieve two things:

  • The 500 billion yuan unlocked for the nation’s five biggest state-run banks and 12 joint-stock commercial lenders will be channeled to debt-to-equity swaps, which can reduce companies’ debt burdens and help cleaning up banks’ balance sheets. It comes following no less than 20 corporate bond defaults in 2018, and ahead of a wave of corporate repayments that has prompted analysts to express fears about a default avalanche.

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

OPEC “Deal” Ends With Output Confusion, Sets Stage For “Deal Unraveling”

Just 24 hours after OPEC appeared on the edge of splintering, Iran seemed to cave and in a deal that was described as a victory for everyone, OPEC member states and Russia provided a vague assurance they would boost output by striving to return to full compliance of the original production quotas as set in the 2016 Vienna production cut agreement.

As Goldman summarized in its post-mortem, “no further details were provided, including no country level allocation, no guidance for non-OPEC participants or timeline for the increase.” Furthermore, during the press conference following Friday’s deal, the one question which never got an explicit answer is how much output would be boosted by, with little clarity shed beyond “targeting full compliance at the group level”.

This suggests that there is room for countries with spare capacity to increase production above the individual quotas but also that such adjustments could not be resolved.

As a result, Goldman’s energy analyst Damien Courvalin said that he views today’s agreement “as masking disagreements within the group and a potential start to the unraveling of the deal, with core-OPEC and Russia looking to increase production but Iran opposing such an increase.”

Bloomberg’s Javier Blas confirmed as much, noting that Friday’s agreement was a “fudge in the time-honored tradition of OPEC, committing to boost output without saying which countries would increase or by how much” a fudge which gave every member – especially Iran which by endorsing a production boost would have been seen as effectively approving of Trump’s sanctions and allowing other states to take its market share – an “out” to save face, by sufficiently masking up the details so no explicit accusations of backtracking can be made.

Importantly, “it gives Saudi Arabia the flexibility to respond to disruptions at a time when U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela threaten to throw the oil market into turmoil.”

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

Jordan Sends Tanks To Border Amidst Syrian Army Advance

Images surfaced overnight Thursday of a large Jordanian military convoy reportedly headed to the border near the Syrian province of Daraa, including M-60 battle tanks and heavy military equipment. 

This as German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman on Thursday, telling him, “You live not just with the Syria conflict, but also we see Iran’s activities with regard to Israel’s security and with regard to Jordan’s border.” 

Beirut based Al Masdar News published the photos provided through its sources in the region with the description: The Jordanian military is deploying reinforcements, including heavy military equipment, on the border with the Syrian province of Daraa, according to Jordanian and Syrian sources.

A Jordanian M-60 battle tank en route to border with Syria. Via Al Masdar News

As we reported this week, the long awaited battle for Daraa has begun despite repeat warnings issued to the Syrian government from the US not to extend its military campaign to the country’s south, where the conflict first began with fierce anti-Assad protests in 2011 which quickly spiraled into violence.

The convergence of geopolitical interests among the external and regional powers which have long fueled the Syrian proxy war makes Syria’s southwest region the perfect storm for potential outside intervention and dangerous broader conflagration.

The below summarizes this week’s developments which makes the rapidly unfolding events in Syria’s southwest provinces a highly volatile and escalating situation:

  • Israel has warned against the deployment Iranian and Hezbollah fighters allied with the Syrian government, especially near the contested Golan Heights area.
  • The US has threatened to take “take firm and appropriate measures” should Damascus continue its military campaign in Deraa.
  • The Syrian Army and the US-backed group, Jaysh Al-Mughawir Al-Thoura from the Al-Tanf area clashed on Thursday, leaving one Syrian soldier dead.

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

Loonie Tumbles After Ugly Canadian Data: Worst Toronto Retail Sales In 3 Years

The synchronized economic slowdown has hit again, this time striking America’s latest trade war opponent, Canada, which moments ago reported some very ugly inflation and retail sales data.

First, on the inflation front, Canadian CPI rose just 2.2% in May from 2.1% in April, badly missing what Wall Street estimated would be an increase to 2.6% due to higher gasoline prices. According to Statistics Canada, the largest upside contributor to the inflation print was the recreation, education category, 0.27 percentage points, while the largest downside contributor was the household operations category, -0.12 percentage points.

Broken down by the various CPI metrics, the data was as follows:

  • The average of CPI core measures was 1.90% y/y in May from 1.97% a month earlier
  • CPI-common at 1.9% y/y in May from 1.9% in previous month
  • CPI-median at 1.9% y/y in May from 1.9% in previous month
  • CPI-trim at 1.9% y/y in May from 2.1% in previous month

The retail sales data was even worse, with the headline number tumbling -1.2% in April, well below not only the consensus estimate of an unchanged print , but also below the lowest end of the forecast range which was -0.4% to 0.2%. Core retail sales, ex-autos, also missed, falling 0.1% in April, est. +0.5%

Just like in the US, a big contributor to the miss appears to be the rise in e-commerce, with online sales of C$1.33B in April, up 8.8% from a year earlier and representing 2.7% of total retail sales.

Broken down by region, there was weakness all round, however Toronto was an outlier, with retail sales falling most since Jan. 2015. Poor weather weather may have hurt retail sales.

  • Toronto retail sales -2.9% m/m
  • Montreal retail sales -2.60% m/m
  • Vancouver retail sales +0.2% m/m

Following the data, the Canadian loony tumbled by 100 pips, with the USCAD rising from 1.327 to 1.337, before regaining some losses.

We Have A Deal: OPEC Agrees In Principle To A “Real” Production Increase Of 600,000 Barrels/Day

What was expected to be a drawn-out affair, with Iran potentially resisting and even leading to the collapse of the cartel, moments ago OPEC reached a deal in principle to raise oil production by 1 million b/d on paper, and in reality by 600 kb/d as many of the OPEC nations are already tapped out and unable to produce more.

OPEC reaches deal in principle to raise 1 mil b/d “on paper”: BBG. Brent up $1.30 on Thu’s close, around $74.41/barrel.

“Real” increase of 600,000 b/d: BBG

The deal is roughly what the committee had agreed to yesterday and is the plan pushed by Saudi Arabia all week.

As Bloomberg notes, this is the deal traders have been waiting for:

The fear was that, if the meeting broke up in disarray, Saudi Arabia would simply open the taps and other producers would follow suit, unleashing far more supply than the market needed. What this deal does is to bring some order to the process of easing supply restraint.

Indeed, absent some last minute shock, Iran appears to have gone along with the majority and will comply with what is effectively A Saudi-Russian decision, prompted by Trump complaints for the cartel to produce more oil .

As Bloomberg further adds, any distribution of output increases among OPEC and non-OPEC members “is going to create winners and losers.”

While the headline number is what will matter for oil prices, the relative gains and losses against their fellow members will also be important to the participants. That could mean ministers still have a way to go before they are finally done. But the fact that they have got as far as they have means that cohesion has, once again, proved paramount.

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


Water Wars: India Facing “Worst Crisis In Its History”

India is facing its worst-ever water crisis, with some 600 million people facing acute water shortage, a government think-tank says.

The Niti Aayog report, which draws on data from 24 of India’s 29 states, says the crisis is “only going to get worse” in the years ahead.

Around 200,000 Indians die every year because they have no access to clean water, according to the report. And as The BBC reports, many end up relying on private water suppliers or tankers paid for the by the government. Winding queues of people waiting to collect water from tankers or public taps is a common sight in Indian slums.

Indian cities and towns regularly run out water in the summer because they lack the infrastructure to deliver piped water to every home.

  • 600 million people face high-to-extreme water stress.
  • 75% of households do not have drinking water on premise. 84% rural households do not have piped water access.
  • 70% of our water is contaminated; India is currently ranked 120 among 122 countries in the water quality index.

India faces more than one problem – all compounding the nation’s crisis:

Droughts are becoming more frequent, creating severe problems for India’s rain-dependent farmers (~53% of agriculture in India is rainfed17).

When water is available, it is likely to be contaminated (up to 70% of our water supply), resulting in nearly 200,000 deaths each year.

Interstate disagreements are on the rise, with seven major disputes currently raging, pointing to the fact that limited frameworks and institutions are in place for national water governance.

And that means massive problems lie ahead…

40% of the Indian population will have no access to drinking water by 2030 with 21 cities running out of groundwater by 2020 – affecting 100 million people which will cut 6% from GDP by 2050.

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

Pakistan Panic: 3rd Currency Devaluation In 2018 Sends Sovereign Risk Soaring Above Argentina, Ukraine

While many of the world’s eyes are on the carnage in Argentina as EM collapses, Pakistan has quietly devalued the Rupee three times this year, amid tumbling reserves which has sparked enough investor anxiety to send CDS spiking.

Pakistan is now ‘riskier’ than Greece, Ukraine, and Argentina…

The country has been roiled by domestic political and economic turmoil and was not helped this week when Moody’s changed the outlook on Pakistan to negative from stable citing heightened external vulnerability risk.

Moody’s affirmed its B3 rating

Says foreign exchange reserves have fallen to low levels and will not be replenished over the next 12-18 months, absent significant capital inflows.

Moody’s says low reserve adequacy threatens continued access to external financing at moderate costs, in turn potentially raising government liquidity risks.

It certainly looks like they are losing control of the currency…


And to pile on – Pakistan’s main stock index – down 33% YTD in USD terms – just suffered a ‘death cross’…

Notably all of this carnage has accelerated since the start of January which coincided with Pakistan’s decision to ditch the dollar(following Trump’s remarks) and get closer to China.

“SBP has already put in place the required regulatory framework which facilitates use of CNY in trade and investment transactions,” the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said in a press release late Tuesday, ensuring that imports, exports and financing transactions can be denominated in the Chinese currency.

“The SBP, in the capacity of the policy maker of financial and currency markets, has taken comprehensive policy related measures to ensure that imports, exports and financing transactions can be denominated in yuan,” Dawn news, Pakistan’s most widely read English-language daily, announced while quoting the SBP press release.

Image source: WION News

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

A Made In Canada Recession Story!

A Made In Canada Recession Story!

The Canadian economy lost 7,500 jobs last month (May), and unemployment was still at 5.8%. This, despite analyst forecasts that the country would likely add roughly 22,000 jobs to the economy. Rewind to the previous monthly jobs report (April). Analysts had predicted that we would add approximately 20,000 jobs to the economy, yet we ended the month losing 1,100 of them instead. Could this be a precursor to what recessions are made up of – gradually snowballing unemployment?

Telling Stats

While pundits watching these statistics through rose coloured glasses tell us not to worry because unemployment is still just at 8.5%, other predictions paint a different picture. Current Canadian unemployment forecasts for the immediate future indicate that things are likely to get bad, before they get worse. Unemployment is expected to tick up to 6% in Q3-2018, and balloon up to 6.7% in 2020.

What Canadian’s should be more concerned about is the Labour Participation Rate – a number that tells us what percentage of individuals continue to actively participate in the workforce. After maintaining a steady pace of 65.5% in Jan, Feb and March 2018, the participation rate has seen a steady decline to 65.4% and 65.3% in April and May.

What’s even more telling is the fact that there was a decline in steady, stable full-time employment. It was part-time workers that filled the void and brought our unemployment rate to where it is today. Those part-time positions are “precarious” at best, and that could evaporate at any time. And that would add to the already stressful state of our economy.

Taking Stock

Stock markets of any country are considered bellwethers of the economy. A booming stock market indicates prosperity, while a slump in the stock market usually spells trouble.  Most recessions in the past have been heralded via massive declines in stock indices. So far, Canada’s premier stock market index – the S&P/TSX Composite Index – is up by 5.85% on a Quarter-to-Date (QTD) basis. So, this bodes well for Canada, doesn’t it?

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

White House Accuses China Of “Persistent Economic Espionage And Aggression”

In what Bloomberg billed as the White House’s “latest salvo in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies”, the Trump administration released a 35-page report late last night fleshing out its national security concerns emanating from China’s theft of intellectual properties as well as economic policies that shield domestic Chinese companies from competition.

The report, titled How China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World“, accuses China of achieving its brisk economic growth through “aggressive acts, policies, and practices that fall outside of global norms and rules (collectively, ‘economic aggression’)” (surprisingly, not through nosebleed levels of debt issuance), before it lists two categories of said “economic aggression” that are the focus of the report; they are:

  • Acquire Key Technologies and Intellectual Property From Other Countries, Including the United States.
  • Capture the Emerging High-Technology Industries That Will Drive Future Economic Growth15 and Many Advancements in the Defense Industry.

The cites comments from the US intelligence community, which note that “Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage” and that China covets technology in key industries like “electronics, telecommunications, robotics, data services, pharmaceuticals, mobile phone services, pharmaceuticals, satellite communications and imagery and business application software.”

When thefts of technology are reported, China does everything it can to stymie investigations. Indeed, economic espionage is a main focus of China’s intelligence services, and the US believes that China’s Ministry of State Security has no fewer than 50,000 intelligence officers operating abroad – and no fewer than 40,000 operating domestically.


The report also offers details about how China violates US export-control laws by exploiting the growth in “dual-use” technologies (aka those that have civilian and military purposes). As an example, the report cites a conspiracy involving a naturalized US citizen who was born in China.

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

Canada Becomes Second Country To Legalize Weed

Canada is on track to become the first G-7 nation to legalize marijuana, and the second country in the world (after Uruguay), after its Senate approved legislation in a 52-29 vote, paving the way for recreational cannabis to be legally bought and sold within the next few months.

The vote clears the way for the government in Ottawa to take the final step: The ceremonial approval of by the governor-general that would make Bill C-45 law. Still, not all of the details have been ironed out. For example, the date for when the law would take effect remains unclear. And lawmakers have said it will take a few months for producers and retail stores to stock up and get ready for legal sales to begin, according to Bloomberg.


Possession of Cannabis became a crime in Canada way back in 1923, but it has been legal for medicinal purposes since 2001. Yet despite the culture’s longstanding permissiveness when it comes to marijuana, some groups objected to the law, including conservative politicians and indigenous groups who felt they hadn’t been consulted about the bill. But their resistance wasn’t enough to scuttle the law, and by mid-September, Canadians will be able to buy cannabis and certain cannabis products at retail shops – though cannabis edibles will not be available for purchase for another year because the government says it needs time to decide on appropriate regulations. Meanwhile, adults will be allowed to possess one ounce of the stuff in public, according to the BBC.

Even after the law takes effect, it will still be illegal to possess over 30 grams of cannabis, grow more than four plants per household and to buy it from an unlicensed dealer. Marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes in 14 European countries, Israel, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Panama, Mexico, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the US, medicinal marijuana is allowed in 29 states, and the District of Columbia.

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

Emerging Market Contagion Goes Global As Fund Outflows Spike Most In Over 4 Years

Despite promises from various foreign officials that just a little more intervention and just a few more billion in bailouts from Lagarde will ‘fix’ the “short-term speculator-driven” crisis in Emerging Markets (even as Brazil admits failure), things are escalating way beyond the idiosyncratic fears of Argentina and Turkey

As investors Emerging Markets’ anxiety spreads globally with ETF outflow across all EM ETFs soaring to the highest since Jan 2014…

In fact, as Bloomberg reports, outflows from U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds that invest across developing nations as well as those that target specific countries totaled $2.7 billion in the week ended June 15, the most in over a year and more than seven times the previous week.

The ‘baby’ is being thrown out with the ‘bathwater’ as even countries with solid prospects for growth and debt financing haven’t been immune to the selloff. South Korea and Thailand, which have current-account surpluses, are among the six-worst emerging currencies this month.

“The statistics itself reflect worries about emerging markets in terms of the growth outlook, in terms of what the Fed tightening means,” said Sim Moh Siong, a currency strategist at Bank of Singapore Ltd.

“We’re starting to see a blurring of the differentiation between current-account deficit currencies and current-account surplus currencies. That reflects the worries about trade-war jitters.”

The last week has seen derisking everywhere…

Seems like EM stocks have a long way to fall…


Here Are The Six Ways China Could Retaliate In Trade War With The U.S.

It’s all about the trade war between the US and China this morning, and more specifically, how will Xi retaliate to Trump.

For those who missed the overnight fireworks, late on Monday, President Trump asked the US Trade Representative to identify USD 200BN in Chinese goods for further tariffs of 10% which will be imposed if China refuses to change its practices and goes ahead with its retaliation threat, while he also stated that China raising tariffs is unacceptable and that the US will pursue tariffs on another USD 200bln of Chinese goods if China increases tariffs yet again.

Predictably, China – which last week reacted instantly to Trump’s first round of $50BN in tariffs – again responded immediately, wasting no time in accusing Trump of “blackmail.” China’s commerce ministry said on its website that if the US “irrationally” moves forward with the tariffs then China has no choice but to “forcefully fight back” with “qualitative” and “quantitative” measures.

“China’s response is to safeguard the interests of the country and its people,” China’s Mofcom said, adding that the US “practice of extreme pressure and blackmail departed from the consensus reached by both sides during multiple negotiations and has also greatly disappointed international society”.

But now that the chips are on the table, and Trump is locked into a tit-for-tat strategy with China from which neither he nor Xi can “defect” without losing face, the question is how exactly will China retaliate to punish the US while minimizing the damage to China’s economy as much as possible.

There are 6 possible things that China can do at this time, in order of escalating severity:

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

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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