Click on the image to watch Rick and I discuss the accuracy of China’s data.
The U.S. jobs report provided great support to the bears on Wall Street as the 54,000 nonfarm payroll number led to a sell off in the DOLLAR and another drop in the Dow, S&Ps and all other equity indexes. For all the equity down/dollar up analysts, last week was a breakdown of that temporary correlation. U.S. equities were down more than 2% for the week while the EURO was up 2.5%. It seems that the global financial community is becoming more concerned about a softening U.S. economy and what it will mean for the budget discussions and FED policy.
Last night the RBA, as expected, left rates unchanged at 4.75 percent. The statement released after the meeting was deemed semi-HAWKISH as the RBA noted the strength of India and China. The Australian central bank also opined that the massive Australian floods would result in pressure on wages as the rebuilding and repairing would bid away construction workers from the extremely buoyant mining sector. Some analysts had been bearish the AUSSIE DOLLAR based on lost productivity but GOVERNOR STEVENS ended that outlook.
Let me state out again as to why the FOREX markets are going to be a difficult investment in 2011. The emerging markets and commodity-based currencies have been the repositories of global capital seeking to take advantage of the Chinese and India growth phenomena without having to actually invest in the countries themselves. If you like China, buy the Australian equity or currency as it provides a proxy on Beijing’s growth policies: A classic case of providing picks and shovels rather than mining yourself.
The slew of U.S. data has been a mixed result. The personal spending and earnings number were both soft, while the PMI manufacturing number was better than anticipated. Equity markets shrugged off the weaker data as the market closed higher, although far off the early highs in the S&Ps and even traded lower late in the day.
Chinese Premier WEN Jiabao visited Italy after the EU/China summit that took place this week. Wen had been to Greece earlier as China is looking for assets in the battered peripheral economies of the EU. Are the Chinese sovereign wealth funds truly interested in European troubled assets or merely attempting to buy some good will so as to break up a possible unified action by the developed nations against the renminbi? The Chinese are in Italy and making some noise about buying Italian companies to ensure a place in the European economies.
Let’s get the IMF and G-7 noise out of the way. As usual, we will hear and read about all the brotherly love that will be shared at the IMF gathering but in the present situation we will be having none of it. The acrimony in the international arena on all economic issues isn’t going to be assuaged over cocktails and photo ops. Last year we heard about all the agreements that had been reached on global financial regulations and of course the prevention of currency manipulation and intervention. In a year all of that has been relegated to trash heap. The emerging world has been asking for free trade and have been rebuffed. China will bear the brunt of the major currency manipulator but many others are seeking to join the Chinese.