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World Finance Leaders Scramble For A Solution To Escalating Trade War, Rising Rates

The main takeaway from the IMF and World Bank Group annual meeting in Bali, which hosted financial ministers and central bank governors from around the world this weekend, was that global trade tensions were having a profound effect on global growth and need to be solved.

Most of the participants – save for China and Mexico – seemed united and in agreement that trade talks have to continue. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda stated that it was essential to have dialogue on trade while at the same time, the president of Brazil’s central bank, Ilan Goldfajn, noted that the trade wars were one of the biggest threats to emerging markets. Indonesia’s president Jokowi Widodo said starkly that “winter is coming” for the global economy if there is no solution on trade.

However, not everybody was prepared to find a solution at any cost. Bank of China governor Yi Gang stated that he was preparing for the worst, despite still seeking a constructive resolution to the problem. Gang stated at the meeting: “You see a lot of people in China now preparing for this trade tension to be a prolonged situation. The downside risks from trade tensions are significant.”

Mexico also stepped in to voice its support for China. Former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo told China that they should follow the example set by Mexico and Canada during their negotiations with the United States, because they both were able to secure the terms that they wanted, even though some may disagree violently with this hot take.

Zedillo said, “Mexico and Canada made clear that they’d rather not have Nafta than having the deal that the U.S. wanted. In the end, Mexico and Canada got their way in every single issue that had been drawn as a red line. So I hope China doesn’t blink.”

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Beijing Eases Policy, Yuan Slides Towards 10-Year Low

On Sunday, the Bank of China cut the level of cash that banks must hold as reserves. The Yuan continued its slide.

Shares in Asia stumbled in early trade on Monday as investors waited with bated breath as China’s markets prepare to reopen following a week-long holiday and after its central bank cut banks’ reserve requirements in a bid to support growth.

Investors will be focused on markets in China, following a decision on Sunday by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to cut the level of cash that banks must hold as reserves in a bid to lower financing costs and spur growth amid concerns over the economic drag from an escalating trade dispute with the United States.

Reserve requirement ratios (RRRs) – currently 15.5 percent for large commercial lenders and 13.5 percent for smaller banks – would be cut by 100 basis points effective Oct. 15, the PBOC said, matching a similar-sized move in April.

Trade War

China said it would not devalue the yuan in response to a trade war. Actions speak louder that words.

The CNH is once again dangerously close to the PBOC’s redline of 7.00, with 3-month USD/CNH points, which have reached their highest this year, suggesting that a breach of that level is increasingly probably and implying a CNH yield of around 2% above equivalent USD 3-month rates. At the same time, the 1-year forward is also flirting with 1,000 pips, another signal that traders see a weaker yuan. The rate of appreciation in the forward curve this month is the quickest since June, when the U.S.-China trade war crossed the Rubicon.

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Et Tu, Brute? (How Empires Die)

Et Tu, Brute? (How Empires Die)

 

(Image: The assassination of Julius Caesar, led by Brutus.)

The state-owned Bank of China has been ordered by an American court to hand over customer information to the US. The bank has refused to comply, as to do so would violate China’s privacy law. The US court has subsequently ordered the Bank of China to pay a fine of $50,000 per day.

Any guess as to how this is likely to turn out?

China is a sovereign nation, halfway around the globe from the US, yet the US seems to feel that it’s somehow entitled to set the rules for China (as well as the other nations in the world). When China sees fit to develop islands in the South China Sea that it has laid claim to for centuries, it begins to hear threatening noises from the US military. A candidate for US president declares that he would buzz the islands with Air Force One, the Presidential jet, saying, “They’ll know we mean business.”

All over the world, those who live outside the US are increasingly observing that the US has become so drunk with power that they’re threatening both friend and foe with fines, trade restrictions, monetary sanctions, warfare, and invasions.

And in so-observing, those of us who have studied the history of empires note that history is once again repeating itself. Time and time again, great empires build themselves up through industriousness and sound economic management only to subsequently decline into debt, complacency, and an entitlement mind-set.

Over the millennia, empires as disparate as Persia, Rome, Spain, and Great Britain rose to dominate the world. Of course, we know how those empires turned out and, by extension, we might hazard an educated guess as to how the present American Empire will end.

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Deflation Is Winning – Beware!

Deflation Is Winning – Beware!

Expect the ride to get even rougher

Deflation is back on the front burner and it’s going to destroy all of the careful central planning and related market manipulation of the past 6 years.

Clear signs from the periphery indicate that a destructive deflationary pulse has been unleashed. Tanking commodity prices are confirming that idea.

Whole groups of enterprises involved in mining and energy are about to be destroyed. And the commodity-heavy nations of Canada, Australia and Brazil are in for a very rough ride.

Whether the central banks can keep all of their carefully-propped equity and bond markets elevated throughout the next part of the cycle remains to be seen.  We know they will try very hard. They certainly are increasingly willing to use any all tools at their disposal to keep the status quo going for as long as possible.

Whether it’s the People’s Bank of China stepping in to the market to buy 10% stakes in major Chinese corporations in a matter of weeks, the Bank Of Japan becoming the majority owner of key ETFs in the Japanese markets, or the Swiss National Bank purchasing $100 billion of various global equities, we see the same desperation. Equity prices are being propped, jammed and extended higher and higher without regard to risk or repurcussions.

It makes us wonder: Why haven’t humans ever thought to print their way to prosperity before?

Well, that’s the problem. They have.

And it has always ended up disastrously.  History shows that the closest thing that economics has to an inviolable law is: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Sadly, all of our decision-makers are trying their hardest to ignore that truth.

First, The Fall….

So how will all of this progress from here?

We’ve always liked the Ka-Poom! theory by Erik Janzen which we explained previously like this:

 

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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