Last night’s blog contained some of the key sparks to watch this year, but I left some for today so as not to overwhelm. While we slept, the Chinese borrowed a page from the French National Bank. In an effort to curb the arbitrage of trading the YUAN in Hong Kong versus the mainland levels under the direct auspices of the PBOC, the Chinese Government raised overnight borrowing rates for those short the yuan in Hong Kong. The rate is only on overnight borrowings so it is intended to make being short against the PBOC cost prohibitive.
Posts Tagged ‘PBOC’
One of the great movies of the 1960s asks who is more insane: Those in the asylum or those who create wars? The present state of central banking can lead one to ask the same question about the overseers of FIAT CURRENCY and those who make investment decisions based on the policies of those academics so in love with their economic models. As the Bernanke victory tour rolls on, the fallback position of the recent anointed savior of the global financial system poses the counter-factual of, “What if we hadn’t acted by embarking on a massive liquidity injection? Aren’t you all satisfied that the unemployment rate is hovering around the defined level of full-employment?”
In the realm of physics, absolute zero is the temperature at which every element freezes and molecules are no longer in motion. The FED and other global central banks seem to be mimicking their scientific betters by keeping rates at a low enough level to prevent the movement of capital from their balance sheets and into the real economy. Yes, the ECB, Riksbank, Swiss National Bank are at negative interest rates but it is the velocity that measures absolute zero rather than the relative level of interest rates. This brief analysis is based on the CONTINUED FRUSTRATION of trying to understand the basis of FED communication and signalling to the markets.
It was ECB President Mario Draghi who declared war on the German economic model of GROWTH THROUGH AUSTERITY, but it was the Chinese central bank that fired the first real shot in response to the “intervention” by Super Mario. As usual, Draghi proposed an increase in the ECB QE program (possibly in December) and also mentioned taking deposit interest rate even more negative. The EURO, of course, depreciated by as much as 3 percent while Draghi stoked the fires of a possible liquidity increase.
At 8:00 a.m. EST, CNBC‘s announcer says, “From The Most Powerful City In the World, This Is Squawk Box.” What bothers me is the squawking about your importance. What irritates me even more is that Beijing has been the most powerful city when it comes to moving markets. Every other idea spewed this week has been about the impact of the Chinese authorities and the policy impact from the Politburo that “destroyed” trillions of equity market value. It even appears that the Chinese are dominating the discussion in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where the Kansas City Fed is hosting their annual symposium. Even New York Fed President Bill Dudley, aka Less Compelling, cites the Chinese as the reason to be less compelled to raise rates at the September meeting.
It would be great to concentrate on market fundamentals rather than the latest TWEET but as traders know, can’t play the cards that are not dealt. If the market wants to jump to the latest 140 character piece of informed opinion, then it is either use your own reaction function or fold up the lap-top and wait for greater clearance from trends and underlying fundamentals. The markets are presently in a binary mode. Chinese stock market gyrations impact global equity markets and all type of commodities and foreign currencies as traders “guess” what assets the Chinese might be selling to raise cash to meet stock market losses. The nature of a “collateralized, securitized” credit system is that it is subject to violent reactions because of its pro-cyclical element: Copper secures a loan and when copper prices rise the lender offers more money because the value of the security increases allowing an increase in liquidity.
Today, CNBC‘s Steve Liesman interviewed San Fran Fed President John Williams. In a swipe at Fed gallows humor, President Williams presented Liesman with a T-Shirt that said the Fed was DATA DEPENDENT. The humor part was Williams’s effort to cut-off Steve Liesman’s well choreographed question which amounts to: “Come on, John, share your inside view about the possibility of a RATE RISE at the next FOMC meeting (just between us, John).” So as to make sure that Liesman understands the consistent answer: It is data dependent. If the FED wants to create some jobs it can send everyone with a bank account a free “Data Dependent” shirt, compliments of their regional Federal Reserve. All sarcasm aside, President Williams’s view puts added importance now to the inflation data on Friday and of course the retail sales input on Wednesday. The consensus on the CORE RETAIL SALES is 0.3% increase so a strong number would be above 0.6%. If the theory of data dependence holds then it should be the SHORT END of the curve that gets sold and here is my reasoning: The 2/10 and 5/30 parts of the yield curve have steepened dramatically during the last two months as the market accepts the fact that the recent bout of weak economic data has pushed the FED further away from raising rates.
The IMF took center stage during the last four days as its meeting in Tokyo became the central focus of the global macro world. As usual, the IMF communique promised much via the usual platitudes but as investors and traders we are left in the lurch as much is promised but no real substance is revealed. Probably the most important element in the communique is the line, “WE NEED TO ACT DECISIVELY TO BREAK NEGATIVE FEEDBACK LOOPS AND RESTORE THE GLOBAL ECONOMY TO A PATH OF STRONG,SUSTAINABLE AND BALANCED GROWTH.” Why is this simple statement so critical? In last week’s IMF-produced “World Economic Outlook,” it revealed that the IMF‘s model is probably flawed when measuring the impact of fiscal policy on economic growth.
Two big issues have been the rage of financial news during the weekend. First, the Chinese Central Bank lowered its reserve requirements by 50 BASIS POINTS in what is being termed an effort to engineer a “soft landing” and prevent a drastic fall in GDP. This is my first laugh as the raises in the reserves during the last 18 months did little to slow the economy. Besides, if the Chinese Politburo wants to install pro growth policies it has control of the credit creating mechanism. As the markets are looking for anything that sustains the recent global equity rally, why not the Chinese reserve ratio?