by phil - April 25th, 2011 8:20 am
It's amazing what the MSM ignores these days.
The PBOC raised the Yuan exchange by 0.0005 and that microscopic move set off a panic that dropped the Yuan it's daily 0.5% limit against the Dollar – marking a huge and violent reversal to the recent trend and signaling that China's usual tight control of their economy may be starting to unravel. Chinese banks scrambled to buy Dollars to meet a Central Bank rule that bars them from having Dollar short positions overnight but it's doubtful that all were able to comply in that violent action.
The Shanghai Composite fell 1.5% this morning (Hong Kong was closed) but it does not show up in the charts on the WSJ's main page nor is it mentioned on CNBC – perhaps because it conflicts with the weak-Dollar narrative they are using to drive the speculative commodity frenzy. Ignoring problems in China was a big theme of the summer of 2008 – as we rallied into the second biggest stock market collapse in history from Dow 11,000 in mid-July to 11,782 on Aug 11th and we were still testing 11,600 through Sept 1st but then things started going wrong as we broke below 11,000, then 10,000, then 9,000, then 8,000 – finally stopping at 7,500 (down 33%) on Nov 20th.
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As I keep telling Members, we don't have to be worried about missing a sell-off, it will be long and relentless when and if it comes as will the rise we get as inflation begins to kick in. Gold is now over $1,500 for a week and, before you waste money on gold – let's look at an alternative: GLD is the ETF that tracks gold and, if you think Gold is going to $1,600 – rather than plunk $1,500 down on an ounce of gold to make 6.6% on a move up, you can buy the GLD $140/160 bull call spread for $790 (1 contract spread at $7.90). As GLD is currently at $146.74, that spread is currently $674 in the money and carried a $116 premium BUT – for about 1/2 the cost of an ounce of gold, if GLD gets to $160 (approximately $1,600 an ounce) then that spread is worth…
by phil - November 12th, 2010 8:09 am
Why should we be surprised?
The last G20 meeting ended in chaos, the same nonsense that triggered a flight into commodities in Q3 as Global investors lost faith in ALL of the World leaders to be able to solve ANY of the many problems that face the Global Economy. Why should this time be different as the current conference broke up with NOTHING accomplished other than to promise to get right on these issues at next year's meeting. REALLY? Do we look like a planet that has another 6 months to wait for you to do something???
The delay by the Group of 20 industrial and developing powers in defining the external imbalances they had vowed to address represents a blurring of what at first had appeared to be clear goals designed to counter the growing threat of trade and currency wars, in which countries seek competitive advantage by weakening their currencies. The U.S. and G-20 host South Korea ran into strong opposition from such exporting powers as China and Germany to a proposal to quantify limits on current-account surpluses and deficits. Without cooperation, the IMF warns, not only will the G-20 fail to achieve a much-needed boost to growth, but it could tip the scales on the European sovereign-debt crisis and fuel capital flows into emerging countries that overheats their economies.
China is already overheating, with a 4.4% inflation rate but that's much worse when you consider that Food Inflation was 10.1% in October from the previous year. With average family incomes of less than $2,000 – food is pretty much all these poor people can afford! The other thing people MUST buy in China (because they can do without furniture, manufactured clothing and power) is housing, and that rose 4.9% in the past year despite the BOC's aggressive tightening measures. A lot of this is due to the Yuan's peg to the dollar as Bernanke's mad plan to devalue the Dollar is dropping China's currency as well and that's good for the manufacturers, who benefit from competitive export prices, but bad for their workers, who need to eat.
"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. Chen Deming, speaking at…
by ilene - October 29th, 2010 2:23 pm
Now that a few Democrats and the remnants of the AFL-CIO are waking up to the destructive impact of jobs offshoring on the US economy and millions of American lives, globalism’s advocates have resurrected Dartmouth economist Matthew Slaughter’s discredited finding of several years ago that jobs offshoring by US corporations increases employment and wages in the US.
At the time I exposed Slaughter’s mistakes, but economists dependent on corporate largess understood that it was more profitable to drink Slaughter’s kool-aid than to tell the truth. Recently the US Chamber of Commerce rolled out Slaughter’s false argument as a weapon against House Democrats Sandy Levin and Tim Ryan, and the Wall Street Journal had Bill Clinton’s Defense Secretary, William S. Cohen, regurgitate Slaughter’s claim on its op-ed page on October 12.
I sent a letter to the Wall Street Journal, but the editors were not interested in what a former associate editor and columnist for the paper and President Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy had to say. The facade of lies has to be maintained at all costs. There can be no questioning that globalism is good for us.
Cohen told the Journal’s readers that “the fact is that for every job outsourced to Bangalore, nearly two jobs are created in Buffalo and other American cities.” I bet Buffalo “and other American cities” would like to know where these jobs are. Maybe Slaughter, Cohen, and the Chamber of Commerce can tell them.
Last May I was in St. Louis and was struck by block after block of deserted and boarded up homes, deserted factories and office buildings, even vacant downtown storefronts.
Detroit is trying to shrink itself by 40 square miles. On October 25, 60 Minutes had a program on unemployment in Silicon Valley, where formerly high-earning professionals have been out of work for two years and today cannot even find part-time $9 an hour jobs at Target.
The claim that jobs offshoring by US corporations increases domestic employment in the US is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated. As I demonstrated in my syndicated column at the time and again in my book, How The Economy Was Lost (2010), Slaughter reached his erroneous conclusion by counting the growth in multinational jobs in the U.S. without adjusting…
by ilene - October 7th, 2010 2:37 am
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
Nobel Prize winner http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com explains why the global imbalances will continue to cause problems in the global economy and why the Fed’s policy of dollar devaluation will have unintended consequences. Ultimately, he sees the Fed making matters worse:
Stiglitz’s thoughts on a possible trade war:
“I think there is this concern. The interesting thing is the United States was one of the first countries to say that of the sources of our recovery would be exports. The problem is that the unintended consequences of economic turmoil, bad economic policies, is what we’re seeing.”
“When the U.S. lowers interest rates, when the U.S. floods the world with liquidity, the effect of it is to try to lower the dollar and cause other countries currencies to appreciate.”
On whether Stiglitz would blame the U.S. for causing other countries’ currencies to appreciate:
“I don’t know if I want to blame [the U.S.] It’s the unintended consequence. But it is the consequence of our policies. What is happening now is this curious thing is that Fed policy was supposed to re-ignite the American economy, but it’s not doing that. And so the flood of liquidity is going abroad and causing problems all over the world.”
Stiglitz on his previous comments that Germany should abandon the euro and that the euro should be devalued:
“There’s a lot of currency misalignments. There are large surpluses on the part of Germany, for instance, and those have to be corrected. There are two problems going on. One of them is a problem of a flood of liquidity that’s causing bubbles, causing turmoil in many of the more successful emerging markets. And then there’s the other problem of the global imbalances. They’re related. But they are really two distinct problems.”
“The worry is that the flood of liquidity is going to cause what is sometimes being referred to an emerging market bubble. Money is going in. The worry is that it will cause a real estate bubble, in one developing country or another.”
“The problem is very easy to understand. There’s a flood of money into the financial sector. It’s asking, Where is the best place in the world to go? In a world of globalization, the answer is not in the United
by phil - October 1st, 2010 8:10 am
What a morning already!
The Hang Seng rose 179 points in today’s trading and finished down 20 for the day – THAT’S how bad the open was! The Nikkei finished an up and down 100-point swing up 34 points at 9,404 but dove into the close along with the dollar (our 3am trade), which now can be bought with just 83 Yen. The Shanghai, on the other hand, was feeling hot, hot, hot and gained 1.7% just behind the BSE, which flew up 1.9% to take back the position of Global Leader.
Strong data boosted the Asian indexes overall with China’s PMI rising to 53.8 from 51.7 in August while India’s PMI pulled back slightly from 57.2 to 55.1 but that’s good as over 50 is expansion and 57.2 is running a little hot. Korean exports rose 17.2% in September, also a little too hot as their CPI topped 3.6% but mainly driven by food prices, which seems temporary. China’s upbeat PMI reading indicates that the negative impact of government measures to control the property market is probably waning, ING’s Mr. Condon said. This means China’s slowdown will probably be less abrupt than expected, especially in the fourth quarter.
The effect, he said, should be especially positive on North Asian economies closely tied to China’s demand, such as Korea and Taiwan. Fears of lower Chinese demand have had a particularly pronounced effect on Taiwan’s business outlook. The island’s September PMI ticked down to 49.0 from 49.2. "Sturdy domestic demand" should keep Taiwan’s economy on target to grow 7.3% this year, "provided employment conditions continue improving," said HSBC economist Donna Kwok.
On our side of the planet, the US markets, especially commodities, got a huge boost as China’s government gave a muted response to House legislation aimed at forcing the Yuan to be valued higher. Aside from China knowing that they already own enough Senators to Filibuster any legislation aimed at protecting American jobs, the bill was watered down in that it PERMITS, but does not REQUIRE, the US to levy tariffs on goods produced by countries found to have undervalued currencies.
Sharp retaliation by China is unlikely in the short term, analysts said, since the bill hasn’t become law and wouldn’t immediately produce restrictions on Chinese goods even if it did. In an apparent gesture to U.S. concerns, China has pushed the yuan up steadily in recent weeks; it…
by ilene - September 27th, 2010 1:57 am
Courtesy of Mish
Patience of US legislators regarding the value of the Yuan has finally given out. Last Friday, Congress jumped into the fray after exceptionally harsh statements from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who up until now had always preached diplomacy. Here is a brief sequence of events.
Patience Runs Out
MarketWatch reports Patience runs out on quiet diplomacy on China currency.
Sept. 15, 2010
Patience appears to have run out in Washington for the standard White House approach that favors quiet diplomacy for dealing with China over the dispute over the value of its currency.
In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, a wide array of experts said that quiet diplomacy has essentially been a failure. The only debate at the hearing was what new approach should be tried.
Geithner Enters the Battle
One day later Geithner calls for faster yuan appreciation
Sept. 16, 2010
“China needs to allow significant, sustained appreciation over time to correct this undervaluation and allow the exchange rate to fully reflect market forces,” Geithner said in testimony prepared for the Senate Banking Committee. Geithner will also talk about the yuan with the House Ways and Means Committee this afternoon.
“It is past time for China to move,” Geithner said.
An undervalued yuan has helped China to boost exports and encouraged U.S. companies to outsource manufacturing to China from the U.S., Geithner said. He added that the yuan is held at a undervalued level by “heavy intervention” even as Chinese officials have pledged to allow the yuan’s value to be guided more by market forces.
China Rebuffs Geithner
Responding to Geithner China says it won’t repeat Japan’s mistake
Sept. 20, 2010
China pledged not to repeat Japan’s mistake and allow its currency to rise in response to foreign pressure, countering criticism from U.S. lawmakers that the yuan is undervalued amid a growing cross-Pacific row over Beijing’s currency regime.
“China will not go down the path that Japan did and give in to foreign pressure on the yuan’s exchange rate,” Li Daokui, an economist and member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China, was cited as saying in a report by the state-run China Daily.
Li’s comments appeared to reference to the 1985 Plaza Accord that resulted in coordinated government
by phil - September 23rd, 2010 7:51 am
"I’m forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air,
They fly so high, nearly reach the sky,
Then like my dreams they fade and die.
Fortune’s always hiding,
I’ve looked everywhere,
I’m forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air."
We shorted TLT again yesterday ($105) as I sure wouldn’t lend the US money at those rates and neither, it seems, will the "smart money" guys anymore. The cost to hedge against losses on U.S. government debt rose to the most in six weeks as investors bet the Federal Reserve will put more cash into the economy. Credit-default swaps on U.S. Treasuries climbed 1.7 basis points, the biggest increase in more than three weeks, to 49.4, according to data provider CMA. The Fed said Tuesday that slowing inflation and sluggish growth may require further action. The statement positioned the central bank to expand its near-record $2.3 trillion balance sheet as soon as their November meeting – just in time for a Santa Clause boost for the markets.
So why does this not make us bullish? Well, as I said to Members on Tuesday, it was an anticipated statement with no immediate action and we’re at the top of a 10% run for September so, as I said in yesterday’s post, we anticipate a pullback of 2%, back to our 4% line (see post). Also in yesterday’s post, I mentioned our IWM 9/30 $67 puts ($1.10) and the DIA Oct $105 puts (.89) both of which were good for a reload on yesterday’s silly spike, where I said to Members in the 9:56 Alert:
I like the same IWM and DIA puts as yesterday as we test 10,800 on the Dow – I don’t think it’s going to last. Tomorrow we lose the usual 450,000 jobs for the week and we have Existing Home Sales at 10, which can now disappoint as Building Permits were a big upside surprise yesterday. We also get Leading Economic Indicators at 10 but they are expected up just 0.1% and I doubt they go negative. Friday we have Durable Goods, which should be down 2% and New Home Sales at 10, also now set up to disappoint even
by phil - September 17th, 2010 7:56 am
Our zombie GSE’s have now become the Nation’s biggest home sellers.
This could not come at a worse time as winter is always a poor time to sell homes, rates seem to have bottomed and there is no new stimulus (or new jobs, or immigration, or population growth) to spur demand. Yet, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae now own more than 191,000 homes (as of June 30th), which is double where they were last year and they are still taking back homes faster than they can sell them as we move into the peak (we hope!) of the foreclosure cycle.
Once they take homes back, Fannie and Freddie must not only cover the utility bills and property taxes, but they are also relying on thousands of real-estate agents and contractors to rehabilitate homes, mow lawns and clean pools. Fannie took a $13 billion charge during the second quarter just on carrying costs for its properties.
If demand remains weak, Fannie and Freddie could face pressure to take more aggressive steps to hold homes off the market. Fannie, for example, is testing an effort in Chicago where it will rent vacant foreclosures rather than list them for sale. Such a "lease-and-hold" approach could make sense in certain markets where "you believe the supply will take a long time to absorb, but there’s going to be an increase in employment going forward," says Douglas Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae.
In yesterday’s post, we discussed the death of the housing market and that brought about a discussion in Member Chat about my February article where I pointed out that the math of home ownership no longer works for many Americans (I also showed 3 different ways you can shave $100,000 in payments off a $200,000 home loan so I do suggest reading it if you haven’t already). Mark McHugh of The Daily Bail has a nice update today where he does the math and contends that "a look behind the numbers shows home ownership to be a poor investment." Barry Rhitholtz found a chart from Reality Bubble Monitor that matches with my contention yesterday (that the US has likely bottomed) but points out that our "boom" economies in Australia and Canada (and China is about the same) have bubbles that are still likely to pop:
by phil - September 14th, 2010 8:12 am
That is big news after having 5 different ones the past 4 years. With the last PM lasting just 9 months, word was Kan was going to challenge the record for shortest term after being forced into this election just 3 months after being elected the first time. When we talked about this yesterday, the race was considered "too close to call" but the incumbent Mr. Kan ended up winning 60% of the vote – kind of makes you wonder how far off our own pollsters are with their early election calls…
Now the stage is set for the Oct 4th meeting of the BOJ, where action must be taken to get the Yen under control. Ozawa was clearly better for the Dollar, as he favored strong intervention to bring the Yen down including a program of both QE and stimulus and they Yen blasted to 15-year highs on the result of this election, now at just 83 Yen to the Dollar, down from 120 in 2007 (30%) with a 15% move up since May. This is TERRIBLE for Japanese exporters, who get paid relatively less for everything they sell but it’s good news for commodity pushers, who get paid in devalued Dollars.
To what extent is Japan’s deflation simply a function of their currency appreciating an average of 10% a year? If their deflation rate is 2% then doesn’t that mean it’s really an 8% INflation rate masked by a too-strong currency? Perhaps that’s why the people of Japan, who get paid in Yen and shop with Yen, strongly preferred Kan, who was only really opposed, in the end, by Parliament, where he won 206 to 200 – the Japanese version of the US Senate. This means that, like Obama, it will be very difficult for Kan to get anything done despite his popular support and, also like our own Senate: "Having witnessed the shaky ground he stands on, opposition parties are licking their chops to begin their attacks on Mr. Kan," said Koichi Nakano of Sophia University.
Doesn’t it make you feel good to know that, despite our cultural differences, politicians around the World are all the same – just a bunch of power-hungry, vindictive bastards who put their own interests ahead of the people who they are supposed to represent? Like Obama, Kan still faces difficulties navigating what the Japanese call a "twisted parliament," where the DPJ has a minority in…
by phil - August 19th, 2010 8:29 am
Today we get another round of Permanent Open Market Operations.
POMOs are the Fed’s way of creating additional bank reserves to finance asset purchases and loans for it’s Primary Dealers (the Gang of 12 or, as David Fry calls them, Da Boyz). GS and Co. then turn around and use this money to fuel their bots to buy equities and we believe we saw a little test run of those programs a couple of times this week as we had very irrational, sharp rallies for no particular reason and I had commented to Members, during chat, that it looked like some Bot testing.
Note that in David’s picture, Bernanke is still playing the role of the generous bartender he played in the hit video "Hayek vs. Keynes – An Economic Smackdown." Note this all ends badly for Keynes but WHAT A PARTY!
We made 3 aggressive upside spreads looking for a big finish for the week in yesterday morning’s Alert to Members on SSO, QLD and DDM. Fortunately our timing was good as my call to look for a run once we got past the 10:30 oil inventory report was on the money but then we were very disappointed by the size of the sell-off in the afternoon – even though we were short at that point (we can root for the bulls while betting against them). It’s all about jobs this morning and we need to see less the 450,000 pink slips handed out in the past week to get a little more aggressive.
My prediction in the morning was: "We should get our bottoms with the crude inventories at 10:30 so no hurry on bullish plays, most likely. Selling XOM $60 puts for $1 or more (now .47) on a dip today is a nice play into expirations as you can always roll them along." The XOM puts topped out at .63, so no luck there, but the action (see Davids chart) was right on the money for us:
We took a long play on USO at the bottom that did well (and we took money and ran) and we flipped back to bearish at 1:41 with put plays on IWM and DIA that did nicely into the close. As I had said in the morning post – blissful agnosticism!