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Rate of Contraction Exceeds the Global Financial Crisis

Rate of Contraction Exceeds the Global Financial Crisis

The US is suffering  the fastest deterioration in operating conditions for over 11 years.

Markit reports Output Contracts at Fastest Pace in Survey History amid COVID19 pandemic .

Key Findings

  • Flash U.S. Composite Output Index at 27.4 (40.9 in March). New series low.
  • Flash U.S. Services Business Activity Index at 27.0 (39.8 in March). New series low.
  • Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI at 36.9 (48.5 in March). 133-month low
  • Flash U.S. Manufacturing Output Index at 29.4 (46.5 in March). New series low

Adjusted for seasonal factors, the IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index posted 27.4 in April, down from 40.9 in March, to signal the fastest reduction in private sector output since the series began in late-2009.

Services companies registered the steepest rate of decline in the survey’s history, while manufacturers recorded the sharpest fall in sales since the depths of the financial crisis in early-2009. 

The cancellation and postponement of orders led firms to reduce their workforce numbers at a rate far exceeding anything seen previously over the survey history at the start of the second quarter. 

Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist Comments

  1.  “The COVID-19 outbreak dealt a blow to the US economy of a ferocity not previously seen in recent history during April. The deterioration in the flash PMI numbers indicates a rate of contraction exceeding that seen even at the height of the global financial crisis, with jobs also being slashed at a rate far exceeding anything previously recorded by the survey.” 
  2. “The large swathe of non-essential business that has been shut down temporarily amid efforts to contain the virus means the blow has been most heavily felt in the service sector, and especially for consumer facing companies in the recreation and travel industries. Those companies still actively trading meanwhile reported the steepest drop in demand seen since data were first available, and are also struggling against twin headwinds of staff shortages and supply chain delays.”

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

Citi: “We Have A Problem”

Citi: “We Have A Problem”

In his latest must read presentation, Citigroup’s Matt King continues to expose and mock the increasing helplessness and cluelessness of central bankers, something this website has done since 2009 knowing full well how it all ends (incidentally not in a deflationary whimper, quite the opposite).

Take Matt King’s September 2015 piece in which he warned that one of the most serious problems facing the world is that we may have hit its debt ceiling beyond which any debt creation is merely pushing on a string leading to slower growth and further deflation. Or his more recent report which explained why despite aggressive easing by the BOJ and ECB, asset prices continue to fall as a result of quantitative tightening by EM reserve managers and China, which are soaking up the same liquidity injected by DM central banks.

Overnight, he put it all together in a simple and elegant way that only Matt King can do in a presentation titled ominously “Don’t look down: You might find too many negatives.”

In it he first proceeds to lay out how things have dramatically changed in recent months compared to prior years: first, the “appalling” asset returns and the “rising dislocations” between asset prices in recent months and especially in 2016, or a broken market which is not just about Crude (with correlation regimes flipping back and forth), or China (as YTD bank returns in Japan and Switzerland are far worse than those in the China-exposed Eurozone), as appetite for risk has effectively disappeared. Worse, as the Japanese NIRP showed, incremental easing in the form of QE actually triggered ongoing weakness, sending both the Nikkei and the USDJPY plunging, suggesting that central bank grip on markets is almost gone.

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

Italian Banks Collapse, Short Sales Banned As Loan Loss Fears Mount

Italian Banks Collapse, Short Sales Banned As Loan Loss Fears Mount

Italian bank stocks are crashing (with BMPS down 40% year-to-date) as Reuters reports that investors are growing increasingly nervous about how the sector will cope with lower interest rates and a 200 billion euro ($218 billion) pile of loans that are unlikely to be repaid. The broad banking sector is down 4% with stocks suspended, and in light of this bloodbath, Italian regulators have decided in their wisdom, to ban short-selling of some bank stocks (which has driven hedgers into the CDS market, spking BMPS credit risk).

Italy’s banking index was down over 4 percent with shares in several lenders, including the country’s biggest retail bank Intesa Sanpaolo and the third biggest lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, suspended from trading after heavy losses.

Bloodbath for Italian financials in 2016…

But don’t worry:


As Reuters reports,

Investors are growing increasingly nervous about how the sector will cope with lower interest rates and a 200 billion euro ($218 billion) pile of loans that are unlikely to be repaid.

Those concerns are trumping expectations about a wave of consolidation set to sweep the sector, with cooperative banks under pressure to merge following a government reform to reduce the number of lenders.

JP Morgan said this month Italian banks should be avoided because low rates are expected to put pressure on revenues more than in other countries and credit problems limit a recovery in provisions.

Traders have suggested exiting investments that have been particularly favoured, such as Popolare di Milano and Intesa, as the stocks have reached key supports.

“I think upside on cooperative banks this year is much more limited,” said a London-based equity sales person.

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

After Noble, Here Are The Next 18 US Energy Companies To Be Junked

After Noble, Here Are The Next 18 US Energy Companies To Be Junked

Following Noble Group’s downgrade to junk and “Enron moment,” we thought it worth considering who is next to be junked?

Judging by the market’s expectations, there are now 110 credits that are rated “investment grade” but trade like junk, and as Markit’s Neil Mehta notes, this is up from just 21 in November.

Source: @NeilCredit

There are 18 US Energy names (and 23 globally) that are currently traded at CDS levels implying junk status, with Diamond Offshore, Nabors, and Encana top of the list.

*  *  *

And finally, away from the energy complex, we note that Freeport McMoran is at the top of the list of likely junk downgrades and today’s carnage has extended Carl Icahn’s losses…


as it seems FCX stockholders are getting the joke…

Freeport-McMoRan Inc

(1739bps; Av BBB; Imp CCC)

The US copper and gold producer has seen its 5-yr CDS spread trading at implied junk levels for the last six months. Troubles have intensified over the past month and credit spreads now imply a 79% chance of default within the next five years. Moody’s placed the $6bn company on review for a possible downgrade just last week.

The Seventh-Largest Economy in the World Spirals Down

The Seventh-Largest Economy in the World Spirals Down

HSBC, which knows a thing or two about the world, and about Brazil, is bailing out of Brazil.

It’s unloading its “entire business in Brazil,” it said this week, including retail banking and insurance. It will hand its long list of wealthy clients and over 21,000 employees to Bradesco, one of the largest private banks in Brazil, for $5.2 billion. Too much? Bradesco’s stock has since plunged over 9%.

Once the deal gets regulatory approval and closes, HSBC is out of Brazil. “The transaction represents a significant step in the execution of the actions announced during the Investor Update on 9 June 2015,” it said. After that update, Reuters had described HSBC’s motivations with these choice words:

For shareholders, betting on Brazil was risky as lenders grapple with tax hikes, weak credit demand, rising defaults, and the impact of what looks likely to be the country’s worst recession in over two decades.

The seventh largest economy in the world in 2014, according to the World Bank, is spiraling down, with private sector output, as Markit put it, falling at the “sharpest pace since March 2009.”

This is how Markit titled its Brazil Services PMI report on Wednesday: “Service sector activity drops at joint-fastest rate in survey history.”

The index hit 39.1 in July (50 is the dividing line between contraction and expansion), the fifth month in a row of contraction, with all sub-sectors in the survey “registering substantial falls in business activity.”

To add to the toxic mix, costs soared, with the rate of increase reaching an 81-month high, third fasted in survey history, due to “inflationary pressures, exchange rate factors, and client fee adjustment.” No green shoots in the immediate future: new orders fell for the fifth month in a row. The “deteriorating operating environment” caused the pace of job losses to accelerate “to a survey record.”


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

Greek Stocks, Economy Collapse, Suffer Worst Declines In History

Greek Stocks, Economy Collapse, Suffer Worst Declines In History

The Athens Stock Exchange reopened on Monday and unsurprisingly, some folks were selling.

Trading was suspended five weeks ago after PM Alexis Tsipras’ dramatic midnight referendum call precipitated capital controls and a lengthy bank “holiday.” Shares opened lower by nearly 23% and the country’s banks traded limit-down, which makes sense because they are, after all, largely insolvent. Here’s NY Times:

The Athens Stock Exchange plunged 22.8 percent when it reopened on Monday after a five-week shutdown imposed by Greek authorities as part of efforts to prevent a financial collapse.

Bank stocks, which are particularly vulnerable as Greek lenders are set for new recapitalization in the coming months, took a battering, falling by as much as 30 percent.

Although foreign investors face no restrictions in the Athens exchange, local traders can only use existing cash holdings to buy shares; they are prohibited from tapping local bank deposits to buy shares as the authorities seek to prevent capital flight.

Asked about the harrowing decline, European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva had no comment but did say that Brussels has “taken note” of the reopening. Amusingly, she also said the decision was made by “competent” Greek officials. A ban on short-selling was due to expire on Monday but will be extended, an unnamed official told Reuters.

Meanwhile, monthly PMI data from Markit confirmed that the Greek economy suffered an outright collapse in July. Last month marked the 11th consecutive month of contraction, but it was the depth of the downturn that was truly shocking as the index plummeted to 30.2 from 46.9 in June. It was the lowest print on record. New orders plunged to 17.9 from 43.2.

“July saw factory production in Greece contract sharply amid an unprecedented drop in new orders and difficulties in purchasing raw materials,” Markit said. Here’s more from the report:

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



Futures Soar On Hope Central Planners Are Back In Control, China Rollercoaster Ends In The Red

Futures Soar On Hope Central Planners Are Back In Control, China Rollercoaster Ends In The Red

For the first half an hour after China opened, things looked bleak: after opening down 5%, the Shanghai Composite staged a quick relief rally, then tumbled again. And then, just around 10pm Eastern, we saw acoordinated central bank intervention stepping in to give the flailing PBOC a helping hand, driven by the BOJ but also involving NY Fed members, that sent the USDJPY soaring which in turn dragged ES and most risk assets up with it. And while Shanghai did end up closing down -1.7%, with Shenzhen 2.2% lower at the close, the final outcome was far better than what could have been, with the result being that S&P futures have gone back to doing their thing, and have wiped out all of yesterday’s losses in the levitating, zero volume, overnight session which has long become a favorite setting for central banks buying E-Minis.

As Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow comments, the majority of Asian equity indexes finished with losses but on an upbeat note, helping most European markets to start with modest gains that have increased with the morning, thanks to the aforementioned domestic and global mood stabilization. S&P futures have been positive all day other than a brief dip negative at the worst of the day’s China levels. Chinese equities opened quite weak and were down another 5% before the authorities assured the market that speculation they would withdraw from market supportive measures was misguided. This began a rally of over 6% before a mid-afternoon swoon.


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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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