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Guess Who Is Preparing For A Major Stock Market Crash?

Guess Who Is Preparing For A Major Stock Market Crash?

Pessimism is spreading like wildfire on Wall Street, and this is particularly true among one very important group of investors. And considering how much money they have, it may be wise to listen to what they are telling us. According to a very alarming survey that was recently conducted by UBS Wealth Management, most wealthy investors now believe that there will be a “significant” stock market decline before the end of next year. The following comes from Yahoo Finance

Wealthy people around the globe are hunkering down for a potentially turbulent 2020, according to UBS Global Wealth Management.

A majority of rich investors expect a significant drop in markets before the end of next year, and 25% of their average assets are currently in cash, according to a survey of more than 3,400 global respondents. The U.S.-China trade conflict is their top geopolitical concern, while the upcoming American presidential election is seen as another significant threat to portfolios.

Of course this could ultimately become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy if enough wealthy investors pull their money out of stocks and start increasing their cash reserves instead. Nobody wants to be the last one out of the barn, and it isn’t going to take too much of a spark to set off a full-blown panic. Perhaps the most troubling number from the entire survey is the fact that almost 80 percent of the wealthy investors that UBS surveyed believe that “volatility is likely to increase”

Nearly four-fifths of respondents say volatility is likely to increase, and 55% think there will be a significant market sell-off before the end of 2020, according to the report which was conducted between August and October and polled those with at least $1 million in investable assets. Sixty percent are considering increasing their cash levels further, while 62% plan to increase diversification across asset classes.

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

World’s Ultra-Rich Preparing For Market Crash, UBS Warns

World’s Ultra-Rich Preparing For Market Crash, UBS Warns

A synchronized global slowdown, with no end in sight, has spooked some of the wealthiest investors around the world, according to a new survey from UBS Wealth Management, seen by Bloomberg. UBS polled wealthy investors, who are preparing for a significant stock market correction by the end of next year. 

In the survey of more than 3,400 high net wealth respondents, 25% said they’ve sold risk assets, such as equities, commodities, and high-yield bonds, and have transitioned into cash. The synchronized global slowdown, coupled with a US-China trade war, were some of the greatest concerns of respondents. 

“The rapidly changing geopolitical environment is the biggest concern for investors around the world,” said Paula Polito, client strategy officer at UBS GWM, in a statement. “They see global interconnectivity and reverberations of change impacting their portfolios more than traditional business fundamentals, a marked change from the past.”

About 80% of the respondents expect volatility to increase through 2020, and 55% believe a market plunge could occur before Q4 2020.

Worse, 60% of respondents expected to raise cash levels in the coming quarters (i.e., sell stocks).

Most respondents said the added caution is due to a possible blowoff top in global equity markets. About 70% of respondents are optimistic through 2030.

“The challenge is that they seem to want to respond” to short-term uncertainty “by really shortening their time horizons and shifting to assets like cash that are safe,” said Michael Crook, a managing director on the investment strategy team. Though with many of these people investing on a time horizon across decades and for future generations, that “seems like a mismatch.”

And while most respondents said they’re preparing for market turbulence in the short term, many should rethink their US outlook for the next decade. Teddy Vallee, CIO of Pervalle Global, shows that the “US is dead money for the next 10 yrs.” 

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

UBS Warns Trump’s Trade Fights Are ‘Reversing 15-Years Of Global Progress’ 

Protectionism has cross-party support in the U.S., and nationalist parties continue to gain traction in Europe. Where there is inequality, there is a surge in protectionism; a risk that could trigger the next global economic crisis sometime around 2020.

The Trump administration’s trade war and a hard Brexit could send tariffs to levels not seen in 15 years, according to UBS economist, as per Market Watch.

The Swiss bank views the U.S. tariffs, along with retaliatory measures (tit-for-tat with China), as the most significant factors boosting the metric. Second, are fears of a hard Brexit, which refers to the potential split between the U.K. and the European Union.

“Combined, these two would add 142 [basis points] to the average global import tariff, essentially reversing 15 years of progress in global tariff reduction,” said UBS chief economist, Arend Kapteyn, in a recent note.

The first chart shows how the U.S. significantly outpaces the U.K. in the bank’s report of “which tariff wall if bigger.” In other words, the next global economic crisis could be triggered by President Trump’s trade war.

The next chart reveals how the average global tariff could skyrocket to levels not seen since the early days of George W. Bush’s first presidential term.

Kapteyn then warns that trade wars and a hard Brexit could be the perfect cocktail to stymie global growth. “We wanted to give some sense of the jump in trade disruptions.” 

* * *

BofA’s Michael Hartnett sings a similar tune of the coming turmoil. He warns U.S. fiscal easing and protectionism late in the economic cycle could cause trouble.

In the chart below, controls on trade, capital, and labor are likely to soar to levels not seen since the 1940s, effectively wiping out more than a half-century of progress under globalism.

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

We Have Entered The Zone When Yields Trigger Market Selloffs

With payrolls now in the rearview mirror and nothing too outlandish revealed in the generally goldilocks data, traders have resumed contemplating the one question that is on everyone’s mind: how much higher (and at what pace) will rates rise before stocks are slammed?

To be sure, the recent spike in US yields – driven by a combination of very strong US growth data, sturdy equity gains, rising oil prices and improving global growth expectations – and the dollar can extend in the near-term, but as UBS points out, only as long as risk tolerates this (another key aspect is the recent speed of yields increase, which “might become problematic”): naturally, once rates rise high enough there will be a capital reallocation out of stocks and into bonds. The question, of course, is what is  “high enough.”

Alternatively, US yields could rise further, if global growth firms up and ex-US yields rise independently – and also if the neutral rate (r-star) is seen as rising in tandem with yields – but in that case the dollar rally would come to an end. Which is why, to UBS long term, US yields are likely to peak in the 12 months ahead “and the higher we go from here the closer we get to that peak – at least levels-wise.”

But the biggest question whether US yields keep rising will depend on whether risky assets tolerate the spike. Earlier this year, UBS looked at the uptick in US yields and subsequent equities sell-offs of at least 5%. What the Swiss bank found is that the more gradual the rise, the higher the threshold to generate equity pain, and inversely the faster the move higher – and the latest episode has seen a 40bps move higher in just over a month – the more acute the equity reaction.

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

UBS: “The Petroyuan Will Undermine America’s Dominant Role And Create A Sea Change In Global Markets”

From Hayden Briscoe, head of Fixed Income, Asia Pacific at UBS

RMB-denominated oil contracts began trading for the first time in Shanghai on March 26. We believe that in the long term this will ultimately change how oil is traded globally, create a Petroyuan currency flow, increase the role of the RMB as a global trading currency, and compel investors to up their allocations to Chinese financial assets.

Why now?

From March 26, seven oil grades will be tradeable on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE), allowing Chinese buyers to buy forward in RMB. Since INE is based in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone (FTZ), foreign traders will be allowed to trade in the market.

China passed the US as the world’s largest oil consumer in 2016. Accordingly, China wants to pay for its huge import bill in its own currency (RMB) rather than USD.

More importantly, however, China wants the new oil trading plan to promote RMB internationalization, i.e. forcing wider adoption of the RMB as a global trading currency, and switching to RMB payments for major imports is part of this process.

The emergence of Petroyuan – RMB-denominated revenues collected by the world’s largest oil producers – is a natural development from this process

Will this new system change the way oil is traded globally?

Probably not in the short term. Traders can’t move RMB freely in and out of the Shanghai commodity exchanges yet. That said, it’s unclear how much of a roadblock this is given that INE will be based in the Shanghai FTZ.

Also, even with exchange convertibility, international investors and resource trading companies need to build up enough confidence in the INE as a trading hub. That requires time and, crucially, the tried, tested, and extensive  data infrastructure to support the market, which China doesn’t have right now.

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

 

Real Estate Bubbles: These 8 Global Cities Are At Risk

If you had $1 billion to spend on safe real estate assets, where would you look to buy?

For many funds, financial institutions, and wealthy individuals, the perception is that the world’s financial centers are the places to be. After all, world-class cities like New York, London, and Hong Kong will never go out of style, and their extremely robust and high-density city centers limit the supply of quality assets to buy.

But, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins asks, what happens when too many people pile into a “safe” asset?

According to UBS, certain cities have seen prices rise at rates that are potentially not sustainable – and eight of these financial centers are at risk of having real estate bubbles that could eventually deflate.

Global Real Estate Bubble Index

Every year, UBS publishes the Global Real Estate Bubble Index, and the most recent edition shows several key markets in bubble territory.

The bank highlights Toronto as the biggest potential bubble risk, noting that real prices have doubled over 13 years, while real rents and real income have only increased 5% and 10% respectively.

However, the largest city in Canada was certainly not the only global financial center with real estate appreciating at rapid rates in the last year.

In Munich, Toronto, Amsterdam, Sydney and Hong Kong, prices rose more than 10% in the last year alone.

Annual increases at a 10% clip would lead to the doubling of prices every seven years, something the bank says is unsustainable.

In the last year, there were three key markets where prices did not rise: London, Milan, and Singapore.

London is particularly notable, since it holds more millionaires than any other city in the world and is rated as the #1 financial center globally.

Why The (Collapsing) Global Credit Impulse Is All That Matters: Citi Explains

Why The (Collapsing) Global Credit Impulse Is All That Matters: Citi Explains

 One week ago, we reported that UBS has some “very bad news for the global economy”, when we showed that according to the Swiss bank’s calculations, the global credit impulse showed a historic collapse, one which matched the magnitude of the impulse plunge in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis.

But why is the credit impulse so critical?

To answer this question Citi’s Matt King has published a slideshow titled, appropriately enough, “Why buying on impulse is soon regretted”, in which he explains why this largely ignored second derivative of global credit growth is really all that matters for the global economy (as well as markets, as we will explain in a follow up post).

King first focuses on the one thing that is “wrong” with this recovery: the pervasive lack of global inflation, so desired by DM central banks.

As he notes in the first slide below, “the inflation shortfall isn’t new” and yet the current “level of credit growth would traditionally have seen inflation >5%”

To be sure central banks always respond to this lack of inflation by injecting massive ammounts of liquidity, i.e., credit, in the system: according to Citi, the credit addiction started in 1982 in the UK, while in 2009 it was in China. However, there was a difference: while in the 1982 episode, it took 3 credit units to grow GDP by 1 unit, by 2009 this rate had grown to 6 to 1. Meanwhile, central bankers “simply stopped worrying about credit.” That also explains the chronic collapse in interest rates starting in 1980 with the “Great Moderation” and their recent record lows: the world simply can not tolerate higher rates.

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

Brad Birkenfeld: Lucifer’s Banker

Brad Birkenfeld: Lucifer’s Banker

A whistle-blower’s account of exposing massive fraud at UBS

Lucifers Banker book coverJust how bad is the ongoing fraud in the banking system? Get ready for a mind-bowing expose by a former insider at UBS.

Brad Birkenfield, author of Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy, recounts the efforts he uncovered by his employer to help its clients cheat the US government out of tens of $billions in taxes.

But despite his working with the government closely to expose the gigantic conspiracy between US-based tax cheats and the giant Swiss bank, UBS, the so-called Justice Department went after Mr. Birkenfeld for abetting tax evasion by one of his clients. After spending thirty months in Federal prison, he was released and three weeks later, received a whistle-blower check for $104 million, the largest such check ever from the IRS Whistle-blower Office.

Once again, 300,000,000 Americans-plus got screwed by the corrupt Department of Justice. They’re not about justice, they’re about protecting themselves, trying to take credit, and making everyone else listen to what they say the story is.

We remember the financial crisis of 2008. It was devastating and so many people lost their jobs, lost their homes and so forth. In the entire financial crisis, there was not one banker to go to jail. The only banker to go to jail was the UBS whistleblower who exposed the largest and longest running tax fraud in the world.

Here’s the problem with the system. When you fine UBS you must realize UBS is a Swiss bank, so that means they write off the fine on their taxes. So then, that means the Swiss taxpayers carry the burden. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is go look at the millions and millions of dollars in legal fees spent to defend their conduct. The UBS shareholders pick up that tab.

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

China Accounts For Half Of All Global Debt Created Since 2005: Here Are The Implications

China Accounts For Half Of All Global Debt Created Since 2005: Here Are The Implications

Over three years ago, in November 2013, when the world’s attention was still largely focused on what the “Big 4” central banks would do with QE and/or interest rates, we wrote an article showing in one simple chart  “How In Five Short Years, China Humiliated The World’s Central Banks“, and noted that in just the brief period since the financial crisis “Chinese bank assets (and by implication liabilities) have grown by an astounding $15 trillion, bringing the total to over $24 trillion. In other words, China has expanded its financial balance sheet by 50% more than the assets of all global central banks combined.”

Fast forward to today, when not only is China’s debt the biggest wildcard for the stability of the global financial system (recall last week UBS observated that for the first time in years, the global credit impulse had tumbled to negative largely as a result of a slowdown in Chinese credit creation), but even central banks openly admit that China’s relentless debt-issuance spree is a major risk factor for global financial stability. One such bank is the NY Fed, which earlier today issued a report titled “China’s Continuing Credit Boom“, which while containing nothing that regular readers don’t already know, provides a handy snapshot of the full extent of China’s debt problems.

Here are some of the higlights:

  • Debt in China has increased dramatically in recent years, accounting for roughly one-half of all new credit created globally since 2005.
  • The country’s share of total global credit is nearly 25 percent, up from 5 percent ten years ago. By some measures (as documented below), China’s credit boom has reached the point where countries typically encounter financial stress, which could spill over to international markets given the size of the Chinese economy.

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

UBS Calls It: “The Global Credit Impulse Suddenly Collapsed To Negative”

UBS Calls It: “The Global Credit Impulse Suddenly Collapsed To Negative”

One month ago, a skeptical Deutsche Bank warned that just as global macro surprises and economic momentum had hit 6 year highs, the bullish story was set to rollover from its current elevated levels…

… primarily as a result of a series of disappointing data points out of China…

… which would be manifest in commodity prices first then across the entire risk spectrum: “Lower macro surprises would be consistent with a tactical pull-back for equities (especially against the backdrop of still-elevated readings on our market sentiment indicators) as well as a roll-over in cyclicals versus defensives.”

While it may not have known at the time, what Deutsche Bank was really saying is that the primary driver behind global growth in the past decade – China’s credit creation, or rather its first derivative, the credit Impulse out of Beijing – was about to turn negative.

One month later, that is what UBS’ Arend Kapteyn discovered when in a report published overnight, the Swiss bank economist reported that the most important variable when it comes to global economic expansion (and alternatively, contraction) has just turned negative for the first time in three years.

In the note, UBS writes that “Our global credit impulse (covering 77% of global GDP) has suddenly collapsed” and explains that “as the chart below shows the ‘global’ credit impulse over the last 18 months is essentially mainly China (the green shaded bit), which even now is still creating new credit at an annualized rate of around 30pp of (Chinese) GDP. But the credit impulse is the ‘change in the change’ in credit and even the Chinese banks could not sustain the recent extraordinary pace of credit acceleration. As a result: whereas back in Jan ’16 the global credit impulse was positive to the tune of 3.8% of global GDP (of which China comprised 3.5% of global GDP) it has now fallen back to -0.1% of global GDP (China’s contribution is -0.3% of global GDP).

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

UBS Warns: Spain’s “Most Italian Bank” Runs Out of Options

UBS Warns: Spain’s “Most Italian Bank” Runs Out of Options

The bank-bailout business rages on.

During the first week of 2017, Spain’s “most Italian bank”, Banco Popular, got off to a flying start as its stock outperformed all other major Spanish banks. By Jan 5th its shares had even crossed the €1-line for the first time in nearly a month. But Popular’s New Year fairy tale was not made to last.

Its upward momentum, if that’s the right term, was brought to a halt by a bombshell report from UBS that concludes that Popular’s stock, which already lost three-quarters of its value last year and is down over 90% since 2008, is still overvalued by 20%. In less than an hour, Popular’s shares were back under a euro. That’s life in the penny-stock lane.

According to the report, Popular has a provision deficit of €1.9 billion. In other words, it has nonperforming loans and other toxic assets on its books whose losses would amount to €1.9 billion. But it has not yet booked (or “recognized”) those losses. If it did finally recognize those losses, it could end up with a €2.4 billion capital gap. That’s the equivalent of roughly 60% of its current market cap.

The UBS analysts acknowledged that their previous forecast of the bank’s capacity to absorb loss provisions had been “too optimistic”, with the new estimates showing a lower coverage ratio (46% compared to the previous 50%) and capital ratio (10% instead of 10.8%).

UBS also poured cold water on the idea of Banco Popular further expanding its bad-debt provisions, since doing so would “permanently depress” its profitability, limiting its capacity to create new capital and increasing its regulatory risk. This is bad news for a bank that continues to drown in its own toxic soup eight years after the burst of Spain’s mind-boggling real estate bubble.

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

A Disturbing Warning From UBS: “Buy Gold” Because A 30% Bear Market Is Coming

A Disturbing Warning From UBS: “Buy Gold” Because A 30% Bear Market Is Coming

As Wall Street axioms (Santa rally, January effect, as goes January etc.) are rapidly falling by the wayside at the start of 2016, following a chaotic but return-less 2015, the UBS analysts who correctly forecast last year’s volatility are out with their forecast for 2016. It’s simple – Sell Stocks, Buy Gold.

UBS Technical Analysts Michael Riesner and Marc Müller warn the seven-year cycle in equities is rolling over. 

UBS expects S&P 500 to move into a 2Q top and fall into a full size bear market, with risk of a 20% to 30% correction into minimum later 2016 and worst case early 2017

“The comeback of volatility was the title of our 2015 strategy. Last year’s rise in volatility was in our view just the beginning for a dramatic rise in cross-asset volatility over the next few years,”

Noting that while equities have had a good run, Risener and Muller warn, “we are definitely more in the late stages of a bull market instead of being at the beginning of a new major breakout.”

Our key message for 2016 is that even if we were to see another extension in price and time, we see the 2009 bull cycle in a mature stage, which suggests the risk of seeing a significant bear cycle event in one to two years.

S&P-500 trades in 4th longest bull market since 1900 Bear markets are defined by a market decline of 20% and more. It’s a fact that since its March 2009 low, with 82 months and a performance of 220%, the S&P-500 now trades in its 4th longest and 5th strongest bull market since 1900. So from this angle alone we suggest the 2009 bull cycle has reached a mature stage.

Keep in mind, since 1937 the average downside in a 7-year cycle decline was 34%…

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

 

UBS Is About To Blow The Cover On A Massive Gold-Rigging Scandal

UBS Is About To Blow The Cover On A Massive Gold-Rigging Scandal

With countless settlements documenting the rigging of every single asset class, it was only a matter of time before the regulators – some 10 years behind the curve as usual – finally cracked down on gold manipulation as well, even though as we have shown in the past, central banks in general and the Fed in particular are among the biggest gold manipulators.

That said, we are confident by now nobody will be surprised that there was manipulation going on in the gold casino. In fact, ever since Germany’s Bafin launched a probe into Deutsche Bank for gold and silver manipulation, it has been very clear that the only question is how many banks will end up paying billions to settle the rigging of the gold market (with nobody going to prison as usual, of course).

Earlier today, we learned that the Swiss competition watchdog just became the latest to enjoin the ongoing gold manipulation probe when as Reuters reported, it launched an investigation into possible collusion in the precious metals market by several major banks, it said on Monday, the latest in a string of probes into gold, silver, platinum and palladium pricing.

Here are the details that should come as a surprise to nobody:

Global precious metals trading has been under regulatory scrutiny since December 2013, when German banking regulator Bafin demanded documents from Deutsche Bank under an inquiry into suspected manipulation of gold and silver benchmarks by banks. Even though the market has moved to reform the process of deciding on its price benchmarks, accusations of manipulation have refused to go away.

Switzerland’s WEKO said its investigation, the result of a preliminary probe, was looking at whether UBS, Julius Baer, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Mitsui conspired to set bid/ask spreads.

“It (WEKO) has indications that possible prohibited competitive agreements in the trading of precious metals were agreed among the banks mentioned,” WEKO said in a statement.

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

UBS’s Puerto Rico Bond Funds Implode, “Collateral Value” Drops to Zero, Investors Screwed

UBS’s Puerto Rico Bond Funds Implode, “Collateral Value” Drops to Zero, Investors Screwed

“We believe that the probability of default is approaching 100 percent, and that losses given default are substantial,” Moody’s wrote on Wednesday about Puerto Rico’s $72 billion in bonds that were stuffed into numerous conservative-sounding bond funds spread across America’s retirement portfolios.

“Bondholder recoveries will be lowest on securities lacking explicit contractual or other legal protections,” the report went on, according to Bloomberg. About $26 billion in bonds fall into this category, issued by entities such as the Government Development Bank, Highways and Transportation Authority, Infrastructure Finance Authority, and Municipal Finance Authority. Investors in these bonds might recover only 35 cents on the dollar.

Recovery rates for bonds with stronger investor protections, such as general obligation bonds, would likely range from 65% to 80%, Moody’s said.

But those recovery rates, as dire as they seem, only apply if you own the bonds outright. If you own those bonds in a bond fund, the scenario may look much, much worse, according to what UBS just did.

Turns out, some of these bonds were underwritten by UBS and stuffed with other Puerto Rico bonds into its own Puerto Rico closed-end bond funds and sold to its own unsuspecting clients. These funds aren’t traded; UBS sets the value.

And UBS, despite the well-known problems Puerto Rico has been having for years, wasn’t shy about loading up its clients up with these bonds, apparently, according toReuters:

Many UBS brokers had misgivings about the funds even as UBS’ Puerto Rico chairman was pushing them to sell the bonds, according to a voice recording, reported by Reuters in February.

And then there was leverage, as recommended by UBS brokers because UBS profits even more, not only in selling the bond funds but also in lending the money:

Many of those investors bought even more fund shares with money they borrowed through credit lines from another UBS unit, after several UBS brokers may have improperly advised them to do so, according to a $5.2 million settlement between UBS and Puerto Rico’s financial regulator in 2014.

 

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

Get Used to Selloffs, Central Bankers Say as They Fret about the Terrifying Moment When Liquidity Evaporates

Get Used to Selloffs, Central Bankers Say as They Fret about the Terrifying Moment When Liquidity Evaporates

Axel Weber, president of the Bundesbank and member of the ECB’s Governing Council until he quit both in 2011 to protest the ECB’s bond purchases, quickly landed a new gig: chairman of UBS. WHIRR went the revolving door. From this perch, he warned in 2012 that the easy-money policies and the expansion of central-bank balance sheets would lead to “new turmoil in the financial markets.” Now that the turmoil has arrived, he’s at it again.

“Volatility and repricing” – a euphemism for losses – are “part of getting back to normal,” he told NBC. We should get used to it, he said, echoing what ECB President Mario Draghi had said a couple of days ago. So no big deal. However, he was fretting “about the liquidity in the market, in particular under stress situations.”

Despite unleashing a deafening round of QE on the European markets, the ECB has watched helplessly as government bonds have done the opposite of what they should have done: Prices have plunged, and yields have spiked. The German 10-year yield soared in seven weeks from 0.05% to over 1% on Thursday, before settling down a bit. And it wasn’t even a “stress situation.”

US Treasuries have sold off sharply as well since the beginning of February, with the 10-year yield jumping from 1.65% to 2.31%, the worst selloff since the taper tantrum in 2013.

Now one word is on the official panic list: “liquidity.” They’re thinking about the terrifying moment when it suddenly evaporates.

Weber blamed central banks for the liquidity issues in the global bond markets. They’ve been buying “vast amounts of assets and putting them on their balance sheets”; not just government bonds but also corporate bonds. Since central banks “buy and hold,” they “take some liquidity out of the market.”

 

…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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