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China’s Central Bank Vows To Expand Total Credit By 30% Of GDP In 2020

China’s Central Bank Vows To Expand Total Credit By 30% Of GDP In 2020

One of the curiosities about the current global financial crisis is that unlike the global financial crisis of 2008 when a massive credit injection by China sparked a generous reflationary wave around the world which pulled it out of a deflationary slump, this time around China has been far more modest as the following chart shows.

All that may be about to change.

Speaking in a financial forum in Shangha, China’s central bank governor Yi Gang said that China will keep liquidity ample in the second half of the year, but it should consider in advance the timely withdrawal of policy measures aimed at countering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The financial support during the epidemic response period is (being) phased, we should pay attention to the hangover of the policy,” Yi said. “We should consider the timely withdrawal of policy tools in advance.”

In other words, just like the Fed, China is pretending that whatever is coming will be temporary. Which, in a world of helicopter money will never again be the case.

But more importantly, we know that in order to boost its stagnating economy, China is about to unleash a historic credit injection: Yi said that new loans are likely to hit nearly 20 trillion yuan ($2.83 trillion) this year, up from a record 16.81 trillion yuan in 2019, and total social financing could increase by more than 30 trillion yuan ($4.2 trillion), or about 30% of GDP. A similar number for the US would be about $7 trillion which is more or less what the US deficit will be over the next 12 months.

In other words, we’re going to need a much bigger chart of China’s broad credit.

Yi added that the bank’s balance sheet remains stable around 36 trillion yuan.

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

Get Ready for the Next Game-Changer: the Digital Yuan

Get Ready for the Next Game-Changer: the Digital Yuan

A new, radical paradigm shift is in progress. The U.S. economy may shrink as much as 40% in the first semester of 2020. China, already the world’s largest economy by PPP for a few years now, may soon become the world’s largest economy even in exchange rate terms.

The post-Planet Lockdown world – still a hazy mirage – may well need a post-Planet Lockdown currency. And that’s where a serious candidate steps into the fray: the fiat digital yuan.

Last month, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) confirmed that a group of top banks started trials in electronic payment in four different Chinese regions using the new digital yuan. Yet there’s no timetable yet for the official launch of what is called the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP).

The man with the plan is PBOC governor Yi Gang. He has confirmed that apart from the trials in Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu and Shenzhen, the PBOC is also testing hypothetical scenarios for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

While DCEP, according to Yi, “has made very good progress,” he insists the PBOC will be “cautious in terms of risk control, especially to study anti money-laundering and ‘know your customer’ requirements to incorporate in the design and system of DCEP.”

DCEP should be interpreted as the road map for China leading to an eventual, even more groundbreaking replacement of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. China is already ahead in the digital currency sweepstakes: the sooner DCEP is launched the better to convince the world, especially the Global South, to tag along.

The PBOC is developing the system with four top state-owned banks as well as payment behemoths Tencent and Ant Financial.

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

Corona Virus? The Chinese Central Bank Has a “Solution”

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Corona Virus? The Chinese Central Bank Has a “Solution”

In response to the economic paralysis brought about by the coronavirus, the Chinese central bank has pumped $243 billion into financial markets. On Monday February 3 2020, China’s equity market shed $393 billion of its value.

Most experts are of the view that in order to counter the damage that the coronavirus has inflicted, loose monetary policy is of utmost importance to stabilize the economy. In this way of thinking, it is believed that the massive monetary pumping will lift overall demand in the economy and this in turn is likely to move the economy out of the stagnation hole.

On this way of thinking consumer confidence, which has weakened as a result of the coronavirus could be lifted by massive monetary pumping.

Now, even if consumers were to become more confident about economic prospects, how is all this related to the damage that the virus continues to inflict? Would the increase in consumer confidence due to the monetary pumping cause individuals to go back to work?

Unless the causes of the virus are ascertained or unless some vaccine is produced to protect individuals against the virus, they are likely to continue to pursue a life of isolation. This means that most people are not going to risk their life and start using the newly pumped money to boost their spending.

It seems that whenever a crisis emerges, central banks are of the view that first of all they must push plenty of money to “cushion” the side effects of the crisis. The central bankers following the idea that if in doubt “grease” the problem with a lot of money.

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

The Pandemic Isn’t Ending, It’s Just the Beginning of Global Disorder and Depression

The Pandemic Isn’t Ending, It’s Just the Beginning of Global Disorder and Depression

When you’ve been lied to, you’ve been betrayed. Betrayal has consequences.

Unsurprisingly, denying the pandemic is unstoppable and consequential is the order of the day: authorities everywhere are terrified these realities might leak through all their oh-so-obviously desperate firewalls and filters. Why are they terrified? Because they know the entire global economy, including the linchpin Chinese and U.S. economies, was extremely fragile before the pandemic arose: why else the panic-stimulus and panic-repo policies of the Federal Reserve and the People’s Bank of China in the pre-pandemic months of Q4 2019?

And so everything is covered up, and if that doesn’t work, then outright denial is the default policy. The number of cases globally is absurdly understated, the number of deaths in China is absurdly under-reported, and so on.

But the biggest denial campaign is aimed at masking the fragility of the global economy, as the only thing keeping the rickety, speculative-bubble, insolvent global economy from imploding is the belief and confidence of the masses that everything is going swimmingly, so keep on borrowing, borrowing, borrowing, buying, buying, buying and speculating, speculating, speculating.

While the real-world battle to limit the spread of the virus in China gets the headlines, the battle inside your head to maintain your confidence in the system is just as important. Economists talk about recession and depression in quantitative terms: deflation, sales, profits, employment and so on.

The key dynamic in recessions and depressions is confidence: confidence that the condo you buy today will be worth a lot more tomorrow, the business investment you make today will generate higher profits tomorrow, your job benefits will increase tomorrow, your house value will rise tomorrow, and so on.

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

The Real “Helicopter Money”: Since 2009, China Has Created $21 Trillion Of New Money, More Than Double The US

The Real “Helicopter Money”: Since 2009, China Has Created $21 Trillion Of New Money, More Than Double The US 

Back in the days of the Fed’s QE, much of thinking analyst world (the non-thinking segment would merely accept everything that the Fed did without question, after all their livelihood depended on it), was focused on how massive, and shocking, the Fed’s direct intervention in capital markets had become. And while that was certainly true, what we showed back in November 2013 in “Chart Of The Day: How China’s Stunning $15 Trillion In New Liquidity Blew Bernanke’s QE Out Of The Water” is that whereas the Fed had injected some $2.5 trillion in liquidity in the US banking system, China had blown the US central bank out of the water, with no less than $15 trillion in increases to Chinese bank assets, all at the behest of a juggernaut of new credit creation – be it new yuan loans, shadow debt, corporate bonds, or any other form of debt that makes up China’s broad Total Social Financing aggregate.

Now, almost six years later, others are starting to figure out what we meant, and in an Op-Ed in the FT, Arthur Budaghyan, chief EM strategist at BCA Research writes about this all important topic of China’s “helicopter” money – which far more than the Fed, ECB and BOJ – has kept the world from sliding into a depression, and yet is blowing the world’s biggest asset bubble. 

Budaghyan picks up where we left off, and notes that over the past decade, Chinese banks have been on a credit and money creation binge, and have created RMB144Tn ($21Tn) of new money since 2009, more than twice the amount of money supply created in the US, the eurozone and Japan combined over the same period. In total, China’s money supply stands at Rmb192tn, equivalent to $28 TRILLION. Why does this matter?

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

Getting to a Special State of Ugly

Getting to a Special State of Ugly

There are certain phrases – like “trust me” or “I got this” – that should immediately provoke one’s suspicion.  When your slippery contractor tells you, “trust me, your kitchen renovation will be done before Christmas,” you should be wary.  There’s no way it’ll be done until late spring.

Or when your incompetent client says, “I won’t be needing your services at this time, I got this.”  You should expect a panicked phone call at 5pm on Friday.  “This is way more than I can handle,” your client will say, “take care of it.”

On Monday, when the sky was falling, and there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, the Chinese yuan weakened to above 7 per dollar for the first time in over a decade.  This prompted U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to waft out a suspicious phrase of his own.  He called China a “currency manipulator.”

Mnuchin’s logic, as far as we can tell, is that China manipulated their currency because their central bank didn’t adequately intervene in foreign exchange markets to prop up the yuan.  Conversely, direct intervention into markets, to maintain a centrally planned price that’s acceptable to Mnuchin, is not currency manipulation.  Go figure!

On Tuesday, to restore confidence in the yuan, and refute accusations of being a malevolent currency manipulator, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced a plan to price fix the yuan.  Specifically, the PBOC will sell 30 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) of offshore bills in Hong Kong on August 14.  This move is designed to drain liquidity offshore, thus strengthening the yuan against the dollar.

Why bother?

Cooperative Currency Debasement

The world, circa 2019, is a fabricated reality.  Debt, piled upon debt, piled upon debt, ad infinitum, has erected a financial order that’s at perilous odds with the underlying economy.  Central bankers attempt to manipulate fake money and fake foreign exchange rates to keep the debt pile from cascading down.

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

Weekly Commentary: “Hot Money” Watch

Weekly Commentary: “Hot Money” Watch

In the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) Monday daily currency value “fixing,” the yuan/renminbi was set 0.33% weaker (vs. dollar) at 6.9225. Market reaction was immediate and intense. The Chinese currency quickly traded to 7.03 and then ended Monday’s disorderly session at an 11-year low 7.0602 (largest daily decline since August ’15). While still within the PBOC’s 2% trading band, it was a 1.56% decline for the day (offshore renminbi down 1.73%). A weaker-than-expected fix coupled with the lack of PBOC intervention (as the renminbi blew through the key 7.0 level) rattled already skittish global markets.  

Safe haven assets were bought aggressively. Gold surged $23, or 1.6%, Monday to $1,441, the high going back to 2013 (trading to all-time highs in Indian rupees, British pounds, Australian dollars and Canadian dollar). The Swiss franc gained 0.9%, and the Japanese yen increased 0.6%. Treasury yields sank a notable 14 bps to 1.71%, the low going back to October 2016. Intraday Monday, 10-year yields traded as much as 32 bps below three-month T-bills, “the most extreme yield-curve inversion” since 2007 (from Bloomberg). German bund yields declined another two bps to a then record low negative 0.52% (ending the week at negative 0.58%). Swiss 10-year yields fell two bps to negative 0.88% (ending the week at negative 0.98%). Australian yields dropped below 1.0% for the first time.  

It’s worth noting the Japanese yen traded Monday at the strongest level versus the dollar since the January 3rd market dislocation (that set the stage for the Powell’s January 4th “U-turn). “Risk off” saw EM currencies under liquidation – with the more vulnerable under notable selling pressure. The Brazilian real dropped 2.2%, the Colombian peso 2.1%, the Argentine peso 1.8%, the Indian rupee 1.6% and the South Korean won 1.4%. Crude fell 1.7% in Monday trading. Hong Kong’s China Financials Index dropped 2.5%, with the index down 4.4% for the week to the lowest level since January. European bank stocks dropped 4.1%, trading to the low since July 2016.

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

Chinese Bank With $100 Billion In Assets Is About To Collapse

Chinese Bank With $100 Billion In Assets Is About To Collapse

While the western world (and much of the eastern) has been preoccupied with predicting the consequences of Trump’s accelerating global trade/tech war and whether the Fed will launch QE before or after it sends rates back to zero, Beijing has quietly had its hands full with avoiding a bank run in the aftermath of Baoshang Bank’s failure and keeping the interbank market – which has been on the verge of freezing – alive.

Unfortunately for the PBOC, Beijing was racing against time to prevent a widespread panic after it opened the Pandora’s box when it seized Baoshang Bank, the first official bank failure in an odd replay of what happened with Bear Stearns back in 2008, when JPMorgan was gifted the historic bank for pennies on the dollar.

And with domino #1 down, the question turned to who is next, and could it be China’s Lehman.

As a reminder, back in May, shortly after the shocking failure of China’s Baoshang Bank (BSB), and its subsequent seizure by the government – the first takeover of a commercial bank since the Hainan Development Bank 20 years ago – the PBOC panicked and injected a whopping 250 billion yuan via an open-market operation, the largest since January. Alas, as we said at the time, it was too little to late, and with the interbank market roiling, with Negotiable Certificates of Deposit (NCD) and repo rates soaring (in some occult cases as high as 1000%) we said that it’s just a matter of time before another major Chinese bank collapses.

We Are Neutral on Chinese Equities, Says Bank of Singapore’s Malik

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

Something Just Broke In China As Repo Rate Soars To 1,000% Overnight

Something Just Broke In China As Repo Rate Soars To 1,000% Overnight

Ever since the unexpected failure of China’s Baoshang Bank in late May, which caused a freeze in the interbank market among smaller, less credible (and government bankstopped) banks, and which sent rates on Negotiable Certificates of Deposit (NCDs), various bank bonds and assorted report rates sharply higher…

… investors have fretted that China appears on the verge of a “Lehman moment”, where wholesale interbank liquidity and overnight funding markets suddenly lock up. The reason for this, as we explained last month, is that China’s short-term lending market for banks and other financial institutions has for years operated under the assumption that Beijing wouldn’t allow big losses in the event of defaults or insolvencies (hence the reason why Baoshang’s failure was a shock). That confidence has been shaken by regulators’ unusual public takeover of the troubled Chinese bank near Mongolia last month, and the even more stunning public admission by the central bank that “not all of Baoshang Bank’s liabilities would necessarily be guaranteed.”

“Bank failure always causes greater concern given systemic fears,” said Owen Gallimore, head of credit strategy at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, suggesting greater pressure on the private sector ahead.

Naturally, with China growing at the slowest pace in recent history, beset by shadow bank deleveraging, trade war, a shaky transition to a consumer economy and China’s first ever current account deficit, these stresses come at a very bad time for the normal functioning of the local economy.

Furthermore, nonbank borrowing through bond repos and interbank loans skyrocketed since China’s central bank began easing monetary policy in early 2018, hitting a net 74 trillion yuan ($10.7 trillion) in the first quarter of 2019, according to Enodo Economics, and up nearly 50% from a year earlier.

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

China’s Central Bank: “Everyone, Please Don’t Worry”

China’s Central Bank: “Everyone, Please Don’t Worry”

Many unhappy returns. Thirty years ago, British ambassador Sir Alan Donald cabled home his classified report on the bloody goings-on in Tiananmen Square: “Students linked arms but were mown down. Armored personnel carriers then ran over the bodies time and time again to make, ‘pie’, and remains collected by bulldozer, incinerated and then hosed down drains. . .”

Unsurprisingly, the Xi Jinping-led government has little interest in commemorating the event, or in allowing others to pause and remember. Domestic social media platforms have “barred users from changing their profile photos and other information,” Bloomberg says, while financial data company Refinitiv has blocked all Tiananmen-related stories from its Eikon terminals, after the Cyberspace Administration of China “threatened to suspend the company’s service,” according to Reuters.

While Refinitiv may suffer a reputational knock in the West for this evident kowtow, its social credit score looks poised for an upgrade.       

If only the recent trouble in China’s banking system could be so easily suppressed. Following the government’s takeover of distressed Baoshang Bank Co., the People’s Bank of China tried to calm the situation by assuring investors that no further such interventions were in the cards: “Everyone,” says a message on the PBOC website: “please don’t worry. At present we don’t have this plan.” But Bloomberg reports today that a pair of smaller institutions, Guilin Bank Co., Ltd. and Jincheng Bank Co., Ltd., have delayed plans to sell RMB 1 billion ($140 million) in tier-2 bond sales following the Baoshang news.  

Over the weekend, Bank of Jinzhou, which holds $113 billion and $53 billion of assets and deposits, respectively, saw its auditor Ernst & Young Hua Ming LLP resign due to “indications that some loans to institutional customers weren’t used in ways consistent with the purposes stated in documents,” per Bloomberg. In response, the bank’s 5.5% dollar-pay perpetual bonds fell below 65 from 81 a week ago, for a 19.2% yield-to-call.

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

Separating truth from fiction in China’s golden game of Poker

Separating truth from fiction in China’s golden game of Poker

This month the Chinese central bank reported that in December 2018, its gold reserve holdings increased by 10 tonnes, the first claimed increase in Chinese monetary gold holdings since October 2016.

Based on previous patterns reporting patterns, a two year hiatus in reporting gold holdings is not unprecedented for the Chinese central bank and its reporting agency SAFE. What is strange, however, is that after an extended absence of reporting, the Chinese are coming back to the table with not a lot to show for it.

It is extremely difficult to believe that the Chinese central bank has not been accumulating gold throughout the last two years. Having said that, the claimed 10 tonne gold addition in December is worthy of analysis in regards to its timing and what it may signal. However, it is also important to keep in mind that there is huge and justified skepticism about the true size of the Chinese State’s monetary gold holdings held through the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), and to this we can probably now add skepticism about the real accumulation pattern of PBoC gold.

A 10 tonne teaser

News of December’s central bank gold purchase was initially published on the web site of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) in it’s December 2018 ‘Official Reserve Assets’ report. Note that SAFE reserve asset updates don’t actually state the quantity of gold the PBoC holds but instead report a US dollar figure valued at the corresponding month-end US dollar gold price.

So for example, the PBoC’s gold holdings were valued at US$ 72.122 billion at the end of November, which at a month-end November gold price of US$ 1217.55 was 1842.5 tonnes, while the stated gold valuation at the end of December was US$ 76.331 billion, which at an end of December LBMA gold price of US$ 1281.65 was 1852.5 tonnes, i.e. a 10 tonne increase.

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

Black Swan Watch: China Has Added Over $50 TRILLION in Financial Assets Since 2014

Black Swan Watch: China Has Added Over $50 TRILLION in Financial Assets Since 2014

The biggest black swan facing the financial system is China.

China has been the primary driver of growth for the global economy since the 2008 Crisis. Despite only accounting for 15% of global GDP, China accounts for 25%-30% of GDP growth.

Put simply, from an economic perspective,  if China catches cold, the world gets sick…  and if China goes into a coma…

Which is why anyone paying attention should be truly horrified by the latest round of data from China’s economy.

In December, China’s Manufacturing PMI came in below 50, signaling a contraction is underway.

This is a massive deal because this was an OFFICIAL data point, meaning one that China had heavily massaged to look better than reality.

Let me explain…

Over the last 30 years China’s economic data has ALWAYS overstated growth. The reason for this is very simple: if you are an economic minister/ government employee who lives in a regime in which leadership will have you jailed or executed for missing your numbers, the numbers are ALWAYS great.

Indeed, this is an open secret in China, to the degree that former First Vice Premiere of China, Li Keqiang, admitted to the US ambassador to China that ALL Chinese data, outside of electricity consumption, railroad cargo, and bank lending is for “reference only.”

With that in mind, we have to ask… how horrific is the situation in China’s financial system that even the heavily massaged data is showing a contraction is underway?

Think “systemic risk” bad.

I’ve already outlined how China is sitting atop 15% of all junk debt in the global financial system, resulting in the country’s “bad debt” to GDP ratio exceeding 80% (a first in history).

However, it now appears that even that assessment was too rosy.

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

A Sign of Things to Come: China Adds 1,853 Metric Tonnes to “Official” Gold Reserves

A Sign of Things to Come: China Adds 1,853 Metric Tonnes to “Official” Gold Reserves

While Western governments continue to ravage each other viciously, seemingly unable to come to terms on even the simplest of agendas, the East, led predominately by the financial juggernaut that is China, continues to chug along, slowly but surely carrying through on their long term plans.

While we look inward and fight among one another, becoming increasingly polarized and isolated into our various political “camps”, ceasing any form of communication with each other, our economic rivals are racing past us, forming partnerships and making plans.

Russia and China are two such countries that I have often talked about in past articles, highlighting how the West has forced these two countries into a partnership that threatens to overtake the West as the economic powerhouse of the world.

While our financial “gurus” continue to shuffle pieces of paper back and forth between each other, trading digital numbers in ever increasingly quantities, as if they had any real, true intrinsic value.

Russia and China are happily making moves around the world, acquiring physical, tangible assets that will play key roles in the coming economic conflict that the world will inevitably face at some point in our not too distant future.

Although their demand for oil, rare earths and various other forms of assets is seemingly insatiable, there is one asset class above all others that I am particularly interested in, precious metals.

Both countries have made it blatantly obvious that they are not happy with the current “status quo” and would love to see an eventual change. That change being a toppling of the US Dollar as the reserve currency of the world.

This has led to a rapid accumulation in precious metals by Russia, who have forecast their purchases on an almost monthly basis.

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

“A Daisy Chain Of Defaults”: How Debt Cross-Guarantees Could Spark China’s Next Crisis

On November 8, China shocked markets with its latest targeted stimulus in the form of an “unprecedented” lending directive ordering large banks to issue loans to private companies to at least one-third of new corporate lending. The announcement sparked a new round of investor concerns about what is being unsaid about China’s opaque, private enterprises, raising prospects of a fresh spike in bad assets.

A few days later, Beijing unveiled another unpleasant surprise, when the PBOC announced that Total Social Financing – China’s broadest credit aggregate – has collapsed from 2.2 trillion yuan in September to a tiny 729 billion in October, missing expectations of a the smallest monthly increase since October 2014.

Some speculated that the reason for the precipitous drop in new credit issuance has been growing concern among Chinese lenders over what is set to be a year of record corporate defaults within China’s private firms. As we reported at the end of September, a record number of non-state firms had defaulted on 67.4 billion yuan ($9.7 billion) of local bonds this year, 4.2 times that of 2017, while the overall Chinese market was headed for a year of record defaults in 2018. Since then, the amount of debt default has risen to 83 billion yuan, a new all time high (more below).

Now, in a new development that links these seemingly unrelated developments, Bloomberg reports that debt cross-guarantees by Chinese firms have left the world’s third-largest bond market prone to contagion risks, which has made it “all the tougher for officials to follow through on initiatives to sustain credit flows”, i.e., the growing threat of unexpected cross- defaults is what is keeping China’s credit pipeline clogged up and has resulted in the collapse in new credit creation.

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

Weekly Commentary: “Whatever They Want” Coming Home to Roost

Weekly Commentary: “Whatever They Want” Coming Home to Roost

Let’s begin with global. China’s yuan (CNY) traded to 6.9644 to the dollar in early-Friday trading, almost matching the low (vs. dollar) from December 2016 (6.9649). CNY is basically trading at lows going back to 2008 – and has neared the key psychological 7.0 level. CNY rallied late in Friday trading to close the week at 6.9435. From Bloomberg (Tian Chen): “Three traders said at least one big Chinese bank sold the dollar, triggering stop-losses.” Earlier, a PBOC governor “told a briefing that the central bank would continue taking measures to stabilize sentiment. We have dealt with short-sellers of the yuan a few years ago, and we are very familiar with each other. I think we both have vivid memories of the past.”
The PBOC eventually won that 2016 skirmish with the CNY “shorts”. In general, however, you don’t want your central bank feeling compelled to do battle against the markets. It’s no sign of strength. For “developing” central banks, in particular, it has too often in the past proved a perilous proposition. Threats and actions are taken, and a lot can ride on the market’s response. In a brewing confrontation, the market will test the central bank. If the central bank’s response appears ineffective, markets will instinctively pounce.

Often unobtrusively, the stakes can grow incredibly large. There’s a dynamic that has been replayed in the past throughout the emerging markets. Bubbles are pierced and “hot money” heads for the exits. Central banks and government officials then work aggressively to bolster their faltering currencies. These efforts appear to stabilize the situation for a period of time, although the relative calm masks assertive market efforts to hedge against future currency devaluation in the derivatives markets.

…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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