Dollar issuance by the United States is "out of control", leading to an inflation assault on China, the Chinese commerce minister said in comments reported on Tuesday.
"Because the United States’ issuance of dollars is out of control and international commodity prices are continuing to rise, China is being attacked by imported inflation. The uncertainties of this are causing firms big problems," Chen was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.
Chinese officials have criticised U.S. monetary policy as being too loose before, but rarely in such explicit language.
Two years on from the global financial crisis, the contrast with the rich world is striking. In the United States and Europe, growth is sluggish, a slump into outright deflation is a real risk and central banks look set to loosen policy further.
So the evidence is in: China is decoupled, influenced by, but ultimately independent from other major economies.
"The crisis was a test and China passed the test. Decoupling has become a much more solid thesis now than three years ago when we only talked about it hypothetically," said Qing Wang, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist for greater China.
Chinese Money Supply Numbers from People’s Bank of China
Money and Quasi Money Jan 2009 – 496135.31
Money and Quasi Money Sep 2010 – 696384.86
"Out Of Control" Monetary Expansion Irony
I am certainly not about to defend the Fed’s misguided policies, but the complaint from Chinese commerce minister that US monetary printing is "out of control" is the ultimate in "pot calling the kettle black" irony.
Over the past few weeks I have exchanged quite a few Emails regarding China with my friend "BC" who writes …
Total Chinese money supply is up over 4 times since ’03, a 17%/yr. rate at a doubling time of just 4 years; up 66% since Jan. ’08, a 19%/yr. rate at a doubling time of 43 months; and
The 100% certain sure thing in the market today is that QE-2 will come on November 3rd and that it will be decisive in its scope. Well I am not so sure any more.
-The Fed’s Beige Book from yesterday did not make a case for an economy that needed emergency measures. Yes there was some discussion about the weak housing market and soft loan demand. But we know that QE-2 is not going to fix those problems.
I am certain that the Fed reads Zero Hedge. But how much influence they have is a question. When it gets up to Time magazine however, it is another matter altogether. It is not possible for the Fed to avoid the collective roar that is coming from across the country at this point. If the Fed blunders with an unpopular QE-2 the results will be disastrous. Not only will the economy tank but the Fed will have lost a good chunk of its remaining credibility. The downside risks to Bernanke are enormous. I don’t think he believes he is in a popularity contest, but he does know he can’t run monetary policy with protesters outside his door. How much is he prepared to gamble given that he clearly does not have a consensus amongst his own board? He is an academic, not a gambler.
-Today St. Louis Fed Bullard made remarks to reporters that were a warning sign to me (and the market). He talked a much different game than what has been dished out of late. He made reference to a smaller program. Maybe less than $500billion (about half what is now in the street). He also threw out something that blew me away. He suggested that the 11/3 decision was in someway dependant on the Q3 GDP numbers that come out before the Fed meets. Bullard even “spun” the numbers on the hot side:
"it may come in a little stronger than the second quarter." So we have to keep our eye on that."
Bond traders shit in their pants and hit bids on long coupons. I like…
Bernanke critics are on the attack (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
What is the most likely cause today of civil unrest? Immigration. Gay Marriage. Abortion. The Results of Election Day. The Mosque at Ground Zero. Nope.
Try the Federal Reserve. November 3rd is when the Federal Reserve’s next policy committee meeting ends, and if you thought this was just another boring money meeting you would be wrong. It could be the most important meeting in Fed history, maybe. The US central bank is expected to announce its next move to boost the faltering economic recovery. To say there has been considerable debate and anxiety among Fed watchers about what the central bank should do would be an understatement. Chairman Ben Bernanke has indicated in recent speeches that the central bank plans to try to drive down already low-interest rates by buying up long-term bonds. A number of people both inside the Fed and out believe this is the wrong move. But one website seems to believe that Ben’s plan might actually lead to armed conflict. Last week, the blog, Zerohedge wrote, paraphrasing a top economic forecaster David Rosenberg, that it believed the Fed’s plan is not only moronic, but "positions US society one step closer to civil war if not worse."
I’m not sure what "if not worse," is supposed to mean. But, with the Tea Party gaining followers, the idea of civil war over economic issues doesn’t seem that far-fetched these days. And Ron Paul definitely thinks the Fed should be ended. In TIME’s recent cover story on the militia movement many said these groups are powder kegs looking for a catalyst. So why not a Fed policy committee…
It looks like the Fed is already beginning to worry about the unintended consequences of QE2. In a speech earlier this week Richard Fisher discussed an important consequence of QE. He said:
“In my darkest moments, I have begun to wonder if the monetary accommodation we have already engineered might even be working in the wrong places.”
It certainly is working in the wrong places. While the Fed creates paper profits in stocks and bonds QE appears to also be influencing the price of commodities. Commodity prices have surged in recent weeks as the Fed has driven the dollar lower. What’s so pernicious here is the margin compression that Gaius discussed the other day. This is crucial because the margin recovery has been the single most important component of the equity market recovery.
What’s so interesting here is that Ben Bernanke might actually be creating a double headwind for the economy in the coming quarters. Not only is he reducing margins for many corporations, but because quantitative easing is inherently deflationary (because it replaces interest bearing assets with non-interest bearing assets) it is not helping aggregate demand. From the perspective of a corporation this means stagnant revenues and higher input costs. That will only increase the reluctance to hire.
Of course, the Fed thinks they can prop up particular markets and generate a “wealth effect” that is unsupported by the underlying fundamentals. Interestingly, in the long-run, Mr. Bernanke might be creating more damage than he even understands. But at least someone at the Fed is beginning to wonder if this strategy is viable.
Mr. Obama’s speech at the Cooper Union today was remarkably unsatisfying. It seemed to be given from weakness, and almost obsequious as the American President politely asked his largest campaign contributors to please stop flouting the law, defrauding the people and their customers, and spending millions per day lobbying the Congress to buy changes in the reform legislation to provide them with the ‘right regulators’ of their choice and convenient loopholes to render it ineffective.
The reform making its way through the Congress is unlikely to be effective given the process in place, despite the political kabuki dancebeing conducted by the Congress and the Banks.
The solution is to put simple and effective regulations in the hand of stronger, independent, ad highly capable regulators to bear on the financial services industry, and to understand that the regulations must evolve with a dynamicly evolving business. The idea that you can erect some impregnable and unchanging Maginot line against bank fraud is laughable, a farce.
As William K. Black disclosed in his testimony the other day, the regulators always had the power to shut down the frauds, and to resolve the financial crisis without having to give away billions. They lacked the will, and the motivation.
You want to wipe that smirk off Lloyd Blankfein’s face? Nominate Eliot Spitzer or Elizabeth Warren to be the head of the SEC, or the CFTC, and provide them with a adequate budget and a staff of financial experts and a few experienced prosectors.
Even with strong regulations, unless you have capable and motivated regulators, there are always ways to evade the rules, especially if they are complex and provide exceptions. The simpler they are, the stronger the regulations will be, provided they are flexible enough to be amended and expanded efficiently to match the changing and dynamic nature of the industry that they are overseeing.
This is not that difficult, and these jokers are not that smart, although part of their con is to paint themselves as the smartest, the best, and practically unstoppable.
The root of the US financial crisis is always and everywhere regulatory capture, political cronyism, and fraud. It really is that simple.
For some time now, the U.S. government, business leaders, and top economists have been trying to pressure China into allowing its own currency, the renminbi or yuan, to gain value versus the dollar. The thinking is that a higher yuan would make American products more competitive.
Meanwhile, China has been cautioning the U.S. that a free-floating yuan could result in a lose-lose situation in which both economies would be damaged.
We think our government should be careful what it wishes for. In particular, the U.S. should consider that China may be much more right about the U.S. economy than its own economy.
Let’s assume for the moment that the Chinese want the yuan to rise but know that a higher yuan will create havoc in the developed world.
Being highly intelligent, the Chinese know that they shouldn’t unilaterally let the yuan rise. If it did, China would be blamed for the fallout. Just like the hustler who wants the mark to feel like a victim of his own greed, China wants the revaluation of the yuan to look like an act of reluctant self-sacrifice which it does to appease U.S. demands.
It will look like self-sacrifice, thanks to people like noted short seller Jim
A good friend, and long-time reader, was kind enough to pass along these thoughts yesterday. Basically, the stars are starting to align for something really big to happen.
First, the Shanghai index peaked in August 2009 and had a secondary top in December 2009 (global demand slowing?). Many emerging markets are all negative year to date.
Second, gold peaked in the first week of December 2009 (and now breaking down) while the U.S. dollar index (the DXY) is breaking higher (Greece has not been resolved).
Third, TIPs (ETF) peaked the first week of December 2009 (and just broke to a new four month low).
Fourth, commodity prices peaked in the first week of January and appear to be rolling over. Head-and-shoulders top from October 2009 peak?
Fifth, could we be in for a March peak in equities? The NYSE new high list peaked six trading days ago. Recall that a market correction followed in October of last year and January of 2010 following similar peak in new highs.
Sixth, despite signs of economic cooling in Q1 (around 2.5% growth and half the Q4 pace) and lower inflation expectations, the 10-year Treasury note yield is ratcheting up (in a destabilizing fashion) and devoid of any bearish economic data (for a range of technical/fund flow reasons as was the case in the summer of 2007 — we never said at the Grant’s conference in New York that it was going to be a straight line down). But in technical lingo, it does look as though the yield is breaking out from a triangle since the December 31, 2009 yield peak — go back to that period in December and January, 3.85% on the 10-year Treasury- note served at least three times to be major technical support — a break of that this time around would mean some serious near-term trouble (the nearby high closing level was 3.98% back on June 10,2009).
Commodities are a TAX. They are the worst kind of tax because they flatly (not progressively) charge every man woman and child in this country more money for the same food, fuel, shelter and clothing that they had to have last week in order to live. It doesn’t matter if those people are trying to save or trying to tighten their belts or trying to get out of debt – high commodity prices are a shake-down that rips money out of the pockets of the middle class and funnels it to the very, very small class of commodity producers, commodity speculators and the people who finance them and collect the fees.
Over 99% of the people in this country do not own mines or oil wells (and I’m not counting small farmers because they are literally raped by speculators and bankers, often leaving them worse-off than the consumers) or huge plantations and they do not buy futures contracts on margin with cash they borrow at prime plus 0.5% nor do they own tankers filled with 2M barrels of crude that they arbitrage along the crack spread, looking for an opportune moment to deliver their goods (hopefully during a crisis) at a maximum profit.
So 99% of the people in this country don’t even own a commodity ETF – they have no way to profit from high commodity prices and they need to eat, and they need to buy clothing and have shelter and they need fuel to heat or cool their homes and go from place to place. There is a word for people like that, at the bottom end of a transaction they have no control over – VICTIMS!
The American people are the victims of a $2.5Tn commodity scam - 50 times bigger than the Madoff scandal, pretty much one Madoff PER WEEK yet they sit there and take it because those same commodity pushers are major advertisers in the media – so there are no stories about it and the commodity pushers are massive campaign contributors with armies of lobbyists so our Government does nothing about it other than show up to parties and go on junkets. In fact, do you know who the single largest hoarder of oil was in the last decade? It was the US Government as George the Second purchased 240
Problems in China continue to mount. Money supply is growing rampantly out of control, property prices are in a bubble, exports are weak, commodity speculation is pervasive, and GDP growth is more of a mirage than real.
New local-currency loans totaled 294.8 billion yuan ($43.2 billion), compared with 253 billion yuan in October, according to data released by the People’s Bank of China on its Web site today. The median forecast of 19 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was 250 billion yuan.
M2, the broadest measure of money supply, rose a record 29.74 percent in November from a year earlier.
China’s banking regulator plans to slow new lending to between 7 trillion yuan and 8 trillion yuan next year, a person familiar with the matter said this week. China is trying to ensure that there is enough credit to support an economic recovery without increased risks of bad loans and asset bubbles.
“We believe slower credit growth in 2010 will be key to avoid a boom-bust scenario in the economy,” Wang Tao, a Beijing-based economist for UBS AG, said in a report.
The government “plans to control property prices by accelerating property investment and increasing supply,” economists Lu Ting and T.J. Bond said in an e-mailed note today. That contrasts with efforts in 2006 to cool prices by controlling investment, the economists said.
China Is Overbuilding Already
Note the insanity. China want to control prices by building more. It already has completely empty shopping centers, condos, and even a completely empty city.
China’s Empty City
That is an amazing video of a completely empty city.
China Has Trouble Maintaining Demand Growth
In spite of obvious speculation and overheating in the housing sector,
The reason why we remain skeptical over the sustainability — the operative word for investors — is because the U.S. economy (or the global economy for that matter) has yet to show any ability that it can stand on its own two feet without the constant use of government steroids. At a time when the U.S. government is running a 13% fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio, it somehow has enough in the coffers to try and perpetuate a cycle of spending by inducing a populace in which 20% are already three-car families, to go out and buy a new car to support a shrinking industry at future taxpayer (or bondholder) expense.
Look at what happened in that first quarter GDP number — total GDP contracted around $30 billion at an annual rate, but when you strip out all the government activity, ranging from spending, to tax reductions, to benefit payouts, the decline exceeded $300 billion. In other words, without all the government intervention, the decline in GDP in 1Q would have been closer to an 8% annual rate, not 1%.
Motor vehicle sales surged to a 10-month high in July — an annualized 11.2 million units compared with 9.7 million in June. The results largely reflect the “Cash for Clunkers” $1 billion program that ran out of money in barely more than a week.
THIS IS SO REMINISCENT OF WHAT HAPPENED IN LATE 2001/EARLY 2002
In the aftermath of 9-11, the Big Three unveiled 0% financing to rejuvenate auto sales, which were moribund at the time. So what happened was that motor vehicle sales soared from 16.1 million annualized units in September 2001 to 21.7 million in October — a 3,643% surge at an annual rate! Retail sales skyrocketed 6.6% that month (+116% at an annual rate), a record that holds today. We never came close to seeing 20.0 million units on auto sales again.
But what all these gimmicks do is bring forward consumption — they don’t “create” anything more than a brief spending splurge at the expense of future performance — the pattern gets distorted as opposed
Note from dshort: One of my economic correspondents, James Ross, called my attention to the fact that the NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through April. I've updated the charts in this commentary to include the new numbers.
The New York Stock Exchange publishes end-of-month data for margin debt on the NYXdata website, where we can also find historical data back to 1959. Let's examine the numbers and study the relationship between margin debt and the market, using the S&P 500 as the surrogate for the latter.
The first chart shows the two series in real terms — adjusted for inflation to today's dollar using the Consumer Price Index as the deflator. I picked 1995 as an arbitrary start date. We were well into the Boomer Bull Market that bega...
In the past, food and alcoholic beverage makers got in trouble for attempting to cover the impact of inflation (such as the 12% Y/Y increase in Fed employee salaries) by diluting the content, or simply serving less, of their products while keeping the price constant: the same thing as rising prices, but optically more palatable to less than sophisticated consumers. That was the past. A new breed of industrious, high profit margin-seeking a...
While the S&P 500 has had quite a year already the Nikkei has been the story of the globe as they are performing acts of central banking that even put the U.S. Fed to shame. And Japan's central bank can buy ETFs and REITs directly per their charter versus the U.S. bank. Combined with a yen in free fall it's been a heck of a move for the Nikkei since last November. I noted last week we were seeing extremely rare weekly and monthly type overbought readings on bo...
Few stocks have attracted more news over the last six months than nutritional supplement maker Herbalife (NYSE: HLF).
Even casual market observers are aware of the circumstances surrounding the the initial bout of extreme volatility in the name back in December 2012. The shares went into free-fall at the end of the year after hedge fund manager Bill Ackman revealed in typical sanctimonious fashion that his firm Pershing Square Capital Management was short around $1 billion worth of the stock.
Amid much pomp and circumstance, Ackman laid out his short thesis at a New York investment conference and...
HD - Home Depot – Shares in the home improvement retailer are trading lower on Thursday, off the lowest levels of the session but still down 1.25% at $78.69 as of 11:50 a.m. ET, amid a down day for U.S. stocks. Trading traffic in newly issued weekly options on Home Depot suggests some traders are taking advantage of the dip today and positioning for shares in the name to resume hitting record highs next week. The stock yesterday rallied as much as 3.6% to touch an all-time high of $81.56 after the company reported better-than-expected first...
The market went through some gyrations on Wednesday in reaction to Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee. He first defended continued quant easing by warning, “A premature tightening of monetary policy could lead interest rates to rise temporarily but also would carry a substantial risk of slowing or ending the economic recovery.” Stocks dutifully rallied and all major indexes hit new intraday highs.
But alas, consensus is apparently not a given over the longer term. The minutes hinted that a tapering off could start sooner, “A number of participants expressed willingness to adjust the flow of purchases downward as early as the June meeting if the economic information received by that time showed evidence of sufficiently strong and sustained growth.” So …...
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I am going to share with you how I manage my IRA and the power of reducing your cost basis. My goal each year is a 20% return in my IRA. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't, but I believe that all of my success is due to reducing my cost basis. To illustrate the power of reducing your cost basis here are some trades we did last year. These trades are taken from an educational portfolio we ran in a paper-trading account for a little more than a year.
We bought RIG on 5/15/2012 for $44.13, sold it on 1/18/2013 for $46 but booked a profit of $1,154.
We bought MT on 1/4/2012 for $19.24, sold it on 12/21/2012 for $15 but booked a profit of $454.
We bought CHK on 1/27/2012 for $21.93, sold it on 10/19/2012 for $18 b...
Stock market posts another record setting week, but the big news came after Friday’s close.
Courtesy of NASA
The stock market put on another record setting show with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) closing at a record high 15,118 and the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) closing at 1633.70, another all time closing high.
For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) gained 1%, the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) climbed 1.2%, the Nasdaq Composite (NYSEARCA:...
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Well, well, well....it is good to know that there are others in the scientific arena who believed that YMI Bioscience's data (cough - Gilead) is a better drug than Incyte's Jakafi. Now, the definitive data are still unknown, but there was enough evidence from a Phase 2 trial to take a small risk for a huge reward. So, let's forget about Apple (AAPL), and do nothing but biotechs from now until Congress passes universal health care coverage for prescriptions....and drive the prices down so that research and development is no longer feasible to conduct in the US. Even Seattle Genetics (SGEN) has been on a tear as of late...
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